The hottest sewing and embroidery machines from Brother are fueling entrepreneurial spirit as sewing enthusiasts and crafters are tapping into their creative side and starting their own businesses – now more than ever. Embroidery has taken center stage as one of the fastest growing trends in the South. As a result, Southeast Sewing Products (known as SewingMachine.com), an Authorized Brother dealer with two locations in Atlanta and West Point, Georgia, has seen a surge in the number of customers who are starting their own businesses.
“Sewing today is more creative and fun than it was years ago,” said Mel Tramell, owner of Southeast Sewing Products. With over 53 years of experience in the industry, Mel has seen it all. His background as a regional sales manager and national trainer in the sewing industry laid the foundation for his success when he opened his flagship store in Atlanta in 1982. For the past 15 years, Southeast Sewing Products is one of only two Brother dealers in the country that sells to both the home and industrial sides of the business. “It makes us unique and allows us to market to a diverse group of customers,” Mel said. “It’s a great feeling to know we can share our experience and watch our customers succeed with their own businesses.”
Every year, Southeast Sewing Products participates in at least 20 home craft and industrial shows where they demonstrate the newest Brother machines and their amazing capabilities. Living up to its name, the Entrepreneur® PR655 6-needle embroidery machine from Brother and the new Persona PRS100 single-needle embroidery machine have become favorites among Southeast Sewing Products’ customers and embroidery enthusiasts in that particular region.
“The embroidery business is booming,” said Dana Mizelle, manager of Southeast Sewing Products. “We have hundreds of customers who have started their own businesses and our Brother-sponsored ‘Start Your Own Business’ events are sold out every time. I’ve actually heard some of our customers say they have too much business!” Dana says monogramming is big business in the South and Southeast regions of the country. “Everything is monogrammed,” Dana said laughingly. Her customers are marketing their embroidered products through social media outlets like Etsy, Facebook and Instagram, and are reaching customers far and wide. From embroidered purses and boots to baseball caps and stadium throws, the embroidery possibilities seem virtually endless for today’s entrepreneurs. Dana explains how some of her customers have found a niche embroidering pet clothes, leashes and collars. One of her customers has even found a market embroidering custom wheelchair seat covers. “There are very creative people out there, and Brother machines are making it easier than ever to turn that creativity into a profitable business,” Dana said.
The Brother ScanNCut is joining the ranks as entrepreneurs are adding this revolutionary cutting machine to their business. “I’ve seen some of my customers use the ScanNCut to cut vinyl, apply appliqué and monogram the most amazing things. Dana described a gift shop in Georgia that sells all “blank” items that can be customized for anyone (and any occasion) and which uses only Brother machines. “It’s the greatest concept for the person who has everything,” Dana explained. “The business is a huge success since everything is unique and one-of-a-kind.” Hospital gift shops in the area jumped on board and have purchased Brother embroidery machines. “I was thrilled to see how family members can visit the hospital gift shop and instantly have a baby blanket or gift item embroidered, right on the spot,” Dana explained. “Brother is the leader in embroidery and has proven time and again how anyone from any walk of life can use their machines to enrich the lives of others while still making a living.”
While embroidery is in the lead, quilting is making a comeback, and the interest is stronger than ever at Southeast Sewing Products. “I’m amazed at the age diversity of quilters these days,” said Dana. “It’s not grandma’s hobby anymore. The newest technology from Brother has made the machines faster and easier to use. It’s a labor of love and our customers are taking pride in their unique creations.” Dana says the Persona PRS100 is excellent for quilting as well as embroidery, which allows her customers to expand their creativity (and even their businesses). “Some of our customers are earning extra money by turning old shirts into quilt memories. It seems there’s a market for anything these days,” Dana said. “If you can dream it, you can make it – Brother makes it all possible.”
Local schools are playing a part in teaching students how to start their own businesses. Dana explained how some schools are offering career-tech classes where students learn how to embroider their own products and are then taught how to market them. “It’s a great way to get our youth to think outside the box by nurturing their creative sides and giving them the business knowledge to sell their own creations.”
Brother machines can be found in the most surprising places. “Selling industrial machines as well as home machines has some unique advantages,” said Mel. Atlanta is becoming a popular city for filming major motion pictures. Southeast Sewing Products has been a part of the excitement by renting Brother industrial sewing machines to the wardrobe departments of some of the most popular movies to date. Mel explains how his store has become popular with local fashion designers who have been known to design for celebrities as well. “They are like kids in a candy store when they visit our showroom,” Mel said. “It’s great to see them get excited about the new machines and hear about who they are designing for next.”
Mel says that even though Southeast Sewing Products is a multi-line dealer, Brother remains the one company that stays ahead of the competition by continually offering exceptional products and industry-first features. He credits his Brother regional sales manager, Lisa Dwyer, for her outstanding ability to meet their needs and support their business every step of the way. “We all work as a team to grow our business, but there’s no better feeling knowing we are guiding our customers down the road to success.”