How Henry Ma Scaled Ricoma Into The ‘Chick-Fil-A’ of Embroidery

If there’s one silver lining that this past year of quarantine, lockdown, and isolation has brought to many entrepreneurs, it was the time to dive headfirst into their passion as a from-home side hustle. One side hustle that saw major booms during the height of the pandemic was embroidery. Though this might seem surprising to some, take for a moment to think of how many embroidered clothing pieces you own; hats, belts, perhaps a uniform – or multiple uniforms – for work, or even dresses, bags, wallets, and others. 

Every stitch made in each of those items had to be embroidered, whether by hand or machine. Over the last several years, Henry Ma was helping his company, Ricoma, become a young powerhouse within the embroidery industry. With customer service that goes farther than the extra mile with unlimited technical support, their after sale assistance and training programs are part of their commitment to help apparel businesses quickly and affordably meet their goals.

Putting forth the effort to become the preferred source for embroidery equipment, digitized software, stock designs, and all other embroidery needs, Ricoma’s products and services have extended to be available in over 150 countries and across six continents through a global network of distributors. Their constant growth can be attributed to the mindset behind the company that takes productivity, technology, marketing and customer service to the next level.

“Our work at Ricoma allows people to have access to another stream of income,” says Ma, Ricoma’s CEO. “Our machines and direct-to-garment printers help entrepreneurs start a business right out of their garage…[and] we provide them with the tools and resources they need to be able to fill customization orders for their clients.”

While embroidery itself is far from a new practice, with origins of embroidery estimated some 30,000 years ago, its commercialization is much younger, dating back to the early 19th-century with the advent of the first embroidery machine. As such, it may not be surprising that Ricoma’s embroidery machines have helped hundreds – if not thousands – of people start their own embroidery business from home.

However, when compared to some of its competitors who have been around since the early-to-mid 20th-century, Ricoma’s success becomes far more impressive given the company’s age in comparison, having only been around for the last 22 years. It was by fueling the entrepreneurial spirit of others who share his passion that Ma has been able to scale his company into a household name with a worldwide presence in over 150 countries.

Indeed, the success of Ricoma mirrors that of another household American name: Chick-Fil-A. While it is more than 50 years older than Ricoma as a company, the nationwide chicken-based restaurant franchise is able to treat its success – like Ricoma’s, to two vital attributes: hands-on management while excelling in customer service interactions.

In the case of Chick-Fil-A, these tactics allowed for slow and steady growth over the past 80 years. In Ricoma’s case, it has allowed for anyone to start their own embroidery business from as little as $130/month and 0% financing – an offer that many franchisers will likely find hard to beat.

“Ricoma is relatively new to our industry in the grand scheme of things,” Ma tells us. “Our competitors have been around for 50-75 years, while we’ve only been around for 22 years.” As the “new kid on the block,” Ma wasn’t too surprised when others laughed at him and wrote his company off when they first began operations. But through a complete transformation of not only their product, as well as training, support, and a stream of free and easily-digestible content, “we have now captured the most market share in the industry,” Ma continues, “with more units delivered last year than our next three leading competitors combined.”

When asked why he thinks his competitors are falling to the wayside in terms of market share within the embroidery industry, Ma said that his competitors are “staying stagnant and reaping in their ‘legacy’ credits,” whereas Ricoma is consistently innovating its products and services.

“It feels better being at the forefront of change,” Ma says. Implementing sales support that’s available seven days a week and after hours, Ricoma is dedicated to making this new venture as successful for the users as possible. To learn more about Henry Ma and Ricoma’s products or services, visit this website.

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