October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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3 Products to Boost 4Q Sales Use digital transfers to finish the year on a strong note by Aaron Montgomery W elcome to the fourth quarter of 2013! This is the time to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital transfer, non-wearable marketplace that will really kick your business in gear and ensure 2013 is a success. Let's explore a few of those niche markets to help spark some creative thinking on your part and to find your fourth-quarter niche. Personalized Mobile Device Cases I have often joked with customers that, in the last couple of years, it is hard to even talk about mobile device cases without making money on them. While that is obviously a joke, there is definitely plenty of truth in that statement. With the right market position and a little creativity, one can be making a profit of around $15 to $20 per customized mobile device case. Aaron Montgomery is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Coastal Business Supplies, Inc. He has been in the garment/personalization industry since 2000 and in graphic arts since 1997. Montgomery is dedicated to helping small businesses become successful and writes a blog dedicated to small business marketing and related topics at http://thoughts. Also listen to his bi-weekly podcast, where he discusses all things decorating/personalizing at Add to the fact that, in the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple sold 17.7 million smartphones, just barely edging out Samsung, which sold 16.8 million mobile phones during the same quarter, according to Strategy Analytics' Wireless Device Strategy Report. Overall, 52 million phones were sold in the U.S. between October and December 2012. With the anticipation of the iPhone 5S sales and previous version iPhone sales, my expectation is that the fourth quarter of 2013 will be even better for Apple and Samsung. With the right market position and a little creativity, one can be making a profit of around $15 to $20 per customized mobile device case. (All images courtesy the author) 34 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 34 How can your business take advantage of that profitable market? First of all, you need to be able create a personalized mobile device case. The majority of these cases are made via the sublimation process, but there are also direct solvent print systems and inkjet printable skins in the marketplace, too. Another avenue to make a personalized mobile device case is to use a canvas/polyester case and decorate it with an inkjet or laser heat transfer. A good sublimation system can be purchased for about $550 to $600 for the startup end and then you need to add a heat press. After you have the equipment in place, it is time to get creative. Potential customers may love the idea of having a personalized case for their phone but may not have the creativity to create a design. Offering preprinted art that caters to the masses may help make the process of customizing a phone case easier. Pre-designed borders or even a little glitter vinyl on the edges of the case are good starts. Mugs and Other Drinkware With cooler weather at the door, many develop a craving for coffee or other hot drinks. During the fourth quarter, mugs can be a nice center piece to your product offerings. These mugs, with, say, some candies placed inside of them, can make great gifts. Or, personalized mugs can simply help a proud parent show off their cute newborn while sipping some coffee. You will also find many corporations looking October 2013 9/17/13 8:55 AM

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