4 Trends Taking Over Band Merch

Promotional, branded apparel has seen a resurgence in pop-culture — with particular influence from the music industry — in recent years. Not only is it a great marketing tool to generate awareness and revenue for the talent, it’s an easy way for fans to feel connected to their favorite artists. While band (or artist) merchandise (merch) fell off a bit, during the early-to-mid 2000s, the trend has seen continual growth rate since 2016. 

According to the 2019 Global Licensing Survey, global retail sales of music merch was worth nearly $3.5 billion in 2018, up from $3.33 billion in 2017 and $3.08 billion in 2016. In short, increased consumption of streaming services has propelled some of the largest labels in the industry to find alternative ways of generating revenue for artists. The easiest way to do that: selling apparel. 

Now that band merch has been elevated to include more fashion-forward styles, fans can’t get enough of it. Couple that with how easy it is now to get your hands on these items through e-commerce, and you have a boom in sales — as evidenced by Brockhampton’s often completely sold out merch platform.

Fans don’t even have to physically go to a concert to buy tour merch anymore. Many A-list musicians are collaborating with mainstream retailers to offer band merch that ties the artist’s album together with fashionable apparel collections. Arianna Grande’s Sweetener H&M collaboration is a great example of that.

So, what exactly are some of the most popular band merch apparel trends today? We scoured some of your favorite artists’ merch platforms and collaborations; here’s what we found: 

Top Four Band Merch Apparel Trends 

1. The Classics

According to merch company, Sandbag — who’s worked with rock legends like Radiohead and Arcade Fire — classics still reign supreme. That includes the dad hat. You know something is popular if it’s in Chance the Rapper’s online store, sporting his popular “3” logo.

Continue reading “4 Trends Taking Over Band Merch”

The Fanny Pack Resurrection

Whether you love them or loathe them, fanny packs are a topic of fashion buzz dating back to arguably the 1950s. From must-have festival bags to high-fashion statement pieces, the handy pouches’ origins were designed to serve as functional and convenient mini packs that have had quite the evolution into today’s modern society. 

The Rise and Fall — and Rise Again 

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the fanny pack is back, with no signs of fizzling out of the mainstream market anytime soon. 

Origins of the convenient pouch remain unclear — some mentions seemingly date all the way back, 5,000 years ago, to the Ice Man, whose mummified body was found wearing a fashioned belt with a pouch attached. Recent legend has it that the fanny pack was invented by an Australian woman in 1962 who was inspired by the pouch of a kangaroo. Whether we chalk that particular possibility up to urban legend or not, the combination of belt and bag has existed in different iterations across varying cultures and eras due simply to the concept’s utility. Similar designs to the modern fanny pack over time have included the Medieval Scottish sporran (in a day where most clothes did not have pockets, belt bags just made sense), and the chatelaine purse, a stylish Victorian era belt bag.


(The Scottish sporran was born out of necessity for pockets)
Continue reading “The Fanny Pack Resurrection”

The 5 Best Role-Playing Scenarios for Sales Team Success

Just as athletes train to perform at their best during practices, so should your sales team. This is where sales role-playing comes in — it’s a crucial and valuable tool with a high learning rate. To help ensure your team’s success, we rounded up five of the best sales role-playing scenarios that provide a low-stakes opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses among your sales reps. 

5 Effective Sales Role-Playing Scenarios 

1. Active Listening Improv

According to a recent study by HubSpot, 69% of buyers say a sales representative listening to their needs is the best way to make the sales experience positive. In order to tailor a specific sales approach to a prospective client, active listening — not just hearing — is key. 

This exercise will require at least two people and can also be done with a group. Here’s how it works:

Continue reading “The 5 Best Role-Playing Scenarios for Sales Team Success”

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Champion Apparel

Originally known as the “Knickerbocker Knitting Company,” the inventors of the classic reverse-knit weave have come a long way since their birth in 1919. For decades, Champion has been outfitting top athletes, military, students and fans worldwide with the iconic “C” logo. Their commitment to long-lasting quality and focus on teams, rather than individual superstars has helped them experience a longevity and resurgence, not many apparel companies get to enjoy. In celebration of their, now 100 years in the business, here are 3 things you should know about how Champion has impacted all of us.

1. The Reverse Weave changed everything, but what exactly is it?

1938 Reverse Weave Patent

Since Champion was a major supplier of tees and sweatshirts to sports teams around the country, when coaches started to complain about shrinkage in their uniforms, the company came to the rescue and invented the reverse weave knit in 1934. Simply put, to help the garment maintain its shape and fight shrinkage, the grain of the sweatshirt fabric was made to run sideways instead of vertically (like most apparel) and side panels were added in for additional reinforcement. Since then, modifications were made to give the fabric a greater stretch, and an even better fit.

Continue reading “3 Things You Didn’t Know About Champion Apparel”

Yes, You Should Try Influencer Marketing.

Lots of decorators will remember when embroiderer Marie Sophie Lockhart shot to veritable “decorator stardom” after a back-and-forth with rapper Drake on Instagram (she used the handle Good For Nothing Embroidery) in 2015. That led to a commissioned OVO prayer hands jacket that he wore for an entire tour. After that, Lockhart went viral,  appearing in Vogue, stitching more custom pieces for Drake, and even collaborating with Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.

In fact, Lockhart’s experience is very similar to results that influencers today achieve for companies that want to grow brand awareness, sell more, capture leads, increase engagement, or even appear in major publications. And, yes,  influencer marketing is  heating up—and it can work for your decorating shop or distributorship.

An Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey of brand executives shows that 75% of respondents use influencer marketing, and almost half (43%) plan to increase their spending in the next 12 months. A majority of respondents (54%) were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the performance of their influencer marketing strategies. To note, of the executives who don’t currently use influencer marketing, 27% plan to start in the next year.

Continue reading “Yes, You Should Try Influencer Marketing.”

Become a Business Gifting Guru for Your Clients

Fall is nearly here, which means the holidays are right around the corner! Get ready for decked halls, celebratory countdowns and of course, gifting. When it comes to the merry season, your clients aren’t just looking to gift to friends and family, but also customers or employees. In fact, a recent study by Knack shows the corporate gifting market is worth a staggering $125 billion. A thriving market to tap into, now’s the time to channel your inner Santa and become your clients’ business gifting guru. 

Before giving you the inside scoop to steer them in the right direction, let’s go over some important guidelines.

Business Gifting Guidelines

Businesses can use corporate gifting to show appreciation and loyalty, build goodwill and express the value of their relationships. However, before you start shopping, think about these three things:

  • The Relationship: Think about the recipient of the gift to determine an appropriate type of present, regarding the relationship at hand. 
  • The Budget: Check company gifting policies for any budget limits that may be in place. According to the same study above, the sweet spot for many businesses is between $50 to $150. 
Continue reading “Become a Business Gifting Guru for Your Clients”

How Do You Say ‘Success’ in Italian, Luca Benini?

Slam Jam: It’s the name behind some of the most notable streetwear collaborations and brands in the industry. So much of what the company does is under the radar, working closely with industry powerhouses, such as Stüssy and Carhartt WIP. But, that’s exactly how Slam Jam’s founder — Luca Benini — likes it. Among many things, the Italian native is known for pioneering streetwear culture in Europe. 

As Slam Jam celebrates 30 years of success, we’re taking a look at one of the most iconic influences in streetwear, the legendary man behind it all and our takeaways for sustaining a successful business based on Benini’s achievements.

Slam Jam and Luca Benini: Celebrating 30 Years of Success 

When Benini was growing up he had two specific dreams: to be a DJ and to sell clothing. In the end, he found a way to do both. 

The Birth and Evolution of Slam Jam

Back in the ‘80s, Benini’s main business became DJing, which fueled his passion for clothing. He quit school to work as a shop assistant, where he would print flyers of his gigs on tees — an early intersection of culture and fashion. 

Continue reading “How Do You Say ‘Success’ in Italian, Luca Benini?”

4 Ways to Manage Workplace Tension

Tension in personal situations is awkward enough, but apply that to the workplace and it can be downright uncomfortable. As a business owner, managing tension and conflict between employees is an inevitable part of the job — and if not handled promptly can put a huge dent in your bottom line. 

In 2017, Inc. cited a landmark study on workplace conflict that found U.S. employees spend 2.8 hours a week dealing with conflict. This equates to an estimated $359 billion in paid company hours. 

Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage tension among your team to help maintain a positive work atmosphere and company culture. 

1. Acknowledge the Conflict Immediately

Don’t sit back and hope your employees will work the situation out on their own, allowing the tension to build. This can lead to negative consequences for your business, such as poor productivity and low office morale. Acknowledge the conflict between the involved parties immediately, and respectfully uncover the nature of the issue along with the facts. 

2. Decide How You Want to Meet with the Employees Involved  

Continue reading “4 Ways to Manage Workplace Tension”

Turn Challenging Customers Into Loyal Clients

A decorator was in a bind: His customer’s event was the next day, and the PMS colors in the art file didn’t match the ones listed on the purchase order. To make matters worse, the decorator couldn’t reach his client, so his team had a 50/50 chance of choosing the correct color. Unfortunately, they chose wrong, and the client was unhappy with the order.

Customer expectations are more demanding than ever before and the need to ‘get it right’ each time is extremely high. Marshall Atkinson, a Phoenix-based decorated-apparel success coach who offers hands-on training via his Shirt Lab events, concurs and cites this statistic below as a reason why decorators and distributors need to take this seriously.

According to Microsoft, 54% of global consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. In addition, 52% of people worldwide believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers.

To keep up with these dynamic requests, customer service and problem solving must be a priority in your decorated-apparel firm. “Business today doesn’t work the way it did in 1987,” Atkinson says. “You have to continuously evolve your customers’ experience. That’s on you. You have to teach your new hires how to work with all types of customers.”

4 Challenging Customer Archetypes

Here are four types of challenging customer situations—and how you can turn them into opportunities.

Continue reading “Turn Challenging Customers Into Loyal Clients”

The Top Seven Color Trends Predicted by Pantone for Winter 2019

Each season, Pantone Color Institute graces us with their Fashion Color Trend Report based on the stunning pieces flaunted down the runway by top designers at both New York and London Fashion Week. The Fall/Winter 2019/2020 report includes a radiant display of bold and classic colors, proving that this year is all about individuality and expression

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes the collections as ranging from, “easy and sophisticated to strikingly different and unique.” 

As high fashion always seems to trickle down to the mainstream, it serves as a valuable piece of information to help make guided decisions for your upcoming inventory for the colder months ahead. 

Of the total 32 colors chosen as inspirational highlights (16 for New York Fashion Week, 16 for London Fashion Week), we chose the top seven most wearable hues you can expect to see in every shade this winter—along with a few products in similar color options. 

Pantone’s Top Seven Color Trends for Winter 2019

1. Chili Pepper: Pantone 19-1557 

A spicier cousin to Pantone’s spring ‘Fiesta’ shade, Chili Pepper is listed as the leading color for fall and winter this year. Incorporate a touch of the hue for added drama within your designs by selecting tees with statement sleeves, or showing some flavor with an all-red fabric and simple embroidered logo. 

Continue reading “The Top Seven Color Trends Predicted by Pantone for Winter 2019”