September '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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36 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 GO GREEK! Kristine Shreve is the director of marketing for EnMart and parent company Ensign Emblem. She de- veloped and writes the EnMart Em- broideryTalk Blog at blog.myenmart. com and the SubliStuff blog at www. She additionally maintains the EnMart Twitter feed ( tian) and Facebook page ( Reach her by email at Selling and working with organizations B Y K R I S T I N E S H R E V E The Greek letter market can be a prof- itable niche. (Image cour- tesy Black Duck) G reek letters, the letters that are used to des- ignate different sororities and fraternities, can be a profitable niche for decorators, but they aren't necessarily a simple sale. As much as we'd like to think that all it takes to sell Greek apparel and paraphernalia is placing the ap- propriate Greek letters on the item to be sold, it's not that easy. The fraternities and sororities strictly control their licensing and often have requirements for how their particular letters can be displayed, right down to sizing and color requirements. The Greek letter market can be a profitable one, but those who successfully sell in this market should make sure they're in compliance with the licensing and display requirements. GREEK LICENSING 101 Selling gear with Greek letters has long been a business model for decorators, but it wasn't until fairly recently that the sororities and fraternities wanted their cut of the proceeds. In the early days, Greek gear was like the Wild Wild West: any shop could and did sell products with Greek letters and the Greek organizations paid little or no attention to what was being sold or how the image of their organization was being portrayed. In 2003 or so—the precise date is difficult to pin down—Greek organizations woke up to the fact that there was a lot of merchandise with their fraternity and sorority identifications on it, and they weren't getting a cut of the sale. So, the Greek community followed the example of many of the colleges they inhabited and insti- tuted a licensing system for all of the items that bore the identifying letters of their houses. Decorators now had to

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