Quiet corporate embroidery firm sewing story of success


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Sep 28, 2023

Quiet corporate embroidery firm sewing story of success

Jeff and Wenda Taxdahl might not be well-known in the community where they live;

Jeff and Wenda Taxdahl might not be well-known in the community where they live; after all, though their company is headquartered just outside of Jordan, it does most of its business outside of Minnesota.

But the land the couple has owned for 25 years, and the people who live and work in the community, have them tied to the area – even as Thread Logic, their custom embroidery business, grows larger.

"It's close to home," Jeff Taxdahl says. "I didn't have to commute over the river. My commute is six miles through the cornfield. That's fabulous. That was a big part of it. The other part is the lower costs, lower rent and what I think is a pretty good workforce."

In the early days of Thread Logic, the Taxdahls were torn between two strategies. The company started like most others that do custom-embroidery for business customers, selling to local customers down the street or people they knew in the community.

But as the business grew and they were going to have to decide whether to hire a salesperson, Jeff Taxdahl kept wrestling with an idea his brother had put into his head. At first, he downplayed the idea of becoming an e-commerce company, figuring if that was going to work for a company like his, someone would already be doing it.

When it came time for a final decision, the internet won out over the salesperson and the Taxdahls gambled on e-commerce.

The gamble paid off for many reasons, Taxdahl says. It has allowed Thread Logic to get away from competing on price and focus more on selling its expertise.

"We’re trying to put a message out there of quality and service that, you know, we’re really good at what we do and your employees, your staff, whoever you give these items to, will wear them proudly," he says. "Twenty years ago, in this industry, that would have been a more difficult message because it was always ‘I need some polo shirts and I don't want to pay a lot.’"

The move also widened the company's potential reach significantly from the local metro area and maybe a little beyond to literally anywhere in the U.S. Local sales now are few. Instead, the 20-year-old firm that operates from a 12,000-square-foot building off U.S. Highway 169 just north of Jordan largely services population centers like Texas, California, Florida, Illinois and New York.

Taxdahl says he realized it was the right decision early on when he got a call from a marketing vice president in California who needed 100 shirts quickly for an employee event. He had found Thread Logic on Google.

"If my shop is on the first floor of his office building, he doesn't find me," he says.

The shift to e-commerce also created a competitive advantage by differentiating Thread Logic from competitors in the industry, an advantage Taxdahl still largely holds today.

"Being an e-commerce model, still even 13 years later, is fairly unique in this industry," he says. "Certainly, there are more people doing it, but the companies I was competing against 13 years ago largely haven't changed."

It also gave the company some cushion during times when other similar companies often have to pull back. Thread Logic grew through economic downturns in 2008 and 2010 and he's cautiously optimistic he’ll do alright through whatever is to come this year. He's "leaning in" right now, acquiring more sewing machines to increase production capacity.

"There's a lot of trepidation in market right now over the possibility of a recession," Taxdahl says. "We went through one in 2008, 2009 and we actually grew during those years. One of the reasons I think we did is because we were swimming in such a big pool. I mean, the whole country is my potential market, so there's always somebody doing something."

Thread Logic and its 28 locally based employees have built a national reputation and won repeat business from about 60 percent of the customers who found the company on the Internet. And, along the way, they’ve all had some fun brushes with fame in the process.

The company has done work for a range of high-profile clientele ranging from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the Federal Aviation Administration and other high-ranking politicians.

Thread Logic-decorated apparel has appeared in the movie "The Help" and in the TV shows like "Naked and Afraid," "Ghosts," "The Following" and "Dirty John."

And, one night, Taxdahl got an order from Carol Burnett's husband, who needed 200 hats bearing the actress's caricature. He's got a signed polo shirt in his office from that experience.

"I want to frame it and display it," he says. "I just haven't gotten there yet."

Despite significant growth, Taxdahl says Thread Logic is here to stay. The couple lived in Bloomington when first married, but, having grown up in Waseca, they wanted some space.

"We found some acreage in Jordan," he says.

He's near the airport for shipping needs and the hustle-and-bustle of the metro but can enjoy the relative quiet, the lower costs and, of course, the view of the cornfield as he drives to and from work. Most of his employees live within 10 or so miles of the office.

"We built a house here 25 years ago and have been here ever since," he says, adding that while he might start sneaking away for some sun a little more frequently during the winters, the family is committed to its local presence for the long-term. "As long as we own the company, we’ll have some kind of presence here."

Description: Producer of custom logo embroidered apparel

Headquarters: Jordan

Founded: 2002

Owners: Jeff and Wenda Taxdahl

Employees: 28

Website: www.threadlogic.com

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