Deborah Jones is an accomplished embroiderer who has been in the industry for more 30 years. As the creator of instructional books and DVDs, and an expert columnist in Designs in Machine Embroidery and Stitches magazine, Deborah is a knowledgeable source when it comes to embroidery. Deborah has collaborated with EmbroiderBuddy®, creating instructional videos about how to use our products. We recently sat down with Deborah to learn more about how she got started with embroidery and her company, My Embroidery Mentor.
Donna: How old were you when you learned to embroider? Do you remember your first project?
Deborah: I’ve really always embroidered. My father was a Western Wear tailor and there were always embroidery machines in his shop. I remember lying on the floor and tracing embroidery patterns as a small child
Donna: Why did you decide to start embroidering for a living and when did you start your company?
Deborah: I inherited my father’s embroidery machines and continued his business, specializing primarily in embroidery on leather goods.
Donna: Where did you get the idea for My Embroidery Mentor?
Deborah: There is very little formal instruction for embroiderers. I had to figure things out for myself so I’ve always been happy to share what I’ve learned with other embroiderers. My Dad had a yellow tablet taped to the wall of his embroidery shop and when he figured out something new, he would write it on that tablet. I want to take it a step beyond that.
Donna: Who is your mentor (or who inspires you most) and why?
Deborah: My Mentor was Shirley Landers, who taught me to always try to do my embroidery a little better, to make it a little more perfect. She taught me how to do manually-guided machine embroidery – a skill that has made me a better embroiderer overall.
Donna: What tools and equipment would you recommend for someone wanting to become a home embroiderer?
Deborah: I recommend a dependable embroidery machine, regardless of number of needles. You can do high-quality embroidery on a single-needle or a multi-needle machine. Buy the best thread you can find and never compromise on the quality of your stabilizer or other supplies.
Donna: Please share a few tips you’ve used to help market your business.
Deborah: Over the years, I’ve used everything from short radio spots to participating in the local Chamber of Commerce. But today, you can market your business from your home using your computer. I’m continually amazed by the power of Facebook and Etsy for promoting a small embroidery business.
Donna: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give other aspiring entrepreneurs in the embroidery field?
Deborah: Create exquisite quality and charge what it’s worth. Try to achieve a balance of producing your very best quality without spending an unreasonable amount of time to produce it. Follow this formula and you will become an embroiderer of choice in your area.
Donna: What would surprise people most about you?
Deborah: I don’t like to sew.
Donna: What else do you do when you’re not taking embroidering or mentoring embroiderers?
Deborah: I foster rescue dogs and enjoy classic cars and trucks.
Deborah Jones is a second-generation embroiderer and author who loves creating dimensional embroidery techniques. Jones has managed large production shops and her own small embroidery businesses. She currently makes videos and produces embroidery events from her studio outside Dallas, Texas. Deborah can be found on her website, My Embroidery Mentor.