May '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 M A Y P R I N T W E A R 4 7 fel bags and finer totes, decorators might want to consider an intricate embroidered design since it'll heighten the perceived value, allowing them to charge their client more for the job, and in turn allowing that client to charge a premium price to the end user. Meanwhile, a more economical product like a drawstring bag, grocery tote, or wine bag may work better with a heat- printed design because of its cost-effective approach. Depending on the volume of the order, screen-printed bags are also a vi- able option, but shops will want to crunch the numbers to ensure the number of bags they're printing is worth the cost of setup and labor hours on-press. Huebner points out that if a shop is equipped and the bag features the right fab- ric construction, dye sublimation may also be the best option. "These days we stick al- most exclusively to dye sub on the bags we are producing," he adds. "It allows for us to order in one type of fabric and create any number of colors, prints, sizes, and designs without having to change our production." RUNNING THE GAMUT One misconception some producers may have is that the bags and accessories cat- egory only makes sense for team and spir- itwear accounts, but sources note that this is hardly the case. "Bags can really be offered to any cli- ent who buys wearables," states Peters. "There are endless options to meet any kind of budget or program." Peters stresses that the trick to this market is "thinking beyond the traditional backpack or duffle bags," and finding something that truly fits the customer's needs or event. Even with their universal apparel, some shops might find it overwhelming to offer bags to every single customer that comes through the door. Lori Helms, Carolina Made, offers a shortlist of a few key busi- ness categories that shops can look to as a starting point: In addition to stationary businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence, parties point out that any company with more of an event-based model works well too since they'll need as much material as possible to promote their event. Business conferences, trade events, and even music festivals work well in this scenario. Since music concerts lean heavily on apparel for their merchan- dise, "adding bags into the product mix not only diversifies the merchandise but makes it another 'got to have' item for those at- tending concerts," suggests Ereren. Ultimately, sources recommend that pro- ducers employ the same skill they do when suggesting a type of garment for a client's job. By recommending the right type of bag to go with the best type of decoration discipline, a decorator can help their cus- tomer build the best order for their school team, community event, or local business. And if it's a large enough order, they can expand the bags and accessories offering at their shop beyond the standard add-on category. PW • Yoga and dance studios • Dentists offices • Travel agencies • Souvenir shops Above: Drawstring bags work for a large variety of niches and business sectors. (Image courtesy Carolina Made) Right: Branded bags pair well with team wear orders since schools identify with popular athletic brands. (Image courtesy S&S Activewear) Bags can also be marketed to mu- sic events like festivals and concerts. (Image courtesy Terry Town)

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