How To Setup Effective Physical and Virtual Product Showrooms

The first three years that Megan Lindholm ran her decorated-apparel business from her home, she hauled samples everywhere, from uniform fittings to school offices to baseball fields. “We had apparel literally everywhere, since we saved our print overruns for sampling,” says Lindholm, owner of 643SPIRIT in New Albany, OH. “We created endless mock sheets for people with style ideas. We took lots of bad photos of spirit shirts or basketball socks and sent them to clients.”

“We host uniform fittings instead of hauling samples all over town.”

Megan Lindholm, owner of 643SPIRIT

Finally, Lindholm was over the time-consuming back-and-forth with her customers and moved into a showroom. “It’s been fantastic,” she says. “People stop in to pick up what they want for their organization sales, and it takes five minutes instead of an hour. We host uniform fittings instead of carting samples all over town. People driving by see our signs for masks, custom tees and work apparel, and stop-in to order tees and hoodies for their workplace.” Are uniform fittings still a thing with COVID?

Here are 10 ways to set up an effective apparel showroom that customers can’t wait to visit.

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“Collegiate Sales & Jimmy Kimmel Fame” – SUCCESS STORIES Podcast: Ep. 7 (feat. Brayden Jessen of Zome Design)

Building sales in the licensed collegiate or school markets isn’t easy, but Brayden Jessen, of Zome Design in Spokane, WA is going to help you do just that. He knows the importance of capitalizing on the moment and what it takes to market collegiate apparel. Brayden is most famous for his “Gonzaga Exists” T-shirt design that ended up on local news stations AND Jimmy Kimmel Live (see the video below). Find out how he made that possible, on this episode of Success Stories.

Zome Design’s “Gonzaga Exists” design makes the local news

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How to Build Your Brand on Social Media in 5 Steps

Since we’re all in the branding business, you know how vital brand recognition can be to your shop. Getting really clear on your shop’s identity, values and uniqueness allows creation of a brand that defines your company—and in turn, a brand your clients identify with (and love).

“Regardless of the social media platform, your brand should be recognizable and authentic to its values.”

Brooke Banta, co-founder of Bea + Elle

“Establishing your brand online is an important aspect of your company’s success,” says Brooke Banta, co-founder of branding agency Bea + Elle. “Regardless of the social media platform, your brand should be recognizable and authentic to its values.”

Generating that level of recognition takes time and work. Start building your brand on social media today in 5 steps.

1. COVER YOUR BASICS

Before creating your social media accounts, you need to have all your brand ducks in a row. For starters, do you have an established and consistent logo, fonts, color palette, phraseology and voice?

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How to Fix These 6 Common Customer Complaints

Want some not-so-fun customer service news? The average American tells 15 people when they’ve had a poor customer service experience—and 56% of buyers have stopped doing business with a company because they’ve experienced poor customer service, Microsoft reports.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft

But here’s the good news: 67% of customer churn is preventable if your shop resolves customers issues the first time they occur.

“Your customer service team can make or break your success with each customer,” says Zach Ellsworth, general manager at Stahls’. “If you’re receiving complaints often, it’s time to dig in and take improvement seriously.”

To quote the great Bill Gates, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” The customer complaints your shop racks up the most often are your best resource for understanding how your business can perform better.

We asked the experts to break down six common customer complaints decorators get—and how to fix them for good.

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“Sell Trust, Not Decorations” – SUCCESS STORIES Podcast: Ep. 6 (feat. Traci Miller of Color 3 Embroidery)

One thing that contract apparel decorators sell most is Trust, with a capital “T”.  Sure, you can focus on the embroidery, screenprinting, heat transfer or other methods of embellishing a garment, but seasoned contract professionals know that sales for them are not transactional.  Everything is about the relationship.

As a 25 year decorating veteran, Traci Miller, of Color3 Embroidery, knows this all too well. Listen as she shares advice on how to establish strong business relationships and how to sell trust instead of decorations.

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Why Finding Your Niche, Might Make You Rich

Does your decorating shop stand out from competitors? Really think about it—there are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of screen printers and embroiderers, many offering the same blanks and services as you. Don’t worry, we’ve got a smart way to separate yourself from the pack: Become a rockstar decorator, within your special niche.

While this isn’t something you can do overnight, when you position your shop as a “go-to decorator” for something specific, you’ll score repeat customers and watch your profits rise.

We talked to three successful decorators who’ve established themselves as experts in lucrative niches. (And, we’ve got insider secrets to fast-track your success!)

The Bling Brigade

Photos courtesy of Sparkle Plenty

“In this niche, if you’ve done the initial job well, you’re in for repeat orders—it’s that simple.”

Lee Romano Sequeira, Co-owner of Sparkle-Plenty.com

Husband-and-wife team Andrew Sequeira and Lee Romano Sequeira call their business a “big, sparkly niche.” For two decades, the Sparkle-Plenty.com co-owners have focused on offering custom rhinestone, stud and crystal transfers. “We use Swarovski crystal, the ‘Waterford’ of sparkle,” Andrew says. “It’s a decorating niche, since most shops focus on embroidery and ink. We offer something different for a specific market: women.”

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