March '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 M A R C H P R I N T W E A R 2 1 As part of a Printwear contest, I got to spend time consulting with Regina, pictured here in her shop. The depth and breadth of what we covered in the days I was on-site is something you can't readily get from a single class. such events are much fewer in number than traditional, single-topic classes and work- shops. Shorter classes tend to take the form of a lecture and are well suited to learning reference information, theories about how parts of the embroidery process work, spe- cific decoration techniques, shop manage- ment, pricing, or other subjects that are suited to the slide, support document, and lecture combina- tion. Longer workshops may be lectures, but particularly physi- cal tasks like machine operation/hooping or maintenance may have a welcome hands-on, participatory element as well. Pros: Live education often includes some form of real-time interaction. Though this is very limited in free webinars and social media video, a Q&A session is often included even in these formats. With scheduled, paid classes and traditional trade-show seminars, instructor interaction is not only en- couraged, but expected. Instructors like myself not only open the floor to questions about the class at hand but often spend extended time handling general Q&A in and outside classrooms. Particularly for an on-site or in-person event, net- working with your fellow decorators provides an added value that can't be underestimated, both for purposes of sharing in- sights and potential future business relations. Cons: Though there are free options, live events are often costly, particularly those held in conjunction with trade shows or the retreat-style camps. Travel and expenses are not insignificant for many decorators, even if the lifetime value of the education is almost unquestionably worth the investment, particularly when paired with the connections with vendors and suppliers made possible at trade shows. Traditional trade shows also provide vetted, experienced educators, whereas you may want to exercise some discretion with free, online training. Though many ven- dors offer worthwhile options, it is certainly not without an expectation of placing you in their sales funnel and/or promoting their own equipment and materials when discussing decoration techniques. Some things really require a hands-on approach. Whether you have someone train you in your shop, attend an on-site class with an equipment vendor, or at- tend a workshop, things like hooping and machine maintenance benefit from up-close-and-personal time with the tasks.

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