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 || 69 ther don't have the capacity to handle their current workload and need someone else to deal with the overflow, or those that have no embroidery machines of their own but still want to offer the service. Contract embroidery shops only deal in larger orders as a rule, although some may take on smaller jobs, so it pays to research the available options. Shops that do con- tract embroidery may also offer services like digitizing, folding and bagging, or drop shipping. Other decoration methods can be fulfilled with contract decorators, such as screen or digital printing. You will just need to see what's available in your area. Another possible option for those shops that are a bit more established but want to test a market before investing in equipment and supplies may partner with a company that already offers that process. While this is similar to contracting, the arrangement may be less formal and will often involve more of a referral situation, or even a barter arrange- ment. In this scenario, shop A, which does screen printing, would work with shop B, which does embroidery. Shop B would sell screen printing work done by shop A. The arrangement would work in the opposite for embroidery. These types of arrangements can work if both parties are scrupulous about not poaching the other's customers, and might often work best with an informal agreement to that effect. One thing to keep in mind when work- ing in any contract or swap arrangement is that the goal is to increase the services that your shop offers, not to create a steady flow of customers for another shop. With con- tract embroiderers, there will generally be a contract, which should have a provision against the poaching of clients. In a swap arrangement, this prohibition may not be written out but should be discussed before any work is undertaken. Don't be reluctant to spell out concerns and potential issues in advance. Any agreement that brings in revenue but results in a loss of customers is not an agreement working for the good of your shop. It won't do any good to bring in additional revenue and add new equipment and decoration capabilities if the potential

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