Printwear

April '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R 2 5 must inform, educate, and sell. That said, in-your-face ads and incessant upsells are far from the only way a product can become a prominent part of your catalog. "SO, YOU HAVE TO BUILD A REPUTATION?!?" My student seemed shocked that I could make a product valuable predicated not only on di- rect marketing, but by including content cre- ation with a broader appeal. That said, in the early days of doing business online, much was made of becoming a 'subject matter expert'. The wisdom was that if you became known as someone who readily handles questions about a subject or created the 'canonical' content that did so, there was a high chance you would be sought not only for answers but to provide the service or product about which you provided your expertise. It might sound complicated, but the truth is much simpler than any buzz- word can imply. Whether it's about being a 'subject matter expert' or an 'influencer', the way you start any kind of following is by shar- ing information. My adventures in regular patch making start- ed with a blog post. The initial patches I creat- ed were classic biker patches made for a police motorcycle group, followed by a set of cover-up patches for a customer who wanted to salvage expensive workwear with an outdated version of their company's branding. Seeing that I had attractive samples that I wanted to share and a couple of great use-cases for patches, I had all I needed to create a good piece of shareable content: solid visuals and valuable information geared toward real customer needs. With that, I set out to write a pithy educa- tional post achieving three things: showing our capability and inspiring customers with an example of our work, showing what patches might be able to do for customers, and entic- ing customers to contact us for information and quoting. I shared the post to social chan- nels and created an email blast to feature the post. Since I'd taken some time to ask pertinent questions, answer in plain language through- out the post, and consistently share our address and region, local searches for 'patches in Albu- I heard a refrain of 'but will it sell' when rhinestone garments first entered our local market. The truth was that when we weren't pushing the technique, but when salespeople were given rea- soning to present the client and a set of live samples, the technique started to move. The promo- tion makes the product. Even if you have no desire to advertise, some method of showing your work is the barest form of promotion. It's easy to see that even in this cluttered case patches, promotional products, and printing examples can be seen.

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