North Walsham Signs
Will Plane, Director at North Walsham Signs, with the latest addition to their production line, the ZSK Sprint 6.
An interview with Will Plane, Director
Tell us a bit about your business
The company was established in 2005. We’re a small team of three offering graphic design, wide format printing, banners, signs and embroidery. We offer a face-to-face service for mainly small and medium sized businesses. We’re mainly a signs and graphics company, but five years ago we invested in a basic heat press as customers wanted T-shirts. It was a natural progression from there to offering embroidery.
What is the latest single-head embroidery machine that you have bought?
We ordered a ZSK Sprint 6 in September this year from Stocks. We ordered it as an addition to our Brother PR655, mainly for the speed, the build quality and convenient size. Having built up the embroidery side of the business, we were struggling with long lead times running just the Brother. Since having the ZSK installed we’ve been able to get work out the door a lot quicker.
What do you think are its main advantages?
We chose this one based on the speed and reliability of the machine. Plus it conveniently fits within our embroidery section alongside our other equipment. I also feel it was well priced, and the two-year warranty and back-up was reassuring. Its main advantage is the almost constant 1200rpm that it runs at. It’s also very heavy duty and I like the fact almost every part seems over-engineered. We’re already using Wilcom DecoStudio so our new ZSK has been able to integrate seamlessly.
Is there anything you’d like to see in an upgrade or don’t particularly like about it?
No, not really, the only difference compared to our Brother PR655 is having to trace every job first. The machine feels daunting in the first few days, but then becomes a reliable workhorse. It’s no nonsense in relation to our smaller Brother PR655. We do get a few more thread breaks.
What’s it like to use? Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of it?
It’s a lot more in-depth compared to our Brother, with more industrial-based features. It can take a while to get set up correctly, but once it’s going then it’s hard to keep up with it in regards to hooping up and keeping it fed with jobs. It’s quite happy to sit there all day churning though the work. For the first few weeks we’d often come in at weekends or stay later when the phone wasn’t ringing in order to get familiar with it.
We had two lots of training from Stocks and, combined with a few adjustments in our digitising, have managed to create some great looking, detailed work. My advice would be to set aside time where you can get familiar with it during out of work hours or invest in further training.
What sort of runs is it used for?
We use it mainly for personalised workwear; we do a lot of logos on polos, with an average run of 5 to 15 garments per order. We like the ability to complete two to three jobs per hour. Our advantage is that we also offer business signs and banners so a lot of our existing clients have taken advantage of our new embroidery services, which has proven to be quite a good bolt-on to the business.
What other machines do you have?
They are all ZSK now. We did have some Brother ones, but they have all been phased out.
What would be your advice to others thinking of buying a single-head embroidery machine?
Go for it. Embroidery to us is a no brainer and is a product in high demand. We bought our first machine with no embroidery work, but after spreading the word amongst our existing customers and locally, within a week or two we had plenty of orders. Start small and build it up, there’s so many niches you can get in to. Single-heads are also a convenient size, you can dip your toe into the embroidery world and expand from there. Choose a reliable supplier such as Stocks, the back-up is needed and it’s peace of mind knowing it’s there. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.