Nothing exemplifies the harmony between self-reliance and trust within the community quite as well as a small business. And during these trying times, being able to get a small business off the ground is no mean feat!
So we're happy to continue our Meet the Maker segment with new interviews with makers from different industries.
Small business, big spirit. Let’s meet the brains and hearts behind the home-based embroidery business, Gifted Stitcher. Doug Castle and Sherye Moore used our Hudson aprons for a client of theirs. Translating an artwork, like a logo, into stitches is more complicated than you think!
Here’s Doug Castle and Sherye Moore of the Gifted Stitcher.
Tell us about the Gifted Stitcher. How did you start and what sparked your interest in embroidery?
Sherye: I had dabbled for years with a small Brother embroidery machine. My sister had a slightly upgraded Singer Embroidery Machine which I borrowed and used for about a year. I talked my sister-in-law, who is a talented home embroiderer, into a week of fun and training at her home in March of 2019 and got hooked. Doug and his lovely wife, Christy, and my husband, Dan, and I attend church together. I showed Doug and Christy a couple of projects I was doing for my granddaughters and found out that Doug had an interest in embroidery. He said, "Let's partner up!" I jumped at the chance. And here we are!
Doug: I was in the unit in the Marines that served with HMX-1, the white-top helicopter you see the president get off and on of. One of my collateral duties was taking care of the memorabilia (polo shirts, cups, pens, etc.). That is where I initially learned about stitch count and digitizing. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Have your processes changed since you started?
Both: Yes...we have learned how not to do a lot of things!
Do you have a signature style? And are there particular materials or elements that you like working with?
Sherye: [We are] developing a style for Gifted Stitcher. We have quite different styles which seem to complement each other. [I] love to create different more abstract designs and Doug is more "Make it look realistic!"
We are offering embroidered personal items, team and church customized orders, youth organizations, and corporate apparel, including shirts, jackets, caps, and, of course, aprons. We have a wide variety of options (shoes, boots, belts, monogramming, and many other things) and are willing to discuss and give your new idea a try as well.
Tell us about your happiest embroidery/business experience.
Finding the right size for the logo, getting it stitched out beautifully for the customer on his handsome, sturdy Hudson apron.
Which HDG aprons have you worked on and what's the best/most difficult part of working on them?
It took some experimentation and frustration to figure it out! The waxed cotton, heavy duty aprons are perfect for the Hudson customers, but their thickness makes them a challenge to stitch. The one we used is the grey Hudson Durable Goods Woodworking Edition Waxed Canvas Apron. We have one apron with about 20 or more designs stitched on it with varying degrees of success. But we were persistent and stayed with it until we got the right combination of converting Arnwine's Woodwerks artwork into stitches, the right stabilizer, needles, thread, stitch speed, machine tension, and placement for the logo. We are eager to personalize all the Hudson's aprons on all the makers out there.
How are you innovating amid the pandemic?
Sherye: Living in the great state of Texas and a city the size of San Antonio, our restrictions have been minimal. Also, as a home-based business, the pandemic hasn't been too restrictive. With so much technology available from our equipment manufacturer, there are too many positive avenues to get it done to concentrate on the few restrictions we might have encountered.
For instance, a recent corporate client met Doug in a Valero/Circle K parking lot to provide his garments and when we finished the embroidery, they met at a Walgreens parking lot for the delivery.
Can you offer some advice for our readers who are planning to venture into embroidery, either as a hobby or as a business?
Go for it. Do your homework before you purchase a machine. It is a great, creative outlet and each design presents a different challenge and a different reward! We would be glad to refer you to great people to help with your purchase and everything you need to get started. Watch as many YouTube videos as you can. Learn from others. It's not all gospel, yet you will hear and identify some common denominators with which to make your own.
How/where can people find you?
They can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can call at 210-645-5115.
Keep tuning in for more maker stories! Know a maker you'd like us to highlight? Send us a message on our social channels!