Do you still get letters in the mail at this time of year, with updates on what happened in the lives of distant (and not so distant) friends and relatives over the past 12 months? I always enjoyed reading those newsy letters. But they seem to be a disappearing tradition as we move toward being more constantly in touch via email and social media. I think we might be missing something if we don't stop and look back -- so I thought I'd try writing my "year in review letter" electronically, and see how that goes.
So what happened at EmbroidMe San Diego last year?
We kicked off 2013 by cleaning out our closets. We boxed up of several years worth of discontinued samples and discarded garments, and ended up with a dozen boxes of clothing that we donated to charity. It made for a nice start to the year.
On some days we brought our daughters (and granddaughters) to work. This (at left) is Elizabeth, our master embroidery technician, and her cuter-than-pie granddaughter. We also had a couple of our teenagers slouching around the place at times during the summer vacation. They were quite helpful, but didn't cooperate much with the photographer, so sorry, we have no pictures of those young beauties to share. We're a woman-owned business, so we're maybe a little more flexible than the next guy - so to speak - about bringing kids to work.
We enjoy being a part of the local communities of San Diego, Clairemont & Kearny Mesa, and we like to offer internship opportunities to local high school and college students. This is Kyle from Clairemont High School, who did a general business internship with us in the Spring. With him is Emily, demonstrating how to use the heatpress - and trying to whip up some enthusiasm for what can be a hot and sweaty job. It turned out that Kyle's favorite parts of his internship were modelling shirts and documenting our products in photographs. We'll be offering marketing and graphic design internships in 2014, so let us know if you know a local student who might be interested, and please encourage them to contact us.
This year we worked on getting out of our workshop more often and spending time out and about in the community. Cam attended a number of ribbon cuttings and grand openings, including this one at the new Goodwill Store on Home Ave.
We also spent time collecting and sharing tips on small business marketing and promotion. Did you know that 90% of businesses in San Diego are considered "small business" sized? We shared the info we collected via social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and enjoyed a brief moment of fame in June when one of our tweets was picked up and not only got "retweeted" around the social media world, but also got published (actually printed!) in an industry magazine. Big excitement in the office that day...and of course we shared our excitement via social media!
During in the summer we experimented with metallic foil transfers, which among other things involved making some shirts to wear for ourselves...all in the name of testing the durability. It had nothing at all to do with girls liking bling. And you can tell (left) that Emily and Erika had no fun with this at all. So sad!!
In August we were invited to participate in a UCSD event highlighting earth-friendly products. We took that opportunity to beef up our offerings of apparel and promotional products made of recycled, recyclable, sustainable, and/or organic materials. Now when you visit our showroom, it's easy to find a number of eco-friendly choices, as well as made-in-the-USA tshirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts.
Our little red "EmbroidMe-mobile" has become an icon for our store. You may have seen us tooling around town making deliveries. My favorite deliveries are the ones with an ocean view! Usually our car is full of embroidered garments, backpacks, and computer bags, but in October we loaded up with pumpkins, which is something of a tradition here. We even made ourselves shirts with sparkly pumpkin-colored logos, and took our Thanksgiving picture with a pile of pumpkins -- just for fun. We'll likely have a big pile of pumpkins to give away next year too. If you have a local San Diego children's charity that would appreciate receiving some donated pumpkins next October, please let us know!
In case you are wondering, yes, we actually did do a lot of work last year selecting, specifying and producing promotional marketing materials for our wonderful clients in the greater San Diego area. Oodles and oodles of shirts, bags, and caps got embroidered. Approximately one bazillion tshirts were screen printed. And more pens, mugs, magnets and stickers than I can count were imprinted with our client's logos & contact information. I feel pretty lucky, because we've built a business doing something I love: helping clients grow their businesses through promotional marketing. I hope you love what you're doing too. May 2014 be a wonderful, fruitful, year filled with joy and success for all.