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.”
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.
As distributors and decorators begin to see “stay-at-home” restrictions slowly being lifted across the country, people are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But, the question of what business will look like, even after restrictions are lifted, still looms large.
Because there’s lots of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its lasting effect on our society, we may see businesses and the general public continue to take precautionary measures for the foreseeable future.
As a result, our society may start to think differently about how we interact and do business with each other on a daily basis. That kind of change, can often open up new markets of opportunity, and decorated face masks are becoming just that.
As small businesses across the country have been scrambling to figure out how to cope with the sudden impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our economy, decorators have turned into a lifeline for many of them. Thinking outside-of-the-box is exactly what will help us all get through a tough time like this, and decorators have been extremely active in helping to find new ways we can all support businesses, families and schools in our local communities.
Marshall Atkinson and Tom Rauen, industry gurus and founders of the Shirt Lab workshops, are masters at thinking outside-of-the-box. In the video below, they’ll share what some of these decorators have been doing to keep themselves afloat, and also touch on their own creative ideas, which you could use to continue generating business now and in the future. Watch the video below to hear what they had to say.
When we all put our heads together, problems get solved, new relationships form and new opportunities present themselves to us. Marshall and Tom, know how important it is to collaborate and share knowledge, so they’ve rounded up an incredible group of OVER 30 successful industry experts to bring you the Shirt Lab Summit.
Taking place on June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the Shirt Lab Summit is a series of webinars, which will help you take your business to the next level, and REGISTRATION IS FREE!
Click below for more information on the speakers and to register for access.
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?
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.
During times like these, you’d think that buying t-shirts is the last thing on anyone’s mind, but now they’re more valuable than ever. Using InkSoft’s fundraising feature, decorators around the country have started creating fundraising campaign sites, to help support local businesses and keep their shops running.
These campaign sites are loaded up with t-shirts, each being decorated with the logo of local businesses, from around town. People can then find their favorite restaurant or shop’s tee on the site, and when they buy one, part of the proceeds will go directly to that business. It’s a win win for everyone, that’s turned into a major movement all around the industry, known as #HereForGood.
Shirt Kong, located just outside of the St. Louis area, first heard about this idea from the shop that started it all, Tiny Little Monster. Soon after that, they put together a fundraising site of their own, and $10 from each sale went directly to a business in St. Louis.