December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 38 of 118

"These new styles open the conversa- tion, and there's a much better selling en- vironment," Seymour says. "It's not about providing the lowest price T-shirt you can provide. It's about providing an exciting product to the customer, and that creates opportunities to focus on quality rather than just price." Besides expanding sales avenues with the customer, Yeung finds that offering a well-rounded line of fashionable products gives a decorator an edge over competitors. If a competitor down the street only offers basic outfitting options, it won't win the customer who's looking for more. This in- stead gives the power to the decorator with a unique product line. Rather than folding on price to stay competitive, this decorator controls the sales process with a basic eco- nomic principle: supply and demand. "We know how aggressive the T-shirt business is on a day-to-day basis, but when you offer something unique, it puts you in a better position with customers," Yeung says. "You now have more space on mar- gin dollars, which allows you to turn a bet- ter profit and gives you more negotiating power with the customer, as well." While fashionable apparel is in de- mand, it's not enough to simply carry the product. Customers need to see and feel their options, and showroom samples are a great way to create excitement, Yeung says. Some customers are savvy enough to know their options, but many may need guidance in the possibilities, especially for those who aren't familiar with the whole- sale market. Not only do showroom samples create excitement but they can also spur ideas that lead to more sales, Yeung says. For instance, if a customer visits a decorating shop to purchase basketball uniforms, that single order is the only sale in mind. How- ever, if the customer is faced with examples of sleek performance wear for travel outfits or trendy pieces for fan gear, new markets suddenly open for that one customer. "Having that visual makes the sale a lot easier," Yeung says. "I can explain how that decorated trendy piece with high-quality fabric would look until I'm blue in the face, but actually showing the custom- er the product speaks more than a 1,000 words." As 2015 approaches, look at the emerg- ing trends as a business opportunity. Trendy apparel may start on the runway, but it quickly finds its way to the wholesale market where opportunity awaits. 34 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 pw Paired with high-quality fabric, embroidery gives a garment a greater per- ceived value, which is a helpful selling tool when working with clients. (Image courtesy alphab- roder/Ash City)

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