Embroidery, Marketing, NNEP and More With Jennifer Cox

Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. We are fortunate enough to welcome back Jennifer Cox, the President and Co-Founder of NNEP. Jennifer is an amazing resource in the industry and we are going to pick her brain on several topics from Embroidery, Marketing, The Latest News from NNEP and anything else she is willing to share with us.

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SGIA ExpoOur regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys are all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants or lectures or selling. We are not doing this for our employers, but rather for our industry. Since February 2013, The 2 Regular Guys have been the first and the most listened to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will make your business better, and our industry better. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!

News

Embroidery, Marketing, NNEP and More

Terry: Let’s start out in the embroidery world where you live everyday. Can you give us a little update on the state of embroidery? What’s the latest news or most noteworthy stuff going on right now?

Jennifer:

  • Pricing – so that it is reasonable for the customer, and profitable for them as business owners.
  • Many of the members of NNEP are having one of their best years ever – they are busy!
  • NNEP members are actively going out looking for business now instead of waiting for Joe Public to come and find them.
  • We are an INVISIBLE industry! No one gets up and says, “Hmmm, I think I will go buy something at an embroidery business today. We  known when we go get gasoline or pick up food at the grocery store so that we can make dinner. What we offer is much more obscure –
  • “Mental peanut butter branding” – where ideally we stick to the top of their minds when they decide they need something customized with their logo.
  • Stop referring to ourselves “embroiderers” and present ourselves as branded apparel experts, or even logo apparel specialist – that opens up conversations, instead of shuts them down like the word Embroidery does! First, when we say we do embroidery, the customer then often assumes that they have to go buy the goods first, then bring it to us to be embroidered. Second, the other person usually pictures something being created by hand, not what we do!
  • Check out https://www.nnep.com/ for more info about the NNEP.

Aaron: I noticed a pretty fun blog you wrote on NNEP.com called “Think outside the (shoe) box” that featured a really cool opportunity for decorators- We will have the link to that blog in our show notes, but tell us more about that.

Jennifer:

  • Sneakerheads
  • Kickstarter
  • One Day Shoes
  • Design, create and build your own completely custom shoes!
  • Imagine the possibilities, for yourself and for your customers…

Terry: We are going to jump around a little bit here so stick with us. Tell us a little about the NNEP’s Embroidery & Digitizing Conference. How was the event in Cleveland and what is coming up? What kind of experience can people expect and what can they learn at the conferences?

Jennifer:

  • We had the first NNEP Embroidery & Digitizing Conference in June in Cleveland, and the next one is in Indy in September. We are doing these conferences in conjunction with The NBM Show. The focus of the conference is to help people up their game when it comes to their digitizing skills, their embroidery skills and their business skills. For the digitizing classes, it does not matter what software you have. They are talking about the WHY of creating excellent designs, how to create them, not what buttons to push to get this kind of stitch or that kind. We cover how to do applique, step by step. There is a fantastic class on machine maintenance. And one on hard to hoop stuff, so that you can excel in meeting the needs of your customers and keep ahead of your local competition.
  • About 80 people attended the first one, and we are hoping to bring together about 100 at the one coming up in Indy.
  • Check out the Conference online at https://embroiderymart.com/nnep-embroidery-digitizing-conference/

Aaron: As Terry said, we are going to jump around since there are lots of topics we want to cover with you. I’m a marketing guy myself and I know you are a great marketer. I read all of your stuff in Printwear Magazine and I love the quick tips they post online. The first one that I wanted to talk about is, What do I do when a customer says they can get services down the road for cheaper? What do you tell embroiderers about competing on price?

Jennifer:
I have this conversation at least once every other day, of not EVERY day with a business owner!
It is NEVER practical to base your prices on another business. You have no idea what their expenses are, whether they are profitable, or even if the customer is telling you the truth. ASK  that customer politely, “OK, so why are you here?” It may turn out that the business down the street cannot make the customer’s deadline, or the customer might have an outstanding bill down the road, or it is their ex-sister-in-law’s business, or a million other scenarios –
Whatever their issue is with the other business, it completely removes the pricing from the conversation. Price the order so that it makes sense for your business. The customer can place the order, or not, but you will not be stuck working for pennies.

Terry: It’s obvious that we are all about social media, but there are plenty of decorators who just don’t know to engage and get people interacting. You recently had a piece titled “Social Networking in 2018” with some great tips on how to make your social presence work for you; Can you give our listeners a taste of your take on social networking?

Jennifer:

  • Social media is here to stay and it is where you can interact with a huge potential customer base, for free.
  • The key is to actively MANAGE the process to get your desired outcome, more business. AVOID CUTE KITTEN VIDEOS at all costs.
  • Tell stories, post pictures and upload quick videos.
  • Shoot video as you finish a design for new customer, post it and EMAIL it to the customer!
  • Be aware that what you post will influence people and they will decide if they want to do business with you, or not, based on the personal beliefs you post. The 3 tricky topics in all social settings are money, politics and religion. If you would not say it at a business networking event to someone in person, you should also not say it on social media.

Aaron: We know you are big on education and work really hard for your members. What topics or issues are you seeing people need to most help with right now in their businesses, and what advice are you giving them?

Jennifer:

  • NNEP is all about helping business owners FIND customers, keep customers and make money.
  • We help them design customer social media messages, find wholesale sources for products not in the usual wholesale inventory, we talk pricing and marketing daily, as well as shop management, things like hiring, scheduling, shop work flow, order forms and information management –
  • http://nnep.com/

Terry: So let’s talk about the upcoming Embroidery Mart. How is that shaping up, and what can people expect from the event and where can people learn more?

Jennifer:

  • I love bringing this event to life – there will be over 50 suppliers with all the equipment, supplies, software, blank apparel and services you need to take you business to the next level.
  • There is a level of energy at the Embroidery Mart that you simply cannot generate in your own business, in your own world.
  • One attendee said it was like consuming an entire case of “embroidery red bull” as they were leaving the show last year – they could not wait to get home and begin using the new information, ideas and products they discovered at the Mart!

Go to EmbroideryMart.com/Nashville for all the details. Online reg closes on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

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