April '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 26 of 68

2 4 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 9 2 4 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 9 " EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l Patching Through HOW TO PROFIT FROM PATCHES It's a rare customer who spends nights dreaming up methods to showcase embroidery in their brand- ing. Whereas apparel line creators might be invested in techniques, materials, or new designs, most B2B cli- ents aren't researching the latest products and pro- cesses in the apparel deco- ration pantheon. If you want customers to notice a technique, increase spending, add new items to their product portfolio, or seek out newly-instituted services, you D o you stay busy doing this stuff? I mean, can you even make money stitching patches?" As a commercial embroidery educator, I'm often asked to reduce lessons to an effect on the bottom line. When the above question surfaced during one of my seminars, I was hardly surprised. I may love embroidery enough to do some of it unpaid, but I'm a huge proponent of not only being consistently paid, but pricing higher based on perceived value. What shocked me about this question is the conceit that patches somehow had an inherent, attached success or failure in their nature. Waves of popularity are real. The current trend promoting emblems of all sorts will cool and rise in time, but with a well-attested, continuous presence throughout the history of our industry, it's hard to consider the salability of patches the result of any 'fad'. For almost everything we create, there's a certain amount of responsibility we must take on if we are to be successful as decorators. Patches (or hats, or polo shirts) can't make us busy unless we take the initiative to make those products move and set up sustainable margins. Above: Having once been relegated to pre-made patch blanks, I knew I had some- thing special to offer after we created our first custom- shaped patches in-house. Still, it wasn't enough just to make them, we had to get the word out. (All images courtesy the author)

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