Most people don’t know this but The/Studio started as a company that provided digitizing designs to embroidery shops in the US. Most embroidery shops in the US did not want to hire a full-time digitizer. Our company employed 7 full-time digitizers, the embroidery shop would send their design to us, we would digitize it and send it back to the customer to sew it out on their embroidery machines. We provided this service to embroidery shops in all 50 states and in over 20 different countries which included, Japan, Korea, Germany, Netherlands, Dubai, Canada, Australia, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico, France, Israel, Philippines, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Brunei, Singapore and Turks & Caicos, Switzerland and Italy.
One day one of our long term customer’s asked us if we could do embroidered patches. They had a 100 piece order for a local paintball group, and they were unhappy with their previous supplier, so they asked us if we could help. We had never produced an embroidered patch before, but we were up for the challenge. We learned everything about the industry in a few days, we produced the order and as they say the rest is history. I recently found the second patch that we produced for this customer (the 2nd custom patch that we ever did), which was for the US Army 1st Battalion 111th Aviation Regiment Makos. I even remember the quantity of this order which was 300 pieces.
After this order we built our first website using the images of the paintball and the army patch that we had just completed. We were one of the first custom patch companies to build a website and advertise on Google. By providing a great quality product, at a fair price, we slowly started to gain market share. However, what really set us apart was the fact that we offered an amazingly quick turnaround time, we started to create innovative special options for patches, and we offered really low minimum quantities.
When we first started in the embroidered patch industry, the average turnaround time was 4 to 8 weeks for a customer to receive their patch. 4 weeks was considered rush service. We worked with our suppliers and came up with innovative production methods and shipping solutions to the point where we eventually shortened the lead time down to about 5 to 6 days for rush orders, to around 10 to 14 days for standard orders. To this day we have the quickest custom patch service in the industry. One of our most proudest stories is that Mott’s Jam ordered 20,000 pieces from us on a Thursday and we had the entire order delivered to them the following Tuesday. No other company could match our turnaround time speed then, or today.
In addition to that we worked with our suppliers to create innovative special options to give our customer’s the ability to have True Customization (TM) when producing their patches. When we first started in the custom patch industry the special options that were available were Velcro, Metallic Thread, Iron on Backing, Button Loop, and merrowed border. We came up with special options such as: rhinestones, frayed edges, puff patches, vintage worn style, pin patches, wearable magnetic patches, adhesive, glow in the dark thread, reflective, camouflage, gingham, organic and even fire retardant patches for fire departments. You will see some of our competitors offering these special options, but we were the innovators that came up with these special options, and some of these special options none of our competitors even offer to this day.
Lastly we changed the custom embroidered patch market but reducing the minimum order requirements. When we first started in the industry the minimum order quantity was 100 pieces. We decided to offer an affordable 50 piece patch option. When our competitors tried to copy our 50 piece patch offering, we reduced our minimum requirement to 20 pieces. When that was copied we offered a 10 piece option, and when that was copied, we decided to even offer a 1 piece minimum requirement.
Through innovation, hard work, and getting feedback from our customer’s we became the largest supplier of embroidered patches in the US.