December '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 35 ings that happen when each position is opaque to other employees. It's harder to blame coworkers and easier to give them support when you know the difficulties each job brings and what information and assistance each position needs to be effective. SKILL BUILDING Education that was once relegated to trade shows and on-site train- ers is now available for anyone at any time. There's an immense amount of information available from blog posts, walkthrough videos, and online courses. Whether you use free resources pro- vided by suppliers, content generated by trade publications like Printwear, or the offerings of paid third-party consultants, there's no reason not to get some sort of training. Once you've found the right material and methods for your skill- building, schedule training for each department and treat study as a significant activity. Either swap out employees or close each depart- ment for the time it takes to view lessons or work through exercises. Dedicated and uninterrupted time will give you the best results. Have your physical space ready with everything needed to learn be- fore beginning. Training isn't limited to industry-specific education either. To learn more about business, marketing, or design in a broader context, con- sider subscribing to a reputable site that offers more general courses. There's a world of curated, high-quality materials available for the dedicated learner. If cost is an issue, check with your local library; some have organizational subscriptions allowing access to popular training websites free of charge. Either way, there's no better invest- ment than education. Nothing can take away your increased knowl- edge and capacity. MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE TRIALS If you have a technique that your equipment can achieve but you've never tried, or new/new-to-you materials that would increase the continued on page 95 Above: Though you should be cleaning regularly, slow times are a great chance to do a deep-cleaning and dusting on your equipment and storage areas. Any areas on a machine that could come into con- tact with thread or garments should be pristine. (Image courtesy the author) Right: Testing new garments and accessories can be more than just a learning experience; when we first started sublimat- ing hard-goods, we created these self-promotional dog-tags that doubled as a test-bed and a fun cus- tomer gift. (Image courtesy the author) Far Right: That testing swatch I pressed in a down period was worth every moment when a rushed order came in that required custom-printed patches that matched the color of an existing garment. Trial and error isn't so trying when it's done in the off-season. (Image courtesy the author)

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