JUKI Spotlight: Exploring House of Lilli with Anjori Halder

Meet small business owner Anjori Halder, creator, and designer for House of Lilli, a business that does embroidery a little differently. Known for her free motion embroidery work created by free motion quilting on the HZL-F600 sewing machine, Anjori has begun making a name for herself in the sewing world. From beautiful full portrait designs to small motifs that bring her apparel to life, let’s learn about how Anjori discovered her skills in embroidery work, where she began, and where she plans to go!

It all started with a wedding invite in 2010. One day, after becoming a bridesmaid to her dear friend Veronique, Anjori needed a crinoline slip for a themed dress! In her “I want to DIY everything” phase of life, she decided to take it upon herself to create a slip with the help of some blogs and a machine off Craigslist. Even after “crudely” finishing her first piece of apparel, her journey in sewing had truly begun.

Outfits created by Anjori through sewing, upcycling, and embroidery

“I call it my therapy and use it constantly to de-stress. But I also use sewing to keep my mind sharp.”

While the journey was on and off, Anjori would find time to complete refashions and housewares in her downtime from her career as a software engineer and project manager. It wasn’t until she transitioned to a stay-at-home mom that Anjori truly began immersing herself in sewing. Finding the need to do something and gain a sense of accomplishment, she threw herself into the hobby. However, she would soon find out that sewing could be toxic after experiencing the push of social media on her work.

“That need to sew turned toxic, though. Social media and the idea that you had to be creating content all the time to grow followers, to, in turn, grow your business took a toll.”

This moment would change the direction in which Anjori was running her business. After learning about slow fashion and revaluating how she was running her business, Anjori decided it was time to do things differently. Slowing down her work, she began creating again for pure enjoyment and not just for the sake of creating.

Outfits created for Anjori’s daughter through sewing, upcycling, and embroidery

Indie patterns and pattern testing brought the fun and creativity back to sewing for Anjori. She began by creating clothing for her daughter, honing her skills at a smaller scale, and was able to grow her confidence in garment creation. After sewing an Anarkali from a sari that her late mother had gifted her, Anjori’s confidence in garment creation for adults rose as well.

Inspired by those she was creating for, she focuses on how her creations will be used and enjoyed before sewing. Her favorite inspiration is her daughter, a strong-willed and goofy personality who had an obsession with construction vehicles! After her daughter requested a dress with a bulldozer on it, and Anjori had no luck finding one, she decided to test her skills in embroidery and make her one! Continuing to create for her daughter, Anjori focused on embroidering designs and sayings that would inspire her daughter in life.

House of Lilli showcases this with Anjori’s creations focused on positive & reaffirming messages. Her embroidered art shop concentrates on creating art with only a machine, thread, and her hands. Pulling from her heritage, she creates Indian garments, or garments with Indian motifs such as paisleys, peacocks, elephants, and tigers. Completed with free motion embroidery through the free motion quilting feature, you can see the pops of color and bright energy she pulls into her work. Described by friends as positive and always looking for the bright side, it’s no wonder she brings this into every project she creates, not letting mistakes in her projects hold her back.

“Mistakes are opportunities to learn and keep going or realize change is needed and pivot to something new.”

Free Motion Embroidered Designs

What’s our favorite part of her creative process? The unique use of free motion quilting as free motion embroidery! Gravitating toward embroidery work, even as a child, Anjori knew that adding images and designs would be the next step in going from homemade to handmade. Unfortunately, it was here where she hit a wall. Knowing that the cost of an embroidery machine could be high, she found herself at a standstill on what step to take next. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon creator Emma Giacalone on Instagram that she discovered the possibility of embroidering using free motion quilting.

A new door in creating had been opened, and Anjori walked right in! Finding a new way to bring her art to life, she was excited about how simple the process was to begin. All she started with was a sewing machine that could drop the feed dogs, thread, fabric, and a design. It would take time before she began using a darning foot, admitting to still skipping that step on some days!

Using the HZL-F600, she created her designs quickly and easily fill them in. Creating embroidery using the HZL-F600 is fun and different and has allowed Anjori the freedom of creation in embroidery while sticking to her budget. When asked about what she recommends for JUKI users out there who want to try their hand at free motion embroidery through free motion quilting, she advised having the following tools in your sewing kit:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Stabilizer of some sort (washable or tear away)
  • Open toe darning foot
  • Heat erasable pen

While using a machine with ample throat space has been helpful, as well as her tools, she also advises to seek out training! After taking a sculptural embroidery class from Meredith Woolnough and learning new tricks and tips for her projects, she encourages others to invest in themselves and their hobbies.

“Never be afraid to invest in learning.”

While opening her small business has been a journey, she knows that planning and strategy are what build a business. As a small business owner, you are now the marketing manager, designer, producer, shipper, and so much more. Success can be different for everyone, so Anjori advises taking time to figure out what success is to you and not comparing yourself to other businesses. She also recommends getting to the nitty gritty and taking those “boring” business courses that can assist you in running yours!

Taking her own advice to heart, she’s recently taken a business course presented by Jan Ditchfield and has begun reworking her strategies and plan. So while we wait for the new and improved House of Lilli to rise, we’re so excited we were able to introduce her creations and technique!

Created using Free Motion Embroidery

Continuing her work in embroidery, Anjori hopes to keep instilling positive messages in her creations and sharing her work with others.

“Creating with my hands, whether it is sewing, painting, drawing, or knitting, is a treat for my soul. I find it relaxing and fun, with a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Of course, in the end, you usually end up with something nice to look at too.”

To learn more about Anjori and her journey in embroidery, follow along below for her social links!

Visit House of Lilli’s website today to keep up with her blog and sign up for her newsletter!

Keep up with Anjori’s free motion embroidery work on her Instagram here!

5 Projects You Can Create on Your Embroidery Machine

When you own an embroidery machine, you can accessorize, personalize and decorate just about anything you can get your hands on. So whether it’s the denim jacket you’ve wanted to revamp or personalize your quilt, embroidery is another form of design taken to the next level!

While embroidery machines are not new to the home sewing world, their technology advancement has passed bounds for those who want to start a small business. Starting your small business is easier than ever with the ability to find top-speed and high-quality machines for home use now. Now that the machine is in your grasp, what can you start creating to sell for your small business?

Follow along below for 5 ideas you can bring into your small business that is fun and easy to complete.

Bags and Purses

Perfect for any season, everyone uses some form of carrier. Whether it’s a tote bag for groceries, a beach bag for toys, or a purse for going out, there are so many options when it comes to personalizing bags! You can place fun sayings, eccentric artwork, or beautiful designs and create a new and fun product for bag lovers.

Monogrammed products

Never out of style, people love owning and gifting monogrammed pieces! Newlywed couples, or those celebrating an anniversary, can enjoy gifts like monogrammed robes, towels, and more. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy having monogrammed sweaters with their favorite teams to cheer on at the games. Readers can find comfort in monogrammed blankets for nooks! The possibilities on who can enjoy this are endless, being a perfect niche to jump into.

Embroidered Pillows

Embroidered pillows from a small shop are an excellent idea for those who love to spruce up their home with fun and exciting décor pieces! Different from those in stores, think of how your designs can bring personalization into buyers’ homes, letting them share their passions in colors, designs, and more. 

Baseball Caps & Other Apparel

Whether you’re creating hats to support sports teams, your city, or your brand, baseball caps are favorites for many. Think of designing pieces with local area code numbers, fun sayings, silly designs, and more so others can show off their personality with your work! A classic go-to, baseball caps are always in style and can be worn by everyone. T-shirts, sweaters, and other apparel pieces are always popular, a classic to create and work on! Allow your creativity to flow as you create pieces with original designs, fun and sassy quotes, and more. Look into different types of clothing like jean jackets, uniform shirts, and more to get a better idea of what you want to create.

Pet Accessories

Pets are like family, so it’s no secret why creating for pets is a fun niche to jump into! Create pieces like pet beds, clothing, food mats and so much more for those furry friends. Simply embroidering pet names can be a big selling point for those who want personalized pieces, and a way to express their style in their homes. Not sure what to create? Check out our business page here for ideas!

What Will You Create?

There are so many things you can customize and create with your embroidery machine. From pieces, we talked about to other exciting ideas like jewelry, ornaments, and more, the possibility of what you can create is up to you! So keep up with JUKI as we share our project ideas through the year that you can create on an embroidery machine and others. What project would you be most excited to create on an embroidery machine?

5 Reasons to get a JUKI Tajima Sai, Embroidery Machine

Thinking of starting an embroidery business? Trying to decide on a suitable machine? Then, follow along as we go over the top 5 reasons you should consider the Tajima Sai, JUKI’s 8-needle embroidery machine!

A hobby that is forever growing in popularity, it’s no wonder many creators are beginning to open their small embroidery businesses. With the ability to personalize, design, and create unique pieces, purchasing the proper embroidery machine for your small business is the first step to success. Before you take this initial step, here are some things to keep in mind when looking at our Tajima Sai embroidery machine.

Fast Production and Speed

Finding a suitable embroidery machine means looking into key features that are going to elevate your small business. One of the top things to keep an eye out for is the speed and efficiency a machine can offer. When your business picks up, and you need to push out many products, think about how fast your machine can create. While many machines can offer 1,000 stitches per minute, steps in between the stitching, like cutting and knotting, can slow that process down on other machines. The Tajima Sai, on the other hand, uses a system that doesn’t slow down, and in fact, keeps its momentum through the stitching process. Because of this, the Tajima Sai can, at times, finish a project faster.

As for production, think of what projects you’ll create and what accessories you’ll need. Many embroidery machine users will work on pieces like apparel, for example. The Tajima Sai machine offers 2 sets of accessories like our 200mm x 300mm frames, 100mm x 100mm frames, and cap frames. Having two sets allows you to set up the following product while one is being embroidered. Using these pieces, you can create customized sweaters, t-shirts, kitchen towels, and more.

You also have the advantage of 8 thread options on your machine at all times, making it easy to create beautiful multi-color designs with few thread changes. Inheriting the high-performance ability of industrial embroidery machines, it offers fine lines and wide areas that can be embroidered. It also provides a large laser pointing system, lining up your start point and tracing your design more effortless than ever, taking out the guesswork before you stitch.

Cost-Effective

When starting your business, it’s best to create a budget and focus on small investments before moving into a significant production mindset. However, the embroidery business doesn’t require a huge budget to get into. The Tajima Sai, for example, can be found for USD 14,999.00 (MSRP) and includes its easy-to-use software, frames, and/or other options depending on the package and vendor you purchase from.

Easy-to-Use Software

When choosing an embroidery machine, you can choose one that comes with software or is separated. Remember that selecting the machine with software included can save you money in the long run since programs can run from $600 – $1,000 depending on the machine’s brand and type. The Tajima Sai includes its program, the Tajima Writer Plus, a digitizer software for Windows with built-in design templates.

Having software included can also help you save on spending for designs and fonts since the Tajima Sai has integrated fonts and designs for your use right out of the box, allowing you to start working on your business the second you receive the machine. It offers more than 200 designs and 31 fonts pre-installed with an additional 1,000 embroidery designs by Pulse. 

Space-Saving Design

Think of location when you’re going to open a shop, whether online or in person. If you’re starting your business from a small space in your home, a machine like the Tajima Sai could be a perfect fit. Compact sized and only 82 pounds, this machine is not only able to fit in small corners but can be used for on-location sales like your local markets or inside smaller brick and mortar shops.

Endless Possibilities 

There are a limitless amount of projects you can create with an embroidery machine at your disposals, such as embroidered table cloth, t-shirts and sweaters, baby towels and gloves, embroidered memoirs, and more. Like any other small business, you only need to decide what your niche and products will be.

Starting a small business is exciting! Think of what embroidered products you enjoy purchasing or that you’ve thought of enhancing with some personalization. The wonderful thing about owning your small business is the endless possibilities of projects at your disposal and the ability to try and test new ideas.

With the Tajima Sai, you can create many projects, but some top ones we recommend are embroidered t-shirts, sweaters, home décor, hats, and socks. Designs can be used straight from your Tajima Software or downloaded by you to showcase the creations you’ve designed yourself.

When it comes time to buy your embroidery machine, remember to keep these things in mind:

  1. What’s the production and speed like?
  2. What’s the cost?
  3. Does it include software, and what resources are available to learn the program?
  4. Where will the machine be placed, and will I need to travel with it?
  5. What accessories are available for the machine, and what can I create on it?

Make Your Embroidery Business a Success with the Right Equipment!

While the embroidery business continues to grow, there will always be a need for personalized and unique products. Your small business can bring a new and fun product into the fold, which is why you must be readily prepared and have the right equipment on hand. Remember, your machine is the base for your business, so make sure you research and choose the right one for you!