Women In Business

Wendy Gropler - SewHot Embroidery

Marie Birkbeck
Wendy Gropler - SewHot Embroidery and Heat Transfers
Wendy Gropler - SewHot Embroidery and Heat Transfers
Marie Birkbeck

Tucked away behind the Valemount Pines Golf Course Club House is a small business that can turn out literally hundreds of personalized and custom designed garments, hats, bags and accessories of every shape and size in just a few days.

Wendy Gropler has been operating SewHot Embroidery out of her home near Valemount for almost seven years. She got her first taste of embroidery when she lived in Prince George, BC and got a job at an embroidery shop there. Although she learned only the minimum basics of how to run the machines she knew that this was her passion.

A few years later she found herself in Valemount and fell in love with the area. Prior to SewHot, anyone wanting customized logo-wear had to go to Prince George, Kamloops, or Williams Lake, and Gropler knew that she could capture a niche market in Valemount. It was not long before she had sold her home in Prince George and relocated to the Robson Valley where she began a year long journey of getting her business plan in order. Thanks to Community Futures she received the much needed financing she required to start up her business.

The first year of operation was a learning process as she became self-taught with the intricacies of the specialized equipment, the computer, the artwork and digitizing, and getting her name out there. Wendy fought back tears as she shared that it was near the end of her first year in business when she had to deal with the sudden and tragic loss of her son. She stated that the next two years were a bit of a blur as she coped with her loss and worked three jobs to pay off the debt she owed. She is eternally grateful to her friends, family and the community that kept her going, picked her up and dusted her off and helped her through that difficult time.

Although the pain of her loss still lingers, her business has grown and thrived to the point where she has recently added a second embroidery machine to her small 250 square foot space to cut down her production time, often filling two orders at the same time. With SewHot supplying pretty much all the businesses in Valemount with logoed garments Gropler says that not a day goes by that she does not see some of her work walking around. With a 93% return rate for customer orders, the statistics speak for themselves.

If you are looking for a special design, it is likely among the 500,000 ready-to-sew designs that are on file, or if you prefer something unique or funky, Wendy can draw and digitize it. There are no limitations to what these images can be embroidered on; if it can be embroidered, it can be ordered! Because of space limitations and wide range of merchandise available it is not feasible to keep logoed product in stock; however, SewHot does stock one of each size of the most popular items. Customers can buy a garment off the rack or order from one of the three catalogues available in the shop. Depending on the size of the logo and the size of the order she can have the finished product ready for delivery within about ten to twelve days.

In all the years SewHot has been in business Wendy has never missed a deadline and has no intention of ever doing so; in fact she has had on occasion loaded the order into her car and delivered it herself to make sure it got to the customer on time when the regular delivery system could not meet the deadline.

After seven years in town, Gropler says she could expand but does not want to. When she first started in the industry, she thought she might like to have about 30 machines at her disposal but on rethinking she feels that she would no longer be able to provide the personalized service she prides herself in. She is in a comfortable place and wants embroidery to remain her passion and reiterates that she owes it to Valemount and customers and loyal support for the success and growth of SewHot Embroidery and Heat Transfers.

SewHot also believes in paying it forward by supporting non-profit organizations and charity fundraisers with gift certificates or heavily discounted merchandise.

SewHot is located behind Valemount Pines Golf Club. Look for her bright neon Open and Clothed T-shirt sign at the front door

Call or text: 250-612-2820  
Email: wendy@sewhot.ca  •  web: www.sewhot.ca
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