Stitch & Print: Merlin Pro GS-1501 Embroidery Machine from GS UK
Derek McMullan, partner
Tell us a bit about your business
Stitch & Print is a family-run business based in Randalstown, Northern Ireland. We opened our doors in July 2018, originally carrying on from a customer-base that I had built up, providing vinyl, laser and sublimation printing. After receiving a lot of requests for embroidery rather than print, we invested in the first of the three embroidery machines used by the business today. Customer demand has these machines running eight hours a day. Our business is 70% embroidery and 30% print. Ninety percent of our customers are trade which we provide with high quality sportswear, uniforms and hi-vis safetywear [decorated] with the customer’s printed or embroidered logos. The other 10% are small one-off orders.
What is the latest embroidery machine you’ve bought?
In December 2018, due to an increase in demand, we invested £9,000 in a 15-needle single-head Merlin Pro GS-1501 embroidery machine with Monogram Maestro software and Windows 10 Intel Quad Core Micro PC.
What other machines did you look at?
We had looked at a lot of embroidery machines and after watching a lot of demonstrations and reading reviews, we decided that the Merlin Pro best matched our business needs as to cost and being more user-friendly.
What do you think are its main advantages?
The machine is user-friendly and has a large screen compared to other machines we looked at. We have found that it is also easy to maintain.
Is there anything you’d like to see in an upgrade or don’t like about it?
We are happy with how the machine runs, but a digital bobbin tension gauge would be useful.
What’s the Merlin Pro like to use and what advice do you have for getting the most out of it?
We use this machine to embroider logos on to sportswear; uniforms for beauticians, hairdressers, catering staff, couriers and schools; and wording onto babywear, loungewear, towels and gifts. The largest run is 1,200 items in a week. Compared to vinyl print, embroidery has a faster turnaround. We have found the machine to be very easy and friendly to use but it can be noisy in operation, so is best used in an area away from customers and phones.
It comes with a bobbin rewind, but we would recommend purchasing a digital bobbin tension gauge or pre-wound bobbins for a tighter thread rewind and a longer time between bobbin changes. The machine comes with monogram software and there are a lot of businesses offering digitising services. We do our own in-house digitising using Wilcom EmbroideryStudio software, which speeds up the process and pays for itself. The GS-1501 requires daily and weekly maintenance and we highly recommend this to get the best out of your own machine.
What other machines do you have?
We have another two Merlin Pro embroidery machines plus a vinyl cutter, a sublimation printer, a large Hotronix heat press and a large laser printer. All work independently from the embroidery machines, but we can provide embroidery and print on the same garment.
What would be your advice to others thinking of buying an embroidery machine?
If the demand is there, don’t hesitate – just go for it, you won’t regret it.