Software: EmbroideryStudio e4

From Wilcom

Sandy Burridge

Production manager

Tell us a bit about your business
We’re based in the south-west of England and have been trading since 1998. Back then there were only a handful of embroiderers on the internet so we built a website and grew quite quickly. Over the years we added multi-head machines, digitising software and a variety of printing methods, including DTG.

When did you buy Wilcom’s EmbroideryStudio e4?
We first got to see ES e4 back in January as part of the Wilcom beta testing programme. It cost us £999 to update from our old e3 version. The brand-new price is £2,999, which might sound expensive until you look back at what embroidery software used to cost. I think we originally paid about £8,000 and it had nothing like the power of what we’ve got today.

Why did you choose to upgrade to ES e4?
The decision to update was easy, we couldn’t wait to start using the design library and the job order management system. Those two features alone have saved us so much time that we’ve already recouped our investment.

What do you think are its main advantages?
The new business tools. We take a customer’s logo and use the Auto Digitize Bitmap feature to instantly turn it into stitches. From there we drop in a hi-resolution background image – there are loads to choose from – and email it directly from within the software. The customer receives a professional-looking PDF and it’s only taken us a few minutes to produce.

What’s it like to use? Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of it?
The new interface has improved considerably, it supports 4K monitors so everything looks pin sharp, and the design windows are tabbed, so switching between open designs is a breeze. A great tip if you’re new to the software is to enable the icon labelling. If you want to know what the icon does then hover over it and press F1, which opens up the online manual on the correct page.

What sort of work do you use it for?
ES e4 comes with CorelDraw X8 so we use that to draw vector art and send files to the vinyl cutters. The embroidery side of the program is used for all our digitising work, mock-ups and proofing. We use the built-in job management to manage workflow. The system lets us input the job details into the embroidery file, so when a member of staff opens the file they can see everything needed to process the job.

What would be your advice to others thinking of investing in a new software system?
If you outsource then make sure you buy the same brand of software that your digitiser uses, that way you can request editable native files like Wilcom’s EMB, instead of machine files like DST. Wilcom’s native file format is unique: besides the embroidery data, it also contains the original artwork, thread colours, product images, job information, production notes and more.

Make sure you’ve got good support. Can you call with questions, is there training available?

Finally, look beyond the price. There’s a reason why domestic market software is cheap. Don’t cut corners, because your software is just as important as your embroidery machine.

The decision to update was easy, we couldn’t wait to start using the design library and the job order management system