On the latest Embroidery Insider podcast, Henry Ma invited two very special guests:
Sarah and Alexander Olivieri, who own Woodpeckers Plaques and Crafts.
The business partners, who also happen to be happily married, shared how their business has expanded from woodworking to a busy embroidery business with multiple machines constantly running.
In this episode, Alex and Sarah talk about why making a living from embroidery is so important to them and how the fraternity and sorority market became one of their main clients.
Read on to hear their story or follow along with the audio version below.
How It All Started
Alex and Sarah decided to leverage the relationships around them by reaching out to the connections Alex already had within the Greek community to kickstart their business.
Apart from vocalizing their offerings to friends and family, they also displayed their offerings to multiple people so they could see what their quality looked and felt like.
Alex said, from there, clients would compare the embroidered items they currently owned to his work, and Alex’s work was the clear winner.
The business’ high-quality work came from none other than Alex’s embroidery machine:
Ricoma’s MT-1501, which he now has three of.
If you’re like Alex and Sarah and have considered a Ricoma machine or would like to see how our machine runs, schedule a virtual demo today.
Handling Major Responsibilities
In the podcast, Alex explained that he is the face of the business and was doing most of the ground work when they initially started.
Since the embroidery business took off so suddenly, though, Sarah ended up putting her business on hold to help.
One of the perks of this process has been Sarah’s ability to digitize. Sarah has even started taking classes to learn more about digitizing.
“As you already know, digitizing is key. If you have a bad design, you’re going to get a bad product, which wastes time and money,” Sarah explained.
If you’re wondering whether or not to keep your digitizing in-house, click here to weigh out the pros and cons of doing your own digitizing.
Expanding With Greek Organizations
Right now, Alex and Sarah’s company is the official vendor of six Greek letter organizations.
Alex applied to the first two organizations in order to get his name out.
The others reached out to him directly because they saw the kind of quality he was providing.
He also mentioned that a lot of the people who started using his services were mainly motivated by the price point, which was far more affordable than his competition.
Alex says his long term goal is to have his national leadership request that his business be their main vendor for all their paraphernalia. Currently, he is the main vendor for his organization’s chapter in Spain, Germany, and Tokyo, and hopes to continue to expand.
Just like Alex and Sarah, you can expand your customer reach by finding your niche market and specializing in a few main items.
Judging by Alex’s story along with many others, good quality is key to attracting and retaining clients. If you want to improve the quality of your embroidery, click here to download a list of 50 fabrics and the best practices to employ on each.
Alex and Sarah operate a veteran-owned and home-operated small business in Virginia, where they use their passion for embroidery to serve their local community, as well as internationally.
If their story inspired you, click here to visit their website and comment below if you would like to see more videos like this!
And just one more thing…
Don’t forget to take advantage of the resources available to you in this industry! Watch embroidery YouTube videos, join embroidery Facebook support groups, and ask questions whenever possible!
Want to ask a question or share your experience with embroidery? Leave a comment below.
For additional help, feel free to join our free Facebook group, Embroidery and Custom Apparel Mastery.
In it, over 10,000 members share their thoughts about embroidery, give insight on various embroidery related issues and provide connections to wholesale items and even jobs!