The apparel decoration industry is comprised of a diverse mix of people who started early with disciplines like embroidery and screen printing, while others come to the industry after they desire a career change. What’s more, some decorators are in the business simply because life led them there. For Brenda Snyder, this scenario is what lead to the start of her Bellefontaine, Ohio-based embroidery business, All About Stitches and More. Following the death of her father-in-law in 2001, Snyder’s mother-in-law purchased an embroidery machine of which she made ample use.
“She thought it would keep her busy, keep her occupied, and keep her mind off things,” says Snyder. Snyder's mother-in-law's part-time hobby exposed her to the world of embroidery.
As Snyder’s family grew in 2006 with the birth of her daughter, finances were tight and she decided the family needed to supplement their income.
“When the housing bubble burst in 2008, we almost lost everything,” Snyder notes, explaining how she began reaching out to friends to possibly kickstart paid embroidery jobs. Snyder's husband was self-employed, and owned a home remodeling business at the time.
Snyder eventually landed her first commercial job, stitching lab coats for nurses at a local nursing home. While researching prices to build a quote for the nursing home, Snyder stumbled upon a broader business opportunity. Over the course of a week, Snyder called around to embroidery shops in the area to learn more about going rates.
“On the following Monday, I finally got in touch with the last shop on my list,” explains Snyder. “One of the owners answered and said, ‘we’re not quoting anything right now because our business is for sale.’”
After a potential buyer fell through, Snyder and her mother-in-law jumped at the chance to buy the shop’s assets. Within a week, the duo purchased the business, and Snyder moved a commercial embroidery machine, as well as inventory like thread and other supplies into her home.
“We bought everything that would be included with an embroidery business except for a physical location,” says Snyder.
From there, Snyder began to build a client list of mostly local commercial clients. Concrete companies, construction firms, radio stations, and insurance agencies include just a few of the many diverse markets to which All About Stitches offers services. Snyder offers her handiwork on a variety of apparel and accessory items including outerwear, caps, and T-shirts.
While Snyder has seen a steady growth of clients, the physical location of All About Stitches has changed a few times. From 2009–2014, the business fluctuated between a storefront operation and home-based business. In Snyder’s second storefront, the floor space couldn’t accommodate the machinery.
“Basically I ran a storefront during the day, and would come home and run the machine all night,” adds Snyder. She eventually moved the business back into her home in 2014 to be more flexible between taking orders and stitching jobs.
A steady flow of B2B customers around the Columbus, Ohio area continue to stream in and out of Snyder’s home-based shop, much without any major advertising budget. She uses social media, specifically Facebook, to share her work. Snyder also encourages clients to re-share her work as a definitive testimonial. As she points out, one of the best ways for potential clients to determine whether her work will suit their needs is to see finished photos of previous jobs. A combination of commercial embroidered apparel for local businesses and the occasional heat-printing job helps keep things steady, she adds.
Despite the ups and downs of moving from home to a busy storefront and back again, Snyder still expresses how much she enjoys the organic, community-oriented, and reciprocal nature of the work.
“I really like helping businesses grow,” Snyder explains. “Our tagline is ‘let us grow your business one stitch at a time', we've really stuck to that tagline throughout the years.”
For more information on All About Stitches, visit: https://www.facebook.com/allaboutstitches/