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2015 Embroidery Business Industry Report

2015 Embroidery Business Industry Report

Throughout June and July we surveyed hundreds of embroidery businesses to gather information about the state of their business. Questions were asked regarding machines, customers, products, business structure, marketing, plans for growth, and more.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to take the survey.

About Respondants

Age (years)

We collected responses from all 50 states

We received the most responses from:

  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Georgia

About the Business

Years of Operation

36% 5 years or less

47% 10+ years

Office Location

73% Home Office

25% Commercial/Storefront


46% 1 Employee

48% 2-5 Employees

6% 6+ Employees

We know that embroidery businesses are often small operations. With machines taking care of much of the work, a lot can be done with a small team.


98% of respondants owned an embroidery machine.

14% owned a Direct to Garment Printer.

Digitizing - Outsource or In-House?

37% of people digitized at least 80% of jobs in-house.

41% of people outsourced at least 80% of jobs.

The average ratio for jobs completed in-house vs outsourced was about 50:50. However, most businesses choose to mainly do one or the other.

Sourcing Raw Materials (Top Answers)
  • Alpha Broder
  • American Apparel
  • Bodek & Rhodes
  • Guildan
  • Hanes
  • Holloway
  • Jersey
  • Otto
  • Outdoor Caps
  • Post Authority
  • S&S Activewear
  • SanMar

Business Growth

Do you expect revenue to increase for 2015?

Expect to purchase a machine in the next 12 months.

Market & Customers

Top Segments
  • Personalized Gifts
  • Hats & Headwear
  • School Apparel
  • Team Apparel
  • Club Apparel

Sales & Marketing


70% of respondents named word of mouth, quality of service, and referrals as the most effective way to market their business. Most people know that word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing or advertising. What does your business do to get your customers talking?

Garments - Most Common Garments for Apparel Decorators
1. Polos
2. T-Shirts
3. Hats
4. Hoodies
5. Jackets
Where do you go for Industry Information?
We asked people to rank how challenging the following business practices were:
  1. Pricing Products and ServicesMost Challenging
  2. Training on Equipment & Software
  3. Sourcing Wholesale Products
  4. Maintaining Machines & EquipmentLeast Challenging

The most important business activity is maintaining current business relationships.

Maintaining steady volume, ensuring good productivity, managing expenses, and finding new business were all secondary.