Schools can be an embroiderer's dream...

From preschool through college, the opportunities are almost limitless. Teams, clubs, fund-raisers, uniforms--the list goes on.

Starting in preschool, students learn to keep track of their belongings. Personalized backpacks, mats and towels are common. The elementary and high school years are loaded with the opportunity to play various sports and belong to all sorts of clubs. Teams require uniforms and clubs love the recognition of embroidered apparel. And, when it comes to the desire to be a recognized member, nothing beats that of the fraternal organizations flourishing on today's college campuses.

To take advantage of any of the previously mentioned opportunities, you first need to find the person in charge of purchasing uniforms and club attire. Contact the school office. Get the names of the coaches and club advisors. Think about whom you already know. Are there people who have connections that you haven't considered? A friend whose daughter is president of the Student Government Association? A neighbor who teaches at the local high school? Or a coworker whose husband coaches the school track team? Once you've come up with the right people, give them a call. Find out what they need and how you can help meet that need.

Another idea involves fund-raising. Schools are always looking for ways to raise money and are open to ideas to make the task easier. Put together a fund-raising program featuring items embroidered with the school's logo. Come up with an assortment of merchandise that would appeal to both parents and students. Sweatshirts, nylon jackets, backpacks and sports bags look great with the school name and mascot. Make it easy. If you do the forms and organizational work for the fund-raiser, you increase your chances of repeat business. Build in enough profit margin so that both you and the school or organization make money. Use your success at one school to advertise embroidery possibilities at the next location.

These established embroiderers can be found in your local Yellow Pages under "Embroidery." Call them; introduce yourself and then follow-up with a letter or a visit.

Other markets you should target include :

You've zeroed in on your market, it's time to make a plan.