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A Little Dab Will Do Ya

"Regional Focus: A Little Dab Will Do Ya"(excerpt)
by Ken Parsons
Stitches Magazine March 1999; Volume 13 No 3, pp. 46-48

Although we often link the entire northeastern corner of the U.S. into one group, it's actually made up of many dissimilar regions. Even so, each of these regions have embroidery ties of their own. New Jersey is famous for being the home of the American.

schiffli embroidery industry. New England was at one time dotted with mills producing yarn and fabrics. New York housed factories, which produced a diversity of clothing to satisfy every taste and budget, and continues to be a major design center for the world of fashion.

Unfortunately, over the years the industry's landscape has been eroded by many outside forces. Most of the mills have been shut down, the number of schiffli machines has been reduced by 80 percent and fashion production has all but disappeared. What remains is a keen appreciation and respect for embroidery and embroidery tradition. What also remains is a knack for success, which may in part be attributable to densely populated areas.

The Northeast contains one of the largest urban and suburban areas in the U.S. These concentrated populations provide an excellent opportunity for sampling new and specific embroidery applications and marketing ideas. ...

Special Lettering
Another company that focuses on a very specific product is Intarsia Arts, an embroidery business in Nyack, N.Y. Its niche is a monogram of every type. Richards Jarden, owner, switched from mural design to embroidery about six years ago and has settled into his rare niche.

With a fine-arts degree and a teaching stint at the Rhode Island School of Design under his belt, he masterfully honed his art history background and creative skills into his embroidery business. In his studies, he found the history of monogramming and lettering to be of particular interest. Using it as inspiration, he has designed a library of alphabets, which he offeres in two sizes as stock designs to commercial and home embroiderers. The lettering designs range from folk art fonts based on colonial samplers to modern, streamlined fonts.

When asked if he planned to offer the letters in an alterable format, Jarden replies, " They are designed to resemble hand embroidery and do not involve the typical high-density type of stitching usually associated with commercial monogramming. So they offer much more size flexibility even in stitch format."

Intarsia's lettering is marketed to a worldwide audience of embroiderers of every type. Aside from the U.S., embroiderers in Australia, Sweden and Japan are enamored with his homespun monograms.

Whether you've homed your customer base down to a very specific segment of the population or specialized your product, these embroiderers have proven their strategies lead to success. I guess the statement, "Less is more," is really true.

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