Printwear

July '12

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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HIGH-VOLUME SHOPS Jon Weiss, owner of New Buffalo Shirt Factory, a print shop with factories in both upstate New York and Honduras. Although today's average shop is doing last-minute fulfillment orders, this is not to say that the international business has taken over the 500,000 unit jobs either. "I'm not seeing the volume in Honduras either," says Weiss. "Those big orders, the nice runs, are long gone." RISKY BUSINESS So where have all of the big orders gone? As anyone living in this day and age knows, the economy took a dramatic turn back in 2008, which set in motion a change to how business is done. People haven't stopped wearing shirts, and the variety available has done nothing if continue to grow. The real- ity is, companies may still be ordering the same number of shirts, it's just that they are writing the orders more often and in fewer quantities at a time, explains Weiss. When working with such large quantities, and jobs going in and at a consistent speed, it's all in the details; that boxes are right, loads are properly done and shipped to the right place. (Image cour- tesy New Buffalo Shirt Factory) Most on-shore production has moved to a react model, fulfilling just-in-time, and quick turn or- ders. (Image courtesy New Buffalo Shirt Factory) 78 | PRINTWEAR JULY 2012 It no longer makes sense for companies to risk hope (and cash flow) on 500,000 shirt orders that could potentially move. Retail- ers, the main client of these massive orders, whether it's Target or tourist shops, can no longer take the risk of a markdown, says Weiss. Instead, designs are ordered in small quantities to test their effectiveness, giving wiggle room to leave failing or ill-perform- ing stock and substitute in more trial de- signs, or tried and true sellers. "Inventory is so expensive, relatively speak- ing, with capitol at a premium in particular," states Rick Roth, Mirror Image. Because of this, he also believes that the current state of the banking industry plays a role in the big- ger picture of limited order sizes. Banks are no longer run by local bank- ers willing to help out a neighbor, but are instead ran by a mighty few, which makes it much more difficult to get a substantial loan to start a new clothing company with enough inventory to survive in the at-once world.

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