November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 N O V E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 45 creative work accordingly, but be prepared to move beyond that first draft. Finish strong. Once you've received your approvals and you're ready to produce, re- member that quality is proved by the final fit and finish. Decorate cleanly and make a good presentation of your pieces; part of that 'retail' experience is picking up a piece to discover that it has every bit the appeal of something on the shelves of a favorite store. Take the time to make your garment look good; trim, steam, fold, and package your pieces with care so that they delight your customer and wow their em- ployees. Remember that when you sell on quality and style, you've got to carry that sense of care through every step of your production process. Proper finishing is the final chance to make a difference between the same-old and a stunning reveal. Spending research time on uniforms may not seem sensible for every client, but your ability to create something that stands apart from the pre-packaged offerings common to the workwear segment can be a powerful way to differentiate your shop from those that don't venture outside of es- tablished styles. When every customer has the basics easily accessible from any num- ber of wholesalers in a similar range of pric- es, simply offering discounts or marginally better service may not be enough to make the sale, but creativity—especially bundled with the personal interest that your inves- tigation of their style shows—can make you feel more like a partner than a product. You may be surprised how much a client is willing to pay then you show not only a genuine interest in their image, but a com- mitment to imagination and quality. is made to be identifiable, not every piece needs to have a stock, standard execution of a company's logo to achieve that brand rec- ognition. For the best look, one must design for the application and for each garment rather than forcing the same design into all situations. If you think about the offerings from popular retail clothing brands, it's easy to understand. They don't take a single piece of art or logotype and use it on every piece of their apparel, unaltered. They en- gage in reimaginings of their logos, slogans, and other intellectual property to give each piece its own personality while remaining recognizably branded. Moreover, each dec- oration is suited to the available decoration area and the garment's own style. Even when garments are forced by util- itarian concerns to stay closer to conven- tion, your decoration technique, style, materials, and placement can bring retail flare to an otherwise humdrum piece with a little creative space. Present before you produce. Present mock-ups of your potential garments be- fore you stitch or sample. Going for a more stylish approach takes you out on a limb; the price of stretching beyond the well-es- tablished boundaries that define most uni- forms is an occasional fail. Even customers who proclaim that they're ready to walk on the wild side of workwear may pull back from a nontraditional look, so it's worth your time to put together a rough draft of your garment, color, and design concepts for pre-approval before you get too far into the creation process. An important part of doing creative work is fostering comfort and trust in your client, and clearly showing your direction long before you are at the delivery stage is critical to making and maintaining that relationship. Don't be afraid to do some- thing spectacular; just be ready to dial it down if it reaches too far out of your cus- tomer's comfort zone. This isn't to say you can't explain and defend your designs— showing the benefits of one's work to cli- ents is a staple of the design world. Just realize that you may have to make more than one attempt to get it sold. Price this PW1115 Stahls' is identity from start to finish. From names to numbers, practice apparel to uniforms, training rooms to playing fields, Stahls' is your source for personalization. When Your Name is on the Line… STAHLS.COM | 800.4.STAHLS WE MAKE IT PERSONAL.

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