May '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 M A Y P R I N T W E A R || 35 parel decorators, it's also natural that our first sales usually consist of garments: uniforms, polo shirts, practice Ts, coaches' jackets, booster Ts, visors, and caps. All of these items easily fit our usual decoration processes. We've decorated every style of clothing for just about any use you can imagine, both on and off the court. As a lucrative niche market with dedicated members used to buying specialty gear and spend time, effort, and even logging travel for their sport, it stands to reason that if we can offer them value, they'll reward us with ex- panded orders. PRODUCTS WITH A WIN-WIN PROPOSITION For sports, it's easy to envision a world of specialty equipment like pads, shoes, braces, and logo-emblazoned balls. Though it's true that our dedicated club-level customers are willing to buy these items, it's also true that they can be selective about this specialized and critical gear. The trouble we would incur when sourc- ing and pricing these specialties for profit, let alone the trouble taken in decorating them, might make them a poor choice for an initial foray into cross-selling. We need to take both our needs and exist- ing resources, as well as the needs of our customer, into consideration; this means that our selection must not only provide utility to the customer, but should be eas- ily sourced, cost-effective, and easily deco- rated with minimal fuss in ordering. To get the best value for our company, we should select an item that we can pur- chase from suppliers with whom we order regularly; one preferably non-sized for ease of organization, and one which we can embroider along with our usual apparel orders. For our clubs, it didn't take lengthy research to find something that made sense for our production while serving their needs. Knowing that players and coaches alike have to carry clothing, gear, and ac- cessories to and from matches, bags stood out as a perfectly balanced offering. More- over, our existing apparel suppliers had bags that, though they weren't volleyball- specific, provided more than enough func- tion for an individual team member's gear while providing us a canvas to employ existing embroidery designs and personalization schemes honed on our initial apparel orders. SLIMMING YOUR SELECTION Your first step in a successful cross-sale is curation. You want to select a bag with features that the client needs while making sure that it has adequate access for embroidery. Once you find bags that cater to your customer, those among them that feature wide, flat open- ing pockets, zip-off panels, or embroidery-specific decoration areas should figure highest on your prospective list. Choose a small num- ber of complementary bags with panels that match team colors— a backpack, gym bag, and duffel make a great trio. You can offer a primary bag and an alternate for each, but make sure to reduce the field to bags with quality you trust and features you need to

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