July '12

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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The state of large-scale, stateside shops New World Order BY CAR LY HOL LMAN-LONG T here was once a time when high- volume jobs were qualified as such in several thousands of pieces, and even hundreds of thousands. With the new mentality of fast fashion and just-in-time deliveries, jobs like these have become stories of yore. Average large-volume orders have been re- duced to the low thousands and several hundred pieces, which isn't awful, but is by no means what it once was. Printwear explores this new business model and what the new reality and future may hold. AROUND THE WORLD Part of the reduced order size can be attributed to globalization, and less-developed countries entering the screen printing game at a fraction of the domestic price. "If it's a really big or- der and customers have the time, they're going to have goods made where they don't have the payroll costs that we do. In China or Central America or some place," declares John Horne, Stitch Designs. Many of today's off-shore projects are larger programs with the luxury of working on future seasons. According to Horne, the cost differ- ence in some foreign countries is about 25 percent less than work done domestically. Even though the savings are measureable, off-shore business does have the disadvantage of time. Since jobs done abroad can take months to complete and ship, most domestic production has turned to a react business, supplying small runs in no time flat. "Domestically, we're working on tomorrow's orders, maybe even a little bit of todays," says 76 | PRINTWEAR JULY 2012

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