Lots of decorators (including you) wrestle with the big questions: how and when to diversify. You risk sinking your shop’s profitability when you jump in at the wrong time. Don’t worry—we asked industry experts to weigh in on how to expand your offerings smartly and strategically.
There are lots of great reasons to diversify. “You separate yourself from your competitors,” says Marian Hinebauch, owner of Las Vegas-based Logo Droppers. “You give them more options. You become a consultant, as you bring new ideas to your customers’ attention.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown though, diversification’s more complicated. “There’s no crystal ball for what our new normal is—people are in survival mode,” says Marshall Atkinson, a decorated-apparel success coach, who also offers hands-on training via his Shirt Lab events. “Wayne Gretsky said, ‘You skate to where the puck is going to be.’ You diversify successfully if you see where the puck’s headed.” Right now, for example, if you’re a screen printer, diversification might mean heat-pressing masks.
Streetwear has gone in many different directions that have, at times, seemed a little overboard. With companies like Supreme going as far as putting their logo on an Oreo cookie, there seems to be no limit on what a streetwear company may do next.
Enter face masks. Although wearing them has been fairly common in a few countries, here in the states, fashionable masks are generally an unnecessary luxury that just seemed like another over-the-top reach for more sales.
However, times have changed and masks have suddenly become one of the hottest pieces of streetwear on the market. How hot are they?
Better for the environment—and better for your bottom line. When your shop adopts sustainable practices like recycling, using water-based ink and eschewing chemical cleaners, you attract like-minded customers.
“The clothing industry needs to change—shops that don’t adopt a forward-thinking green ethos will be left in the dust,” says Dominic Rosacci, CEO of Denver-based Superior Ink Printing. “We adopted this way of thinking after learning it takes 500 gallons of water to make one conventional cotton shirt. Producing nearly 60,000 shirts a month equals 32 million gallons of water passing through one small production facility.”
The good news is that making this switch could be more beneficial to your bottom line than you thought. As Millennials lead the charge in supporting more environmentally conscious businesses, their beliefs are fueling a new economy. Let’s break this down by the numbers:
Between 2014-2018, sustainable product sales increased by 20%. Today, that figure is 22%. By 2021, it’ll rise to 25%.
Millennials are more motivated to change their buying habits. That’s why 75% of Gen Y buys sustainable products and most have said they’re willing to pay more to support environmentally conscious businesses.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you can do to make your shop more sustainable.
Even though it may seem like the need for printed apparel has dried up a bit, there’s still potential out there for sales. Times like these can bring out our creativity and take our businesses in new directions we would never even have considered before, and could benefit us further down the road. Here are some ideas we’ve heard from around the industry on how you could grab a few more sales for your business.
Sell That Printed Concert Merch
Because a lot of concerts have been cancelled recently, some decorators are sitting on a lot of unused merchandise. Some of these shops have been adding tour merch that was printed specifically for those shows to their online stores. Normally these are exclusively sold at concert venues, but now people can grab one of these on the web. To add some incentive for fans to buy one, some distributors are also adding in a free gift for each purchase and throwing in FREE SHIPPING as well.
Hookup with Local Gyms and Studios
Even though many gyms are closed around the country, people still have a hunger to stay fit. There are some fitness studios offering equipment rental for people to use during their workouts at home. Some of these gyms might want to try upselling printed athletic apparel along with these rentals, to make a few extra dollars.
Make Your Storefront Virtual
If you’re operating a retail store selling decorated apparel, consider opening up an online store. With people stuck in quarantine, it’s time to move that inventory online. Look into a simple platform like Shopify, to get started. They’re even offering a 90-day free trial with no credit card required. Hopefully, 90 days will be all you need to get through this quarantine period, so this might be the perfect solution for many storefronts. Other places like Etsy, eBay and Amazon may also be good options to look at, as well. If you already have a website setup with services like InkSoft or DecoNetwork, try adding those products to your offering online.
Although, dining out isn’t an option right now, lots of restaurants are transitioning to curbside pickup and delivery, so they can keep their businesses running. Other local shops may also be implementing similar procedures as well. Some of these places could have a need for additional apparel to identify employees, who are making deliveries or walking up to cars. They may even need reflective workwear, to keep them safe at night.
We’ll be keeping an ear out for any other ideas that could help distributors keep generating sales, and if you have any ideas or suggestions of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
When you’re stuck at home, it becomes really tempting to relax and let yourself go a bit. But now more than ever, we need to make sure we stay active. According to Healthline.com, regular exercise can:
Improve your mood, decreasing feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.
Improve brain function, protecting memory and thinking skills.
Help you relax and get better sleep.
Those are all things we’ll definitely need to help us all get creative and figure out how to manage our businesses during this time. So don’t give into the temptation of becoming too relaxed during your work-from-home days. Try some of these easy exercises to keep yourself active and working in peak performance.