May '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 83 of 122

A ccessories and bags might not be the first things your clients consider when they're devel- oping uniforms or coming up with what to sell for fundraisers. But, they are one of the things fans look for before they get in the stands at sporting events, and they can have huge selling potential for your shop. Going into niche apparel like socks, sports bags, and ties, there are lots of different styles and ways to decorate them that will appeal to your end users. STAND-OUT STYLES Bags are a go-to in the accessories market. Sports bags are practically necessary for every type of athlete, from Little League to college and professional basketball players to weekend Ultimate Frisbee teams. Especially at the seasonal or scholastic level in sports, the demand always comes back as new players join leagues and commute to prac- tices and games. Even pet bags designed to carry cats or small dogs have seen higher demand as more travelers decide to have their pets tag along with them. With this comes plenty of opportunities for customization. Between pet carriers, athletic bags, and shoulder bags, there are plenty of choices beyond the typical tote bags for deco- rating with mascots, logos, and other promotional embellishments. While they all come in different styles and have very different purposes, they all have real estate for decora- tions on their sides, flaps, and pockets. While bags and other standards such as scarves or non-wearable items like mugs are solid and profitable items in the accessories mar- ket, in truth, there are loads of distinctive products that go beyond the mainstays. Bruce Everakes, Wolfmark, says that self-tie bows are extremely popular, as well as more classic tie and scarf styles. Thanks to new and updated technology, plenty of other acces- sories are at the potential disposal of decorators. Shon Roti, JDS Industries, says that newer pieces with a noticeable impact include sport sleeves, socks, cuff bracelets, and luggage handle wraps. "My personal favorite is the sport sleeves, because they are easy to produce, get a lot of attention, and work as visible walking advertise- ments," Roti explains. While the sports sleeves come almost naturally to events like bas- ketball, soccer, or football and have been marketed as such, they can also be useful in places besides the court or practice field. Specifically, Roti reasons, they can be used to cover up tattoos in workplaces. This, combined with the additional use as possible advertising space, leads to plenty of potential. The durability and distinction of accessories shouldn't be underestimated by decorators, either. Not only can they last just as long or even longer than T-shirts used for the Sock It to Me Niche Accessories & Bags at a Glance B Y S A N D R A S E P A N I A K While less common outside of sporting events, sport sleeves can be used as vis- ible advertising space and might also be used to cover up tattoos in the workplace. (Im- age courtesy John- son Plastics) 2 0 1 6 M A Y P R I N T W E A R || 77

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