Printwear

February '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Headwear remains a lucrative avenue for decorators be- cause of its versatility in pro- moting all types of brands and niches. (Image cour- tesy Cap America) Shops should look for a supplier that keeps a deep inventory of clas- sic looks like mesh-back hats. (Image courtesy Cap America) For larger- volume or- ders, shops can consult with the sup- plier on con- tracting out decoration. (Image cour- tesy HTT Apparel) der of the same product without ever having to turn on the heat press or embroidery machines. KNOWING THE REPUTATION The online sphere can be a good starting point for finding out a supplier's reputa- tion, but parties agree that a shop should do more research than merely scanning Google reviews or social media posts. "[Some] people just read online reviews, but that may not be an accurate represen- tation of a supplier," explains Liu, contest- ing that many people "only leave reviews when they are upset." In contrast to just a generic web search, Campbell recommends that decorators explore industry-specific resources that are available to shops. Supplier-rating systems like Distributor Central and SAGE, he points out, give producers a more profes- sional picture of the company. "One or two unfavorable reviews could just be from a disgruntled customer, but for the most part, these will give a shop owner a basic idea of the company's reputation." Alongside reputable customer reviews, the consensus is that decorators should ask their peers whom they recommend. It may seem counterintuitive to ask another shop who they do business with because of the competitive nature of the industry, but Fa- fara explains there's a cyclical nature to the market as well. "In general, most people want to help people," he states, describing that if, for example, one shop refers another shop to their supplier, that enhances that business' relationship with the supplier, brings new business to the supplier, and helps that second shop fulfill an order, es- sentially benefiting everyone. By partnering with a reliable supplier, shops can stay on target with production goals and take in new headwear clients with confidence. Moreover, they'll be tapping into what's sure to continually be one of the most profitable pieces of wearable, promo- tional products for years to come. PW 2 0 1 9 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 4 1

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