Siblings Tracey and Michael Benson were caring for their elderly mother when they started looking for a way to stay busy and earn some money at home. After responding to the ad in the El Paso Times about ”starting your business at home,” they decided that starting a small embroidery business would fulfill their need to be active and earn some extra money.
After researching their idea, they decided to invest into the embroidery business and purchased an embroidery machine using savings they had on hand. Tracey and Michael opened MT Needles Embroidery out of their garage in October 2013.
Within two weeks of opening, it became clear that one embroidery machine was not going to be enough, so they invested in a second machine using a lease-to-own option. During their research, they identified a need in the community to provide embroidery services to small businesses and individuals who only needed small quantities of items embroidered.
In February 2015, MT Needles moved out of the garage into a commercial storefront in Northeast El Paso. Their garment decoration now includes embroidery, heat-applied vinyl, sublimation, screen printing and rhinestone designs. Since moving from their garage in 2015 the company experienced over 200 percent growth for the year.
The Bensons decided to follow the correct steps in starting a business and utilized the mentoring services of the El Paso SCORE Chapter. Michael was able to meet with a SCORE mentor to discuss accounting systems for the business.
Just a few months after starting their business, the Bensons traveled to California to attend the Imprinted Sportswear Show, a trade show for the garment decorating industry. Understanding the need to expand the services they provided to other types of garment decoration, the show offered just the education they sought.
Michael and Tracey's strategy for MT Needles Embroidery was to explore the options available and expand the services it could offer within the community.
Conserving working capital by maintaining a garage-based operation allowed them to expand the services they offered and invest in equipment. At the sportswear show, they purchased a wide-format printer that allows for printing on many media types such as heat-applied vinyl, sign vinyl, posters, and canvas.