Niche: Wedding Accessories

Regardless of the economy or any other factor, people will always get married. The wedding industry is booming, and it creates the perfect opportunity for personalized gifts. Brides, bridesmaids, grooms, groomsmen, parents, grandparents, cousins, even pets – each is a potential candidate for a customized creation.

What might those gifts be? Geri Finio, owner of Annapolis, MD-based Studio 187 Custom Embroidery, has decorated everything from ribbons, pillows, napkins and bridal gown slips to towels, robes, hats and more. Finio says, "Ivory and white are still most popular, and pale colors or blue for the 'something blue.' Depending on the theme, anything goes."

To break into the wedding market as a decorator, educate yourself about sewing so you can communicate with workrooms knowledgeably, Finio advises. It's also important to understand terminology such as seam allowance, grain of fabric, width of fabric and cross grain. "Bridal designers aren't looking to work with promotional-level embroiderers, so it's important to be a seamstress as well," she says.

Work with a reputable bridal workroom and designer, and even the wedding planner, who know what the bride wants. "Being experienced working with high-quality fabric and how it reacts to thread is imperative," she notes.

Originally purchased from S&S Activewear (asi/84358; circle 102 on Free Info Card), these neoprene bags – a six-pack holder and wine holder – were decorated by Elaine Benkis, owner of Athens, TN-based D&E CustomEmbroidery (circle 103 on Free Info Card), who embroidered them for her daughter's bridal party.

Fran Kolb of Fran's Promo City & Apparel (circle 104 on Free Info Card) embroidered this Italian wedding bag. It was used to hold envelopes containing cash gifts to the couple. Kolb sewed a drawstring bag made out of satin inside and a white jacquard wedding satin material outside. Then, she embroidered a design onto it and added clear rhinestones to the bride's hair. "The highlights in the hair are light blue," she explains, to provide "something blue."

Geri Finio, owner of Studio 187 Custom Embroidery (circle 105 on Free Info Card), designed these wedding ribbons and a pillow. The fabric was a poly satin, and the bride wanted the ribbons made from the fabric of the pillow, which depicted the overall theme colors for the ceremony.