May '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 2 0 2 0 P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 2 0 EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l The Amazing Niche HOW TO CAPITALIZE ON CREATIVITY T hroughout my time writing and teaching, I've often sung the praises of pushing be- yond the normal boundaries of commercial embroidery and digitizing. Though it's easy for those of us with an artistic bent to get excited over textures, sheen, and dimen- sion in the shapes we fill with stitches, business requires more than our pride in mastery to make something worthwhile. If you are in business, anything you undertake will eventually be measured by the bottom line. Luckily, that next-level creativity you crave can pay off, and I'm here to tell you how. CUSTOMERS WILL PAY FOR THE VALUE THEY PERCEIVE If you've researched pricing in the past few years and made it past understanding your over- head, you've probably heard the term 'value-based pricing'. If so, you know that value isn't solely defined by plugging data into a pre-populated spreadsheet. This value-based pricing starts with three foundational truths: value, price, and perceived value. First, value, and thus your price, does not have to rise or fall in direct relation to the cost of the goods and supplies used or the labor used to create a product. Second, the price a customer is willing to pay is defined by the value the customer perceives a prod- uct to have based on their own estimation and experience. Third, that perceived value can come from measurable improvements to the product or buying experience, asso- ciations with experiences or other products, experiences had with you and your com- pany, messaging surrounding your product, or any combination thereof. CREATIVE EXECUTION ESTABLISHES YOUR REPUTATION People pay more for the work of a master in any medium. Those who use the nature of thread to best represent art, who create something more than can be done with two-dimensional print, who use retail and fashion cues to address commercial work, those who go beyond the norm will be recognized for their creativity and mastery, even when the customer doesn't decide to take that route with their own designs. When a customer is looking for something interesting, a creative treatment can set your offerings apart, but even in the case of the customer looking for a more common ex- ecution, showing your creative work rein- forces your position as an expert in your field. CREATIVITY MAKES YOU A CONSULTANT, NOT A COMMODITY When discussing the execution of your cli- ents' decoration, being able to create unique designs, suggest bold concepts, and back them up with sample garments that illus-

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