In 2010 Wilcom celebrates its 30th birthday – an ideal opportunity to take a close look at this company from Australia. With the help of Kristi McKenzie, Marketing Manager for Wilcom International Pty. Ltd, we look back at the developments within the embroidery and garment decorating industries during the 16 years of existence of our magazine and we also take a look at the future.In 1993 the Schiffli embroidery was in transition from being used in developed countries to low-labour-cost countries. The multi-head embroidery-machine industry was experiencing a major growth period, with higher speeds and more capabilities. Design software systems required highly specialised knowledge and trained operators.
By 2009 Schiffli embroidery machines practically disappeared from developed countries: they all moved to low-labour-cost countries such as China, India and Turkey. The multi-head embroidery machine market has become fragmented, with brands from Korea and China entering the world market.
Single-head embroidery and lightweight single-head machines have become commonplace for new companies that enter the market. In 2009 order numbers for embroidery down to a single item were common in developed countries. Design-software systems have become very advanced, they have many automated features and are much easier to learn and require less knowledge of the intricacies of embroidery and machine/fabric interaction.
Developments at Wilcom
During the 16 years’ existence of our magazine, the challenges in business have changed. In 1993 Wilcom’s activities were primarily focused on offering embroidery digitising/design software for Schiffli and multi-head embroidery machines. They were then a predominantly technology-driven company, specialising in the embroidery-digitising department.
In 2009 Wilcom were looking more for ways to help their customers’ business processes, a more well-rounded outlook to the way they contribute to the decoration business beyond embroidery and print etc. In a world where there are often new business start-ups they are even more conscious of the importance of providing quality training and support for their customers.
In 2009 the company were providing a wide range of solutions. They offer embroidery-design software for loyal customers in over 100 countries. Their software ranges from Schiffli, multi-head, to domestic hobby/craft embroidery machines.
Wilcom has formed a unique and strategic partnership with Corel Corporation to bring together seamless integration between the print design and embroidery design by integrating the Wilcom embroidery software with the CorelDRAW print platform, enabling new creativity in multi-decorations and more streamlined workflow. They also offer custom-rug design-and-production technology.
Wilcom offers web-business solutions. DecoNetwork provides businesses with their own online store, enabling their customers to design T-shirts and other items online. It also allows businesses to grow a network of Affiliate stores, selling their products.
The Internet enables the delivery of rich interactive experiences for their customers, such as their live online exhibition, online training and videos. Online retailing is becoming more of an everyday way for consumers to shop. This is why DecoNetwork, Wilcom’s online-store solution, gives an opportunity for printers and embroiderers to take advantage of this.
In 1993 Wilcom’s customers were Schiffli and multi-head contract embroiderers and digitising houses/specialists in approximately 30 countries. They then had several thousand licence-paying customers.
By 2009 the company had grown to over 300,000 licence-paying customers. These customers are now located in over 100 countries, varying from large-volume Schiffli contract embroiderers to small businesses with just one or two single-heads operating from retail fronts or homes, to people with hobby/craft interests such as embroidery, quilting, scrapbooking etc.
Stitch & Print International
Wilcom think that Stitch & Print International is ‘a great magazine, committed to informing, inspiring and connecting the industry’. Nowadays there is so much information available, but a trade magazine is dedicated to the quality of the content, and providing a focused place to find that information. With the growing use of the Internet there is always a need for a physical copy of a trade magazine. In addition, online newsletters that link to the online version of the magazine are very helpful, too.
In the future Wilcom is expecting growth in print technologies, growth in custom work and growth in variety of multi-decorations. Therefore, a web-based custom-orders and fulfilment system such as DecoNetwork becomes very important.
In 2010 Wilcom celebrates its 30th birthday! They are grateful to all their fantastic customers, distributors and fellow companies in this great industry. They are particularly grateful for industry trade publications such as Stitch & Print for their commitment to informing, inspiring and connecting the industry.