Printwear

February '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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16 | THE TEAM SALES REPORT 2018 the rewards of a running machine outweigh the downtime associated with a dirty machine," states Walker. "Keeping wiper blades, capping stations, encoder strips, and other components clean and in tip-top shape make the ownership of a D2 printer more enjoyable." Have a business plan in place. "D2 can be profitable, but you need a plan," says Walker. "Have a niche market where you can exploit the capabilities of your D2 printer." Part of this plan also means pricing D2 jobs accordingly. EMBROIDERY ERICH CAMPBELL, DECONETWORK Keep names organized. Since most team wear in- volves player names and numbers, keeping each one organized with its respective size is crucial. Many software programs have a team-naming function that creates a file to use on a multi-head GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS While each decoration discipline has its unique set of consider- ations, there are a few things that apply across the board. Our ex- perts weighed in on what you need to think about whether printing, stitching, or heat pressing for the team market. • Get familiar with school uniform regulation sizes and measurements. Specific sports will have standard number and letter sizes for their team uniforms, ex- plains Jenna Sackett, STAHLS'. Knowing these industry standards in advance will save a decorator time and improve the confidence their client has in them regarding the team apparel decoration market. Shops can use online tools like The National Federation of State High School Associations' (NFHS) website to find out regulation sizes (www.nfhs.org). • What's more, some teams have specific colors. Colors such as Carolina Blue and Texas Orange are non-negotiables for many teams, and difficult to achieve in certain disciplines, says Chris Bernat, Vapor Apparel. These Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) colors are clearly defined by the associa- tion. Many blank manufacturers make uniforms in these colors to adhere to the guidelines, but it's important to talk to your ink, thread, or transfer supplier to ensure that the decorations match as well. • Build a comprehensive order system. "Often, the most difficult part of any team apparel order has less to do with the execution of the decoration than it has to do with the collection and organization of the information," says Erich Camp- bell, DecoNetwork. "Team apparel is synonymous with individual personaliza- tion, and with that individuality comes the increased possibility for errors." Things like a custom order form, a catalog/flyer combination, and sales call script can help minimize confusion. • Prearrange garments. Grouping garments by size simplifies the deco- ration process and ideally reduces the chance of a mismatched set for a team uniform. In addition to sorting the physical garments, Camp- bell recommends running back down the data one last time before heading to production. Before a decoration ever touches a garment, make sure you have a cross-checked and customer-approved spread- sheet with associated sizes, names, and numbers , Campbell adds. "Make sure that every name's spelling has been signed off on and that the size combinations, thread colors, and any other details have been signed off with a full digital preview of each combination." • Think outside of the uniform. Bernat stresses the importance of practice apparel and accessories within the team market. Goods such as sleeves, socks, and less expensive T-shirts for practice days are all lucrative and often overlooked items. • Establish a return policy. While it's important for apparel decorators of any discipline to have customer service protocol dialed in, Campbell stresses the importance of a clear return policy for ill-fitting garments. "With garments that must be individually personalized, you have to make sure your customer understands that you can't return or exchange garments after decora- tion," he states. "To avoid the problem before the return stage, either offer to lend a sizing set to the team for try-ons before the order (billed to the team if any garments are lost, damaged, or unable to be used for the order), and/or host a team try-on event on-site or in your shop to ensure that everyone gets the proper fit." Inset: The fabric construction of team garments will help de- termine the best type of screen-printing inks to use. (Image courtesy Fitness Wear) Above: Screen printers will want to pay close attention to manufacturer-recommended drying times, which can be as much as three minutes in a dryer chamber depending on the ink. (Image courtesy Fitness Wear) MAKING THE CUT

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