COVID-19 has shifted a lot more business online recently and with great uncertainty ahead, you’ll need to make sure people can find you online. In this episode of Success Stories, we’ll help you get ahead of the competition and make sure you’re set up to drive new business to your website.
Shelby Craig with Rocket Shirtswill be sharing his knowledge of what you’ll need to get optimized, and how it’s helped his business. We’ll be touching on web design, search engine optimization, and tools that you can use to bring out your best results.
Shelby is a serial entrepreneur, marketing junkie, home chef, coffee connoisseur, and girl dad times three. He’s also a t-shirt snob and is the founder of Rocket Shirts in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Join us on this podcast as we explore ways to make your website work for you and drive more sales to your door.
Does it feel like, while decorated-apparel orders are still coming in (or are starting to pick back up), the order sizes have decreased? You’re not alone. Here’s a look at the range of experiences we’ve been hearing about from across the country:
Kris Howard, Urbandale, IA-based, KSH Design Studio: “Our volume has greatly decreased during the last three months, since our gym customers were closed. We also lost orders from canceled run/walk and car club events.”
Tammy LeMieux, Lake Stevens, WA-based, Ink It Your Way: “With our primary business of spring and summer youth sports coming to an abrupt halt, we started offering sublimated face covers and apparel to essential businesses. We also branched out to signage for reopening businesses. We actually flourished and hopefully will retain some great new customers.”
Alexa Cary, Frenchtown, NJ-based, In-House Prints: “Fortunately our business is booming! We have a lot of emergency service clients, so they’ve been keeping us busy. We also work with YouTubers who continue to push products online.”
Jennie Livezey, Shelbyville, IN-based, Z Shirts Custom Printing: “We came to a screeching halt with schools closing and spring sports being canceled. We’ve picked back up but aren’t back to full-time production yet.”
In order to help them avoid succumbing to the ups and downs of the market, some distributors have started upselling, cross-selling, bundling products and providing solutions vs. being just an order-taker. Using these strategies has helped them increase their order sizes and given their business new life, so let’s take a closer look at each.
Upselling Quality and Solutions
Upselling has been a sales mainstay of merchants for decades, but with the downturn in the economy, it’s more important than ever. For example, you might regularly sell employee work shirts to your customers. It makes sense to present three options: a $5 “good” shirt, a better-quality shirt for $10, and a “best” item for $15. When the customer calls in, they may want to order 100 shirts at the lowest possible price. This would be a $500 order for you. But, if you upsell correctly, even just to the “better” garment, you’ve doubled your order total.
Fall is right around the corner, which means, new 2021 styles are starting to flow into our inventory. We picked five collections and styles we’re really excited about, and put together some details about what they offer, and which markets they’d fit right into.
One of the things we love about these new styles is that it’s really a complete collection, filled with companion styles and accessories to match. Since adidas® is also one of the most sustainable companies in fashion, all of these new styles are made using 100% recycled polyester. There’s no better logo to co-brand your company with than the iconic three-stripes from adidas®, and this collection gives you a wide range of options to do just that.
Eco-conscious and sustainable programs
Company store offerings
The Oakley “Utility Bag” Line
Few brands can match Oakley’s attention to detail, and the new “Utility Bag Line” is no different. Offered in two colors, “Blackout” and “Rye,” the series is durable, stylish, and has no shortage of the functional space and utility pockets you’ll need for your trip to work or on your next adventure. Our backpack line is a favorite amongst sales organizations that want their team to be equipped with functionality, and these will make a great addition to those programs.
Outdoor sports enthusiasts
The “Quick Flip” Hoodie (As Seen On Shark Tank)
You’ve never been as enthusiastic about a hoodie, as you will be for this one. If you’ve already seen this on Shark Tank, you’re already pumped up about selling these to your clients. The Quikflip instantly makes traveling with a hoodie practical and purposeful. No one sells this product better than the owner and jiu-jitsu master, Rener Gracie, so we’ll let the video above do most of the talking. This is sure to become an instant favorite for the school and team market.
School and team programs
Marketing and tech firms
Columbia’s Urban Lifestyle™ Sling Pack
The ever-popular outdoor brand, Columbia, is bringing its casual sling pack to our collection, offering you a quick on and off option in a day pack. This is perfect for the new generation of workers, who just need a quick storage pack for their tech essentials, a water bottle, or maybe even their lunch. This should be especially popular with tech and marketing firms, where their design tools are housed at the office and employees just need a pack for their daily essentials.
Marketing and tech firms
Richardson’s Rogue Wide Side Mesh Cap
Streetwear stills reigns supreme in the world of fashion and this new mesh cap should satisfy hypebeasts everywhere, with its minimalist texture and trendy muted color selection. It’s water-resistance also lends itself to being an exciting accessory for outdoor enthusiasts, who might be looking for something more modern. And, as a bonus feature, it can float on water.
As we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and building businesses, it’s easy to forget about the impact we have on the world around us. With well over seven billion people populating our planet, every little thing we do in our daily routines almost certainly has an affect on the environment and we’ve taken notice of this at S&S Activewear.
Over the past few years, we’ve started to put forth an enormous effort to become more sustainable in our daily operations. Within the past three decades, we’ve been lucky enough to expand our company reach to 6 locations (Robbinsville, NJ; McDonuough, GA; Lockport, IL; Olathe, KS; Fort Worth, TX; and Reno, NV) nationwide, and with great expansion comes great responsibility.
That’s why we started a major initiative to install solar panels on our facilities across the country. With the help of our local officials and dedicated staff, we’ve been able to turn 5 of our warehouses into a renewable energy source for our surrounding communities, most recently being our newest 750k sq. ft. LEED certified warehouse in Lockport, IL. This facility is our most sustainable building yet and we went to great lengths to make sure it lived up to strict environmental standards.
Companywide, we’ve installed water refilling stations where possible, placed recycling stations across our office spaces and reuse packing boxes to reduce cardboard waste.
End Users Are Watching
What does this mean for you? End users are also becoming way more focused on the practices of businesses they buy from, so operating responsibility should be any company’s top priority. “There’s no question consumers across all end markets expect their supply chains to be more environmentally focused,” says our COO, Frank Myers. A new generation of buyers means that people are more focused on knowing their hard earned dollars are being spent on something they know was made, distributed and sold responsibly.
Make An Imprint
The changes we’ve started to make within our company come from an inspiration to help preserve our environment for future generations to come and we invite you to join us and explore new ways you too can operate more sustainably. Together we can “Make An Imprint” that’ll inspire others to help keep our planet healthy for all who follow us.
A lot of revenue streams have dried up due to the COVID-19, and as a result, many businesses have been forced to pivot into a new direction.
Danny Rosin and Robert Fiveash, of Brand Fuel, have been leading a free-spirited brand merchandising agency for over 20 years, delivering experiences, eCommerce, inspiration, and top notch results for their customers. Find out how they’ve been able to use that experience to find success, with new opportunities opening up in today’s markets.
Yes, decorated-apparel shops are dropping prices to win post-pandemic work. Lucas Guariglia, CEO and co-founder of Chicago-based Rowboat Creative, has definitely noticed, and doesn’t think it’s a good idea. “While shops are using this as a survival tactic to get back above water, it’s setting the tone for us to be taken advantage of due to low pricing,” he says.
When you’re simply trying to survive the pandemic, it’s easy to justify taking orders without thinking enough about profit margin, fit for your equipment, or alignment with your goals. Even before the virus, pricing was an issue, leaving decorators trying to find the “magic number” to appeal to customers, while still netting a profit.
“The decorators who’ll enjoy long-term success are those who’ve pursued new products and different imprinting methods to serve their customers’ changed needs, while reducing costs and maintaining a profitable position,” says Erich Campbell, program manager for the Commercial Division at BriTon Leap. “Rather than shift to a lower-margin pricing scheme, many retooled their equipment and processes to decorate new products and to serve markets that haven’t been as adversely affected.”
The Impact of ‘Low-Price Shoppers’ During COVID-19
In two months, the United States lost over 36 million jobs. This translates into much smaller budgets for buyers, especially on the marketing side. Because of this, many decorators are steering away from raising prices, even with increases in production costs and materials. “Ultimately, you get what you pay for,” Guariglia says. “We’ll always stand firm on wanting to provide superior products with superior service.”
With fall right around the corner, don’t miss out on a major merchandising opportunity—college team wear and Greek organization gear for the back-to-school and football crowd. Although, we’re still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a CNBC article, “The Chronicle of Higher Education has tracked over 1,000 colleges since April and has found that roughly 65% of schools are preparing for in-person classes this fall. That also means that all signs point to students still needing some gear to represent their schools, which may now also include PPE.
If you’re already in the business of selling decorated apparel, the process itself for getting a license may look murky. So, let’s talk about what licensing entails, how to go about it, and the pros and cons of selling licensed merch (with a little expert advice).
Companies, schools, teams and organizations all want to protect their market brand. For example, The Walt Disney Co. doesn’t want (or permit) unauthorized Mickey Mouse prints on T-shirts. That’s where licensing comes in.
To legally print a branded product such as a college logo or sorority letters, a printing company must be licensed by the copyright holder to print the artwork. When you apply for a license, the owner of the image (known as the licensor) gets a fee in advance for allowing you to use their images. Usually, this can be a flat fee or a percentage of income from the sales of these licensed products.
As part of this agreement, the printing company (known as the licensee) verifies quality control and the licensor approves the image usage. “If a sorority wants its letters on a crop top that advertises a year-end keg party, the licensor usually won’t approve it,” says Steve Farag, co-owner of Urbana, IL-based Campus Ink Printing. “Ultimately, a lot of the responsibility falls on you, the licensee, to ensure you’re protecting the licensor’s rights and reputation.”
The Process of Getting a License
Getting a license to sell logoed products for colleges, Greek organizations or sports teams isn’t something you can do in an afternoon. It’s a complex, multiple-step process that takes time. But, it can ultimately lead you to a great opportunity to make more sales.
The year of 2020 has definitely been a challenging one on many fronts. But, one thing that’s really stood out, especially since COVID-19 reared its ugly head earlier this year, is how art and creativity have helped carry us through it all. It’s helped us raise money for those in need, keep local businesses afloat, spread powerful messages, celebrate graduations in unique ways, and given us much needed distractions from the seriousness of the times.
Streetwear and decorated apparel, in general, has absolutely been a huge source of this creativity and support. Many in the streetwear community are among those, who, even while struggling, have used their popularity and creativity to put a smile on people’s faces, while trying to stay in business at the same time.
The Social Distancing Club
Take, for example, a new streetwear company “The Social Distancing Club,” out of Los Angeles, CA. They spawned from a desire to turn social distancing into something that felt cool and positive vs something negative, in an effort to encourage people to do it. The two founders also started the line out as a way to help the World Central Kitchen, a group working across the country on safely distributing individually packaged fresh meals to communities in need. For every piece of apparel (which consists of t-shirts, crop tops, hoodies and of course, face masks) that is sold, five dollars will go to the WCK.
Being a musician these days may be tougher than it’s ever been. The evolution of how we consume our favorite tunes has taken some money out of musicians’ pockets and forced them to get creative with how they make some of it back.
Gone are the days when fans would rush to the stores to buy that new CD, or visit iTunes to download their album. Today, most of us simply stream our music and the rise of these services has made tour and merch revenue much more important to artists worldwide. Business Insider found that the highest paid act in 2017, U2, made $54 million in total revenue. About 94% of that came from touring and less than 4% came from streaming or album sales. Imagine what that means for a local band or an artist without the cache of U2.
Streaming Is Sucking Artists Dry
According to Billboard.com, by November 2019 album sales fell 19% compared to the same point in 2018. “And, for the full year of 2018, album sales dropped by 17.7% to 141 million — the lowest number of albums sold in a year since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking sales in 1991.” This is largely due to streaming.
NPR interviewed independent musician, Erin McKeown, and found that her accountant mentioned she was only making $0.004 per play on Spotify. At that rate, it would take 250 streams to earn $1 in royalties and 2,500 to earn a typical album download cost of $10. Keep in mind that is because McKeown is an independent artist, she gets 100% of her streaming royalties, but if she had a label, she’d be splitting even that small amount of earnings with them too.
The coronavirus has recently made things even more dire for musicians. With the pandemic effectively shutting down their #1 revenue stream, most acts have been forced to cancel or reschedule their tours. So how are musicians surviving these days?
Iconic sports brand adidas has made a huge sustainable splash—and the world has taken notice. That’s why it’s so exciting for S&S to be the exclusive distributor of premium adidas products to the wholesale market. We’ve now introduced the wholesale market to more than 30 adidas styles that contain recycled polyester, or are made from 100% recycled polyester, and more are on the way.
The prestige of this brand, coupled with its compelling recycled-product story and sustainable message, speaks to Gen X and Millennial end-users in a whole new way.
This year, and into 2021, distributors and decorators should start embracing the opportunity to present clients with adidas’ sustainable story and styles, as people are looking for more responsible brands to buy from. Here’s a few reasons why.
Celebrity Love for Adidas Is Blowing Up
When you take adidas’ sustainable efforts and then add in major star power, you get an unbeatable formula for brand success. Collaborations with artists like Pharrell Williams and Kanye West have led to the creation of highly sought after sneaker collections. Beyoncé’s “Ivy Park” athletic apparel line, just launched—capturing more of the urban and streetwear markets. Their newest brand ambassador, NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is the inspiration behind their recently launched collection, Pat’s Closet, and the talent keeps on flocking to adidas.