Friday, September 2, 2016

Business spotlight - One Stitch at a Time - By Michelle Libby a room at One Stitch at a Time, the embroidery machine whirs and clicks as it creates the design
on a sweatshirt. Today it’s a logo for a boating company, tomorrow it could be working to stitch initials on a child’s school backpack. At One Stitch at a Time clients are given special attention so that whatever they want, be it a logo, design or name, they will be pleased with the results. 

Sue and Garnett Johnston opened One Stitch at a Time about a year ago in their home on Albion Road. They are still in the same location, but they have expanded their equipment and their product lines over that time. This family business helps to support their three children who are just out of college, one in college and one a senior at Windham High School. 

“We were looking for something we would be successful with on our own in the next chapter of our life,” Garnett said. 

Garnett works in retail as his day job and is the marketing vice president for the new company. “We wanted to have something for us to work together in.” 

With their new equipment, they are able to do a larger variety of types of objects to embroider on, including hats, bags and karate belts, for example. 

“We’re really excited about the hats,” Sue said. The company is working on hats this week to donate to a friend and her team, which will be participating in the Dempsey Challenge. 

One Stitch at a Time is a local business. “I find people would rather work with local people, not order on the Internet,” said Sue. Personal attention comes from working directly with a person, the same person who will be doing the work. 

Sue has been sewing and embroidering for a number of years. She tailors and alters clothes and has done that for many years. “I’ve been sewing and embroidering all my life. I got my first embroidering machine off a bulletin board at my work. I thought it would be fun.” The business is something she and Garnett plan to do on their own time so they can set their own schedule to meet their customer deadlines. Not sure what a logo might look best on? Sue can help with that as well. They work with a variety of distributors to get the best quality products at really good prices. They also have access to brand name Polo shirts, work shirts and more.

With a library of 10,000 or more designs and a variety of fonts, Sue and Garnett can help choose what would look good on a particular item. If a stock image is not what the customer wants, they can take a customer’s design or logo and have it digitized for embroidery. One color or six colors, each design will be worked on until it’s exactly what was ordered. There is a one-time fee for digitizing the artwork, but their prices are much lower than national and local competitors, going up to $35 on average depending on the design. 

The artwork and sewing is the fun, creative part of their lives. Sue works in a legal department in corporate America. She hopes that one day, One Stitch at a Time will be a “fulltime occupation for both of us.”

Also looking forward, Sue and Garnett are considering screenprinting, although they like that embroidery lasts longer and doesn’t fade. “It looks more professional,” Sue said.  

Embroidery can save families money when all jackets look alike, for example on a sports or dance team. Putting a child’s name on it means one less lost item. One Stitch at a Time can do designs up to 8 by 12 inches on the back of a shirt or jacket. 

Names can be done while a customer waits. Personalization is $7 per line on average depending on length. 

“We can ship anywhere,” Garnett said, noting they have worked with an irrigation company and a school out west. One Stitch at a Time will be at the Windham Boosters Craft Fair this fall, but there’s no need to wait. 

“Someone out there is looking for good quality,” Sue said. They found it at One Stitch at a Time at 126 Albion Road in Windham. They have a dedicated driveway near their sign. For more information, email, call 207-310-1756 or 207-310-1692 or visit them on Facebook. They take all major credit cards through PayPal.

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