Meet The Girls: Barbara McBurnout

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR COMPETITION! FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA BLAH!!!

Let’s talk about competition really quickly. A lot of you may be having
“me too” girls pop up in your town. You know the ones that live by the
“I can make anything! Shirts, hats, rocket ships and even submarines!!
AND I sell it 75% less then my competition!!!” motto. But guys. Trust
me. She is NOT your competition! She is Barbara McBurnout and she will not last!

Even if she does stick around for longer than you
would like, do not let her effect your business and do not let her set
your mindset each day. Yes, she’s annoying. Yes, it’s okay to silently
want to punch her in the ankle. But guess what?? The man upstairs knows
what you need! Has he let you down this far? No? Okay. So don’t worry
about what she does. Her standards of quality items and lack of
expertise will come through to her market and you will be the one left
standing!

I said in the
2017 HoopMama Crafter’s Calendar and it has been one of MY personal
mottos that has helped me grow so much – DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT ANYONE
ELSE IS DOING. You’re ONLY job is to make sure YOU’RE doing what YOU’RE
supposed to be doing and called to do. God and karma will take care of
the rest.

In the words of my sweet friend Jessica, “He’s never failed me before and he ain’t gonna stop this week.”

So tell Barbs “bye bye bye” and keep doing what you do. If anything,
let her drive you to grow and be better everyday… but do not let her
tempt you to lower yourself to her level. She’s attracting the “can I
get this for free?” people while you’re attracting the ones who say “are
you sure you’re charging enough?” And that’s exactly where you want to
be.

You’ve got this guys. Sending prayers up for anyone who needs a little extra motivation today!

Meet The Girls: Mary, Susie & Jill

I have a question. A serious question. It seems like I’m seeing more of
my designs being copied and shared in file share groups and I come
across them daily. Theft and morals aside. I’m trying to understand WHY
someone would want to share a file they paid for? Or even why they would
share one they copied for their own personal use? This is already a
very saturated market, why would you SHARE with your competitors? If you
bought a file, you now did something that someone else wasn’t willing
to do. Therefore, YOU will stand out. By sharing that file… and in
most cases in groups of 20k+ members… YOU just CREATED competition!
Even if you created your own “version” and didn’t pay for the design…
by sharing it with others… you now just ELIMINATED your own
uniqueness!

I do understand giving and sharing as I really try to
do a lot of it myself. But what I don’t understand is in business, why
you would share your work with other businesses? Especially in large
groups where you do not know their intention.

If you’re doing it
out of the goodness of your heart, I commend you and I love your
spirit. However, remember that copying a design and sharing it with 20k
people literally just stole money from the original designer. You may be
doing it out of good will, but the punch in the gut is to the original
creator that worked on it for many hours, when all you did was find
similar fonts, made your own version, and shared it. It may have taken
you 15 minutes to recreate… but that’s because hours of work had
already been done for you. And that is the person you stole from in
order to do “something nice.”

Last I checked, Tiffany’s does not
share items they curate with other stores. When I first started I would
use the common fonts from places like dafont but now I spend time,
energy and (lots of) money finding commercial use fonts that cannot be
found for free at all. My whole purpose in that is trying to be hard to
replicate. As soon as I see a font become well known… I move on to
another one I enjoy. I do this on purpose to stand out. Which is why
these file share groups just confuse me. You should want to stand out
too!

I promise I’m not writing this out of anger. Annoyance to a
degree, but not anger. Most of you know that my vision for MY business
is to help you grow in YOUR business, so believe me when I say I’m just
trying to understand. My view with all these file sharing groups… is
that not only are you sitting in a stagnant pool with people all using
the same designs that “everyone has” and that “anyone can do,” but
you’re also limiting your own potential to stand out!!!

Obviously
my business is designing and I would love for you to buy my files. I
would also love for YOU to MAKE MONEY from my files on your completed
products! I know this is the heart of many designers as well. And it
just doesn’t make sense to me to steal from the person whose PURPOSE is
to help YOU succeed.

In summary:

This is Mary. Mary found
a file she likes. Mary doesn’t want to buy it so she makes her own.
Mary is happy that people like the file and want it for themselves. Mary
then shares it in a group of 75,000 people, and takes credit for it and
never acknowledges the original creator.

Don’t be like Mary.

This is Susie. Susie found a file she likes and decides that her time
to recreate and money to buy commercial use for fonts is worth more than
the $3 that the file costs. Susie buys the file and decides to share
her finished product with a group of 75,000 people. People ask for the
file. Susie directs them to where she purchased the file so they can
purchase it for themselves.

Be like Susie.

But now let’s meet Jill.

This
is Jill. Jill spends hours searching for a design and finally sees a
design she likes. Jill buys it. Jill does not like to show her work
because she does not want her competitors to get on her trail. Jill does
not speak of HoopMama because she wants to keep her tucked away with
the Halloween candy she’s hiding from the kids. But Jill also knows
right from wrong and speaks up when she sees designs being shared or
copied illegally.

It’s totally okay to be like Jill too. We like Jill.

But today… I had to share my “be like Susie” shirt because you Susie’s make my day every day!!!

(And I promise the duck lips are just to mimic the mock-up of the
little girl going around. I promise I don’t take selfies like this

How I Paid Off 40k As A Crafter

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. BUT THESE ARE ALL PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND AND USE MYSELF.

Debt seems to be something that stands in the way for most people in many areas of their lives. Many crafters are just moms wanting to contribute somehow to the family income. There are also many crafters making over the 6 figure mark and solely support their family financially. But regardless of income from crafting, if most of it goes to pay bills, then that takes away from the joy in our craft.
This post is to help you find ways to pay down consumer debt such as credit cards, so that the money we earn from crafting can be enjoyable and have a purpose.
When I first married my husband, we read Dave Ramsey’s book, ”
Total Money Makeover” and listened to his podcasts every day. In case you haven’t heard of him, he is a huge advocate for getting out of debt and building wealth.
Now, some things we chose not to follow such as selling our cars, even though our payments combined were $1100/month. Yuck! Dave Ramsey suggests that if you can’t pay your cars off in 2 years, then to sell them and buy a “junker” with cash. We loved our cars and decided we could pay them off fast enough to where that monthly payment wouldn’t be a big ding to our checkbook for much longer. We were focused and driven. We knew we had credit card debt and student loan debt out the wazoo… but we wanted a house… we wanted a future… and honestly… we wanted some wealth.
I had a full time job, taught yoga and crafted on the side. Hubs worked overtime, and got a 2nd job. Now remember, we were 25 and no kids. Obviously it’s a little easier to get two jobs when there aren’t little ones running around. But there are ALWAYS ways to find extra money to throw at debt, regardless of population of your home. You just may have to be a little creative… or run on a few less hours of sleep for a while.

Here are 4 Things We Did That Led To Our Debt Payoff Success.

  1. We Said “No.” – We actually said “no,” a lot. We ate meals at home to save money. We didn’t go out with friends often, but when we did, we set a budget before we left. We planned out our grocery trips and did meal planning. We didn’t spend any money unless it was agreed on before hand. No, we weren’t zombies. But we found cheaper alternatives to spending time together. Which actually made us closer. And I found out that I can only beat my husband in Rummy about 1 out of 76 times.
  2. We Did Extra. – There wasn’t much couch time in our home while we were focused on getting out of debt. I picked up extra yoga classes, I advertised my boutique, I worked overtime… basically if I wasn’t making money, I was thinking of ways TO make money. I read Dan Miller’s Books, 48 Days To The Work You Love and No More Mondays, and even though I am not a reader, I was so encouraged by these books to find something I actually cared about and to find success in doing them. My husband worked overtime as it was allowed by his job and he sold a lot of items around the house that just weren’t needed anymore. Then, everything over the amount we needed for bills, food, and gas, went directly to pay down debt. And boy it was amazing to watch those credit card balances go down!
  3. We Set Goals – We had a goal date to pay things off. We broke that down monthly with what needed to be paid in order to meet that date. If we got off track, we made adjustments. Even if that meant adjusting the goal date, we would do that. We checked in monthly with our progress and made sure we were still on target. If the goal wasn’t hit, we didn’t discard the goal. We adjusted it. Meaning, we didn’t forget about it and say “oh well that didn’t happen… let’s order pizza.” Instead we adapted, and reset, and got back on track.
  4. We Stayed Focused. – Notice I say “we” a lot. This was not an individual effort by any means. My husband was 100% on the same page with me throughout the entire process. This is probably the main thing that made us successful. Dave Ramsey often says that finances are the #1 cause for divorce. I believe it. I’m so grateful to have a man that saw eye to eye with me and that we were able to power through. We did have times where we caved a bit and went to dinner or spent some money on some fun things, but we agreed on the extra expense and we went right back to work attacking debt. We did it together. And we were able to not only pay off $40,000 in debt, but also save $15,000 for a down payment on our first home. All in 18 months!

I think the biggest takeaway from Dave Ramsey’s teachings, for me anyway, is to tell your money where to go. You can’t throw money in your bank account and “hope” bills are paid with it. You have to consciously say “this money is for this,” and not allow the 2 year old inside you to ask for the new toy with that money instead.
For me, telling that 2 year old inside to hush wasn’t that hard. I’ve always been very money goal oriented. There’s a line from the movie Office Space where he says “if I could do anything I wanted and money didn’t matter, I would do nothing.” And that always resonated with me. I never had anything that I was passionate about enough to do if there wasn’t money in it. Thank goodness with HoopMama Designs, LLC, I have finally found something I would do even if there wasn’t any profit in it, (thank goodness there is.) But if you’re goal oriented like I am, you’ll be ready and willing to make sacrifices in order to see the rewards.

As Crafters, Here Are 6 Ideas You Can Try In Order To Start Your Debt Pay Down Journey.

  1. Monogram Sale – Find items from the Dollar Store that you can personalize with names or monograms for quick sales. Tote bags, cups, kitchen towels, plates… etc. Be creative and give incentives to get more items purchased at once. For example, offering a “5 item for $25 sale” may grab some interest and put some money in your bank account quickly.
  2. Sample Sales – Have extra bodysuits or other supplies laying around? Take some time and whip out some new items and offer them at a “Special Intro Price.” This also helps you build your inventory as well as grab a few customers. Don’t forget to take excellent pictures to add to your shop.
  3. Teach a Class – If you are skilled in your trade, maybe teach a class to school students. Obviously you may not want to teach people in your community how to be your competitor, but high school and college students may be a great market to target. Who knows, when you’re ready to hire an employee, you may be able to grab one from your graduating class!
  4. Host a Party – We’ve all seen the sign paint parties. These are easy enough to host yourself! If you have a cutting machine, you would just need to make some stencils, grab some paint, brushes and wood, and you’re set! If you’re an embroidery girl, you could supply scarves, legwarmers, totes, or other (cheap) items and set up a monogramming station and let them monogram their own items. All involving wine of course. This would make for a great girls night! Cutting for Business has a GREAT book of ideas here’s where you can get yours: (15 Ideas For Parties with Your Cutting Machine)
  5. Sell That Stuff – The stuff that’s been sitting there FOREVER that you SWORE you needed. I mean, you had that coupon, I know you had to get it. But it’s STILL sitting there. Sell it. De-cluttering helps with the creative process as well!
  6. Be Creative – Think outside the box. Don’t follow what your competitors are doing. Do something different. Something that makes you stand out and will bring in profit. Try not to buy MORE items to make things happen unless you can do it without going into debt because obviously the goal here is to try to eliminate debt.

Since paying off the first $40k, we have paid off the rest of our student loan debt ($75k), purchased several big box items with cash (furniture, tv’s, washer/dryer, embroidery machines, etc.,) have purchased land and are starting to build a new home. Trust me, I can’t count the times my husband and I will stop and just take note of how blessed we are. And it’s all because we worked hard to be here and told our money where to go..and obviously by the favor of God.
I won’t lie at all… when I say we worked…we really worked. We were tired. It was hard. But it was worth it to have freedom that enabled me to quit my day job and be home with my son. Even with my business now… I work harder than I ever have in my life. But when I look back and even when I look around now… I know it was all worth it. HoopDaddy has also been promoted 3 times in 6 years and is now a Vice President in his company. I know his hard work at the beginning of our marriage helped set that pace. Getting out of consumer debt helped shape our lives. I can honestly say that I am so excited about what the future holds. I will always encourage and pray for each of you in your journey of debt freedom as well!

***HoopMama Designs, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates
Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means
for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

4 Planning Tips For Fall

Okay! Father’s Day is over and I believe everyone is wrapping up 4th of July as well. In these next few days before July… think about planning for the NEXT 6 MONTHS. Plan your sales, plan your promotions. Start shopping for holiday designs and accessories.

Make July be the month that you grab your customers and keep them coming back holiday after holiday, event after event!

I have been quiet the past week in the group and that’s not because I’m ignoring anyone.. it’s because I’m planning. I’m planning to make July the biggest HoopMama month yet! Not just for me and my business, but for you and yours! (Yes, get excited!!!)

4 Tips to Consider While You Plan.

1. Don’t be a “me too” boutique. In other words, don’t offer everything under the sun and everything else that your competitors are offering. Focus on what makes YOU stand out! Color schemes, styles, extra accessories, etc. Consider to NOT look at your competitors and what they’re doing. I stopped looking at my competitors MONTHS ago and haven’t looked back. My business isn’t based on what they’re doing, it’s about what I’M doing and what I can offer. I’m reminded of a quote and I believe it rings true here… “successful people don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.” Guys… just DO YOU!

2.Market yourself! Marketing is 50% of having a business. You must promote yourself in order to let your customers know you’re there! Utilize your free options around you. Your Facebook page, groups that allow promotions, garage sale pages that allow it, newsletters, etc. Offer promos with 3-5 options at a time, not 30-50. Do promos often and schedule them out on your Facebook pages for a couple weeks in advance. With the way Facebook pages work now, very few people see your posts unless you pay to promote them. Therefore, you can get by with posting 2-3 times a day without turning off your fans. Also get your Instagram accounts going and active! I’m seeing a LOT of people have sales from Instagram.

3. Stay one – two holidays ahead! Notice how I am releasing fall and Halloween designs already? Think about doing that as well! You are in control of what you promote to your customers and we know that they sometimes like to wait until the last minute. So start scheduling some promotions for early orders for the upcoming occasions. They may still be thinking about 4th of July but start getting them thinking about Back to School, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Football and other fall sports… you get the idea! This helps lighten the last minute orders too!

4. Keep a business journal. Take notes of what works and what doesn’t with each promotion. That way next year you can review it and change things that need tweaking. Take note of when people start asking for things. Or trends so you can promote them more effectively.

Start prepping for the next 6 months NOW so YOU are in control of your schedule and YOU know what direction you’re heading.

We are all in the same boat here. I am a SAHM just like many of you. We all want to be successful and I PROMISE there’s enough business for all of us. BUT!!! Since we are the owner, operator, marketing coordinator, CFO, and customer service rep, it gets overwhelming at times. That’s why you MUST direct your business. You MUST have a plan. You MUST look ahead and be prepared. Otherwise, these months will just go by and you’ll find yourself saying “I just need to plan better.” PLAN NOW, take it seriously, and these next 6 months will be the best you’ve ever had!

Thank you all for your time to read this! I wish all of you nothing but the success you desire. I hope you guys have a great weekend!

Making Mock-Ups In Inkscape

Many of you have asked for a more friendly option than PicMonkey for the dark colored shirts for mock-ups. So here it is! You will need a inkscape, a design, and a mock-up background. You can use your own, or check out HoopMama’s Mock-Ups here!

You CAN make mock ups with Silhouette software, or pic monkey, but I will be showing you how to do it in Inkscape which is a free program. So the first thing you will want to do is download that software through inkscape.org. Inkscape is also a great place to design your files and save them as SVG, DXF or EPS formats 🙂

  • Download the correct version for your computer software. I use windows, so I used the Windows 64-Bit installer.

***If you are using Windows, to find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, do the following: Open System by clicking the Start button , right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties. Under System, you can view the system type.***

Picture1

  • Once downloaded and opened. Choose “File” and “Open” and find your mock-up background in your computer.

Picture2

  • After you located your background, there will be a box that pops up. Leave these at the default settings as follows, and then click OK.

Picture3

  • After the background is open, you will want to IMPORT your SVG. You can use PNG if you like the way the colors are done and want a quick mock-up done, but I want to show you how to change colors so it shows on the black background, so I am choosing the SVG.

Picture4

Picture5

  • This is how it will look when it opens. Obviously, that gray is too dark, so we will change the color. Select the design and right click to push ungroup. Since there are multiple layers in my designs, you may have to ungroup a couple of times to get it all apart.

Screenshot 2016-05-16 13.26.37

  • After ungrouping, you will need to RE-SELECT all the pieces you want to change the color of. With windows, you will HOLD the “SHIFT” key while clicking with your mouse and selecting each piece you want to change. For example, on the following picture, you’ll see that I selected the “I”, the apostrophe, the “m,” and “sweet.”

  • At the bottom of the screen is a color slide bar. Your primary colors are all the way to the left, while your more blended colors are to the right. You can scroll to find the color you like. In this one, I’m just choosing white.

Picture9

  • Once the color is changed, you need to regroup! I find this easiest to move the background out of the way so I can draw a box around the whole design with my mouse and then right click and push group. Otherwise, it’s tricky to select just the design without grabbing the background too.

Picture10

  • You can then moved the background back behind the design and rotate the image how you want it on the mock-up.

  • TO ROTATE: Clicking on the design ONCE will bring up arrows which allow you to make the design bigger or smaller. Clicking on it TWICE will bring up arrows in the corner that will allow you to rotate.

Screenshot 2016-05-16 13.11.50

  • TA-DA! Once you have it positioned the way you want it, IMPORT your watermark and logo and position how you like.

  • Select all elements (Ctrl+A on PC), right click, and click group.

Screenshot 2016-05-16 13.13.41

From here you’ll need to export it as a PNG image. If the export box is already open on the right side of the screen like mine is, you can skip this step. But if it’s not, you will open it by clicking “File” then “Export PNG Image”Screenshot 2016-05-16 14.12.28

  • Once it is open. You will check 4 things:

  1. Make sure the entire design is grouped and selected

  2. In the “Export Box” make sure “selection” is clicked

  3. You will push “Export As” to NAME your file and decide where you are sending it.

  4. Click “Export”

Picture11

After you export it, it will be found in the area that you sent it to in the “export as” area, and it is ready to go!

Screenshot 2016-05-16 13.18.43

I hope you enjoyed this! If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected] or leave a comment here!

Boost Sales During The Slow Spring Season

If sales have slowed, or stopped, since Easter… now is the time to evaluate some of your processes. DO NOT GIVE UP or be discouraged. THIS IS NORMAL for this time of year. Now is the time to do some Spring cleaning, refine your marketing, retake pictures, create new products, learn or try something new completely, or plan for the upcoming holidays.

We have Mother’s Day, Baseball Season, Graduation, Weddings, Teacher Appreciation, Memorial Day, Last Day of School, Fathers Day, and Dance Recital time all coming up!

Obviously these aren’t big holidays like Christmas and Halloween, so you will need to remind your customers of these holidays and events! THEY WILL AND DO FORGET THEM! You WILL have last minute orders and you WILL be stressed out! PLAN NOW! Take pre-orders, do a special discount for ordering early, or maybe even offer a special on multiple holiday purchases.

An example promotion for multiple holiday purchase could be: “Don’t forget to order your Teacher Appreciation gifts! And as a special offer from *my boutique,* order by April 23rd and get 10% off your choice of any Last Day of School item in my shop! Both items must be purchased at the same time and paid in full for discount to be honored.” Or something like that.

Giving them a date that the special is valid places a sense of urgency to act fast and helps prevent tons of last minute orders. Offering them a discount towards another item that is designated for another occasion, obviously gives them items for TWO events! And chances are, if they use you for two events, they’re likely to come back for more! It’s really a win- win!

Obviously this is just a suggestion, but if you try it… I would love to hear your results!

Glitter Fill In Silhouette Studio

If you have been wondering how to change the text fill color to glitter or another pattern in Silhouette Studio, here is a quick tutorial!

First you want to find a nice HIGH RESOLUTION glitter background. You can do this by simply going to google.com and searching “red plaid” or “pink glitter background” and flipping it to the “images” tab. You want to make sure it’s a high resolution file so that the sparkle is crisp and not fuzzy. To do that, you can hover over the images and look for big numbers (higher than 600×600) but sometimes that’s time consuming depending on what you’re searching for. The easiest way is to go to the little tool bar button, and choose “advanced search.”

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.10.19

Then change the “Image Size” to “Large.” This will filter out the low quality backgrounds.

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.10.33

Once you find one you like, click on it and choose “view image”Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.10.50

Right click and save to a folder.Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.10.59

Now, in your Silhouette Software, you’re going to import that background into your library.

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.12.44 Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.13.04

Then your library will pop up. If it doesn’t for some reason you can just go to “file” and “library” to see your files. Your imported background will be under “My Own Designs.” Drag and drop it to “My Patterns.”

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.13.34

Then type out your words, or open your designs and go to “open the pattern fill window” and fill it with the pattern!

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.18.06

If the glitter (or pattern) looks too big or too small, go to “scale” and adjust the size.

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.18.56

Voila! You’re done!

Screenshot 2016-02-10 23.37.10

If you want to know how to print it and use it in a mock-up, continue on to the next post How To Create PNG’s In Silhouette Studio.

I hope this helped you in some way! Please share or pin it for someone else you feel may need it!

Wishing you as much success as you desire,

HoopMama

Branding Your Business

We all know how important branding is in a business. Logos, watermarks, color schemes, etc. all play an important role of getting your customers to know who YOU are. I’m going to share a bit with you about my business branding journey and then give a tips that I’ve learned along the way.

When I started this business, it was called “EmbroidaBaby Designs.” Catchy right? Eh. I thought I was so clever. Embroidery…for babies… Embroid-a-baby? Yeah. It worked. But I never ONCE heard someone say “I got it at EmbroidaBaby” which is a definite goal in business, right? “Word of mouth” advertising doesn’t work if they don’t speak words out of their mouths!

Look at my first logo and FB cover photo! YIKES!

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That… wasn’t cutting it for me. After lots of prayer and consideration, I changed my name to HoopMama Designs. My husband has been called HoopDaddy, therefore, I am HoopMama and my son is BabyHoop. I figured, you HOOP embroidery… I’m a HOOPER… I’m already called HOOPMAMA…It was perfect! Almost
immediately after I changed it, I started seeing “I got it from HoopMama” in different groups! It was so cool to see that, I’m not even going to lie! And it still is pretty darn cool 🙂

My new logo and FB cover changed to this… quite a difference, no?

1

FB COVER

Oh and recently, I added a few more little letters to my business name…. “LLC!” Whaaaat?? I’m a REAL business! *Insert booty shaking HoopMama here!*

But gosh! I STILL have stuff that says EmbroidaBaby! I’m constantly working to change that.

I spent 2015 with a “grow, grow, grow” mentality. And now I want to slow down a bit and work on more of the branding for my business. Don’t worry, new designs are still number 1 priority, but you will just maybe notice some changes that hopefully help you recognize HoopMama, say if you ran into me on another website or forum other than HoopMamaDesigns.com.

One thing that you’ll start seeing now is the change of my watermarks. Slowly but surely all the designs will change on the website and on Etsy to reflect the new watermarks as well as to finally bid farewell to designs with only one size! Here are samples of what it will look like.

Bundle 5x7 watermark

If they have a stitch out/vinyl design picture it’ll look like this.

STITCH OUT Sew Sew Sew Your Bow22 SVG A Pinch Of Pretty2

I’m so excited about how my business is growing and changing. And I’m so glad that I can share what I’ve learned with all of you! Here are some tips that I hope help you with branding your own business.

4 Quick Tips to Branding:

1. Pick One Or Two Fonts for Your Logo and Advertisements and STICK WITH THEM.

I love TheHungryJPeg’s font bundles. Here’s a few of the January ones that will expire in just a few days, as well as one of my favorite fonts! They all come with commercial use, which is very important to have that covered for use in your business. These also work great for creating your own cutting files or digitizing your own fonts in your embroidery software!

hungry jpega2365f590ccac4204fc65f62cdb0ac19cad51bfa6a6383ed2eb68378de39e47219b2715d60a763c334fbf947621d4709f665d1ef3e30b85a1c13d66b

2. Don’t Go Crazy With Colors.

As you can see with my EmbroidaBaby logo, colors were all over the place. I then simplified and went to black, gold and coral. Picking 2-3 colors helps your customers identify who you are before they even look at what you’re saying or offering.

3. Watermark Your Photos.

I honestly hate the way I have to watermark my designs. Sadly, here are dishonest people out there and I need to make it a little trickier for them to trace my work. Now, your product photos don’t need to go all out like mine. A simple logo in the corner and a transparent watermark through the actual shirt will do the job. (In my next blog post, I will go over how to do the transparent watermark.)

Consider also adding either a website address or another way for them to contact you in case Google can’t find you and brings up your competitors listing instead. The goal isn’t to only keep competitors from using your picture as their own, it’s also to let customers know where to find you if your photo gets pinned or shared on Instagram 7,000 times and loses its source.

4. BE CONSISTENT.

I struggled with this at first but I now feel like I am getting on the right track with consistency. Your customers need to know what to expect from you. As you build your business, you’re building relationships with people, and relationships rely on trust. If you do a newsletter, be consistent with putting it out. If you market for holidays 6 weeks in advance, make sure you do that for every holiday. If you offer monthly sales, don’t miss a month. You get the idea.

I’m not going to lie. Branding and re-branding is hard. So hard. It’s also so mind-numbingly tedious that you will forget what you’ve updated and what you haven’t, you’ll question the changes 17 bazillion times, shoot, you’ll probably forget YOUR name in the process. BUT! As you build your brand, it will become more and more manageable and eventually become routine to where you don’t even have to think about the process.

If you’ve been in business and just picked a name to pick a name, and have recently found that something else describes YOU and your business, make the change! If you’re happy with your business name but don’ really have a branding process in place, DO IT NOW! You want your customers to be able to recognize you from a mile away.

Thank you for reading! I hope these tips help or inspire you in some way 🙂

Embroidery Mock-Ups In Sew What Pro

Since the last blog post, I’ve been asked a few times how to do the same thing using Sew What Pro (SWP) software for embroidery. I personally haven’t used Sew What Pro so I had to dive in a bit to figure it out. BUT! I DID figure it out! If you missed the Mock-Ups Made Easy blog post, that post into more depth of how to actually create the image in PicMonkey.

This post will show you how to convert an embroidery image to a PNG that can be used in PicMonkey for mock-ups. Disclaimer – SWP’s ability to do this not nearly as clean of a view as it is with Embird as SWP doesn’t have as many viewing options, but it does the job.

If you don’t have SWP you can download the free trial here.

Let’s get going!

Open your design in SWPScreenshot 2016-02-04 10.34.56

Rotate your image and shrink it down to fit in the frame. (Normally you don’t want to shrink embroidery designs, but this is just for an image, so it’s okay.)Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.35.13 Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.35.27

Go to “View” and uncheck “Grid Lines” and “Grid Labels” then CHECK “Texture”

Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.35.57

It should look like this:

Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.36.12

NOTE: Some people need to go under “Options” then “Image” then uncheck the “grids” in the jpeg area! I’m not sure why some people have to do it this way since I didn’t have to. But if you are seeing gridlines when saving, this should fix it!

You can take this time to change thread colors if you would like. When you’re ready, go to “file” “save-as” and choose “PNG” from the drop down list. (PNG and JPG serve the same purpose for what we’re needing. So if you choose JPG, that’s absolutely fine too)

Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.36.25

If you read the Mock-Ups Made Easy post, then it should be easy to follow along from this point on. If you didn’t, I would suggest to read that if you have any questions about the next steps.

Open up your background image and use “overlay” to open this new image that you’ve saved. It will have a black line around it that we will need to get rid of.Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.37.06

In the overlay box, click the “eraser” tab and go over the black lines in the picture.

Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.37.40

Go back to the “basic” tab and choose “multiply” in the drop down box to make the image transparent. Rotate to fit the shirt, adjust fade if needed, and voila! Screenshot 2016-02-04 10.38.02

Add your watermark and logo and save! The completed image looks like this:

swp image

This should work the same way for other software as well. Most software programs have the option to save as PNG or JPG. Hope this helps!

Shop HoopMama Mock-Ups Here!