January '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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56 || P R I N T W E A R J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 P romotional products cover virtually anything used as a promotional tool to further a brand's image. In the apparel world, a T-shirt is one of the most common promotional items that's been used to popularize every- thing from rock bands to state parks to life- style brands. While a printed shirt can cer- tainly work wonders for all types of brands and companies, decorators can use their existing equipment or employ some basic upgrades to expand what they offer to their customers as promotional products. HOW AND WHY TO SELL A good starting point to figuring out what to sell comes with simply looking at what you're already selling, says Shon Roti, JDS Industries. "Customers looking for apparel may also have related needs that a retailer can offer in addition," says Roti. "Depending on what the apparel is for, there is likely a complementary product to go along with it." Rachel Rofe, Custom Happy, lists three main reasons why decorators should con- sider selling promotional goods: they dif- ferentiate a shop from apparel-only busi- nesses, they offer another revenue stream, and often they are an easy upsell for exist- ing customers. In areas like team sports, shops can ex- plore recognition products like plaques or trophies. In corporate markets, items like name tags and personalized office supplies come into play. Maradith Schwander, Coastal Business Supplies, notes that if a screen printer, for example, can also offer their customers promotional products, it's beneficial for both parties. "It's one-stop shopping if you can get your keychains and mugs the same place you're getting your T-shirts," states Schwander. "It's a win-win for both par- ties." Roti also suggests simply asking a few more questions if a customer places an order for an event-themed garment. "A conversation about the product that they purchase for the event or occasion is the logical place to start," he states. "Simply being interested in the customer's event or project will flesh out the other needs that this customer may have." Both Schwander and Rofe propose the idea of data research to backup customer conversations. Rofe explains that shops can use online tools to cull actual numbers on how people are shopping and in what they're interested. Sites like Quantcast, she elaborates, offer audience measurements and monitor buying trends for shops that really want to drill down into specific numbers and estimate their ROI. POPULAR CHOICES AND TRENDING PICKS While styles come and go with apparel trends, some promotional products tend to have staying power, and these are items shops can tap into for instant revenue. Products such as beverage insulators, bottle openers, pens, and keychains maintain pop- ularity because of their flexibility in markets ranging from community events like a 5K or a charity drive to a political campaign to more personalized events like family re- unions. Emily Potter, Outdoor Cap, also notes the continued popularity of headwear as a promotional tool. Since most uniforms and special events go hand-in-hand with P romotional products cover sider selling promotional goods: they dif- sider selling promotional goods: they dif- sider selling promotional goods: they dif Both Schwander and Rofe propose the Promotionally Speaking Tips for Expanding into the Promotional Products Market B Y M I K E C L A R K

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