I was going to title today’s blog post (which is actually yesterday’s blog post, but I had a publishing hold-up yesterday morning) “I’ll Give You Three Guesses.”
But then I started looking at the things, and I figured many of you would guess right away, anyway.
One of my biggest behind-the-scenes projects during June has been preparing embroidery kits and instructions for The Leafy Tree, a project I finished a while ago and for which I received many, many requests for a kit.
And so I’m putting together a kit.
This is one of the features of the kit, and although it’s time-consuming, I think it’s worth it:
I call them “fabric sticks.”
They’re the fabric for the kit, prepared the way I prepare my fabric for any embroidery project – that is, it’s cut on the grain, it’s pre-washed to remove sizing and any shrink, and then it’s ironed smooth and the pattern is transferred onto it – and then it’s sandwiched in tissue paper and rolled onto a tube.
The reason for rolling is so that, when the kit is received, the recipient doesn’t have to do anything to prepare the fabric for embroidery. You unroll it, and there’s your ironed fabric, ready to go!
To keep things thematically together in the kit, of course each fabric stick had to be closed with a different leaf sticker!
I had the tubes custom made. They’re coated white, they’re very strong so they can’t get crushed, the fabric fits them perfectly, and they fit perfectly within the kit box.
I figure folks can re-use them to roll finished small embroidery pieces on, or to wind thread on, or what-have-you.
Preparing the fabric sticks is really kind of fun. In fact, for me, once all the elements are prepared and gathered, I like the embroidery kit assembly process! As long as I’m not madly pushing a deadline, I find it relaxing.
I suppose it’s the steady nature of the work and knowing exactly what step needs to happen next.
While the tubes might seem to be an unnecessary expense, I’m convinced they’re a good way to go when it comes to packaging fabric for kits.
And while I’m not into spending money on custom boxes for my kits (I can’t quite cotton to the idea of spending $5 or more on a custom box that will end up on a shelf or in the trash), I do think that the tubes are a good investment. Even with that extra touch, I’m able to keep the main packaging costs of my kits very low and yet still produce a decent looking kit.
Why Not Pre-Orders?
Many folks have asked why I don’t take pre-orders when I sell embroidery kits.
The main reason that I don’t take pre-orders is the tenuous nature of the embroidery supply chain.
I have watched (and listened) from the sidelines for many years, while pre-orders were taken for major kits or special projects around the globe, and I have seen hiccups in the supply line after the pre-orders were taken.
These hiccups often cause the customer extra-long wait times after their money has already been taken. Somehow, I end up being the shoulder that people cry on when they experience unpleasant things in the needlework world, and I’ve heard many a complaint from other people’s customers who have had to wait extended periods of time after paying for a kit or supplies.
I don’t want to put my customers through that, and I don’t want to put myself through that kind of stress. So I only sell tangible things when they are in front of me and ready to go.
This policy, of course, limits the amount of kits I can produce at one time. Sure, if people were paying ahead of time for a kit, I could take orders for an extended period of time, giving everyone the opportunity to get their order in.
Then, I could count up the orders and, using the money I collected, order supplies without any real investment on my part. After all, you have already paid for the supplies! It’s a win-win situation, right? I have money for a much larger number of kits, and you have the “guarantee” of having placed your order.
It sounds like a great idea. But then…the fabric is woven in France. The threads are made in Germany. The needles are made in England.
Oh, the supplier doesn’t have that quantity of fabric in stock, after all – it has to be ordered. Oh, the mill won’t be doing a run of that linen until next September, six months away.
Oh, some of the thread colors aren’t available in that quantity. The company has to do a dye run. It’ll be four months.
And then I have to email everyone and say it will be 6+ months before you get that kit you just paid me for.
I don’t like doing business that way. And so I do limited runs in quantities I can afford to produce.
The kits for The Leafy Tree – replete with full skeins of 22 colors of Madeira cotton floss, superb quality linen with the design pre-transferred, and needles – will be available in the first half of July.
If you’re keen to stitch this project, please keep an eye out! I’ll announce the kit launch date and time here on the website once I have all the components assembled and ready to go!
Oh, and once I’ve finished writing the instructional book…
There is that.
Guess how I’m spending my weekend?
I hope yours is a terrific one, with plenty of time to bond with your needle and thread!