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!

How to Start Sewing Your Own Clothes

In the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in sewists pop up from all over the world, beginners starting their journey. If you recently started sewing and are interested in learning how to start sewing your own clothes, today we’re here to help you start! Follow along as we go over the basic supplies you should keep on hand, beginner machines and the machine types, and more.

What You Need to Start

The most important thing for sewing your own clothes is your tools! Having the right tools on hand will help the process go smoothly, and you’ll have better quality projects at the end of it. Below is a list of tools every sewist should have in their tool kit.

  1. Scissors

A prominent tool, but an important one! When it comes to your sewing scissor, we always recommend having one dedicated to only fabric and one for everything else. This helps to keep your fabric scissor blades sharp longer so that you don’t fray your fabric when it’s time to cut.

2. Measuring Tape

Important and handy, having a measuring tape in your kit is a need! A measuring tape is a must for any sewist, from measuring yourself when it’s time to begin creating to measuring your fabric, elastic, and more.

3. Sewing Gauges

An excellent tool for when it’s seam allowance time, the sewing gauge is a t-shape measuring stick with a slide gauge that allows you to measure the distance from your edge of the fabric to where you are stitching. So when you’re sewing apparel, this tool is perfect for hemming!

4. Thread Snips

This tool is perfect for creating apparel because it allows you to get that close thread cut on your projects without the fear of cutting your fabric. So without fear, cut close to your fabric using a thread snip on your next project.

5. Seam Ripper

Made a mistake in your stitching? Want to reconstruct a piece in your closet? It’s easier deconstructing those mistakes and projects with a seam ripper. This tool has a sharp hook that easily rips through the thread, breaking those pieces apart. Be careful, though, with its sharp end, it can also easily go through the fabric if you’re too rough.

6. Iron and Ironing Board

When you’re sewing clothes, it’s best to have your iron and ironing board nearby! When creating, there are a lot of pieces that need to be pressed, so having this is a need! If you don’t have room for an ironing board, you can always get an ironing mat. This is perfect for beginner projects and is a great place to start.

7. Pins and Clips

Whether you keep them in a jar, or a cushion, having clips and pins on hand is necessary when you’re sewing. These little tools are needed to keep fabric pieces together and aligned, ensuring your project comes out exactly as you want it to!

8. Fabrics and Threads

There is an abundance of options for choosing fabrics and threads for your apparel projects. Check out your current closet to see what fabric types you already use to better figure out what options you should buy. As for the thread, sewing is an excellent fabric/thread/needle game. Depending on what fabric you’re working with, you’ll be able to choose the right thread type and the right needle. 

We recommend looking for fabric created for apparel and 100% polyester thread which is durable and comes in every color.

9. Sewing Patterns

When you’re new to creating apparel, following sewing patterns is a great way to learn! Look at online patterns, your local quilt shops, and even antique and vintage shops when you begin browsing for your next pattern! Some pattern designers even offer step-by-step video tutorials and diagrams for the beginner sewist.

10. Sewing Machine

When you’re first choosing a sewing machine, how many options are out there can be daunting, but we’re here to help! Whether you get a machine with all the bells and whistles, or a basic straight-stitch, finding the suitable machine depends on your needs and wants. So follow along below as discuss the different types of machines out there, and what you should look for in yours.

Picking Your Sewing Machine

Let’s start by discussing the different types of machines out there! It’s important to know your options for what’s available out there and understand how each machine can help you build your project.

Mechanical Sewing Machines

JUKI Options: TL-2010Q, TL-2020PE, TL-2000Qi, TL-18QVP

JUKI Haruka TL-18QVP

A mechanical sewing machine, or electric sewing machine, has little to almost no circuitry. It has a motor that moves the needles up and down, a foot pedal to drive the motor. Some mechanical sewing machine options, like the JUKI line, also offer Free Motion Quilting, allowing you to piece and quilt.

These machines are perfect for beginners because they’re simple to use, and don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. For someone who is just beginning, and doesn’t want too many buttons or stitch options, a mechanical sewing machine is perfect.

These sewing machines are also perfect for the sewist who plans to work with heavy or thick fabrics. Our TL series, for example, is a popular choice among bag makers because it can handle multiple pieces of fabric at once and can sew through fabrics like vinyl, leather, and cork.

Computerized Sewing Machines

JUKI Options: HZL-DX7, HZL F-600, HZL DX-4000QVP

JUKI Kokochi DX-4000QVP

A sophisticated type of machine, the computerized sewing machine includes an LCD screen and offers more stitch options and functions. There are many digital features including sensor systems, pivot functions, digital tension, auto thread trimming, and more.

Some machines like, the HZL-NX7, come with features like JUKI Smart Feed, to move the top layer of your fabric in sync with the lower layer. If you’re working on apparel, this feature is perfect for stitching without the worry of shifting layered fabrics.

Computerized sewing machines, even with their selection of features, are relatively simple to use and for many make sewing an easier process.

Let’s Talk Features

Let’s go through some features you need, and features you’ll want. Knowing the options available to you will help you build a better wish list once you start looking for your machine.

  1. Know Your Presser Feet

Keep in mind the projects you plan to create and research what presser feet you’ll need to own. Some machines come with these accessories in their set, others you’ll have to purchase separately. Having the right foot is important when you start implementing techniques like gathering, adding elastics, and more.

Some feet we recommend for apparel are the Buttonhole Foot, Walking Foot, Smooth Foot, and Invisible Zipper Foot to start.

2. Stitches

Think about the type of stitches you’ll want to work with. Some machines only offer straight stitch, others will offer zig-zag. You can also find machines that offer stitches for quilting, piecing, overlocking, triple stretch, blind hem, and more.

3. Creating Buttonholes

This can take 4 steps, or 1 step depending on the machine you purchase. Some machines will offer an automatic one-step buttonhole while in others you must manually switch between the zigzag and bar tack stitches to form the buttonholes. If you’re a beginner, finding a machine that uses an automatic option is great, especially if you plan on using buttons often!

4. Built-In Free Arm

If you plan on creating apparel, a free arm is perfect for pants legs, and sleeves. This free arm will allow you to sew those narrow cylindrical or tubular items, helping you create the perfect closet.

5. Automatic Needle Threader

A small feature with a big impact, the automatic needle threader feature is great for users who have difficulty with eye-sight or shaky hands. This feature works by using a small hook to pull the thread through the eye of the needle.

Let’s Start Creating!

Now that you know what tools you’ll need and have a better idea of what machine you’ll want, you can start planning your sewing journey! Sewing your own clothes is a wondrous journey where mistakes will happen, your skills will surprise you, and you’ll constantly be learning. Pick beginner-friendly projects and patterns, research local sewing classes, and test your skills by grabbing thrifted and discounted fabric when you first start.

We recommend looking on YouTube for online tutorials and lessons when you find yourself lost, and enjoy the limitless amount of resources out on the web for sewist! We put together our top 5 tips for new sewists!

  1. Start Small

Don’t psych yourself out with big projects when you first start sewing. Pick up simple patterns and projects and start there before building your skill base and attempting larger projects. By doing this you’ll reduce the chances of burnout and have fun making mistakes!

2. Use Scrap Fabric

Don’t let those pieces go to waste! Scrap fabric is perfect for when you want to practice new stitches and techniques.

3. Read Those Patterns!

Don’t start a project before fulling reading through a pattern. Then, if you need to make adjustments, you can catch it early on and do so before you start cutting. It will also help you understand the steps you’re about to take and help you understand the entire process before you begin stitching.

4. Check, and Check Again

Test trying your outfits and projects as you sew is the perfect way to confirm you’re doing it right. Check on the stitches, make sure the length is correct, and make those adjustments.

5. Enjoy the Journey

Not many call themselves sewing experts, even those who have been doing it for years. Every time we sew and create, there’s a chance for a new technique to be learned and a new project to be created, meaning the journey is never-ending! Enjoy the process and watch yourself grow as you sew.

We hope these tips and resources help you find the right tools and machines when you start sewing! What do you wish you had known before you started sewing? Comment down below and leave tips for the new sewist!

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!

5 Things You Create On Your Direct-To-Garment Printer

Focusing on direct to garment (DTG) printing can be the beginning of a successful business venture! With this technology, you can now print quality images and graphics onto garments and have the ability to customize designs, fonts, and more. Using a machine like the RICOH Ri 100, you’re now able to create the highest print quality for the lowest cost per print. If you’re looking into starting up a business or upgrading your current one, DTG printing is the ideal choice. Let’s deep dive into some options you can create on your DTG machine today!

Custom Made, Personalized Apparel on Demand

A highly competitive market that’s constantly growing due to high demands is custom-made apparel. With the ability to print-on-demand small production volumes cost-effectively while quickly following market trends, you’re able to create your brand easily. These items don’t need to stop at custom t-shirts but polo’s, socks, aprons, tapestries, and more. There is a wide range of options for what you can create.

Memory Quilts

Are you thinking about creating or expanding your quilting business? An exciting venture is creating your unique fabric pieces for memory quilting. With the RICOH Ri 100 software, you can import photos of loved ones, graphics of their interests, and more to create a unique, personalized quilt.  In addition, you can provide fabric printing services to other quilters that want to create their very own memory quilt or are looking to make a quilt with their fabric design. DTG printers, like the RICOH Ri 100, use a wide range of colors, going as far as being able to print a photo taken in real-time with a webcam.

Fashion Textile Printing

DTG printers, like the RICOH Ri 100, use a wide range of colors, going as far as being able to print a photo taken in real-time with a webcam. With access to these unlimited colors, designers can make their fashion trends by creating prints for their projects. This can be a great niche to enter if you enjoy clothing construction and add more personalization to your projects. In addition, you can create on-demand accessories that users will love by printing limited edition fabric and using these on your projects. Some additions you can focus on are tote bags, socks, beach bags, and more!

Home Décor

We all enjoy decorating our home, and a fun way to do this is using personalized home textile! Using your DTG printer, you can create pieces like holiday-themed table runners for the dining room, tea towels with funny phrases for the kitchen, and monogrammed pillowcases for the bedroom. The possibilities are endless! You can also develop themes that transfer over different products, inviting shoppers to buy sets instead of one product.

Event Products

Marketing products are popular items to personalize and create for other small businesses, sports teams, school events, and more. You can also design pieces for birthdays, weddings, and other events that involve goodies being handed out. Follow your niche’s needs and open your business to personalized projects instead of creating designs or products. You can also offer up your services and attend events for onsite printing. Using a machine like the RICOH Ri 100, you’re able to take a photo and instantly print it onto a garment, creating a fun giveaway item for special events and shows.

Additionally, if you’re attending conventions or sporting events, you can take the RICOH Ri 100 on the go due to its compact nature! It can fit into a space as small as 15.7″ wide x 27.5″ deep, making it one of the smallest DTG printers. In addition, the printer and its finisher can be stacked to maximize functionality without sacrificing space.

With so many possibilities for creative products, the world of DTG is an exciting venture for many to enter. Creating personalized and commissioned pieces is also a perfect option for those who aren’t art savvy but enjoy creating otherwise. If you’re interested in starting your own DTG business, continue reading for tips on how to begin! What would you create on your DTG machine? Let us know down below!

Celebrate Festival Season with JUKI!

With the summer sun finally here, it’s time to start celebrating! This year’s festival season is kicking back up, and we wanted to share fashion ideas for your looks. With festival trends coming and going, here are some great options for you to recreate.

Face masks

While festival season comes back with a bang amidst Covid, it’s always fun to be fashionably safe! If you’re planning to wear a face mask, we recommend looking into nylon and spandex fabric. These materials are waterproof and come in a variety of exciting colors, perfect for hot outdoor days. Cotton is also a great choice and allows you more creativity in the designs. On top of a protective mask, you can wear an additional mask to accent any outfit. The additional mask can be made with beautiful fabrics featuring intricate designs like lace or flashy designs with sequins or beads! Adding accessories to your mask is easy when you use our beading presser footer. Personalize your mask to represent you!

Upcycled Looks

With quarantine bringing new life into the sewing world, expect to see people with new pieces they’ve handcrafted! It’s a great experience when you find something old and upcycle it into a new fashion statement. Grab old pieces you enjoy and a sewing machine like the HZL-80HP-A that helps you create fashion that goes together beautifully. We recommend ideas like patchwork, upcycling dresses into a two-piece set, or turning plain t-shirts into funky outfits!

Small Mini Bags and Fanny Packs

Attend your next one with a comfortable mini purse or fanny pack that holds your essentials. Create them using intricate fabrics, faux fabrics, or add on embellishments to really wow! Creating beautiful bags is easy using a heavy-duty machine like our TL-2010Q. This sewing machine comes with accessories like our zipper attaching foot. We recommend fanny packs, tactical pouches, or cross-over slings when deciding to make a bag!

Bucket Hat

Bucket hats have made a comeback! Perfect for keeping shade while making a cute fashion statement, look into accessorizing with a bucket hat. Personalize by adding fun designs and embroidery using our Tajima Sai! Look into canvas or denim fabrics for the pieces on the inside for a sturdier feeling and clean look. A fun idea is to get your friends together and make matching ones!

Whether you’re going into festival season with the most outlandish outfits or a more toned back look, choose creativity and show up with your very own unique look!