Apparel Decoration Myths vs Facts: Can You Really Decorate These?

This session was featured in The S&S Virtual Experience (Feb 2021)

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, this is a really cool product, but there’s just no way to decorate it for clients” or “This thing is just too difficult to decorate?” Then, this is the segment for you.

Our Head of Corporate Training and Dev, Stephan Baere meets up with STAHLS Senior VP, Josh Ellsworth, to dispel myths about some of those products you might have labeled “impossible to decorate”, while showing you some neat decorating tricks along the way.

Download the directions for all the demonstrations shown in the video here:

Featured Panelists:

  • Stephan Baere – Head of Corporate Training and Development at S&S Activewear
  • Josh Ellsworth – Senior VP, Dealer & Enterprise Sales at STAHLS

STAHLS‘® Featured Products:

S&S Featured Products:

CLICK HERE to see the other videos from our virtual event.

How Decorators Are Adapting to Customer’s New Needs & Purchasing Habits

This session was featured in The S&S Virtual Experience (Feb 2021)

Lots of decorators have seen major shifts in their business, since the arrival of Covid-19. Some of those shifts were forced upon them by the sudden changes in business, which came along with the pandemic, and some were a result of them seizing new opportunities that began popping up.

In the video above, Mark Graham, of commonsku, leads four short 1-on-1 discussions with industry decorators to talk about, how they we’re affected by these shifts, what adjustments they made, opportunities that we’re already coming about, before the pandemic, and how 2020 created other meaningful changes at their company.

Featured Panelists:

Session Takeaways:

“Kitting” is now huge.

One of the biggest changes that occurred last year, was the complete stoppage of in-person events. Companies that would normally have ordered decorated items for their corporate events, trade shows or promotional needs, now suddenly had to rethink how they engaged with their customers and employees.

Lucas Guariglia, CEO at Rowboat Creative, mentions how he tried to find solutions for these businesses by really becoming more of a partner and consultant to them. Doing so gave him and his staff the ability to offer really creative ideas for how these companies could develop a unique at-home unboxing experience, though the use of kits with decorated swag, which really connected with their audience in a more personal way.

“We try immerse ourselves into their (the client’s) company culture…immerse ourselves into what they are trying to get across…For us, it really is becoming part of that company”

Lucas Guariglia, CEO & Co-Founder at Rowboat Creative
Continue reading “How Decorators Are Adapting to Customer’s New Needs & Purchasing Habits”

How To Do Print On Demand the Right Way

This session was featured in The S&S Virtual Experience (Feb 2021)

Print-On-Demand and the use of online stores took off in 2020. Marshall Atkinson, of Atkinson Consulting, leads a panel of industry experts to talk about this major shift and give you tips on how to do it right.

Featured Panelists:

CLICK HERE to see the other videos from our virtual event.

Session Takeaways:

Print-On-Demand is here to stay.

Not only did the events of 2020 lead to a huge spike in the creation and use of online stores, it also gave lots a businesses a chance to see the benefits that a print-on-demand model can bring with it.

Kevin Oakley, owner of Stoked on Printing, says that with many warehouses needing to close last year, businesses had to lean on them for fulfillment, because they weren’t able to do it themselves. With that, came revelations that P.O.D. allowed these companies to keep from worrying about warehousing and shipping out products, because decorators could now provide that service for them.

“We really feel that Pandora’s box has opened, as far as print-on-demand and on-demand manufacturing, in general”

Kevin Oakley, Owner of Stoked on Printing
Continue reading “How To Do Print On Demand the Right Way”

Is Accepting Rush Orders Good For Your Business?

“I need 100 screen-printed shirts, but I needed them yesterday.” It’s a pretty common scenario for decorating shops to get a phone call that starts with that harried line. Rush and last-minute orders are part of doing business in this industry, and shop owners have mixed feelings about how to handle them.

“We’re in the sales and customer service business, so customers ask for things, not realizing how it affects our world,” says Jordy Gamson, co-founder at The Icebox“You want to make their lives easier, but sometimes it creates havoc on our side of the fence.”

“We do our best to accommodate a new customer’s fast-turn request, so it doesn’t affect our other customers. It’s an ongoing challenge, but we’re always trying to rise to the occasion.” 

Jordy Gamson, co-founder of The Icebox

Sandy Jo Pilgram, owner of Rhinestonetemplates.com and The T-Shirt Shop 56601, takes last-minute orders and upcharges for them accordingly. “These last-minute orders don’t affect my other jobs,” she says. “I build in time to fulfill those requests after-hours, and we get it done.”

While you probably won’t see the value in taking every rush order that comes your way, there are times when it makes good business sense. “We do our best to accommodate a new or existing customer’s fast-turn request so it doesn’t affect our other customers,” Gamson says. “It’s an ongoing challenge, but we’re always trying to rise to the occasion.” 

Now might be a good time to look at how you could incorporate last-minute requests into your shop’s operations, without stressing your team or normal workflow. You might even identify some bottlenecks that prevent you from flexing your production workflow with ease.

Here are eight ways to think about adding rush orders into your shop’s regular workflow.

Continue reading “Is Accepting Rush Orders Good For Your Business?”

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.”

Continue reading “Why Finding Your Niche, Might Make You Rich”

“Creating Impactful Apparel Designs For Clients” – SUCCESS STORIES Podcast: Ep. 4 (feat. Jeremy Picker of AMB3R Creative)

How do you tie creative art development into more sales? 

On this edition of the Success Stories podcast, we’ll dig into that by discussing how Jeremy Picker and his team of creative professionals have found success by going the extra mile when developing ideas for their clients. 

We’ll also touch on AMB3R Creative’s approach to developing impactful designs, that’ll get end users choosing to wear their clients’ promotional apparel over and over again.

AMB3R is a Colorado-based apparel design firm that brings fashion to people by creating products that people love. They serve non-profits, churches, restaurants, corporations, and other businesses with their team of talented designers and project managers that takes a kernel of an idea from start to finish. 

We’ll learn how they use t-shirts for everything from an entire clothing line, to a merchandising campaign for promotional products. 


Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify


Continue reading ““Creating Impactful Apparel Designs For Clients” – SUCCESS STORIES Podcast: Ep. 4 (feat. Jeremy Picker of AMB3R Creative)”

Should You Sell Licensed Collegiate and Sports Apparel?

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.

Continue reading “Should You Sell Licensed Collegiate and Sports Apparel?”

A “WFH Care Package” Cure For Slow Business

While we all try to weather this storm that’s spread all across the globe, many businesses are trying to adapt to a new way of operating. For some employees and employers, this change has been extremely challenging, and this is where you come in. Although business has slowed for many distributors, and many companies have begun cutting back on their normal expenses to compensate for recent losses, there are still opportunities out there to generate some sales. But of all things, why would they buy any apparel from you, during a time like this?

Care Packages for Employees

In Photo: Independent Trading Co. – Midweight Fleece Shorts – IND20SRT

Some of your regular clients might appreciate some ideas to help lift their employees spirits and make them feel more comfortable, as the workplace has started transitioning from the office to the home. Suggest that they send them some decorated loungewear, as a way to say thank you for keeping their heads up during these trying times. And, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a comfortable new set of jammies?

To help you get started with marketing some pieces, we’ve included a flyer for you to download below. Send this out to some of your clients to get the conversations started.

Give Them A Discount

Some of these clients might not be able to spend the extra money to give their employees this kind of gift. However, a lot of people right now are trying to find ways of supporting local business too. If you’re able, try meeting them halfway and offer them a discount on their order. This will not only show them that you’re invested in their business, but also offer them a way they can help you stay afloat too, during this tough economic time.

Get Inspired

For some more “Work From Home” inspiration, visit: https://promo.ssactivewear.com/work-from-home


Cover Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina

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 Continue reading “4 Trends Taking Over Band Merch”

Why Funny Tees Work: The Top 3 Comedy Theories Explained

In case you haven’t noticed, funny tees have been extremely popular as of late, with no indication of slowing down. In fact, on Etsy alone, there are over 93,000 results for ‘funny graphic tee’. If you haven’t considered adding the style to your custom apparel offerings, now is definitely the time.

Now, we know what you’re thinkingwhat exactly makes something funny? Is there a formula you can easily recreate for your own tees?

As it turns out, scientists and philosophers have been pondering several theories behind humor for hundreds of years. While it may not be an exact formula, understanding why people think situations are funny can inspire ideas for your creative new apparel.

To help provide some direction, we narrowed it down to the top three comedy theories. Let’s take a look!

Continue reading “Why Funny Tees Work: The Top 3 Comedy Theories Explained”