JUKI Small Business Seminar: Choosing Your Business Name

Choosing the right brand name can be the stepping stone to a successful business. A brand name that is memorable and catchy can give you an advantage when it’s time to market your business. When potential customers hear your brand name, you want them to remember you and think about your small business, setting you up for long-term success.

When you’re starting your business, we know how hectic it can be to think of a name on top of what you’re selling, who, and how. So follow along as we show you some tips and tricks to choosing your business name that will help you stand out from your competitors.

Best Shop Name Generators

Sometimes we need a little help or inspiration picking our company name. While it may feel like all the excellent store names have been taken, there are still many options out there!

Using a name generator is helpful for two reasons. First, it can help you come up with your business on the spot and create the perfect representation you need. Or two, it will give you ideas that you can later on work with and make your name. Below are some generators you can visit to help you create your business name.

How to choose the perfect shop name

As a small business having the correct name is crucial to your success in the e-commerce world. Having the right name can bring attention and new shoppers to your site and showcase your individuality to customers. Remember, choosing the right name will lead to success in branding and awareness on search engine sites. Below are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your name:

  • Creating a short and simple name is the right choice for a few reasons. For example, you’ll have less mispronunciation from customers, it will fit in your marketing campaigns, whether it’s physical business cards or social media posts, and it’s memorable.
  • Finding the right name can be challenging, especially with companies popping up daily. However, don’t let this discourage you! It’s a big world with many niches in the market and finding the right name for your business and niche only pushes you to be creative.

If you’re having trouble creating a name, follow the steps below.

  1. Keep it Short and Simple.

Combine different words that relate to your industry, and keep them short. Try to aim for words that rhyme or that alternate.

Tweak an existing word or create one of your own! Many companies like Skype and Häagen-Dazs began as gibberish and are now household names. Don’t be afraid to be different and have fun when creating.

Be personal. Create a company name that relates to you on a meaningful field like an old nickname, family pet name, or other nicknames that resonate with you. These quirky names can be the perfect title for your business and create that personal touch many customers love.

2. Dare to be Different

Research your competitors and see what popular names are out there in your industry or niche. Then, be different and avoid familiar rhymes, gimmicks, or phrases. This way, when it’s time for someone to look up a company in your niche, your individuality will show. Do the same when thinking of your slogan or mascot if you choose to have one, as each difference will help you stand out even more.

3. Is it Available?

Keep in mind to research your ideas before sticking to one. By heading to your favorite search engine and researching your company name ideas, you can see what companies out there might have the domain already attached to their business, pushing you to either tweak yours or choose another from your list. You want your domain to represent your brand and make an excellent first impression.

If you’re choosing to sell on an online shop platform like Amazon or Etsy, review what shop names are out there already. This will help you succeed by confirming that your name is not lost in the pool of shop hosts and also help you edit your shop name to avoid confusing future customers between your shop and others.

4. Finding your Inspiration

If you’re having trouble finding a name so far, think of themes that you can focus on for your business and work from there. Trends, nostalgia, fandoms, and even other languages can be inspiration when thinking of your shop name.

Think of what’s around you in day-to-day life that can be used as a catalyst for your creativity! Follow along with conversations, pay attention to your day-to-day sayings and jokes, your hobbies. All these things can give inspiration if you look close enough, helping you personalize your shop and create a name that represents your brand and yourself.

Why the Name Matters

Finding the right name for your brand goes beyond just putting a few words together. While this might seem like a difficult task at first, it can also be an enlightening and fun experience describing yourself and your company in a few or even one word. Put the time and effort into this as you would everything else in your shop, for a shop is only as strong as its name! Your name is how customers recognize you, so make sure it’s a name you are proud of. Remember that word of mouth is free, and you don’t want to miss out on that.

What advice would you give to those deciding on their company name? Let us know down below!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: How to Create a Budget and Calculate Profit

One of the most important things about starting a business is creating your budget and understanding your profit. While there will be challenges and unexpected turns in your journey as a business owner, you can avoid surprises and keep your business financially healthy by building a budget that fits your goals while keeping track of your spending.

Creating a sample budget can give you a general idea of what expectations to have for your business’s first few months or years. As your business grows, you’ll use this as a basis for your budgeting plans and create a more concise idea of your spending and expenses. We’re going to be giving a preview of what you should include in your budgeting plans for success in your company.

Expenses

The best way to start is to focus on what you’ll be spending. Create a list of things your business will need, like materials, software programs, and staffing. Include items that will be involved in your day-to-day work, from office supplies to the thread on your machine if you’re creating an apparel shop. We recommend looking online and using your favorite search engine by researching examples of budgets in your industry. These can be layouts that will help you build your own. Let’s review the type of expenses your company can obtain.

One-Time Expenses

Think of these expenses as those big-ticket items that are more of an investment than a purchase. Your machine, for example, if you were to purchase a RICOH Ri 100, would count as a one-time expense. One-time expenses can also include laptops, office furniture, and services for your logo or website creation.

Fixed Expenses

These costs are to be expected each month in your budget planning. Think of what rent you pay, insurance, services, website hosting, and subscriptions. Keep in mind that fixed expenses vary little in price.

Variable Expenses

Here you’ll find those spending pieces that fall somewhere between a one time-expense and a fixed expense. They occur more than once but can vary in amount and payment dates. These expenses include materials you use to make your products, marketing costs, travel, accountant to file taxes, and credit payments.

Pricing

Finding the sweet spot in pricing your product is vital in your budgeting. Keeping certain factors in mind will assist you in creating a price that is true to your work but still allows your company to flourish and be profitable.

Cost of Goods

Think of what costs are going into your merchandise. For example, if you’re creating an apparel shop, keep track of spending for t-shirts, threads, ink, bobbins, and more. In addition, whatever supplies you’re using to develop your product should be added to the cost of goods.

Staffing

Do you have a team for your company? Are you paying yourself correctly? Include their fees or salaries into your cost of goods. Understanding that this involves yourself and keeping track of the hours and work you put into your own company will ensure that you’re pricing your products correctly to pay yourself back for labor. In addition, giving yourself a livable hourly wage will give you an idea of how your company is prospering and give you a nudge on when it can be time to bring others on board.

Packaging and Shipping

When you’re shipping your products to customers, your shipping can be seen as a view into your brand. When creating your packaging and how you want to present your products, factor in the costs for shipping materials, any goodies or filler placed inside, and marketing items like business cards or flyers.

Shipping is a crucial point to being on top of your industry. Failing to estimate costs correctly can throw off your budgeting and disrupt your cash flow. Focus on standard shipping prices for your products (size, weight, location, and speed.) One of the best ways to plan your shipping cost is by visiting your local post office for assistance on rates.

Remember to keep in mind how you plan to ship and the timing. While many customers expect next-day shipping, small shops shipping every day can be more costly than planned large shipments.

Online shoppers will expect shipping charges, but try to keep this reasonable. One of the top reasons many will leave their cart unpurchased from an online shop is exponential charges in the shipping cost.

Processing Fees and Credit Card Sales

Selling online means customers will pay through cash services, like debit or PayPal, while others will use their credit cards. When setting up your shop, note the processing fees that follow credit card usage. You will likely be paying a fixed processing fee per transaction and an additional fee of around 3% of the order price. However, this can vary depending on what processing service you use for your shop. For example, processing fees are higher when selling internationally, resulting in higher costs.

Damages and Returns

While we never hope our packages get damaged, it’s best to be prepared. Set aside a budget that can be used for emergency products that may have been damaged on the way to a customer. Research your product and see what’s standard for profit loss with damaged returns on your product type. Keep in mind the re-shipping cost that will follow as well. It’s essential to focus on your shipping methods for this reason and find the best way to ship your products if they’re at a higher chance of being damaged, like glass items.

When it comes to returns, you do have the option as a shop owner not to accept them. Shops that are focused on artisan sales, for example, might choose to be final sale shops. However, if you do choose to accept returns, keep these options in mind:

  • A separate charge for a “restocking fee” to recoup some of the loss.
  • If you feel you get returns often, which e-commerce sites are more likely to receive than in-person shops, you can raise your prices slightly to account for losses from those returns.
  • You can also leave your prices the same and trust this policy will allow more sales to generate due to those finding comfort in the option to return an item.

Projecting Revenue

When it comes to projecting your sales, you’re working on educated guesses from research or experience if you’re upgrading from what was once a side gig. Whether you’re going off based on your initial sales data from the side gig or starting from scratch, seeing the numbers can give you a better idea of what products to focus on and when to expect higher or lower sales rates.

For those who find themselves with no data to start with, we recommend reaching out to those in the industry you’re entering that you may know or contacting your accountant who might have contact with those in the business. Starting your own company is based on constant research and finding the right people to work with you and get you where you need to be.

How to Calculate Your Profit

First Step: to calculate profit, take your total revenue and subtract the cost of goods sold. The difference is your gross profit.

  • Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold = Gross Profit

For example, if you sold $10,000 in printed canvas tote bags and the bags themselves cost you $3,000 wholesale, your gross profit would be $7,000.

  • Revenue: $10,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold -$3,000
  • Gross Profit: $7,000

There are other expenses beyond buying the t-shirts, like the cost for your e-commerce website and your ads running on Google. These expenses are called operating expenses, which are subtracted from your gross profit.

Operating expenses include most costs that don’t directly connect to what you sell—things like rent, equipment, payroll, and marketing.

Second Step: subtract those operating expenses from gross profit. The difference is net profit.

  • Gross Profit – Operating Expenses = Net Profit

For example, following off where we left off above:

  • Revenue: $10,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold: -$3,000
  • Gross profit: $7,000
  • Operating Expenses: -$1,000
  • Net profit: $6,000

Now, if your net profit totals as a positive number, you’ve made money. If it’s a negative number, you’ve lost money. By following along with your profit calculator, you can start to see what costs might need to be reviewed and plan if you need to change your prices or other costs like shipping.

Other Expenses

While we’ve gone over the basis for most companies, your costs will be dependent on your company. Some fees to keep in mind when creating your budget are debt repayment, Equipment payments, Taxes, and money received.

Debt repayment and Equipment payment are contingent on your company and what debt you’ve entered. This can be from payment plans on machinery to owning a storefront and mortgage. Keep these things in mind when creating your expenses budget.

All companies have to pay taxes at the end of the year. So make sure to factor this in when creating your budgets so that you’re able to cover your tax payments come the season.

Money received is meant to focus on what cash payments you’ve attained. So while on paper, your sales can show $100,000, unless you’ve fully received these payments from customers, you’ll have a hard time paying your expenses when the time comes. Also, be aware that if you hold inventory for your shop, all those products have value and get included on your income statement.

Be Prepared

Whether your company is just beginning, or you’re transcending to a higher level and want to upgrade your company, creating your budget is the first stepping stone to success. You can have the best product and equipment, but you can find yourself in dire financial health if you don’t prepare your finances correctly.

Knowing how to manage and track your budgets, spending, and earnings can help you create a strong base for your business. The more you learn to control your money, the better success you’ll see in the long run! 

JUKI Spotlight: Blossoming with Flower Sew!

From quilting to bag making, Flower Sew has you covered! Today we’re meeting up with Daisi Toegel, Flower Sew’s shop owner. In 2017, Daisi founded Flower Sew only one year after learning how to sew. Flower Sew began as an idea out of curiosity for the sewing world. After watching endless videos of other sewists creating bags and projects on video sites, Daisi found herself wanting a sewing machine to start her journey in the community. A year after seeing these videos, Daisi’s boyfriend surprised her with a sewing machine to begin, and the rest was history.

Daisi went on to practice and practice some more after receiving her gift. Finally, a year after receiving her gift, Daisi began constructing bag patterns, creating and selling them. Since completely self-teaching herself, she sewed and sold bags for three years at her local craft fairs and on her online e-shop, Flower Sew, named after her now husband’s pet name for Daisi, Flower.

After three years of focusing on bag creations and patterns, 2020 changed the course of Daisi’s business. She began creating and selling masks during the pandemic, creating and designing over 2,000 masks. Daisi, later on, realized she wanted to take a step back from sewing masks and find a new craft within the sewing world. So she began venturing into the quilting world, where she taught herself to quilt, and began expanding her knowledge and business along the way.

Taking a step back from her bag-making days, Daisi jumped into the quilting world head-on. Using her social media platforms, she began sharing her progress and work with her followers, re-building her brand along the way. 

Now focused on quilting, Daisi has held six ambassador roles over the years that range from small notions to beautiful fabrics. These programs helped her not only grow her business but allowed her to make connections in the sewing and quilting community.

After discovering her passion for creating quilts, she moved on to pattern designing, a hobby she had picked up in her bag-making days. When she started patterns for her bags, she was inspired to design something different and new. Quilting was no different. She bought a design program and began drawing! Starting small, Daisi began with baby-sized quilts and built herself up through trial and error. Through this practice that she’s been able to create seven patterns; 4 on her own and 3 in collaboration with different craft and sewing magazines. Many of her patterns interwork the ambassador programs she’s involved with by including their notions and fabrics. 

As someone who’s been able to grow her business and obtain credibility from other sewing and quilting brands as an ambassador, we asked Daisi what advice she has for those out there trying to build their brand.

“Forget about money. In the beginning, it’s all about gaining value and confidence before you gain any money. If you need to give your time, work, or product for free, do it. The reward is certain, just know everything has its own time to come. Being an ambassador doesn’t involve anything but receiving products in exchange for your time and work, and it is the most wonderful experience I have had in the quilt world; it’s fun, and I learn a lot. There’s nothing that says that.”

Daisi’s brand continues to grow each day through her social media channels filled with new pattern works, projects, and her quilt progresses. What makes Flower Sew unique is the designs and patterns created by Daisi, inspired by ideas that bring her happiness and not trends. Focusing her attention on bright colors and fun designs, Daisi’s page is filled with bright fabrics and colorful looks. As she continues to grow her skills in quilting, we’re looking forward to seeing more patterns released!

The future of Flower Sew is blossoming beautifully! Daisi’s plans for her small business include more original pattern creations, with the hope for a pattern book soon, and continuing her ambassador programs with new possible positions. Currently, a sketch is in motion for membership for Daisi’s business, but we’ll have to wait and see for that one JUKI lover!

We hope you enjoyed getting to learn more about Flower Sews and its owner Daisi Togel! When you’re building your brand, learning skills like pattern designing or diving into ambassador programs are great ways to get yourself out there and grow your business. We hope reading Daisi’s story in how her business has grown and changed over the years inspires you to begin yours!

To follow along Daisi’s journey, follow along below.

Visit Flower Sew’s shop here!

Follow Daisi’s quilting journey here!

How to Start Your Embroidery Business         

A hobby where the community is ever-growing, embroidery is forever growing in popularity around the world. Due to this, it’s no surprise so many have begun their own business in embroidery projects ranging from fashion to accessories to home décor. Thankfully it’s never been easier to set up your own embroidery business! So whether you’re starting from a corner in your room or a more extensive scale location, we’re here to explore things you need to know before starting.

What Skills Will I Need?

Before starting any business, it’s essential to understand what skills you need to know first. If you don’t know a skill, that doesn’t mean you can’t start a business; it only means it’s time to pick up a new skill! Don’t forget that you can also reach out to friends and family you want to work with who already have those skills you need.

Machine Operation:

Handling an embroidery machine is exciting, and while it comes with a small learning hill, once these machines are set up, they’re an exciting new thing to use! An embroidery machine like the Tajima Sai is perfect for businesses and hobbyists who want to upgrade. Its software, Tajima Writers Plus, converts text to embroidery data or creates embroidery data by combining registered designs and text. It’s easy to switch thread color, set embroidery positions, make adjustments, and more using its digital screen, helping new users handle the machine easier.

Design Software and Creating Art:

When opening up an embroidery business, the vital thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to be artistic, just creative! Like the Tajima Sai, some machines come installed with their Writer Plus Software used for digitizing, editing, and font software and are accessible on its LED screen. Finding a machine with built-in software is one the best ways to start an embroidery business, as this will keep you from having to purchase another part for your machine separately.

When it comes to creating artwork, you need your PC and machine. For example, computerized embroidery machines require vector images. This can be accomplished through software like Adobe Illustrator. By designing art on Adobe Illustrator, a popular application with many guides and how-to-use references on the internet, you can create your artwork. Once it comes to downloading these new artworks onto the machine, it’s dependent on what form of software you have.

An Illustrator Embroidery Plugin is plugin software that converts a vector image into an embroidery pattern. You can also choose Embroidery Software, such as Tajima Sai Writer Plus Software, which can import your Adobe Illustrator vector image and transform it into a pattern used by an embroidery machine. Keep in mind that these programs are likely to work on the machine they’re created for and not others in choosing Embroidery Software.

What Equipment Will I Need?

The Machine: 

While this will depend on the size of your business looking to set up, you’re going to need to start with one machine. There are many different options on the market, and this will be your most valuable asset. When choosing a suitable machine it should be able to keep up with productivity (think of machine speed and consistency) and easy to operate. The Tajima Sai, for example, was created with small businesses in mind. This means it’s compact, easy to use for beginners, comes with the programs you need, and includes the accessories you need for embroidery. Finding the right package when purchasing a machine can also save money in the long run, as this will keep you from needing to buy accessories or extra programs at a later date.

Embroidery Merchandise:

There are two options you can follow when starting your business, made to order or order to be made. The concept behind these is that you can choose to have constant inventory or keep a list and only create when an order is placed. While these two things can be changed, it’s best to always have stock of items you’re going to embroider on ready to be used.

Some popular items we recommend are:

  • T-shirts
  • Polo Shirts
  • Home Décor
  • Handbags
  • Sweaters
  • Caps

When you start choosing items for your shop, think of who you’re selling to and focus on what type of items customers in your niche are purchasing embroidered.

How Do I Market My Business?

The first thing to do when marketing your new small business is to determine what your goals are. What do you want to achieve? Is it a revenue goal or a profit goal? How many sales per month do you need to generate that revenue? Having a clear idea of what success is to you will help you to define a budget.

Website:

The first thing we recommend having is a shop base like a website or Etsy shop. Think of this as the public face for your online or at-home business. Here you’ll be able to share your company message, introduce yourself to buyers, and showcase your products and services in a way that’s unique to your brand. Keep in mind ‘Key Words’ (In terms of Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.”) Using the right keywords on your website for your product will help you show up in higher ranking on search engines.

Advertising:

Once you have your budget think of where your audience is based. Free marketing you can start with is creating social media accounts that you’re audience uses. For example, if your audience is between the ages of 30-55, you’ll have a high chance of finding sales on Facebook. If your audience is mothers, you can post on Pinterest and Instagram. Ways to be found on social media rely on hashtags, geo-location (when you tag a city or spot), and getting others to put your name out there.

Paid advertising differs, but it’s still important to keep in mind what websites and google searches your audience is doing to promote correctly. Startup businesses can look into programs like Google ads, Yahoo Ads, and paid Facebook and Instagram Ads.  

Opening up Shop

Once you have your machine, products, and website up, it’s time to start putting yourself out there! Take advantage of social media sites and use these as a platform to reach and interact with your audiences. So many people enjoy finding new items to buy on their social pages, and getting yourself on there is a great way to reach customers.

There’s a reason why embroidery businesses do well. Whether it’s the fun in personalization that’s available, or the opportunity to purchase from a small business something unique and in their interest, the market is always welcoming new ideas. To keep your company successful, focus on what you can control and make sure you choose the right equipment and programs. With these being the foundation to a long-lasting business, it’s essential to choose suitable materials.

We hope this helps give a glimpse into the beginning of opening your own embroidery business! Visit here to check out JUKI’s Tajima Sai embroidery machine to learn more about its Writer plus Software, the machine’s speed, features, and more!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Have You Found Your Niche?

Join us every last Saturday of the month for JUKI’s small business seminars designed to help you start or grow your at-home sewing, quilting, embroidery, or direct-to-garment business.

When it comes to owning your own small business, finding your niche is one of the first goals you should focus on. While you can have all the supplies in the world, and top equipment, not knowing your niche will leave you lost. Take the time to consider who you’re selling to and what kind of designs and work you’ll need to do to hit that audience base

Sometimes finding your niche can be coincidental. If you create a t-shirt for your daughter’s dance friends, and everyone loves it, you might find yourself attending dance recitals with moms and supporters wearing your shirts. Think of finding your niche as an upside pyramid. The top is wide and covers everything on earth, it’s up to you to trickle down and see what’s at the point for your market.

Who are you marketing to?

The best way to start your small business is by planning who you’re going to sell to! Having a target audience or niche will help you build ideas for designs or connections to go after that will grow your shop. Below are some examples of audiences you could market towards.

Hobby and Niche Markets

Are you obsessed with comics, cars, and more? Many groups of people enjoy having products that are different and creative, and allow them to show support for their favorite things in fun ways! Think of what groups you resonate with that you could create custom shirts for.

Car Hobby: If you find yourself having fun puns or art ideas for cars, those in the car community would enjoy having new products like t-shirts they could wear to car shows to show off their personality!

Punny Jokes: Something so many people enjoy are good puns and jokes. Creating material with fun graphics, or even quotes is a great way for people to show off who they are. Think of fun socks, printed t-shirts, or canvas bags with fun quotes.

Pop Culture References: With media constantly expanding and growing, you’re always likely to stumble upon a TV show, movie, or band that has a following. Create things in your style that fans would enjoy wearing as a form of pride and excitement in their likes.

Events and Show Markets

In a world where there is always something going on, events and shows always need some merchandise and freebies!

Charity Events: Charity events are always circulating. Many times these events include team t-shirts to set apart company teams, or for individuals who are volunteering! Connect with your local charities and see who needs a partner for event merchandise. These events are not only a great way to get your business out there, but they will allow others to see the quality of your work and bring in new connections for future events. 

Trade Shows: If you’re located in an area where tradeshows are common, look into exhibiting at these events! Many times teams will set up their shops on-site and sell their goods and creations while customers are attending. You can also look into what tradeshows are happening near you and create custom products to sell beforehand.

Sports Events: does your town have a kickball league? Look into what leagues are in your area for options on creating merchandise for their teams! Many companies, schools, and friends have their own sports leagues that require team t-shirts, tote bags, hats, and more.

Create Your Brand

For those who have a mind filled with artwork and fun style, look into creating your brand! These projects may seem big, but you get to choose how you create and sell. Many small businesses are known for having their select few designs that they focus on. We recommend starting with 3-5 designs you want to place on merchandise and going from there when creating your brand.

Once you’ve picked your niche deep dive into what’s popular in the community. Whether it be characters, quotes, styles, or more; these tips will help you create your shop and build up a profitable business. The more you know your audience, the more likely you are to create pieces that others find special and worth buying. Small niche consumers pay more as well because of the low product options available for them to choose from.

Whether you choose to market to corporate, or to your local community, finding your niche is the essence of creating a profitable and successful company. Don’t be afraid to join niches that seem popular, the same reason people go to Walmart instead of Target can be the same reason someone goes to you instead of another seller. Begin with categorizing people so that the game plan is more concrete. Research their demographics, interests, jobs, etc. Once you reach the point where it’s too narrow, go up a level until you find your sweet spot. Try to find a niche where there are enough people to market to, and then go for it!