October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 49 of 118

2 0 1 5 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 45 Simply price the job so that your costs and profits are covered, giving you a win-win opportunity. POOR DESIGN SELECTION When a customer has their heart set on a huge or complicated design but then wants you to put it on a product for which it is not suited, whether it's based on the size of the embroiderable area or the nature of the fabric, you have options. Your cus- tomers are not experts on what works well and what does not; you are. Explain that this particular design is "this big," and show them with your hands or on a sample garment. Let them know where that design will be stellar, whether it's on the front or back of a sweatshirt, on the back of a jacket, or on a bag. If the cus- tomer insists that they need the design on something that will not handle the stitch count or does not have the required sewing area, show them designs that will fit in that space or be suitable for that fabric. A design with tons of little intricate de- tails will not look great when embroidered on a loosely knit sweater or on a plush polar fleece where the design details will disappear, but it will look fantastic on a tightly woven fabric and even on knit golf shirts. Deliver this information in a way of totally custom shirts. If they want the shirts at the quoted price, you come out OK with the order as you will hit the profit points that work for your business. If they do not want the shirts at the quoted price, you still come out OK, as you won't waste time on an order that is not profitable. It is up to the customer to determine if they want the shirts at that price, or not. The other way to handle an inquiry from the customer about five custom shirts is to say that your order minimum is 10 shirts, and then have them hassle you about, "Why can't you do a smaller order?" You are now in a defensive position, the customer is frus- trated, and you are wasting time. You have very little opportunity to turn this into an order that hits decent profit points. Stop giv- ing them a reason to not order from you or to be frustrated that they cannot order what they want. Let them order what they want. that gives them options of what will work instead of arguing with them because it will not work. Try, "This design will work best with the following fabrics," and then make your recommenda- tions. MECHANICAL FAILURE Upon occasion, things can go awry when machine and fabric meet. The garment ends up with a hole in it from the embroidery needle, the heat press does not heat evenly making the transfer pull off poorly, the sleeve of the garment bounces its way into the sewing field and ends up sewn into the design—any number of issues can arise. In a perfect world, the garment that is no longer sellable is one that you provided, and you are able to replace it with minimal fuss, cost, or time.

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