Rayce Patterson | The Echo
Upland Print and Stitch was accepted as a member of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP) in September.
"We joined (the NNEP) because there's not a whole lot of industry organizations out there that deal directly with embroidery businesses," CEO of Upland Print and Stitch Andrew Preston said. "We kind of took advantage of that to get some training and to network with other embroidery professionals in the industry."
The NNEP is a trade association for embroidery professionals founded and run by embroidery professionals, according to their website. They provide training opportunities for interested members at events like the NNEP trade show and Embroidery Mart, the national trade show. Being a member also provides a business with access to their mastermind group, NNEP Exchange, which includes embroidery business owners from all levels of the industry.
According to Preston, membership in the NNEP legitimizes Upland Print and Stitch as a professional embroidery business.
"Membership in the NNEP reflects my commitment to be the best provider of embroidered apparel and products in this community," Preston said in a press release.
Preston is trained as an airplane mechanic and has been doing embroidery for almost 12 years. When he was working in aviation in Texas, Preston had to wear corporate apparel with the company's logo on it. With the help of a home embroidery machine, Preston and his wife began embroidering the company's logo on business shirt for him to wear. From there, friends and colleagues of Preston began asking for him to embroider logos for them, and the business venture took off.
Later as the business grew, Preston moved back to Upland to be near his family. Preston noticed Taylor was a big market for custom apparel, and there was no printer nearby campus. He saw an opportunity to provide a business to the community, and Upland Print and Stitch opened on Labor Day, 2016.
"After a while the passion changed," Preston said. "I like doing this more than I like doing that."
Since then, Upland Print and Stitch has made a positive impact on both Taylor University and the Upland community. Recently, Upland Print and Stitch replaced the numbers on Taylor's football uniforms. This allowed the football team to be able to wear their away-game jerseys again, which they wore during their game on Homecoming Weekend.
Another thing that makes Upland Print and Stitch unique is that they don't outsource any of their services. From design to digitizing to sewing, everything they make is done in-house.
"You can't just take a piece of art and print it out like on a printer," Preston said. "You have to program the machine every point where it actually sews a stitch. At first, it seemed very cumbersome . . . over time, I got the software and learned how to do it myself, just so I could kind of control the quality of the product."
Preston wishes to thank everyone at Taylor who has supported Upland Print and Stitch as they enter their third year of operation in the Upland area.