alphabroder Canada (asi/37143)
2013 Rank: 7
It’s been a year of big changes and growth for alphabroder, starting with the name itself, as the 95-year-old Broder Bros. rebranded to unite the various companies it owns – Imprints, NES, Alpha Shirt Co. – under one strong parent brand. Under the leadership of Hullinger and Hayes, alphabroder also merged with Stitches' Top 25 Apparel Supplier Ash City, expanding its footprint into Canada and integrating Ash City’s respected private label brands. “Alphabroder was a distribution company that had a void in their portfolio,” Hayes says of the merger. “That was why it was such a good fit.” Other improvements at the $933 million company include a recent collaboration with software developer InkSoft, which gives alphabroder customers access to its interactive design tool, Design Studio, from the alphabroder website.
Executive Chairman and Founder
2013 Rank: 1
Stahl can stand the heat, leading the world’s largest manufacturer of heat presses to multiple years of record-breaking sales and revenue growth of more than 10% year over year. More than 75,000 customers buy heat-printing equipment and materials from GroupeSTAHL. Cadworxlive, its online design portal for direct-to-garment printers, boasts 22,000 registered users. The 82-year-old company continues to innovate, introducing heat presses that drastically cut production time and CAD-COLOR transfer materials specially engineered to keep up with advances in performance fabrics. In January, GroupeSTAHL announced a partnership with The Wild Side, a transfer manufacturer with a huge collection of high-definition stock transfers. Besides directly serving decorators, GroupeSTAHL is a licensed garment graphics supplier to the NBA, NHL and MLB, providing on-demand support for custom-replica jerseys at All-Star events.
Founder and CEO
2013 Rank: 2
Started in 1971 as Founder Marty Lott’s college project, SanMar has grown into a powerhouse in the industry, selling an estimated $500 million in blank apparel this year. The Lott family business continues to expand its catalog, rolling out more than 230 new products in 2014 and adding Anvil (asi/36350) to its brand lineup. To maintain its reputation for exceptional customer service, the company added a warehouse in Phoenix and broke ground on a larger facility in Reno, NV. SanMar is also proud of its suite of training options for customers, from step-by-step video tutorials to marketing webinars chock-full of tips and tricks.
Gildan Activewear SRL
2013 Rank: 4
A top manufacturer of basic family apparel, Gildan continues to lead the pack, increasing revenue in 2013 by 12% to nearly $2.2 billion. The Montreal-headquartered company’s printwear division, led by Hoffman, fared even better, growing sales by 14% over the last year. The supplier has shown a commitment to sustainability, and is one of only two North American apparel brands listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Gildan has reduced its landfill waste by 25% and greenhouse gas emissions by 32% since 2010. Gildan also expects to create 700 manufacturing jobs in the U.S., investing in a number of yarn-spinning factories.
Hirsch International (asi/14982)
2013 Rank: 3
The exclusive U.S. distributor of Tajima embroidery machines, among other offerings, Hirsch International has enjoyed 20% growth in the last year, thanks to a customer base of more than 30,000. Led by Gallagher and Janowski, Hirsch was lauded as the top distributor, worldwide, of Kornit digital printers, Tajima machines and Pulse software. To better serve its growing customer base, Hirsch opened several new sales offices throughout the U.S., a sales office in Canada and a new distribution center in Jonesville, NC.
Tajima Industries Ltd.
2013 Rank: 5
Celebrating 70 years, Tajima Industries boasts more embroidery heads in operation than any other machine company. The Japan-based corporation manufactures everything from a modest single-head machine to a 56-head mammoth. Tajima has developed more than 3,000 embroidery machine models, sold in more than 100 countries. The family-owned company is proud of its cutting-edge research and development work, holding hundreds of patents as it works to raise the bar on efficiency and intuitive operation of embroidery machines. Tajima also develops sewing machines designed to overcome the challenges of specialized fabrics.
Vice President, Product Management
2013 Rank: 6
It’s been a quarter of a century since CorelDRAW was first introduced, and the Ottawa-based Corel Corp. continues to innovate, offering a broad range of award-winning products for graphic design, digital art, photo editing, video editing and productivity. Under the leadership of Métrailler, the latest version of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite – X7 – has garnered accolades from publications like PC World. This year, the company began offering subscriptions to the cloud-based version of its programs. In February, Corel announced a 41-state discount pricing agreement with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, to give more students access to its powerful software.
Dean F. Shulman
Senior Vice President, Home Appliance and Industrial Products Divisions
Brother International Corp.
2013 Rank: 8
In the last eight years, Brother has firmly established itself in the hobby and crafts market, aligning with the do-it-yourself movement popularized by reality shows like Project Runway. The manufacturer’s ScanNCut machine, an electronic home and hobby cutting machine with built-in scanner, nabbed an innovation and design award this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It was also voted the No. 1 hot item at the Craft & Hobby Association Mega Show in Anaheim, CA. But Brother isn’t resting on its laurels – it’s poised to launch a full line of sewing and crafting equipment for 2015. “Brother is committed to exceeding the most extreme expectations of our customers; if they dream it, we’ll build it,” Shulman says.
Madeira USA Ltd.
2013 Rank: 10
Madeira is an industry-leading company, boasting the largest selection of specialty threads and a full array of high-end embroidery supplies. Clark, who took over the U.S. division last year, has been hard at work improving customer service and education and launching new products to make decorators’ lives easier. Among the new offerings is a thread and product display that grew out of a much-coveted trade show exhibit and a multifunctional frame system that helps smaller-volume shops to make badges and emblems in-house. Clark is also leading the push for a free online design service to enable embroiderers to show potential clients how a logo will appear in various colors and positions on garments and soft goods.
Brian Goldberg and Tas Tsonis
2013 Rank: 11
Pulse Microsystems is at the bleeding-edge of technological advances when it comes to the decorated apparel industry. Thanks to founders Goldberg and Tsonis’ emphasis on research, Pulse holds more than 15 embroidery-related patents. “When you innovate in an industry like embroidery, the competition has a hard time catching up,” Tsonis says. In the last year, the company introduced new PulseID technology to automate decorators’ production processes, offering a new subscription service to make the software available to smaller enterprises. Pulse also released DG15, the latest version of its design software, and created the PulseCloud so users can edit, save, send and monitor designs and machines from multiple devices. Its new lettering program, Autograph, was developed specifically for retail embroidery personalization.
Hanes Branded Printwear (asi/59528)
2013 Rank: 13
Chances are you have at least one Hanes garment in your dresser drawer. The apparel giant sells more T-shirts, socks and other wardrobe basics in the U.S. than any other company, with eight out of 10 households sporting the brand. Somerville has been with Hanes for well over two decades, helping position the brand as a reliable, on-trend supplier. Unlike many apparel companies, Hanes manufactures the vast majority of its garments in its own factories, and the supplier has received multiple accolades for its continued commitment to sustainability. The $4.6 billion brand continues to expand, acquiring Maidenform in October 2013 and announcing the addition of DB Apparel of France this June.
President and CEO
Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788)
2013 Rank: 14
Family-owned firm Bodek and Rhodes under Rhodes’ leadership has a lot to celebrate as it turns 75 this year. The third-largest industry apparel supplier, with $235 million in sales last year, Bodek and Rhodes has won numerous awards. With a focus on marketing and technology, the supplier continues to grow and improve: The company recently built a 100,000-square-foot warehouse at its Philadelphia headquarters to increase its inventory and meet customer demand. It also introduced MyMobile, a mobile version of a website that thousands of its customers are customizing as their own.
President and CEO
Digital Arts Solutions (asi/14970)
2013 Rank: 12
This year, Digital Arts Solutions introduced the Campus Apparel Marketing System, a monthly subscription program that provides small decorating businesses with catalogs, design templates, sales flyers and everything else they need to market decorated apparel to schools and teams. Additionally, the latest version of Smart Designer Pro, its add-on software for CorelDRAW, includes a new feature that will automatically download and install templates from its Campus Apparel Marketing System. Under Mertens’ leadership, Digital Arts Solutions has grown to serve more than 80,000 customers, and this year, it trained individuals from more than 2,000 companies.
Co-Founder and CEO
2013 Rank: 15
Brothers George and Jerry Westphal were in the retail embroidery business when they recognized a gaping hole in the industry’s offerings – stock embroidery designs. Together, they built Dakota Collectibles, the source for a large variety of high-quality stock embroidery designs that can be delivered in a timely manner. With thousands of unique and licensed designs available online, the company continues to release new collections regularly. Stock designs will always be Dakota’s bread and butter, but it’s now also offering new items such as rhinestone lanyards, keytags and other fun accessories.
Manager of Education, Consumer Division
2013 Rank: 20
A well-known international industry educator, Lamb continues to provide decoration education to multiple vertical markets via more than 60 live annual seminars and a live Sawgrass Technologies webinar program. This year, he joined the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) Education Advisory Board, which is an effort to create uniform training standards and processes to provide job training skills that can be used to create a labor pool for the decorating industry. This year, Sawgrass released the FabricMaker, a system that uses a chemical process to bond ink to fabric. Originally designed for quilters, FabricMaker is also useful for applications such as custom appliqués. Additionally, Lamb led the Sawgrass team in the publication of a free e-book for the decorated-apparel industry – Making Money in the School Market – that provides a marketing plan to help businesses find in-roads in schools. In 2014, Sawgrass also saw its 15,000th webinar registration for its educational programs. Lamb has steadily moved up the Power 75 since its inception due to his prolific educational efforts at a majority of industry shows each year. Few industry speakers are as in demand as he is.
Jeff Adams and Paul Rohr
S&S Activewear (asi/84358)
2013 Rank: 17
Adams and Rohr are committed to growth: Late last year, Bolingbrook, IL-based S&S Activewear acquired New Jersey-based Eva Tees, renaming it Eva Sportswear (asi/52834) and relocating operations from Piscataway to a larger 250,000-square-foot warehouse in Robinsville. S&S also augmented Eva’s inventory, adding 40 new brands this year. The acquisition comes a few years after the $195 million supplier nabbed West Coast apparel company Americana Sportswear (asi/35722). Among its more than 60 brands of blank apparel and accessories, S&S recently introduced an exclusive line of Oakley bags, polos and hats.
CEO and President
Barudan Co. Ltd.
Vice President of Sales
Barudan America Inc.
2013 Rank: 21
Banking on a reputation for quality and reliability, Barudan has been in the embroidery business since 1959. Its new X Series machines have Barudan’s SH sewing head, an 8.4” color LCD display, three USB ports, a LAN connector and new Mark 7 trimmers, among other new features to make operation easier and more efficient. Besides selling embroidery machines and parts, the company also offers digitizing and networking software. The key to Barudan’s ongoing success, however, is the extensive training it provides customers and certified technicians, according to Yamaue and Stone. The manufacturer offers onsite installation and training for all machine purchases with continued support via phone and online.
Jennifer Cox, Arch Ritchie and Susan Ritchie
National Network of Embroidery Professionals (asi/187622)
2013 Rank: 24
This year, NNEP – a membership organization that provides support and training to more than 700 businesses, representing 1,850 professionals in the apparel decoration industry – released the first national Embroidery and Apparel Decoration Business Directory that allows potential customers to find and contact local professionals who can provide them with apparel decoration services. With Cox and the Ritchies at the helm, NNEP also continued its successful DoDuds clothing drives for local women’s shelters, sometimes providing the only new clothing these women and children ever receive. To date, NNEP has distributed 7,625 pounds of clothing to shelters in 17 states. Since 1996, NNEP has served more than 6,100 decorating businesses. NNEP has moved up the Power 75 due to its long-time support of small and fledgling embroidery businesses, especially during the economic downturn.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
2013 Rank: 19
This year, embroidery machine and software manufacturer Melco, a subsidiary company of the BERNINA Textile Group, released its Melco Applications Network, which allows customers to ask industry experts questions in various areas of apparel decoration, from puff embroidery to multimedia decoration. Recently, Melco released its cutting-edge 16-needle embroidery machine, the EMT16, which can sew bulky items like golf bags, has new patch holding attachments for work wear uniforms and slim clamps for pocket embroidery. Additionally, the company provides extensive training and support for all of its offerings, including Melcoworld.com, a social network where professionals can share their experience and knowledge with the community. Under Angel’s leadership, Melco had a 30% increase in distribution during 2014, bringing its total customers served to more than 100,000 customers in 120 countries worldwide.
Vantage Apparel (asi/93390)
2013 Rank: 23
In 2014, Vantage Apparel, which enhanced its customer communications system, was awarded the PPAI Supplier Achievement award for the 18th consecutive year, and also won the Promo Marketing Supplier Excellence Award. Under Neaman’s guidance, the company significantly increased its contract screen-printing capacity with the addition of two more automatic screen-printing presses and computer-to-screen equipment for setups. This year, Vantage also added Van Heusen to its already impressive catalog, which includes brand names such as Polo, adidas and Izod. The company focused on merchandizing an apparel collection with a strong emphasis on performance-driven fabrics and younger looks in solids, patterns and textures. This $48 million company specializes in embroidery, but also offers expert sequin embroidery, screen-printing and laser-appliqué services.
President and CEO
Otto International (asi/75350)
2013 Rank: 22
Under Lee’s leadership, Otto International now supplies more than 30,000 decorator and distributor customers with caps and other headwear as well as shirts and bags that can be embellished with traditional or puff embroidery or screen printing. With over $28.5 million in revenue, the company ranked 20 on Stitches’ 2014 Top 25 Apparel Suppliers list. Lee and his team have also launched a platform on Otto’s website, which enables customers to get instant real-time quotes for embroidery, digital printing and heat-transfer options for domestic and overseas orders.
Vice President of Operations
Vice President of Merchandising
2013 Rank: 26
Tri-Mountain, which turned 20 this year, has a slew of industry awards to its name, ranking 11th in this year’s list of Stitches’ Top 25 Apparel Suppliers, with about $70 million in annual sales. In the last two years, Tri-Mountain launched 348 styles across its five private label brands, which include Tri-Mountain Performance and Lilac Bloom. The company also grew the decoration side of its business, adding laser etching and expanding its heat-transfer services. The supplier also offers embroidery, digitizing and private labeling to customers. The company moved up three spots in part due to positive influence ratings from our survey of the industry.
2013 Rank: 27
Recognized for her pageboy bob haircut and sunglasses, Wintour, who has headed up Vogue for more than 25 years, has been an influential member of the fashion world for decades, inspiring designers’ use of embroidery, appliqué and sequins from the runway to retail fashions in stores around the world. Wintour was inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame in 2010, and just this past January was named the 39th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Now artistic director for Condé Nast publications, Wintour continues to expand her influence and share her expertise with the international fashion community. As decorators continue to replicate high-end embellishments they see on designer garments in Vogue’s pages for a fraction of the price, Wintour’s influence in the decorated-apparel community grows.
Staton Corporate & Casual (asi/89380)
Edward Staton founded Staton Corporate & Casual in 1981, but it’s his wife, Billie, who has led the $118 million company for years, allowing Edward to pursue other business interests. Billie credits her husband with teaching her everything she needed to know about the industry, helping her to thrive in the leadership role. The apparel supplier continues to expand its brand offerings, recently adding big names like Van Heusen and Reebok to its lineup. Also big for 2014 was social media, with Staton launching a well-received Internet talk show that covers fashion and industry news.
MV Sport/Weatherproof (asi/68318)
2013 Rank: 29
MV Sport/Weatherproof, an apparel supplier and contract decorator that serves the corporate, college, military and resort markets, reported more than $70 million in revenue in 2013. Under Peyser’s leadership this year, the company installed 5,000 photovoltaic cells at its Long Island, NY-based facilities, thus using solar power to provide 95% of the company’s electricity usage. The company now also offers clients an online order system that provides free freight for non-decorated goods. MV Sport has acquired a number of divisions in the last few years, including Gallery Coat Co., 32 Degrees, Weatherproof Vintage and Weatherproof, which was a member of the 2013 Super Bowl Host Committee and also selected as a licensee by Tumi Outerwear. The company moved up three spots in part due to positive influence ratings from a survey of the industry.
President and CEO
2013 Rank: 31
Producers of direct-to-garment printers, embroidery and rhinestone machines, and a spangle transfer system, ColDesi this year released the RIP Pro C6 for direct-to-garment printers and celebrated record-setting garment printer sales. Under the leadership of Colman and Shahvaran, the company has placed a laser focus on educating clients, which includes live online training in the form of moderated webinars complete with real-time exercises that customers complete on their own equipment. ColDesi also started one of the most comprehensive online training systems in the industry with self-paced courses, where customers walk through a presentation and videos, and complete exercises and quizzes. The company moved up four spots thanks to very positive influence ratings from our industry survey.
River’s End Trading Co. (asi/82588)
It’s been a comeback year for River’s End Trading Co., thanks to new leadership and a capital investment from private equity firm GCI. Maher replaced longtime executive Dick Ward. Previously, Maher worked as a key executive at Land’s End Outfitters (asi/250566), most recently serving as senior vice president and general manager. GCI, which holds a sizable minority ownership of River’s End, will help the supplier of golf and corporate apparel expand the number of brands it offers, and improve technology and customer service, Maher says. “We’re certainly looking to build the company for the future,” he adds.
DecoNetwork Pty Ltd.
2013 Rank: 30
With the release of the seventh version of its flagship e-commerce platform this summer, DecoNetwork focused on solving the day-to-day pain points of its decorator customers in this upgrade. “When it comes to e-commerce or online business, decorators often think of having a website with an online designer, but that’s just a small part of what you need to be successful online,” Kristiaman says. DecoNetwork 7 gives decorators control of their business, both online and off, helping them improve workflow and efficiency, he adds. The company also introduced SmartSelect Technology, which imports products from leading apparel supplier catalogs and automatically categorizes garment and fabric types according to their suitability for various decoration processes. More than 25,000 Web stores are powered by DecoNetwork, allowing the company to double its revenue this year, a trend it expects to replicate in 2015.
2013 Rank: 35
This year, Dalco upgraded its StockStitch Automatic Appliqué Software, which automates the process of sewing stock letters, numbers and shapes. In the upgraded version 6.2, users receive six appliqué dye-sublimated number fonts, including Pro Team, Dagger and Shock, in various sizes and up to three colors. Dalco has more than 1,500 registered StockStitch users, and offers training at its offices, onsite at client businesses, and via phone calls or Skype. With Feil at the helm, Dalco supplies products for the spirit wear, team and cheer markets, and also offers a full line of official and referee uniforms and accessories. Dalco continues to rise on the Power 75 because of its affordable, innovative products that allow decorators to break into the team and spirit wear markets with very little overhead.
Director of Software Technologies
Hirsch International (asi/14982)
2013 Rank: 36
In 2014, Levy led the implementation of the first international internship program at Hirsch; notably, the program’s first intern earned his master’s degree in textile engineering. Additionally, Levy spearheaded the launch of Hirsch’s brand new website (www.hic.us), which focuses on educating customers; this program trains more than 250 new customers and over 1,000 existing customers annually. With an eye on improving customer experience, Levy helped create and launch a new software support system that reduced Hirsch’s customer response time to less than 60 minutes, and more than 87% of queries are resolved during first contact. An industry veteran and international educator, this year, Levy has presented more than 30 seminars to industry professionals, bringing his total number of presentations to 700 since 1989. Levy also contributes to Hirsch’s R & D efforts, helping to improve production efficiency in imprinting methods, especially multimedia applications. Levy has steadily risen on the Power 75 because of his innovative approach to creating production-friendly, multimedia designs in automated environments.
President and CEO
This supplier of commercial materials has, under Wasson’s leadership, expanded north with Gunold Canada, adding an online shopping site for Canadian customers, among other initiatives. The company also added an embroidery supply warehouse in Connecticut to offer faster delivery in the Northeast and Midwest. Wasson continues to focus on customer education, and accelerated Gunold’s program of adding more on-demand free videos of embroidery products, hints and tips, including partnering with Bill Garvin of BG Tech Services, who’ll act as the company’s embroidery and machine maintenance guru and video instructor. In 2014, Gunold released its Snapfront Software, which provides 10 micro-fonts and more than 130 regular fonts as well as Puffyfonts and has been sold to over 700 customers in its first year. Additionally, Gunold released ThreadMagic, a device that attaches magnetically to an embroidery machine and prevents the twisting often associated with metallic thread.
Profill Holdings (asi/300152)
2013 Rank: 34
In 2013, Profill boasted $178.4 million in annual sales, a 9% increase over 2012. Profill also recently landed a position in Counselor magazine’s Top 40, and CEO Mouty was named to Counselor’s Power 50 as well. Through its subsidiary TSC Apparel, the company supplies T-shirts, outerwear, headwear, fleece and accessories, and through its screen-printing and embroidery arm WearMagic, the supplier produces more than 7.5 million imprints and 500,000 embroideries annually. TSC Apparel has two distribution facilities in Shanghai and Guangzhou, China.
Eric J. Rubin
Philip J. Rubin
Blue Generation (asi/40653)
2013 Rank: 37
This year, Blue Generation was named ASI Family Business of the Year, EmbroidMe Wearables Vendor of the Year, and Eric Rubin was named to Counselor’s Power 50. Additionally, the apparel supplier expanded its 100% polyester moisture-wicking collection, including polos and cross-weave woven shirts. Offering 73 color choices, Blue Generation sells a variety of clothing – from Oxford cloth shirts to hoodies to shorts. The $52 million company has been a family-owned and operated business since 1944 and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The company moved up three spots thanks to positive influence ratings from an industry survey.
Director, Embroidery and Distributor Sales Division
American & Efird Inc.
2013 Rank: 39
Recently named one of America’s 16 Safest Companies by EHS Today Magazine, American & Efird is a global embroidery and sewing thread company. Under Dunne’s leadership, American & Efird purchased German company Gutterman Thread in 2013. American & Efird’s products are manufactured in 20 countries, distributed in 44 countries and sold to thousands of customers in 95 countries around the world, and it produces threads for use in everything from industrial sewing to technical specification to embroidered garments to hand-made goods. The company moved up four spots thanks to positive influence ratings from our industry survey.
2013 Rank: 38
In 2014, EmbroidMe was named to Entrepreneur’s Top 500 Franchise list as well as Counselor’s Top 40 Distributor list. With more than 300 stores in 12 countries, the decorating giant provides embroidery, printed apparel, custom apparel, promotional products, screen printing and personalized gifts through its franchise operations. Under the leadership of Titus and Johnson, the $82.7 million company recently released a new online training portal, which includes general sales and business training tools as well as equipment training and repair information for franchise owners.
The Embroidery Coach
2013 Rank: 42
Retirement isn’t part of Jagger’s vocabulary. Rather than take up gardening after handing over the reins of her successful embroidery business, Jagger launched a six-figure training empire, helping her students (decorating firm owners) avoid many of the mistakes she’s made in her long career. “I hate to see embroiderers struggle when it is totally unnecessary,” the 75-year-old says. Jagger was featured in Stitches’ August cover story, “Can This Shop Be Saved?” as she set a floundering Wisconsin shop owner on the path toward success. In addition to jet-setting across the country for regular on-site coaching, Jagger continues to add how-to videos, webinars and other information to her website (www.theembroiderycoach.com), for a client base of more than 2,700. Jagger has continued to move up the Power 75 due to her spot-on, no-nonsense approach to turning struggling decorating businesses into powerhouse firms.
Owner and Founder
The Embroidery Network and Steel Town Graphics
2013 Rank: 40
The Embroidery Network is an online resource that includes hundreds of technical articles, free and fee-based videos, webinars, newsletters, designs and training resources. To reach an even broader audience, Prokator has also released a DVD training series that acts as a Supplemental Guide to Digitizing. Despite impressive growth in the first year, Prokator expects his efforts to really show for this past year of business between The Embroidery Network and Steel Town Graphics, the store front that offers a range of decorated apparel services. “In 2013, we did $20,000 in revenue,” he says. “We’re on track to triple that and make around $60,000.”
Director of Retail Customization
LIDS Sports Group
2013 Rank: 45
LIDS Sports Group, operating within Hat World Inc., is a U.S.-based retailer that specializes in headwear for professional and collegiate sports teams. LIDS stores make up more than 1,100 mall, airport, street and factory outlets nationwide, and offer custom embroidery capability in 800 of those locations. As of this year, LIDS is the exclusive destination for on-demand NBA custom and player jerseys, which also includes licensed NBA player name/number embroidery options for select headwear. Custom Zone on the Road, a mobile customization opportunity that allows LIDS to provide custom embroidery at special events, operated at Super Bowl XXXVIII in New York City on behalf of the NFL, offering custom jerseys, tees, embroidery, patches, footballs and prints. Haffner’s company jumped six spots due to its continued expansion, and the software and technology the company offers its employees to up the ease and speed with which they offer customized embroidery to clients.
Founder and CEO
Ryonet Corp. (asi/528500)
2013 Rank: 43
Over the course of a decade, Ryonet Corp. has helped more than 55,000 people learn how to screen print (and run a successful screen-printing business), and in June 2014, the company had its first $3 million gross revenue month. Under Moor’s leadership, the company launched the Green Galaxy Ink line, which are environmentally and printer-friendly. Currently, Ryonet offers its Screen Print Experience Class in eight locations throughout the U.S., and last year, more than 1,500 people were given hands-on training through the class. “We at Ryonet believe in the power of dreams – so much so that we stake a whole business around making people’s screen-printing dreams come true,” Moor says.
Larry Kaufman and Catalina Frank
Epson America Inc.
A leading provider of professional digital imaging solutions, Epson recently entered the decorated apparel market with the introduction of its SureColor F2000 direct-to-garment machines and the Epson SureColor F-Series dye-sublimation printers. Engineered by Epson from the ground up with Kaufman at the helm, the SureColor F2000 Series printers deliver industrial-level production, image quality and reliability. With the ability to print directly onto garments – T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, tote bags and more – ranging from 100% cotton to 50/50 cotton/synthetic fiber blends, the SureColor F2000 Series offers additional revenue opportunities for decorators. Ideal for any high-performance cut-and-sew apparel application, ranging from high-end athletic wear to mouse pads to customized specialty products, and managed directly by Frank, the Epson SureColor F-Series – 44” F6070 and 64” F7170 – are ideal large-format dye-sublimation transfer printers. Leveraging purpose-built dye-sublimation imaging technology coupled with Epson’s new Epson PrecisionCore TFP print head and Epson UltraChrome DS Ink, the SureColor F-Series provides exceptional ink efficiency, reliability and high production.
Scott M. Ritter
SMR Software Inc. and DAX
2013 Rank: 50
Almost 20 years ago, Ritter created the Decorated Apparel Expo (DAX) to be a gathering space for garment decorators and suppliers to connect. Now, DAX takes place in Kansas City, Minnesota and Chicago. For 2014, Ritter, who has written more than 300 educational articles, created the “You Can Do Anything” education series as part of DAX, where industry experts led classes on a single piece of embroidery equipment and expounded on the various ways to maximize the value of that particularly piece. In addition to DAX, SMR provides software – including BuzzExplore and BuzzEdit – for embroidery and screen-printing professionals. Ritter’s plans for 2015 include doubling the floor space at the Chicago event. Ritter jumped eight spots on this year’s list after receiving very positive influence ratings from his fellow Power 75 members and the industry at large.
MESA Distributors Inc. (asi/16004)
2013 Rank: 47
MESA offers a full line of embroidery machines, direct-to-garment printers, rhinestone machines and heat presses. The company recently released SummitUV, an LED UV printer capable of printing on a wide variety of substrates, including many heat-sensitive materials. MESA also upgraded its Highland HM/D-1501C embroidery machine to include a control panel with a larger screen and multi-tasking capability and the ability to sew continuously 1,200 stitches per minute. Having sold approximately 22,000 machines and digitizing software, Buck estimates that his company has more than 9,500 customers in the U.S. alone. The company moved up four spots in part due to positive influence ratings from a survey of the industry.
2013 Rank: 46
Embroiderers may wax eloquent about their favorite products, but it’s not often that thread gets a spotlight like Amann’s Isacord: 350 reels of the polyester machine embroidery thread starred in a music video for band Black Books. It’s not all rock ’n’ roll for Amann USA, but the one-stop embroidery supply shop gets the job done for its 5,000 customers. With Hirsch’s help, Amann Group’s U.S. division recently launched an e-commerce site, providing 24/7 secure online ordering. The shop allows users access to individual contract pricing as well as the ability to check availability for multiple locations.
Executive Vice President
Edwards Garment Co. (asi/51752)
2013 Rank: 44
Boasting in-house embroidery services for its range of uniform and corporate apparel, Edwards Garment Co. continues to grow revenue, with sales above $58 million last year – a 40% overall increase since 2010. Cesere has helped position the company on Stitches’ Top 25 Apparel Suppliers and Counselor’s Top 40 Supplier lists for the past three years. This year, the supplier received a gold distinction in Promo Marketing’s Supplier Excellence Awards. Among the company’s newest offerings are 100% polyester Batiste fabrics, notable for never fading, wrinkling or shrinking.
2013 Rank: 53
If you’re looking for steampunk stitching or other epic embroidery art, your first stop is likely to be the self-described “evil genius” of Urban Threads. The top supplier of alternative machine embroidery designs continues to make waves in the industry, growing sales by 49% this year and increasing its customer base by half. Helping raise the site’s profile even further, O’Connor and Koehler collaborate on the popular “Gear Threads” column on hip needlework blog Mr. X Stitch. The pair celebrates the art of machine embroidery and its use in contemporary art and design. On Urbanthreads.com, visitors are treated to weekly project inspiration and tutorials, as well as answers to common technical questions. O’Connor and her company have continued to move up the Power 75 due to their unique, affordable stock designs that commercial embroiderers and individuals use to embellish apparel for professional and personal use.
Chief Revenue Officer
Jackson Burnett IV
Vapor Apparel (asi/93396)
2013 Rank: 48
Furthering its focus on sublimation products and services, Vapor Apparel successfully launched a Made in the USA apparel manufacturing division, creating 13 American jobs. Last year, the 10-year-old company was recognized as one of South Carolina’s fastest-growing companies. Serving more than 8,500 companies, Vapor has experienced 20% growth every year. Bernat and Burnett continue to influence the industry, winning three national design contests for sublimation and cut-and-sew production from industry magazines, as well as an industry service award from the SGIA. Bernat also took on a position on the SGIA’s board of directors.
Corporate Business Director
Cutter & Buck (asi/47965)
2013 Rank: 52
Specializing in golf and fashion retail apparel, Cutter & Buck also offers popular promotional basics in its Clique line. The Stitches’ Top 25 Apparel Supplier has made significant advances to its in-house decoration capabilities and now is able to accept embroidery orders online. Its heat-seal process continues to grow in popularity. Other recent improvements include the launch of the mobile version of its website, www.CBcorporate.com, and more than 60 additions to the Cutter & Buck and Clique lines. Freet and Yaw say 2015 will bring even more product offerings and innovations.
John P. Colman
Seth J. Schlegel
2013 Rank: 49
Equipment supplier Pantograms continues to grow, experiencing a 40% increase in revenues, compared to 2013. Colman, Schlegel and their team launched a Virtual Demo program to allow customers the chance to interact with equipment online. The seller of embroidery machines, laser prints and background transfer papers also counts a 15-needle embroidery machine and easy-to-peel transfer paper for dark substrates among recent innovations. The company boasts more than 12,000 machines in use in the U.S.
CEO and President
BERNINA of America
2013 Rank: 54
Ashworth wants to keep all 450 BERNINA dealers in the U.S. happy. Consider the manufacturer’s new e-commerce platform, which allows customers to order certain machines online, but pick them up “in-dealership.” The platform both builds exposure for BERNINA and strengthens its dealer-based sales system. “It’s a unique model for the sewing industry,” Ashworth says. Also new for 2014: The company launched Mybernette.com, a website showcasing the bernette line. Two years ago, BERNINA purchased Melco and entered the commercial market. The E16 is its first multi-needle embroidery machine with 16 needles. The company says it’s the industry’s largest and offers high-speed stitching – up to 1,400 a minute – and a patented narrow cylindrical lower arm.
T-Biz Network International LLC
2013 Rank: 51
A 30-year veteran to the screen-printing industry and co-author of How to Print T-Shirts for Fun and Profit, Fresener focuses his time on training and mentoring the next generation of business owners. He founded the U.S. Screen Printing Institute with his wife, Pat, and from 1979 to 2009 they trained more than 11,000 students on the business of screen printing. Fresener launched T-Biz Network in 2009, and he’s the developer and distributer for T-SEPS 3.0, a color-separation software. Fresener also created Printers Boot Camp, a series of hands-on classes covering everything from starting a T-shirt screen-printing business to a master-level course on color separations. Fresener says he’s trained more than 400 clients at his boot camp and trade show workshops in the last year.
President and CEO
Charles River Apparel (asi/44620)
If you call Charles River Apparel, don’t claim that you know “Chucky,” the owner. The 31-year-old family company derives its name from an 80-mile river in Massachusetts, and President Barry Lipsett, son of founder Walter, bases his business philosophy on the values of competitive rowing: perseverance, determination and teamwork. It’s a strategy that’s served the manufacturer of outerwear and activewear well. The Stitches’ Top 25 Apparel Supplier has a customer base of more than 13,000 distributors and 2013 revenues of $34.5 million. The company projects sales to have increased 10% to 15% by the end of 2014.
Vice President of Technical Services
Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
The printing trade group is focused on expanding its reach into the garment side of the industry, launching both a quarterly journal – the SGIA Journal Garment Edition – and website (www.sgia.org/garment) targeting apparel decorators. With Shell’s guidance, the SGIA also offers more than 20 webinars tailored to the needs of the garment decoration community, garnering close to 1,000 virtual attendees. Held this October in Las Vegas, the SGIA Expo, the association’s flagship event, is ranked as one of the top 100 trade shows in the U.S.
Lee Caroselli Barnes
Owner and Designer
2013 Rank: 56
A celebrated rebel in the digitizing world, Caroselli Barnes has taken the art of punching to unheard-of peaks. The stock embroidery library of her Balboa Threadworks Embroidery Design is packed with untouchably realistic designs. Recently, Caroselli Barnes expanded the collection to include both rhinestone designs and prints that can be used for backgrounds and appliqués. Her continued commitment to excellence has helped grow the company’s mailing list to 55,000. The embroidery hall-of-famer is also an educator, teaching digitizing through videos, webinars, trade show seminars and live classes. “Our digitizing classes and videos start with a good foundation that will give you the tools to solve any problem,” she says.
2013 Rank: 59
Headed up by Malanga, software manufacturer ShopWorks is firmly rooted in the decorated apparel world. Its core product OnSite helps shop owners manage their entire business, from giving quotes to tracking orders. In the last two years, the developer added ProofStuff.com, which enables online proofing for end-users, and ManageOrders.com, an end-user portal where promotional product purchasers can approve designs and orders online. In addition to continued upgrades to its products, ShopWorks launched a cloud-based version of OnSite this year. The developer serves around 6,500 users, with 2014 revenues tracking about 9% higher than last year’s.
Executive Vice President
Heritage Sportswear + Virginia T’s (asi/60582)
2013 Rank: 57
After merging two years ago, Heritage Sportswear and Virginia T’s became one of the largest suppliers of blank apparel and accessories in the industry, boasting more than $200 million in annual sales. Under the leadership of Hays, the supplier has expanded next-day delivery service to include 19 states, created a sales team focused solely on ASI national accounts, streamlined operations in its four distribution centers and worked to make its website more user-friendly. This year, the Stitches’ Top 25 Apparel Supplier added Browning, a popular hunting apparel brand, to its lineup.
Founder and President
JCW Software LLC
2013 Rank: 58
In 2002, Waldick developed FastManager software, which makes it easier for embroiderers and screen printers to run their shops in a professional manner by providing them with the resources they need to create invoices, process payments, schedule production and simplify the quote process. This year, JCW added online approvals, allowing customers to approve artwork quickly and easily. The company offers three versions of its software, from basic to premier, targeting every shop size. With the release of the new FastManager Basic, JCW Software’s customer base has more than doubled, resulting in 13.4% growth in 2013.
2013 Rank: 60
A leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutting machines, Nagano, Japan-based Mimaki helps customers create rich images on signs, industrial products, apparel and textiles. This year, Mimaki celebrates its 15th year servicing customers in the Americas, and continues to do about 70% of its business outside Japan. Mimaki has a strong foothold in the U.S. and Europe, as well as in the fast-growing emerging markets of China, India, Brazil and Indonesia. For the textile market, Mimaki recently released the CJV300 Series, which incorporates new printheads in a staggered configuration that can deliver production print speeds of up to 1,140 square feet per hour to support a high-volume print-and-cut workflow. The integrated cut functionality enables volume production of labels, T-shirt transfers, window clings, floor graphics, vehicle markings and more.
Baby Lock USA
2013 Rank: 61
Baby Lock USA had a busy year with the official launch of world-class home serger, the Baby Lock Ovation. “This was a multi-year project so that we could ensure the right feature and performance mix that would enhance all sewers’ creative experiences,” says Jeffery. Baby Lock USA, which offers a full lineup of sewing, embroidery, quilting, sergers, long-arm quilting and specialty machines and embroidery software, has also immersed itself in the nonprofit sector, partnering with Enchanted Makeovers for the Sacred Sewing Room National Tour, a program that helps teach women and children in shelters the gift of sewing. With its dedication to excellence in the sewing industry, Baby Lock has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past 15 years and expects the trend to continue.
My Embroidery Mentor
2013 Rank: 65
Jones uses several channels to reach and teach her audience. Her Facebook page, My Embroidery Mentor, gained over 3,000 members in two months, and she continues to add 100 to 200 members per week, to whom she offers advice and answers questions. As a second-generation embroiderer, she also shares her knowledge and experience through MyEmbroideryMentor.com, which provides videos and tutorials for decorating apparel and accessories. She speaks at many industry events throughout the country, and she writes the “Ask the Expert” column for Designs in Machine Embroidery and is also a contributor to Stitches. An estimated 10,000 embroiderers have read her book, Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials, and she currently has 25,000 subscribers who receive her electronic material. Jones jumped five spots on this year’s list after receiving positive influence ratings from her fellow Power 75 members and the industry.
Sierra Technology Group
2013 Rank: 62
Headquartered in Argentina, the Sierra Technology Group has been around since 1988, developing software and equipment for the apparel-decorating industry. Sierra’s products are used throughout the world. In charge of U.S. operations for the last 15 years, Fucci also happens to be a top-notch digitizing instructor. Sierra’s most recent product, Design Era, is a standalone software suite for apparel decoration, integrating embroidery, rhinestones, sequins and spangles into one easy-to-use design application.
Digitizer and E-Commerce Manager
Black Duck Embroidery and Screen Printing (asi/700415)
2013 Rank: 67
Campbell is a champion of both the artistic and scientific sides of digitizing, making industry education a personal mission. When he’s not working as digitizer and e-commerce manager for one of the Southwest’s largest decorators, he’s writing instructive columns for several industry magazines, including Stitches, and the trendy arts and craft blog, Mr. X Stitch. A social media savant, Campbell dispenses his wisdom freely, and has been known to share samples, teach techniques and review designs for peers. His employer, Black Duck, continues to grow on the e-commerce side, sought out for company store setup and management. Adding a layer of Hollywood glitz to the job, Campbell and Black Duck have created reproduction patches and other decorated apparel for TV shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Campbell jumped five spots on this year’s list after receiving positive influence ratings from his fellow Power 75 members and the industry at large.
President and CEO
World Emblem International (asi/98264)
2013 Rank: 64
The basis of World Emblem is in its name: The $25 million company is based in Florida, but has factories across the globe and is considered a leader in the identification market. With the bulk of World Emblem orders coming in online, Carr and his team have focused on growing its digital footprint. In the last year, World Emblem has updated its website and launched a new site to go along with the successful expansion of partner company, Name Badges International, into Canada. By the end of 2014, World Emblem expects to have introduced a site and mobile app geared toward distributors, which Carr believes will revolutionize the way field sales reps order apparel decoration. New products for the company include digitally printed emblems and high-visibility striping.
CEO and President
RiCOMA International Corp.
2013 Rank: 66
RiCOMA is considered one of the leading companies in the production, sales and service of embroidery machines and software. Distributed in more than 90 countries, RiCOMA boasted sales of more than $10 million last year. For 2014, Ma focused on product offerings and strategic alliances. RiCOMA has partnered with Wilcom International, offering bundle deals with Wilcom software and RiCOMA embroidery machines. Other partnerships include Sawgrass Inks and Ricoh printers to bring sublimation products to RiCOMA’s large customer base. Ma also launched the iKonix line of heat presses.
Vice President, Graphic Production and Support Services
Affinity Express (asi/33149)
Founded in 2000, Affinity Express serves the promotional industry primarily through Idea Custom Solutions, offering digitizing, vector artwork, image editing, virtual samples, marketing materials and order management services to suppliers and distributors. Due to recent growth, Affinity hired well-known industry speaker and trainer Busselle as sales director and brought on more production staff to serve customers 24 hours a day, six days a week, from three facilities in Pune, India, and two locations in Manila, Philippines. Affinity has around 5,000 clients using Idea Custom Solutions.
Jesse, Charlie and Margie Mack
HoopMaster/Midwest Products Inc.
2013 Rank: 69
Embroiderers who’ve made the switch swear by the Mack family’s Mighty Hoops. Midwest Products has sold more than 45,000 of the magnetic devices, adding new sizes to accommodate unique products like Christmas stockings, pant legs, saddle pads and golf bags. The company boasts that Mighty Hoops are faster and more user-friendly than traditional hoops, enabling the hooping of very thick material and limiting the chance of hoop burn. The Macks have been creating solutions for the embroidery accessories market since 1998, starting with the HoopMaster, and extending to patents for more than 10 products. In the last year, Midwest Products has sold to eight new countries, bringing its total market base to 63 countries.
Fersten Worldwide (asi/53974)
2013 Rank: 68
Fersten Worldwide is one of the most well-known apparel suppliers in the industry. Not only is it a powerhouse when it comes to innovative styling and design of its blank goods, Fersten’s decoration capabilities are unparalleled. Laser etching, debossing, woven labels, fabric appliqué, embroidery, pewter emblems, mixed media, heat transfers – these are just a few of over 30 different decoration techniques that Fersten specializes in. With headquarters in Quebec, Canada, Fersten has the license to carry the FILA GOLF and Fersten Worldwide brands, putting the company on the map with performance outerwear and athletic apparel.
Director of Marketing
EnMart and Ensign Emblem
2013 Rank: 70
Founded by industry veteran Zreliak in 2006, EnMart, a subsidiary of Ensign Emblem, sells embroidery and sublimation supplies to commercial decorators. The company has amassed thousands of customers, attracted by its interactive online portals with intuitive product browsing and ample technical training. Shreve has been paramount in raising awareness of the relatively new enterprise, keeping EnMart active on social media and frequently sharing content on her blogs, SubliStuff and Embroidery Talk. This year, EnMart launched a water-soluble adhesive backing, allowing decorators to embroider on waterproof items.
Penn Emblem Co. (asi/77120)
2013 Rank: 71
Penn Emblem became a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) when Blumenthal-Joseph, granddaughter of founder Frank Blumenthal, was named president in 2010. For 65 years, PennEmblem has manufactured custom embroidered, screen-printed, sublimated and woven patches and appliqués for industries such as safety, security, hospitality, health care and sporting goods. Imprints USA, a division of Penn Emblem, recently joined ASI to expand its offering of sublimation printing inks, blank substrates and equipment, including large-format printing machines. Penn Emblem also implemented several new e-commerce platforms including a mobile app, helping to earn it a spot as a finalist for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Impact Award in the category of Exports on Sales and expanding to foreign markets.
Mr. X Stitch
Mr. X Stitch exists at the intersection of fine art and fun. The popular needlework blog gets about 20,000 visitors a month, the majority of them 18 to 45 years old, and features the coolest, most creative examples of modern stitching. Mr. X himself, Chalmers, founded the site in 2008 to bring a fresh perspective to the sometimes overly serious arts and crafts world. This year, Mr. X Stitch published more than 300 original posts on contemporary embroidery and needlecraft, and launched new columns on millinery and digitized embroidery. Chalmers hopes his example proves inspirational to young people curious about crafting: “I’m a man who stands up as bald, tattooed and heterosexual, and I love cross-stitch, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
ZSK USA Inc.
2013 Rank: 74
Under Thibodeau’s leadership, ZSK USA Inc. introduced the international company’s innovative embroidery machines to the U.S. market. Headquartered in Germany, ZSK has been in business for 140 years, and it continues to grow, offering new products and training hundreds of new and existing clients in structured workshops for advanced machine technical training and embroidery techniques. The company has gained a new distributor and additional sub-dealers in the U.S., resulting in a 300% increase in sales in the past 18 months.
Co-CEO and Executive Director
Since taking the reins of the family business in 1978, Prada has fashioned an unequaled reputation for herself as a designer’s designer who uses surprising materials, shapes and embellishment details. Intellectual, contradictory and fueled by a desire to remake fashion into a uniquely expressive language, Prada’s vision is too broad for even her storied company. Her Miu Miu line was launched in 1992 to appeal to a younger demographic, and soon developed an identity – and a vocal fan base – all its own. 2015 will see the debut of Miu Miu’s own fragrance, bringing Prada’s influential style into a whole new realm.
President and CEO
2013 Rank: 73
Thomaidis designed his first digitizing and editing system for the embroidery industry in 1982. Five years later, Compucon was born, and Thomaidis has continued to develop specialized applications, including software and hardware solutions for the telecommunications, medical and communication markets. Compucon’s EOS embroidery software and its Stitch & Sew program for beginning embroiderers are available in more than 60 countries. Based in Greece, Compucon has expanded with additional sales offices in the U.S., Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia and Africa.
Freehand Graphics Inc.
2013 Rank: 75
Known as one of the top providers of products and software for the screen-printing industry, Freehand Graphics has enjoyed strong growth since its inception 30 years ago – a 20% increase on average. Facini has led the development of four of the industry’s best-known pre-press products – AccuRIP Software, the All Black Ink System, Spot Process Separation Studio Software and the Ditto Inkjet Film Feeder. In 2014, Freehand Graphics worked on updates and advancements to its products, expanding the line of printers supported and ink supplies for those printers. With more than 50,000 users, Freehand’s website contains a virtual knowledge base of information and includes downloads, user guides, videos and Web links. The company also offers in-house training seminars and receives tech tickets that lead to hundreds of hours of personal tech/business advice given.
American Apparel (asi/35297)
2013 Rank: 16
It’s been a tumultuous year for charismatic and controversial Charney, ousted in June from the top spot in the company he founded in 1989, among allegations of sexual and other misconduct. Undaunted, Charney has been hard at work behind the scenes, striking a deal with equity firm Standard General, in which he gave it control of his ownership shares in the company and it purchased additional shares to give the investor a 43% stake in the company. While the board conducts an internal investigation into his actions, Charney has been acting as a consultant, but recent reports suggest he may be given a new role at American Apparel when the inquiry ends. In September, the board named turnaround expert Scott Brubaker interim CEO in addition to several other executive-level changes, the first substantial shakeup since Standard General got involved with the company.