October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 115 of 118

2 0 1 5 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 111 with customers to develop creative de- signs and strategies to help them reach their audiences. Among respondents to the ASI study, 50 percent of promo- tional outerwear recipients keep their items because they are attractive. This is an easy area to capitalize on for your customers. You can even use great designs to help customers take their promo wear a step further. Everyone loves a free product, but beautiful designs sell. Just ask brands like Hard Rock Café, Bub- ba Gump Shrimp Company, and Dis- ney. People pay to buy wearables with these logos, which, in essence means that consumers are essentially paying these brands to advertise for them. The lesson here is that if you offer cool designs, the dollars are sure to fol- low. Also think about trending apparel as suggestions for customers looking for promotional wearables. Sublimated socks are mega-hot sellers these days— even Whoopi Goldberg came out with her own line of socks this summer. Creatively designed top to toe and featuring sublimated graphics, this is a great trend to capitalize on for your customers. Another popular item of the mo- ment is the fabric headband, or for the upcoming colder months, the gai- ter that can be worn around the neck or the head. Both are a favorites for sports fans and outdoorsy people, as well as athletes and racers. Both pro- vide a great visible canvas for full-color branding and promotion. It's no secret that promotional wear- ables are big business. More and more companies are realizing that their ad- vertising dollars are spent more wisely on shirts, hats, outerwear, and other products they can place on customers. As an apparel decorator, you have lots of opportunity to grow your business in these markets. valuable when decorated with artwork, logos, names, and other graphics that remind the wearer—and those who see them—where the item came from. In an age where fundraising walks and races are all the rage, everyone wants a shirt that declares they were there. These wearables become a sym- bol of pride and status, which means that the owners of the T-shirt are more than willing to wear their shirt in public. The same is true for business employees and customers. If you give them a free fleece pullover featuring the company logo, some cool artwork connected to the brand, or even just the company name, they will wear it. Wearables also provide tons of space to get your message across. Most pro- motional products are very small and can only accommodate designs with one or two colors. But with wearables, even on hats and socks which offer some of smallest areas to decorate, you have several square inches to work with and make your customer's logo more visible. LET THAT CREATIVE FLAG FLY Sublimation's digital print technolo- gy enables decorators to get creative with the types of wearables offered for promotion and how they're dec- orated. So much of the promotional product industry lies in single-color format because of traditional analog print processes. With these come large minimum orders, setup fees, and in- creased production time. Sublimation has changed the promotional products game. The quick create, print, and press process enables apparel decora- tors to offer profitable ways to accept small orders with quick turnaround, and at the same time deliver high res- olution, full-color graphics to boot. Even better, costs are the same whether you make 1 or 1,000 items in a run. This gives you lots of room to work continued from page 65 denim shirt. When a digitizer knows the initial range of materials, they can react properly and make recommendations accordingly. 4. Identify any special design consider- ations. If a design is going to have 3D puffy foam or appliqué, it is important to state which part of the design will contain the specialty material. Submit- ting a design and stating, "Please use foam," or, "This is an appliqué design" does not provide nearly enough infor- mation. 5. Always obtain the best artwork pos- sible. If the artwork does not look satisfactory, ask for better artwork. Your goal is to provide the digitizer with the absolute best artwork. One of the worst things people do is cap- ture a small image from the internet and then submit it to the digitizer. Anytime you grab a web image, it is bitmap-based and usually so small that it will not be usable. 6. Repeat designs. Ask your customer if the design they want is a new design, or if they already have items with em- broidery of the same design. Most customers do not realize that digitiz- ing is an artistic process and that every digitizer will interpret a design in their own manner. If a customer has a prior embroidery, ask them for a sample and provide it to the digitizer so they can match the look of the prior digitizing. Take all of these factors and discuss the design with your customer before sending it to the digitizer. A clear understanding be- tween you and the customer will help you deliver a clear message to your digitizer. And never ask a digitizer to use their best judg- ment. It will always be wrong. Following the steps listed above will help you provide quality designs to your custom- ers, time after time, and will keep your digi- tizer from going crazy. Remember, if there is any room for interpretation, the end result will most likely be different from what your customer was expecting. continued from page 49 THREAD ... ACCORDING TO ED PROMOTIONAL SUBLIMATION

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