At GroupeSTAHL, we encourage that all team members be familiar with how to use our heat printing products–even if they don’t have direct contact with customers on a daily basis. (Customer service representatives have over 100 hours of product training under their belts before picking up the phone, and many have years of hands-on experience). Towards that end, a while back we held an internal “mini-trade show” to help everyone at GroupeSTAHL better understand our wide range of products and services. Among other presentations, we had booths representing products and services from all the different GroupeSTAHL companies. It was about the same time that CadworxLive.com was launching our new online art creation tools. Leslie Miller, our corporate controller, with no previous garment printing experience, told me how she was inspired to start making her own custom garments for friends and family after seeing how easy Cadworxlive.com was to use. I had the chance to chat with Leslie about how she got started. “We had about a 10 minute overview of how it works, and with a simple phone call I got my own free log-in number. I started playing around with Cadworxlive.com at home and discovered how truly easy it was to create my own custom designs. We have a Roland GX-24 in the office as well as a heat press, which we can use after hours with permission,” according to Leslie. Leslie mainly uses Cadworxlive.com to create simple things like custom totes for birthday gifts for her daughter’s friends. “My daughters are aged 7 and 12 and when they are invited to a party, instead of wrapping the gift, I heat print a custom design on an inexpensive canvas tote bag. Recently I made a bag for a girl who likes koalas. I just found some koala clip art and made her a custom logo for the bag.” The personalized gifts are a big hit with young girls, and Leslie says it seems her girls are invited to more and more parties because the bags and other personalized gifts are so popular! “One of the biggest hits is when I use CAD-CUT GlitterFlake. It not only looks amazing, the girls go crazy over it, it washes well and is very easy to use. When we first introduced it I had access to some samples and was able to use some to decorate my daughter’s Halloween costume. I told her it was not available on the market yet and she was very proud to tell her friends. I knew the product would be an enormous hit because of the great response she got on her customized costume.” I guess you can’t ask for better market research than that. What are the projects waiting to be finished up after work today? Leslie says she has to heat print a neoprene lunch bag for her daughter. “She wants her first initial, in a monogram style, that’s really popular with young girls now, and my other daughter wants her initial on a pencil pouch.” Even though Leslie doesn’t customize for others for profit or as a business, she is a great example of how easy it is to get started. And thanks for the input on trends such as GlitterFlakeand initial monograms for pre-teens.