July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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3 4 P R I N T W E A R J U L Y 2 0 1 9 S hops are always on the lookout for ways to bring in new clients and ramp up their order volume relative to their capacity. One av- enue decorators can consider if they are prepared to take on high-volume jobs is the corporate apparel market. This market offers up a whole new realm of rev- enue and an excellent chance for a decora- tor to get their business' name in front of an entirely new set of customers. GETTING INVOLVED The corporate apparel market is undoubt- edly a reliable revenue stream, but it's not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach, so it's generally recommended that shops do a little internal assessment before they jump into the business. "I firmly believe you need to focus on what you do well and excel at it," suggests Tim Stiene, Century Place Ap- parel. "With that said, corporate apparel is a very big market that should not be over- looked." Unlike some markets that might have a more seasonal nature to them, corporate apparel typically has different needs all year round, so if a decorator can partner with a few reliable distributors, it can be a consis- tent moneymaker. The trick to tapping into this market, Taraynn Lloyd, Edwards Garment, points out, is making the entire process as smooth as possible for the client. "Decorating cor- porate apparel is an important service that producers should address," she says. Mak- ing the service worry-free means clients can count on high-quality decorated corporate apparel, Lloyd adds. Getting involved in corporate apparel decoration will also require that a shop get the word out so they can start building a healthy list of customers. Brad Moxley, Cut- ter & Buck, says that shops can get started by looking at their current Rolodex. "Uti- lize those in your network who trust you to provide quality work and ask them to make introductions to the right people within the organization they work for." Quite often, the person in charge of ordering branded goods at a corporate entity, especially larger companies, can get backed up in their day- to-day duties, so Moxley suggests that by reaching out and offering to help assist this person in finding what suits their compa- ny's needs can start a producer off on the right foot. Since some shops might not have a large budget for advertising, both Stiene and Lloyd suggest other ways decorators can get creative to spread the word about their corporate apparel offerings. Shops can out- fit their staff in custom-decorated corporate apparel to give clients a 'real-life' sample of their offerings and share photos of outfitted employees on social media. Wearing these decorated garments to client visits also helps shops display what they're capable of and gives customers an idea of how the garment will look in a work environment. A simple flyer included with existing clients' jobs can also help spread the word, parties suggest. LEARNING THE TERRITORY If a shop is accustomed to walk-in orders for smaller local clients, there will be some dif- ferences with corporate apparel they should be aware of. Even as a business is graduating to this level of service, Stiene notes that key attention should be paid to some core char- acteristics. "Regardless the size of the order, Fix Up, Look Sharp Some companies have veered away from the typical corporate outfit to integrate perfor- mance wear. (Im- age courtesy Cut- ter & Buck) BENEFITS AND APPROACHES TO CORPORATE APPAREL DECORATION M I K E C L A R K

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