December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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98 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 Watch Your Bottom Line The art of negotiating with suppliers B Y M A R C V I L A A s economic conditions, technol- ogy, and fashion change, so must the interworkings of a business. Business owners must adapt to remain competitive while watching pric- ing, expenses, and income. That, of course, includes building mutually beneficial rela- tionships with suppliers. To reduce costs, there should be a method to your negotiat- ing—one that involves tact while maintain- ing a trusted relationship. THE NEGOTIATING LAND- SCAPE There was a time when only a few suppliers existed, and small-business owners lacked power during this simpler age. Purchasing a single-head embroidery machine was nearly double the cost of buying a car, and investing in an apparel decorating business required cash. Even the best negotiators faced a tough position. When there's little competition fighting for your business, you don't have much leverage. Fast forward to the 21 st century and there are new suppliers popping in and out of business every few months. Higher demand and margins have increased competition and innovation while reducing costs. We now live in a world where suppliers must offer high-quality products at competitive prices, and negotiating price is a challenge for both the seller and buyer. Marc Vila is a national account manager for Pantograms Manufacturing Company. He formerly owned an online apparel decorating company, for which he built an e-commerce/shopping cart website in addition to managing apparel design and sales. He can be contacted at 800-872-1555 ext. 218 or

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