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 7 we give the customer valuable new ways to benefit from our services and expose them to enough of what we do to have 'top-of- mind' awareness when they eventually need the product we've been trying to push. We must be able to tell the story of how our products or services improve our custom- ers' branding and the way they consume decorated apparel. Whether your promo- tions are passive like a showroom display, or active like sending tailored, unbidden pitch materials, or, better yet, a multi-pronged combination of active and passive content in channels online and off, is up to you. "HOW DO YOU EVEN MARK PATCHES UP?" If you're not convinced of the product's value or can't create a compelling story describing how a customer would best use your product, you aren't ready to promote it and probably shouldn't bother adding it to your offerings. Being able to show a customer the better life waiting on the other side of their purchase is a must for any pitch. Value is a slippery thing. Is a patch worthless because we can't get garment-level markups on each one we sell, or is it worth more because we don't have to tie up capital sourcing prod- uct? Both can be true, but a customer's concept of product value is always up to us. In my career, patches have been measurably profitable, but not without finding markets in which they made sense to price them accordingly and selling their unique value to the customer. Patches became my best way to 'embroider' things that couldn't fit on a machine or be pierced by a needle, as a means to protect delicate or unreplaceable garments, easy ways to provide non-sized items, or turn any garment into logowear. In-house patch-making became the boon of same-day TV shoots featuring military or police, and saving those film crews gave us status as the capable shop that sold solutions. Value is the story you tell presale, backed with the utility and quality you provide on production. Share your work, show what you can do, and believe in the product enough to back it up. Any product you promote has a better chance of making money than the one you wait for the customer to ask after. PW Erich Campbell has more than 18 years experience as an award-winning digitizer, e-commerce manager, and industry educator. He empowers decorators to do their best work and achieve a greater success. A current educator and long-time columnist, Erich takes every opportunity to provide value to the industry. Patches represent a world of possibilities with uses that vary widely.

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