October '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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3 4 | Printwear O ctO b e r 20 1 4 The Case for CusTom "Premade caps are good for fast turn times; however, if you have front/back/side logos, the cost gets high, thus, not allowing the distributor or sales company much room for profit," says rich Soergel, Pacific Sportswear & emblem company. In the ever-growing personalization market, many customers are looking for a unique decorating experience. this may be no more evident than the headwear segment as many manufacturers and suppliers offer panel programs —cut-and-sew operations that allow for the client to choose every detail. Premade caps, styles, and colors are limited, Soergel says. but with custom headwear, each panel can be done in a different color. Labels, hangtags, and bags can also be done according to needs. What's more, embel- lishments can go above and beyond the norm. Since panel programs are made in factories before the crown is formed and the cap assembled, the limitations on the often difficult-to-decorate headwear are diminished, leading to greater decorating innovations, says Jeremy Laney, Outdoor cap. Soergel goes on to say that when piecing together a cap to client's specifications, multimedia designs can be established. "We can do a combo of screen printing with embroidery, and many love a 3-D embroi- dery as well," Soergel says. this is not to mention the potential for sublimation, distressed details, and bling along with many other options. And with shrinking lead times, custom caps are a viable option with more flare than a domestically produced finished cap, Laney says. HEADWEAR TRENDS placements. The biggest concern here is se- cure stitching on the hat itself and noting washing and care instructions as they may require special handling, Modglin says. BEYOND BASIC Even with the versatile popularity of knits and caps, don't overlook more fashionable styles. From fedoras to cowboy hats, straw styles, and wide brims, these unique fabrica- tions lend themselves to special events and niches in wholesale. Golf and corporate clients are particular- ly good markets for these styles, Blackman says. Straw is great for the golf market be- cause it adds protection along with an ele- vated style associated with the green, for example, Modglin explains. Further, she adds, wide brim styles are great alternatives for outdoor events or occupations, such as lawn care and landscaping companies. Even cap-crazy high school coaches are candidates for the style, especially for those early-season workouts when the sun is still high. For cooler weather, trapper hats, lined with faux fur and adorned with heavy-du- ty ear flaps, are a great structured option. Not only does the style offer more pro- tection from the elements but it also plays well to both edgy customers and outdoorsmen. The biggest apprehension to choos- ing these styles is likely their ease of decoration. And as any decorator knows, nontraditional fabrics often lead to headaches. But never fear as most of these styles are probably easier to decorate than you think. Straw styles can be relative- ly easy to embroider, and if the style show- cases a fabric band, it can be screen printed or heat pressed, Modglin says. The same holds true with trappers, which are usually made of slick synthetic fabrics. Here, it sim- ply takes a little know how and, potentially, specialty platens to help get the job done. But regardless of whether the look is tra- ditional or modern, headwear is based on a solid foundation of proven winners that customers love, Blackman says. And with an ever-growing selection of fabrics, colors, styles, and decoration, it makes for an excit- ing decoration category. pw everything from panel and thread colors, crown height, and visor style can be done to specification with panel programs. (Image courtesy Outdoor cap) Since custom caps are decorated before assembly, the decoration possibilities are endless. (Image courtesy Pacific Sports- wear & emblem company) pw

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