The Embroidery Barn has installed a Roland VersaSTUDIO BT-12 to help it move into producing personalised clothing.

The company, founded in 1998 in Dorchester, was bought by Rosie Lees in 2018.¬†‘My background is in windsurfing and sailing,’ explained Ms Lees. ‘I had no experience of embroidery or printing at all! But after hearing about the opportunity I couldn’t forget about the idea.

‘I joined the business for two months before the sale, then the previous owners stayed on for our busiest period over Christmas. In total it was a long handover period and it worked really well.’

What worked less well, however, was the company’s existing equipment. A major embroidery machine broke down at a crucial time and needed replacing. This kicked off a series of investments designed to refresh The Embroidery Barn for the future.

Ms Lees visited the Printwear & Promotion exhibition to look for more eco-conscious alternatives and discovered the Roland VersaSTUDIO BT-12, a compact desktop direct-to-garment  printer. It can print directly to cotton T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags and other products without plastic waste.

‘When I saw the Roland BT-12 at the show I knew it was perfect,’ Ms Lees finished. ‘DTG is a more sustainable option as there’s no plastic, and it was at a great price point. Our older printing machines can be complicated and clunky but with the BT-12 you just press a button and it off it goes. It’s a smooth, lovely process that was very easy to learn. I love it.’

While The Embroidery Barn was a change in direction for Ms Lees, she plans to launch a new clothing brand, intended to run as a separate entity to The Embroidery Barn, with fashion manufactured from ocean waste and featuring DTG-printed designs.