Pricing Advice Every Decorator Should Know


Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. We are joined by COO of Ricoma Embroidery Machines as he shares his unique take on starting a garment decoration business as well as the ins and outs of pricing. A Stern business school graduate, Henry has helped thousands of startup decorators and kicked off several online startups, bringing his business acumen to the table as we go through common questions asked by new machine embroiderers and decorators. Henry goes beyond the basic with hints about what to do once your business is established, and finishes with some details about pricing with profit in mind with extra prodding from our resident embroidery expert and pro-profit cheerleader Erich Campbell stepping in to co-host. Tune in for all that and some special announcements from the folks at Ricoma!

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Pricing Advice Every Decorator Should Know

Aaron: Henry Ma is a business expert who has helped over 3,000 startups and established business owners in over 140 countries grow their decorated apparel businesses in his role as COO of embroidery machine manufacturer Ricoma. A New York University’s Stern School of Business graduate, Henry is also the founder of several online startups, including Garmeo, an order fulfillment platform for decorated apparel businesses. As the host of Embroidery Insider, a show on Ricoma’s YouTube channel, he offers insights and strategies for people looking for success in the decorated apparel industry. Henry, thanks for coming on the show!

Erich: From that intro, it seems like you fulfill quite a few roles at Ricoma! Tell us a little bit about what you do for the company. 

Aaron: I noticed that we have something in common; you get in front of the camera frequently to answer questions and help your customers, so I’m betting you get a lot of questions from customers who want to start an embroidery business; What kinds of questions do they ask most?

Erich: Knowing that you’ve helped quite a few of your customers get started, what do you think makes someone qualified or ready to start an embroidery business?

Aaron: The people who tune in to the show know that I’m not the embroidery guy; so I have to ask, do you suggest that people stay focussed in embroidery alone or do you encourage them to branch out into other decoration methods? (Follow-up: When should a shop consider adding another decoration method?)

Erich: I’m glad we talked about adding decoration methods, because it brings up something that I see all the time- a lot of decorators, myself included, really love the process and get wrapped up in the creative side. What I sadly see is that not enough decorators think about how to do business, sell, or price things before they start or expand. So, let’s start talking about that side of things; What do you suggest that new businesses do to get up to speed? How can they get started in a way that puts business and profit first?

Aaron: So we have a decorator that has done the right things to get set up for business and they’ve been running for about a year; what advice to you give those fairly new embroidery businesses once they are past the initial growing pains? Is it possible that they’ll be profitable, and if so, what do they do next?

Erich: We all know that at all stages of an embroidery company, success is tied to how you price your product and not too many embroiderers have more than the old ‘$1 per thousand’ myth to work from; I know that I’ve taught pricing in one way or another repeatedly- How often do you get pricing questions, and when you do, what’s the formula that you teach?

Aaron: How did you arrive at your pricing formula? What spurred you to put it together?

Erich: I appreciate how you’ve been sharing so much information here; the team at Ricoma and you yourself have really been putting out a great deal of content for the industry and you have built up some wonderful communities of decorators; Where can we find more about these resources like your pricing, and where can decorators go to join those communities and find the latest information from you folks?

Aaron: Thank you so much for coming on the show, Henry! Before we let you go, are there any new ventures for yourself or for Ricoma on the horizon that you’d like to share?

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