EmbroidMe franchisee: How a franchise system gave me the foundation to grow as a business owner

Saturday, September 05, 2015

At 16 years old, the owner of a screen printing and embroidery business took me under his wing. At first, he hoped to eventually sell his business to me. But after seeing the sparkle in my eye and the love I gave to his business he eventually didn't want to sell. I was proud that I helped restore the passion he once had when he started his business.

Regardless of that minor setback, I was determined to own a company where I could combine art, creativity, and financial success. I took out my pen and paper - a good way to affirm my commitment - and set criteria for my business. I wanted: a system education training innovation creativity connections experts growth real estate legacy name recognition In my late teens, I shared this list with my uncle, Charlie Emma (who was also the family's business advisor, my godfather, and a lawyer). I was determined to find my dream company and to fulfill all the needs on my list while creating financial stability now and in the future.

Uncle Charlie did a quick Google search and the top result was EmbroidMe. He came to me immediately with documents to review. The business profile matched my criteria list and when I read the name at the top of the folder, "EmbroidMe," I knew that would be my business. The name even include my initials: M.E. I felt as though the stars had aligned.

My brand existed. And now I had the right business behind me with credibility and the name recognition I desired.

In a way, my mentor's change of heart about selling was a blessing in disguise. Otherwise, I never would have found EmbroidMe, which has set me up for my future. Currently, EmbroidMe is the world's largest embroidery franchise with over 200 owners and locations globally. Thanks to the United Franchise Group (UFG), the creator of the EmbroidMe system with over six other global brands, my legacy - and now the brand's legacy - can continue because the system lives beyond all of us.

Business in general revolves around the success of others. As one grows, we all grow. I would recommend that anyone who seeks to be an entrepreneur start out by owning a franchise or being apart of a system of entrepreneurs like Entrepreneurs Organization, a global, peer-based non-profit. By absorbing others' knowledge, any business-owner can and will be able to create a turnkey operation that makes money. I call it "entrepreneurship school." Live it, love it, and learn from it.

@UFG Expo accepting my Hall of Fame Award in Vegas with the President of EmbroidMe Mark Johnson and Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group.Courtesy of Maria EmmaMaria Emma accepting her Hall of Fame Award in Vegas with the President of EmbroidMe Mark Johnson and Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group.

I know some entrepreneurs are apprehensive of the franchise system, but I'm living proof that if you embrace it, you'll learn from the best. Because I knew I had a great foundation and system working for me, I was able to fearlessly start a separate company sister company called OnsiteEventMe.

OnsiteEventMe was my resolution to a shaky 2008 economy. My customers weren't coming to me, so I decided to go to them. EmbroidMe taught me everything I needed to know inside my own retail shop, and now I was going to take that knowledge out of my store by monogramming, embroidering, and printing directly at my clients location. My idea was to let the client experience and learn my business so we could create together - right then and there. The clients would pay a premium for an expert team who can create immediately under pressure. After only one event, the love to create one of a kind pieces usually becomes contagious, and my clients are able to continue customization at the EmbroidMe shop with a one week turnaround.

After seeing EmbroidMe's success in NYC, I wanted my fellow owners outside New York to grow with me. In 2008, I choose PR Brother's beta-tester machines. Originally, it was meant for home sewing, but it provided quicker embroidery results with touch-screen capabilities. It was ahead of its time.

I was one of the first to use this portable machine and take it outside my store and into my customers large retail chains, such as Macy's, Saks, Thomas Pink, Kipling, Lord & Taylor, etc. - with experts present for the whole process to create, embroider, print, and embellish. Large retail chains benefit from our services on special occasions like Christmas, Father's Day or Mother's Day by letting the customer on their end know they can create something special for their loved ones. It sends the message "we care" and makes the experience one-of-a-kind. Then the customer is happy, the word spreads and makes growth contagious as well.

For example, there are days where we have done over 20 events around the country from California to New York while also filming an episode for Project Runway at EmbroidMe NYC and handling EmbroidMe's clients. I know this may sound crazy to create under pressure but my expert team loves it! We know how to keep all the balls juggling in the air and do it well, again and again.

Recently, I just received my dealer license with PR Brother to sell the touch screen embroidery machines that helped me become so successful. I look forward to the partnership and having the opportunity to train many other entrepreneurs on these machines. I am very grateful for the foundation the EmbroidMe system has given me to grow, scale up my OnsiteEventMe business and impact the world. This year I became one of the top income earners in the EmbroidMe franchise and hit the highest achievement levels as a franchisee owner by receiving the UFG's Hall of Fame Award. I look forward to continuing to grow and multiply creativity all over the world with all my clients, partners and entrepreneurs.

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