May '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 8 M A Y P R I N T W E A R || 33 Printwear highlights women in the apparel and apparel decoration industry. In a male-dominated industry, as a woman, you are challenged to be knowledgeable, up- to-date, and ahead of the game. Doing busi- ness internationally also pres- ents challenges of respectability and acceptance. CRIS SAUNDERS, INSTA GRAPHIC SYSTEMS Since 1999, I've co-owned Vastex Interna- tional. The business was founded by my hus- band's parents. When they retired, my husband [Mark] and I purchased the company and left our respective positions. Mark grew up in the industry and was, at the time, chief engineer at an automation company. The transition was a natural one for him. This was not the case for me, as I previously managed a high-end hair salon with 20 styl- ists under my wing. My field was very creative and artistic. CINDY VASILANTONE, VASTEX INTL. INC When I first began working in the ap- parel industry, I jumped right in and decided to own and operate a screen- printing shop. In the beginning, I wanted the flexibility of working for myself, controlling when I worked, and how much income I could make. This industry gives you the abil- ity to do just that. I started out small, taking on jobs I knew I could handle and enjoying the orders that pushed me to try new techniques. There were successes, struggles, and failures. As the business grew, the flexibility of choosing when to work became less of an option. The demand for new or- ders grew dramatically, which forced me to adjust the way I organized my week and ran my shop. DARCI JEFFREY-ANDERSEN, COASTAL PRO Q What's been your experience as a woman in the industry? With my embroidery company, my prima- ry client base was the heavily male-dom- inated construction industry. Sometimes the contractors did not take me seriously at first. I was always surprised by this, as I would show up on the job sites in steel- toed work boots with my own hard hat, as I knew was required. Once they got past their surprise about doing business with me, my customers never treated me any differently than any of their other suppli- ers, other than helping me unload vans jammed with orders. But who knows, if a guy had shown up with 22 boxes of sweatshirts and rugged jack- ets, those contractors might have helped him unload just as they helped me. JENNIFER COX, NNEP Women in the Industry For this special featurette, we reached out to experts in multiple markets to hear about their experiences, challenges they've faced, and advice they can offer other women looking to succeed. C O M P I L E D B Y A L E X A N D R I A A R R O Y O

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