Printwear

March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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28 || P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 7 Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroidery digitizer with more than 15 years of experience as well as a long-time e-commerce manager, currently digitizing and cre- ating online properties for Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Black Duck. A constant contributor to the industry's content landscape through webinars, podcasts, social media, and more, Erich is an evangelist for the craft, a stitch-obsessed ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L embroidery believer, and firmly holds to constant, lifelong learning and the free ex- change of technique and experience through conversations with his fellow stitch-work- ers. As a current industry and fiber-arts blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery designer, Campbell brings his varied experience and interests to bear as an editorial author for numerous industry publications, a member of editorial boards, and a consultant for product support groups. A pparel decorators in the age of the internet might be for- given for believing there's nothing that can't be done online. I've heard more than one decorator swear that shows and seminars were doomed, but the crowds gathered at industry shows each year can't be solely attributed to luddite decorators. On the contrary, there's a clear benefit to direct, social interactions. Though it's worthwhile to meet your peers, there are reasons far beyond socializing to make trade shows a part of your growth strat- egy. When it comes to networking, education, support, and inspira- tion, few places are more rich with opportunity than a well-attended trade show. If you are smart about planning and research, you can make the cost of trade-show attendance well worth your while. By discussing the opportunities trade shows present and sharing a few tips to get the most out of your experience, you can be ready to rule your IRL (in real life) industry event. INNOVATION Equipment manufacturers and materials suppliers are always look- ing to showcase the latest technologies and applications at trade shows. If you want to take the industry's pulse and brand yourself as someone who always knows what's next, you belong on the floor. Admittedly, many of the newest technologies are not ready for pro- duction on their first trip to the trades, but they are there, if nothing else, as a guidepost for the future of the industry. An experienced decorator can tell a great deal from the working ex- amples that manufacturers have whirring away in their booths. And, as I always stress when teaching digitizing and embroi- dery, you can't replace the benefit of watching a machine run. Certainly, the equipment and materials are used on projects that give the most favorable showing, but you'll still have a better sense of their operation from in-person viewing than you might from the online video equivalent. EDUCATION The amount of education going on in and around trade shows is staggering. The obvious examples are the semi- nars held by the shows themselves, both paid and free. You'll find everything from hands-on technique classes to seminars on the organizational and marketing sides of decorating represented in the paid track, with all gener- ally presented without promotions. There are other opportunities popping up that allow you to take advantage of the concentrated population of decorators present, both paid and free. These range from classes on the days immediately before the show to opportunities to meet with consultants in attendance. If those options weren't enough, the trade show floor itself offers a wealth of education from in-booth classes to product demonstrations, to one-on-one interactions with industry experts. Tricks of the Trade (Show) Opportunities and strategies for trade shows Manufacturers and suppliers bring their latest equipment to shows, which makes it the perfect place to watch projects in action. (All images courtesy K. Wright Photography/ THE NBM SHOW)

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