July '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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46 || P R I N T W E A R J U LY 2 0 1 8 buyers less than 35-years-old entering the market. This demographic seeks transparency and ethically-sound manufacturing standards in more than apparel and decorated-apparel supplies. From coffee to produce to bath products and cleaning solutions, the incoming generation of buyers are seeking goods that fit their entire lifestyle. Even with the elevated interest in American-produced goods, sources say the actual throughput of people ordering products is mixed. Mike Jones, Granite Knitwear, says he's seen more inquiries for apparel, but once buyers are confronted with the higher price needed to make a T-shirt in the U.S., they don't always follow through. Meanwhile, some compa- nies are seeing improvement because of the interactive element of dealing with an American company. Glen Brumer, Royal Apparel, explains that the clear process of domesit manu- facturing is a major selling point for many clients. "They love to see fac- tory shots and pictures of the people who are making their clothes," he adds. So, where does American made fit in the decorated apparel market? THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF SELLING AMERICAN Since domestic products cost more, a shop that's used to buying blanks made in Southeast Asia or Central America may have a difficult time fig- uring out how to sell a T-shirt that's a higher price, particularly if they have established priced brackets with long-term customers. Manufactur- ers explain that for buyers, there is a value proposition to American-made goods which they can pass down to their customers. "By telling the story of a Made-in-USA product, that's also a reflection of who that shop is to their customers," says Brumer. "It helps them tell their story." Part of that value proposition of American-made apparel is the ethi- cal manufacturing component. Ev- Customers often appreciate the transparency that comes with dealing with American manufacturers. (Image courtesy Royal Apparel) Made-in-USA apparel companies have more flexibility with turnaround times and customization since they have shorter ship times than over- seas businesses. (Image courtesy Bayside) With the advent of e-commerce, customers now conduct in-depth research when sourcing apparel. (Image cour- tesy Upcycle)

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