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Custom Apparel – More Than Just T-Shirts And Polos

The traditional T-shirt and basic polo or golf shirt (as some people refer to them) has been foundational in the promotional products industry for many years. But just when these products are thought of as staples in the promotional products industry, here comes a new wave of apparel to expand the ever-growing popularity of these products for today’s busy and active generation. Many of these will be sure to enhance the appeal of promotional apparel for years to come. There are many specialized apparel products in the market today that can target very specific promotional campaigns that were not available just a few short years ago. So, just what are some of the new trends in the custom imprinted apparel market? Below are two of the most popular.

Active Wear:

Also known as fitness or workout wear. If getting in or staying in shape is what your clients are attracted to, then customized promotional apparel is a must for your marketing program. America is obsessed with sports, fitness and leisure activities. Everywhere you look you can find people and products whose whole sole purpose is to get and keep you healthy. An important aspect of that is working out.

Fitness, team and other sports apparel has always been a big part of this craze. The demand for moisture management fabrics has helped this apparel segment reach a fever pitch. By utilizing the latest high-tech fabrics and wicking materials, promotional apparel has gained very high marks in this arena. Today, you can custom imprint shorts, pants, sports bras, socks, athletic shoes, pullover hoodies, stretch tees, golf wear, outerwear even mesh apparel. Some of the more common fabrics used for athletic apparel are polyester, cotton, microfiber, rayon, and spandex.

The fabrics today are more comfortable and versatile, making them appropriate on or off the court. You can match your corporate colors with coordinating outfits and choose from a wide variety of sizes and colors. Use custom imprinted apparel to brand your promotion and show off your logo or message with the latest styles in active wear.

Uniform Wear:

Industry analysis shows that uniform wear is the fastest-growing segment of the custom apparel market. Like many other products in the promotional products industry, there is nothing scientific about utilizing uniform apparel in marketing. But unlike other promotional materials, which simply serve to get a corporate name or message out to the public, uniform apparel says so much more. This type of apparel represents what the company wants the public to know about themselves. For one, it could be professionalism; another could want to exude an air of friendliness first. Bottom line: uniform apparel doesn’t just serve to sell the company. Uniform apparel tells the public who the company is.

The uniform apparel market is not just for blue collar worker anymore. Custom uniform apparel is now for the business minded person as well. There are many fabrics to select from such as twills, oxfords, cotton, and piques. You can choose from Men’s and Ladies shirts with Spandex, Stain Release, and Wrinkle Resistant; very comfortable apparel to wear with a fashion flair. Wardrobe combinations are endless and color selections are too numerous to mention with uniform apparel. Unusual sizing is not an issue with this expansive and fast growing segment of apparel either. There are sizes from XS through 8XLG, even short and tall varieties.

With uniform apparel expanding into everyday corporate America, look for these apparel products to boost your marketing campaign for years to come. How do you want the image of your company to be reflected in the marketplace? Choose a well coordinated selection of uniform apparel to enhance your company’s promotional campaign or brand.

What Is the Value of Art Work in the Custom Apparel Industry and Should I Charge for It?

How valuable of a resource is custom artwork in the printing industry and are you being compensated for your time? With the advent of online printing companies, and the cascading decline to the smaller markets, more companies are cutting costs and consumer responsibilities when it comes to art and design. The message being sent to the consumer is two fold. Fiscally, customers are expecting to not have to pay for premium custom design services. Secondly, we as an industry are losing the ability to capitalize on quality design as an asset to increase profit and marketability.

In a price driven market, the custom screen printing industry has become its own worst enemy. In any business, you are only as profitable as you price your self to be. Of course there are mitigating circumstances such as: operating cost (overhead, labor, materials, etc) and elasticity of the market. However, in an effort to obtain and maintain business, we have hurt our own bottom line. Margins are down and it’s not an unwillingness on the part of the consumer to pay. It’s the institution’s willingness to drop its collective pants to take business from one another. In stead of setting a firm price across the board (or at least a consistent and respectful range), many companies are satisfied with a minimum profit (often less than 3%). As a result, we have neglected to charge for services that where traditionally expected of the consumer to be charged. In order to show a more pristine price, we have essentially eliminated design and art as a line item and grouped it in with the assumed labor.

Unfortunately by striking it from the bill, we have lost our leverage as companies to utilize art and design as ” a deal” in anyway. For instance, I had a customer not to long ago who hounded a sales man over pennies within a rather large job. When the sales man in question attempted to show the customer that he was actually not being charged for a number of consultation hours (2-3 man hours in the design process and changes), the customer just assumed that was arbitrary and wasn’t really worth all of that much. Under that same idea, if as a salesman I come into a job say $1 more per shirt then my competitor. Traditionally, that customer is going to come back to me and leverage the difference in order to get me to either drop my price lower or equal to my competitor. Now let’s say that the customer wants to create a multitude of custom touches to the garment in question (maybe a custom font.) If the customer is willing to pay for the advanced specialty of my company vs my competitor’s, I should be able to leverage that artwork consultation and the inevitable edits into justifying my slightly higher costs. This is not the case.

Design is not a commodity that should be lumped in with production. At the very least it should be considered by the consumer as an added cost and a bonus if a company is willing to forgo the additional cost of custom artwork. As an industry, we should be pushing to enable ourselves to make fare and obtainable margins no matter what the size of your company.

Custom Camp Shirts: A Professional Alternative to T-Shirts

Any kind of custom apparel can help give a business exposure for their brand, but while T-shirts and caps are very popular, some people may be looking for something a little bit more professional-looking, but not too fancy. Camp shirts are typically short-sleeved button-down cotton garments with a collar. More formal than a T-shirt, they are equally comfortable. Custom camp shirts with an embroidered logo, are both leisurely and stylish, appropriate for casual work days, a round of golf with a client or even as a uniform shirt for organization members, employees or camp counselors. The company logo is there and visible, but it’s not too big and distracting.

They are often what is referred to as business casual. For example, an outside sales rep selling pool equipment might not wear a suit and tie to meet prospective customers at their homes in the spring or summer. He would wear a camp shirt, however. Custom camp shirts identify him with the pool company, not only to clients but everyone he crosses paths with during the course of the day, from the people waiting in line at the coffee shop to his child’s teacher, and everyone in between. Any one of those people may need his product at some point, and now they know who to go to when the time is right.

In another scenario, an organization may want to make an impact while raising money and awareness for their cause. They plan to attend a convention to gain interest and members. It’s not a jeans-and-T-shirt occasion, and they don’t want their members to get lost in a sea of people who are associated with other organizations and companies. Custom camp shirts come in an array of colors to choose from, look sharp and help members stand out as part of the organization.

When a company has employees who work in the service industry and want a uniform that is customized, stylish and comfortable, camp shirts are an option. They are also comfortable clothing that breathes for those working in a restaurant kitchen or dining room floor, looking as appropriate and stylish as they do in a casual office setting.

While embroidered custom apparel may cost a slightly higher price or more than printing T-shirts, the versatility and quality make the extra expense worthwhile. Embroidered designs on camp shirts are longer lasting and leave a notable impression on customers or visitors.