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!

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!

10 Reasons to Start an Embroidery Business

Starting an embroidery business is an exciting and growing venture. If you’re interested in starting an at-home business, embroidery is a great option, especially for those with creative ideas that others would love in their niches.

Below, we will give you ten reasons why the embroidery business could be the best idea for your new venture with a machine like the JUKI Tajima Sai.

Keep Your Space

When you start an at-home business, you may not have the space available for a large machine and equipment. So finding a single head embroidery machine like the Tajima Sai or similar is a great idea because they’re for compact spaces.

Minimal Set Up Cost

Starting a new business, we want to create something low-cost to create to achieve a profit. Therefore, the initial money you put into an embroidery business doesn’t require a considerable amount. For example, the Tajima Sai can be found for under 12K with software and supplies included. Many machines will also have training videos or resources for starting users.

Supply Cost is Low

When it comes to buying supplies for a business, you want to make sure that it will be a profitable outcome. For example, a 5000-meter cone of embroidery thread is under $7.00, and the line will last for many projects.

Creative Freedom

Creating merchandise can be a great experience! If you have many ideas, owning a business that allows you to create is perfect. You can find yourself in many niches, whether it be creating for hobbies you enjoy, TV shows or movies you follow, and more; there is a customer base for everything.

Flexible Work Hours

When you own a business, you’re able to create work hours for yourself. This can be a great side business for many after their workdays, at night, or on weekends and special events. The ability to choose when and how you work is a pro for many owners.

Profitable Business

It makes sense that when you start an at-home business, you want something that will be low cost with high profit. The great thing about embroidery is the low cost of supplies. Remember that you will never receive 100% profit on an item you create, but hitting 10% profit is average and hitting 20% profit is good!

Customer Demand

Small businesses are currently experiencing a boom! With social media and the online network at your disposal, small businesses are constantly growing and creating audience bases. However, while there are many in the game, there is never someone who creates the same way you create, and you should keep this in mind when choosing to enter into the embroidery market.

Resources are Everywhere

Embroidery is not a new thing! However, one of the best things about the embroidery world is the number of resources available to new and advanced users. Whether it be training videos, attending workshops, or other programs, embroidery offers the chance to learn a new product and new project with much help.

Easy Expansion

When it’s time to upgrade your small business, it’s easy to expand. Certain machines can easily link together, allowing you to create your own production ‘floor’ right in your home. With the ability to easily grow your business when you need it, knowing the possibility is always there is good.

Product Choices

Designing and creating a new product to sell should be fun, even if there is work to do. The possibilities with an embroidery machine allow you to focus on different niches! With accessories available to embroider socks, hats, bags, t-shirts, jackets, and more, a pro for this machine is the ability to be multi-dimensional in your merchandise.

Whether this pushes you to open that embroidery business you’ve been thinking about or not, we hope this helps you see the prod of opening your own small business! So, what questions do you have about embroidery? Let us know down below!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Sell Your Sewing Skills

Sewing is an escape. We bet you love sewing, and it makes you happy when you get to work on a project! Whether you’re creating a quilt, a shirt, or maybe working on home décor, you love it when you can show off that finished product. Now imagine taking this craft you love and making some extra money. The best part? You don’t need to be an expert; sewers at any skill can do this!

The best way to begin is to put yourself out there! How? First, open up a social media page for your creations to get your work seen by new people. There are always great people out there excited to get and share new ideas! Creating a customer base, people who want to own the projects you make, is the first step to opening your little e-shop. Remember that this can be built at your rate, so just start with the basics like sharing what you make and interacting with others, and it will grow from there.

We wanted to share some fun and simple start-up ideas for those who have thought about starting their side business but didn’t know what to do

Begin a repair and alter service

A service that never goes out of style, many people know altering and repairing are less expensive than buying something new. While you may already do this for yourself, many people out there wish they could save their favorite clothing pieces and don’t know how! Offering this service is a standard beginning for many in the clothes construction sector of sewing and will always be needed.

Clothing Construction for Others

If you find yourself in love with creating and designing clothing, look into creating this for others! Many people love having unique and meaningful pieces in their wardrobe. Whether it be beautiful gowns or tops or graphic tees and embroidered sweaters, we enjoy being different. The perks of shopping from small businesses are owning something unique, and that can be you they go to!

Make Décor for the Home

As new homeowners and different styles continue to emerge, creating unique home décor pieces can be a great side business! Fluffy decorative pillows, warm duvets, quilts, or stunning curtains are essential to a comfortable home. When it comes to decorating a home, many want things that represent their style and taste. What better way than creating personalized items for that customer looking to express themselves?!

Sell your Sewing Crafts

When it’s time to let your creativity flow free, we can end up with an abundance of sewing projects leftover. While our first reaction is usually giving it to family and friends, there’s another solution, sell it! Clearing up your living space while sending out your projects is a win-win situation for you and the happy shopper who loved your art.

Maybe you just enjoy the luxury of sewing and never thought about selling your artwork. Maybe you’ve always had an idea of selling something but didn’t know where to start. What’s important is doing the craft you love! With so many options for online selling, social media marketing, and even the possibility of holding a booth at a farmer’s market, it’s essential to keep in mind that you have options. Remember, the best advice is always the same, just start.

Check out JUKI’s Business Plus program to learn more about how to become your boss at https://jukiquilting.com/business-solutions!