October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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48 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 W hen planning the items that will be inventoried and sold in an apparel decora- tion shop, the popularity of the item must be considered, as well as the good's ability to be decorated with the equipment and supplies available. Most people probably tend to think about high-dollar items such as T-shirts, hoodies, corporate logo wear, and such, but there are other items that, while they may be smaller and less pricey, can also be great profit cen- ters for businesses who know how to assess their markets. STYLISH ACCESSORIES Those who live in cold climates know that mittens and gloves are a necessity. Whether they're keep- ing your hands from freezing to the steering wheel in the morning, or shielding little fingers from the snow while playing in the front yard, hand coverings and cold weather go together like snow and ice. Mittens and gloves are common- place, but they don't have to be bor- ing. Add a monogram to a pair of leather gloves for a personalized and elegant look. Put an appliqué on a pair of mittens for a child. Scarves seem to go along with gloves, but beyond functionality, scarves are also accent fashion piec- es. Because of this, the scarf catego- ry comes in two versions. One is warm and wooly and gets wrapped around the neck or tucked inside a coat collar when it's cold outside. The other can be gossamer and sheer, or brilliantly colored and intricately wrapped over an outfit. Either option could certainly do with a monogram, or maybe an intricate and eye-catching embroidered design. Don't underestimate the de- sire to have things monogrammed, or ignore the fact that embroider- ing three letters doesn't take a lot of time, but can bring in a surprising amount of money. Flip flops, tennis shoes, and loaf- ers are all items that can be unique- ly decorated. They may go on the feet and be the last thing seen when someone is looking at an outfit, but that doesn't mean shoes have to be boring. With the right tools, shoes can be embroidered, decorated with heat-applied graphics, or sublimated. PROMO MARKETING These are just a few of the niche items that can be profitable for decorators but, un- like T-shirts or hoodies, hats, scarves, or shoes, may require a bit more education and marketing to get customers on the bandwagon. For decorators that specialize in one of these niche categories, getting the word out about what can be done with a shoe or a mitten is key. Decorators are their best advertisements. Make sure whenever you're out in public, you're wearing samples of the work you've done. Many a sale was started with the words, "Where did you get that?" Make sure your work is on display and give onlook- ers the opportunity to ask. On the digital front, never un- derestimate the power of a Pinter- est board. Start a board for each accessory item you offer, and fea- ture ideas for what can be done with the item, as well as samples of work. Pinterest is about inspiration and aspiration, so use your boards to give your customers a dose of both. Making a decent video isn't that tough these days, and the technol- ogy is affordable for almost every budget. Record a video that shows how a hat is embroidered, or which show- cases trends in scarf decoration and tying. Post it on YouTube, promote it through social media, and educate customers about what you can do. Real-time demos are also an option in this category. They can either be done on video or by inviting people into your workspace. The goal is to showcase the Beyond Basics Promotional Goods That Go The Distance B Y K R I S T I N E S H R E V E Kristine Shreve is the director of marketing for EnMart and parent company Ensign Emblem. She devel- oped and writes the EnMart Embroi- deryTalk Blog at and the SubliStuff blog at www.sub- She additionally main- tains the EnMart Twitter feed ( and Facebook page ( Reach her by email at

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