Special Occasion Emboidery
Nothing commemorates a special occasion as well as an embroidered memento. And it's difficult to imagine a less price-conscious customer than one who is shopping for just the right remembrance of a special occasion. Do you have the right designs and samples to capture your share of the special occasion market?
Cause For Celebration
Moments in our lives that are cause for celebration include birth, graduation, marriage, anniversaries, holidays, religious events, housewarming and retirement. There are many other special days that deserve a permanent token, and the gift of embroidery is a perfect fit. What could be more personal than an embroidered item, customized with a name, initials or date? Special occasion embroidery is one of the easiest sales to make, if you are prepared with the appropriate recommendations and samples.
One of the most important ingredients in fulfilling special occasion requests if samples of suitable lettering styles and designs. Lettering is paramount, and it is important to have several styles that are reliable and appealing. In your font selections, you will need stitched samples of your recommended lettering styles and sizes. You will need at least two script styles, two block styles and one or more specialty fonts.
Script #1 - Handwriting Style
One of your script styles should be italicized, flowing and graceful. It should work well in small to medium sizes. To be suitable for heirloom embroidery, the openings in lower case letters must remain open when stitched in a small size. Test any proposed font in sizes down to 3/8-inch. Examine the entire font, both upper and lower case, checking for unacceptable characters. For example, in many scripts the upper case "S" is unrecognizable, and the upper case "J" and "I" are almost indistinguishable from each other. In lower case, check out the letters "r", "u" and "v" for a pleasing and readily identifiable formation. I prefer for an heirloom script font to have a lower case letter "l" formed with a loop rather than a single straight line. As much as possible, the heirloom script that you will use for names and dates should mimic handwriting. This style is ideal for names and dates, as well as embroidered renditions of verses, poems and scriptures.
Script #2 – Traditional Monogram Script
This script should be more vertical, without a noticeable slant. A vertical font works best for initials, regardless of the combination of letters. In traditional monograms, the larger center letter represents the surname. When a three-letter monogram is created for a wedding gift, it is customary for the man's first initial be placed to the left of center, and the bride's first initial be placed to the right of the center letter.
Block #1 – Plain Block
Block letters are frequently favored for embroidery for men or boys. One style should be plain, having no serifs. This basic style is wonderful used in upper and lower case for personalizations. Its simplicity makes it ideal for very small lettering sizes, and you can recommend it for use on items for toddlers and children who are just learning to read. What a thrill to read your name in embroidery for the first time!
Block # 2 – Serif Block
Serifs are the small feet and extensions that appear on lettering styles such as Times or Century. This style has a more formal appearance than plain block, and is a popular choice for names and dates.
Some fonts evoke a casual mood, some are dressy and upright while others are flowing and graceful. Choose one or more fonts to broaden your selection beyond the basics listed above. One of the perennial favorites for personalizations on baby blankets to Christmas stocking is a font called Zapf or Apple Chancery. This unique font, a clever cross between block and script, creates just the right mix of fun and formality. This font or a similar one will help make your special occasion font selection complete. View Example
When designs are used in special occasion embroidery, they are frequently simple and elegant, used for accent purposes. You may present some elaborate pieces in your sample book as well, such a floral border frames or large centerpiece embroideries. However, the primary focus should be on a good selection of accent designs for the most popular special occasion requests. See the list below for designs to consider for your stitched "suggestion" book. Simple motifs stitched along with individual names and dates are the biggest selling selections.
Stitched Suggestion Book
Each time that you make a special occasion embroidery that you particularly like, stitch another for your suggestion book. Place the swatches in a binder, making sure to keep the look upscale. For a finished look, frame each embroidered swatch with colored paper frames available in the scrapbook department at your local craft store.
Consider keeping a selection of gift items suitable for special occasions to maximize your profits. For example, even a small inventory of woven afghans, fleece throws, white and ecru bath sets will make you a one-stop solution for last minute shower gifts. You may also be surprised how well these items sell during holiday season. Laundry bags, oversized towels and bath wraps are perennial favorites for graduates. In fact, many people order them because they still have the ones that they received when they graduated!
Memory books are also very popular gifts for graduates. You will be sure to get orders if you display samples, but be sure to start showing them early and encourage your customers to place their orders four to six weeks in advance. This will allow assembly time for the embroidered cover to be applied to the book. You will get more sales on this item if you offer the completed books, but you may choose to simply refer this pportion of the work to a craftsperson in your area. You can build a nice repeat business around high-quality receiving blankets, Lovies character blankets and eyelet diaper covers, because these popular items can be hard to find. Once the word gets out that you have unique baby items, you may find that spring is a very busy season, with some customers coming in with birth announcements by the handful.
Top Tips for Successful Special Occasion Embroidery
You will be pleasantly surprised at how much special occasion business you can cultivate. Here are some ideas for making this segment a success for your company.
• Check all spelling and all dates twice, and then check them again. Have the customer sign the order.
• Make commemorative anniversary afghans with the names and birthdates of all family members around the edge. Put the names and marriage date of the couple larger in the center.
• Work with a local quilter to produce memory quilts for weddings, going-away, retirement and more. As the embroiderer, you will work with each relative or aquaintance to embroider a square using a stock design and lettering to represent their own special memory. When all of the squares are returned to the quilter, the quilt is assembled and presented to the lucky recipient.
• Price keepsake work according to the extra care, creativity and technique that goes into each piece. Don't feel you must price according to the same scale as logo work.
• Keep samples of your special occasion work. When it isn't possible to keep a sample, take a photograph for your suggestion book.
Wedding or Anniversary – Dove, Rings, Bride and Groom Bears, Candles, Bells, Toasting Flutes, Cake, two hearts
Embroider on Guest book cover, photo album cover, reception napkin favors (see Fig. X), bridesmaid gift bags, ring pillow, handkerchiefs for mother of bride and groom.
Birth – Simple bow, lamb, teddy, chick, booties, rattle, blocks, rocking horse
Embroider on Receiving blanket, LovieÒ character blanket, hooded towel
First Communion – Cross, Chalice & bread symbol, grapes
Embroider on handkerchief, bible cover, first communion felt banner
Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah – Star of David,Yud
Embroider on yamika, girl's headcover or prayer book cover
Bon Voyage – Ship or plane
Embroider on fabric Champage bag, paperback book cover
Retirement – fishing pole, rocking chair, "happy dance" figure, golf clubs
Embroider on headwear, such as ball cap or bucket hat, fleece throw, cooking apron
Housewarming – heart inside a house, cozy cottage
Embroider on cooking apron, kitchen towels, bread cover, afghan or fleece throw. Napkins or towels with initials make a wonderful housewarming gift.
Graduation – diploma, cap, graduation teddy bear
Embroider on autograph pillow, framed fabric with transfer of graduation announcement, memory book cover.