Gary Walker has worked in the sewing industry since 1981. Along with his family, he owns and operates Echidna Sewing Products. They currently have four locations in Australia, and continue to expand. Gary has been a part of the Embroider Buddy® community for a few years now, and will be visited by Deborah Jones next summer. I’ll be joining them too and can’t wait to meet some of our friends in the land Down Under. Here is what Gary had to say about his involvement with Embroider Buddy®.
Donna: Why did you decide to get involved with Embroider Buddy®?
Gary: Echidna Sewing Products specializes in supplying embroidery machines to the home and small business market in Australia, so any quality products that help us give our customers an even better experience are of interest to us. Plus, having met Donna many years ago while visiting the USA, I felt at ease with her and her company. They are nice people and it is a great company with so much history. It was just a good feel. Also, the Embroider Buddy® product is simply the best in the industry.
Donna: What tips would you give to someone thinking of purchasing Embroider Buddy® products?
Gary: Do so with confidence, and do not be scared giving it a go. So many home embroiderers never get past embroidering on simple flat projects. Watch the amazing video tutorials that are available and you will see that the Embroider Buddy® range is designed for embroidery.
Donna: What is your favourite Embroider Buddy® stuffed animal, and why?
Gary: Being an Aussie, I would have to say the soon-to-be-released Kangaroo. She even has a Joey! It is so cute.
Donna: What excites you most about the future of Embroider Buddy®?
Gary: Quality and innovation. I guess that is the key to all great companies. Donna and her team are so committed to quality and when we are dealing with toys for children and infants, it is even more important.
Donna: Please share a few tips to help embroiders market their business.
Gary: I have so many things I could share but here are some of the real key points. Network yourself at every opportunity. Wear your embroidery proudly and talk about it. People you meet will ask you about that fabulous embroidered top you are wearing, providing the perfect opportunity for you to say, “I run an embroidery business – here is my card.” It is really a networking business and of course this includes social media. The other tip is not to undersell your services, even to friends or family. Quite often they can feel very uncomfortable about not paying a fee for your efforts. My biggest tip is, if it is within your budget, invest in a Multi-Needle Tubular embroidery machine like a Brother PR series. It truly does open up a world of opportunity.
Donna: Do you have any customer stories to share?
Gary: We have thousands of stories and they all are unique. There is one very common thread that we hear all the time, and that is how sewing and embroidery has saved one’s sanity. It is a creative escape for so many.
Donna: What would surprise people most about you?
Gary: No real surprises after 34 years in the industry, but many new customers are amazed that my two younger brothers Doug and Brett have also been part of Echidna Sewing for most of their lives. Both my daughter and son have also joined the business. Kristie has a key role in administration and marketing and Daniel, an electrician by trade, is studying to be a sewing machine mechanic, just like his dad. Not sure we could ever do anything other than working in the sewing and embroidery industry.
You can find Gary on his company’s website, Echidna Sewing Products. Leaving school at age 15 for a job as an apprentice sewing machine mechanic, Gary has worked in the sewing industry for 34 years. Echidna Sewing has a 20-year history and is growing with 30 staff and 4 locations across Australia. Outside of his wonderful family, this industry is Gary’s life.