May '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Pins and patches are popular accessories right now with options for decorators to purchase premade goods, blanks, or create them from scratch. (Image courtesy EnMart) 50 || P R I N T W E A R M AY 2 0 1 8 W hen considering ways to grow your business by specializing in accessories, don't forget to look at current trends. One trend that is popular at the moment is personal- ization through the uses of patches or pins. It is similar to the trend in the 1970s when people used circular metal pins with slogans or pictures on them to decorate what they wore. Today, the circular metal pins have been replaced with fabric patches, either ap- pliqués cut into unique shapes or printed or embroidered patches which either have de- signs or slogans printed on them. The pins used today are mostly enamel and similar to fabric patches in that they are either in a specific shape or states a simple saying or slogan. The use of patches and pins is particularly popular as a fashion statement, whether among today's youth culture or in high fashion. Pins and patches are useful because they can be easily added and re- moved to change the look of a gar- ment. They're also a fun way to jazz up something simple and relatively common like a jean jacket or a backpack. Patches and pins are also a relatively easy profit center to add to an existing decoration business. There are supply companies that sell blank patches which can be decorated in house, some that sell already decorated patches, and companies that sell enamel pins at prices that leave room for markup. A decoration company could conceivably make patches to order or set up an online site where already created patches and pins could be sold. When it comes to patches, the question to consider is whether it is better to make patches from scratch or buy blanks or al- ready created patches. In the case of appli- qué patches, it might be better to purchase the patches already made, as there are com- panies which specialize in this type of work and have the equipment and skills to easily make these sorts of patches. Making appli- qués by hand can be done, but the process can be laborious, and the cost per patch may require a high price point to make any profit. Markup on patches needs to be rea- sonable, so keep that in mind when decid- ing how to make the patches you offer. Kristine Shreve is the director of marketing for EnMart and parent company Ensign Emblem. She devel- oped and writes the EnMart Embroi- deryTalk Blog at and the SubliStuff blog at www.sub- She additionally main- tains the EnMart Twitter feed ( and Facebook page ( Reach her by email at W Pin Up Patch and pin accessories B Y K R I S T I N E S H R E V E

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