Digital embroidery of logos weaves rural success in Romblon

By Paulo Julian

Romblon, ROMBLON — It used to be that logos had to be ordered from Manila then stitched on uniforms in Romblon, about six hours by ship from Batangas City or an hour by plane from Manila.

Photo credit: Facebook page of Bilshan F. Servañez

Photo credit: Facebook page of Bilshan F. Servañez

The cost: P50 per embroidered logo or P125,000 for every 2,500 logos on school uniforms, not including the transport cost. That was in 2010.

Now they’re made local by Y2JB Haberdashery in Barangay Bagacay in the provincial capital.

The haberdashery makes a lot of sports, office, and school uniforms and garments. Most of these have logos made by computerized embroidery.

It all started when Romblon State University (RSU) opened a campus in the provincial capital. RSU soon made Y2JB its official tailor. With additional orders, Y2JB soon made 5,000 uniforms yearly.

With PE uniforms and sports wear, the shop simply silk screened the logos. School uniforms, however, required embroidered logos that were stitched on uniforms. Logos made in Manila were hand-made and did not show the small details. Only a digital machine could replicate the finer points.

Enter SETUP or the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, a no-collateral facility from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) meant to modernize and streamline the operations of small businesses.

The haberdashery was able to get P400,000 in 2011 and P650,000 in 2015, but now all fully paid.

It took just a month for SETUP to process the tech intervention: a 6-thread machine and a 10-needle multicolor digital embroidery machine from Japanese tech firm Brother. SETUP proided consultancy on good manufacturing practices and improved the layout of production facilities.

With computer-aided design, the Brother-branded machines provided precision up to the smallest tolerance or detail possible, which operators were able to standardize consistently. A button-hole maker also made production a lot easier.

“Because the embroidery is now computerized, school logos, for example, are made in Romblon,” said Marijoe M. Malay, proprietress of Y2JB Haberdashery.

From small orders, the firm now makes all the uniforms of almost all schools in the province as well as those of government and private offices.

In one year alone, nearly 2,000 uniforms — worth P1.042 million — were sewn with an embroidered university logo. The digital machines were able to run eight-hour shifts producing 50 logos daily. Direct production meant savings of P62,350 annually that went to paying SETUP for the tech interventions.

“It increased production capacity by 69 percent, from 200 sets of uniforms to more than 300 sets a month, on the average,” said Marcelina V. Cervanez, DOST provincial director for Romblon.

“It shortened production time from five to two days, reduced production cost and rejects as the machine automatically detects and corrects pattern errors through its digitized interface.”

At the same time, sales jumped from P181,000 in 2015 to P305,900 as of this July, Cervanez said, adding the firm now has 22 employees, a drastic jump from five staff members when it started in 2000.

Malay is now thinking of applying for another set of collateral-free digital embroidery machines. The first two made one logo each every 30 minutes. A new version would make 10 logos in the same time.

She needs to make more embroidered logos at a faster pace. Malay says almost all schools in Romblon orders embroidered logos from her shop.

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