October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 81 work that he did, but you as a professional screen printer try to be polite and not tell him you would have to strongly consider shutting your doors if this kind of work came out of your shop. It's no different with many folks trying to build their own website; it usually ends up being the child that only a mother could love. In my ex- perience, the small business owners that understand this concept usually have a better success rate. TERRY KEEVEN, ST. LOUIS PRINT COMPANY Is pricing decorated appar- el a straight formula where you figure out your costs and then add a percentage for profit? The most common pricing mistake businesses make when it comes to pric- ing is establishing customer prices based on costs plus a markup. When you buy products, do you think about what the manufacturing costs were? No. You con- sider the importance and significance the product or service has. To use value-based pricing, you must ask questions to under- stand what your prospects value and focus marketing efforts on conveying the value your products and services offer. You also need to understand your competitors and consider your marketing environment to decide if branding and identity mirror the value you offer. The reality is that custom- ers and prospects use value to determine the amount of money they are willing to pay for products and services. Value-based pricing allows you to compete more effec- tively by offering something special that competitors simply can't. JP HUNT, INKSOFT How can I sell my customers on new decoration methods? Self-promotional samples and content marketing are great ways to take the risk out of any initial test of new products and processes. In many cases, distributors may even provide a sample or two, or give you a discount if you explain that the pieces are being used for promotion. When we first wanted to try sublimation, we started by subcontracting a fully sublimated shirt, placing it in our showroom, and blogging about the virtues of the process. Doing this exposed both our brick and mortar and our online customers to sublimation, all before we bought our first printer. ERICH CAMPBELL, BLACK DUCK EMBROIDERY & SCREEN PRINTING Lately, it seems I'm losing more business to a competi- tor who simply undercuts my prices just to buy the job. My present instinct is to match the competitor's price and win the order. Is this okay or should I let it go? It's not a bad decision to let a customer walk, provided the length of your relation- ship with this particular prospect was rela- tively short-lived. If this phenomenon is an isolated incident that happens from time to time, I wouldn't give your decision to pass a second thought—you may have even done yourself a favor. Chances are, if a customer will readily look down the block to save a few bucks, they may never fully appreciate all you could do for them or what you bring to the table. However, if you find that you contin-

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