5 Steps to Attracting Sustainable Customers

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.

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Sales Opportunities for Apparel Are Still Out There

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.

Curbside Pickup 

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.

Have You Been Active Lately?

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:

  1. Improve your mood, decreasing feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.
  2. Improve brain function, protecting memory and thinking skills.
  3. 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.

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How Inksoft’s Fundraising Feature Is Keeping Decorators Afloat During COVID

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.

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5 days ago. Monday. I was the last one at the shop finishing up some office work. I get so much done when it’s quiet. No interuptions. It’s like 5x normal speed. So there I was in a zone and the phone starts ringing. Made me jump. Normally it wouldn’t, but the phone doesn’t ring much anymore. Startled, I look down at the caller ID and it’s @tinylittlemonster. The ringing fades out – I wonder why they’re calling. Tiny is a shop not far from ours. But the thing is we’ve never met before. Ever. As I reach to pick up, the ringing gets louder – I bring the receiver closer and say “Hello, Shirt Kong,” and a voice says, “Hey, it’s Sloan from Tiny.” . We talk about our shops. We share stories. We talk about the times – the quarantine and how we’re both hanging in there. Then she starts telling me about a movement she started called “Here For Good.” It’s a movement that helps support small businesses in our city by setting up online stores where people can buy a shirt and 100% of the proceeds go directly to that business. She went on and on…and on, I mean she’s really pumped about it. I couldn’t tell her no. . Sloan’s tagline is “We’re in this together” and she’s right. Maybe this crisis helps bring this country together. It did for me and Sloan. . Our store is now live We are starting with over 20 and adding more daily Our goal is to raise $10,000 Link is in our profile Thanks for your support! . Time for pizza, more beer and more #tigerking . #shirtkong #screenprinting #screenprintingshop #screenprintinglife #customtshirts #ink #tshirts #stl #printshop #graphicdesign #graphicartist #printlife #embroidery #makeitcount #bandmerch #entrepreneurlife #mrprint

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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

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

Gen Z Wants Sustainable Apparel and ComfortWash is Bringing It to Them

Garment-dyed apparel is hot in fashion right now, but not as hot as sustainability is becoming. Awareness of the fashion industry’s effect on our environment and human rights is at an all-time high, and no one is more conscious of this than today’s college students. How seriously are they taking it?

Forever 21 failed to address the growing concerns of its main audience in Gen Z, and is now filing for bankruptcy. College campuses like the University of Massachusetts, are dedicating whole sections of their stores, specifically to highlight sustainable spiritwear. Fashion schools are starting to implement courses that educate students on the impact of the industry’s practices, and some institutions may even go as far as making understanding these concerns a requirement that affects your overall grade. All of this is signaling that a shift is happening in the expectations of young consumers throughout the world.

As the new shopping generation’s demands for a renewed sense of corporate responsibility becomes louder and louder, brands and organizations nationwide are taking notice and taking action. So the question is, what does this mean for your business?

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The Unpredictable Storytelling of Streetwear Legend Joe ‘Freshgoods’ Robinson

(Featured Image: Hive Society)

He may not be from Los Angeles or New York City, but his hometown of Chicago is a booming hub for entrepreneurs, and streetwear designer, Joe Freshgoods, has certainly made a name for himself beyond the third coast. His talent for storytelling, eye for art and passion for his hometown are a big part of why the Freshgoods brand has thrived over the years.

He Started Storytelling Through Apparel 

Freshgoods went to the prestigious Lane Tech High School, on the north side of Chicago, and told Black Enterprise that he’d always been into style and unique looks. “In those days, I was trying to look different so I could stand out from the crowd. I had my homegirl sew bandanas on my jeans, and everybody went crazy. I realized that people like something I had only thought of a few days before. That was my ‘aha’ moment.”

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How to Copyright Your Artwork

Protecting your intellectual property as a creative individual is something of great importance in today’s world of copycat infringement. Your ideas are unique, innovative, a product of your hard work, so you deserve the credit! Copyrights were created for that reason, and we’re here to explain one aspect of copywriting in particular: protecting your designs on printed merchandise.

Image: Copyright CafePress

What is the Copyright Act?

Copyright.gov explains that the Act consists of “pictorial, graphic and sculptural works include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models and technical drawings, including architectural plans.” Paintings, sculptures, photographs and anything that satisfies visual artwork could fall into this category, as well.

5 Steps to Copyrighting

Once the creator files to protect their original creations, which must be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” and also exist in physical form according to Printful.com, the copyright goes into immediate effect. Authors can register their group of works on printed merchandise of no more than 10 unpublished items by the same person. 

1. See If You’re Eligible

Copyright.gov has strict eligibility requirements in place in order to register a group of unpublished works. You will have to confirm that you understand and meet these requirements before registering with your application and filing fee.

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A History of the Baseball Cap

Not all of us are going to be blessed with the athletic ability to play center field for the New York Yankees; however, we can dress the part thanks to the baseball cap. Baseball culture has filtered into many aspects of everyday life — from catchy sayings like “teamwork makes the dream work” — to our daily fashion choices. Baseball shoes, jerseys and caps adorn the streets of cities worldwide, but the cap, in particular, is a more popular way for both men and women to showcase their love for their favorite team or simply make a fashion statement.

Why the Baseball Cap?

Epic Sports makes a good point. The baseball cap is a big part of American culture, because of how versatile it is. It can be worn forward or backward. It shows off logos that aren’t restricted to baseball alone. But most importantly, it also helps shield your eyes from the sun, which is arguably, why it was invented for baseball players.

The Cap’s History

Speaking of New York, there was a baseball team back in 1849 called, the Knickerbockers, who were the first ones to start wearing straw caps on their heads, while they played. This was potentially the first version of the lid we now know and love. Merino wool caps came onto the scene shortly after, becoming a closer version of today’s cap. Players started to experiment with various versions, and the uniform cap adorning the team logo showed up early in the 1900s with the Detroit Tigers. Epic Sports says the stitched bill started in 1903 with sporting goods company Spaulding.

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Don’t Make These 8 Mistakes When Naming Your Company

Ten to one you’ve seen some really terrible company names like Phartronics Engineering. When starting your own business, it’s important to take into consideration how it will sound, how it will look and whether or not it opens the door for a joke or two.

Entrepreneur magazine outlined eight great tips for avoiding unfortunate company names and choosing the right one for your business.

Mistake #1: Design by Committee

Getting everyone’s input and opinion might seem like a good thing, but the more information you have, the less likely you are to settle on one idea. Entrepreneur says that a lot of small business owners involve their family and friends in the process and risk alienating the ones whose ideas aren’t chosen. Others choose by consensus—often resulting in a bland name. Instead, try to only involve the key decision-makers (the fewer the better) who are acting in the best interest of the business.

Mistake #2: Mashing Together Two Words

We’ve all seen them. Names like QualiServe and TranquiSpa combine an adjective and noun to create a nonsensical, made-up name that, let’s be honest, isn’t great. Each word on its own is alright—tranquil and spa, for example—but together, they aren’t an appetizing mixture. They’re not creative and they sound forced. You’d be better off creating something completely new.

Mistake #3: Using Plain Words

Companies like General Motors and General Electric are only good because they were the first of their kind. Unless you have a wildly novel idea, you’ll want something more creative and flashy. (And chances are, if you have a wildly novel idea, you won’t want anything bland anyway!) Take the time to come up with something creative that reflects your business.

Mistake #4: Using a Map to Name Your Company

A lot of companies use their location to help create a company name. Though this might seem like a good idea at first, it could actually hinder your business as it grows. Ever heard of Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining? We hadn’t, either—at least, not by that name. To avoid limiting the company’s growth, its name was changed to 3M, and it’s now known for its innovation.

Mistake #5: Turning Your Business Name into a Cliche

It’s okay to use metaphors in your business name, but try to avoid overused words like “peak” and “summit.” Instead, Entrepreneur recommends using words that describe your business in a creative way. They give the example of a data storage company called Iron Mountain, which conveys strength and security.

Mistake #6: Choosing an Obscure Name

In Mistake #3, we recommended avoiding plain words. But you also don’t want anything too confusing. Business names that are obscure, difficult to spell or pronounce, or complex won’t resonate with customers. Make sure your company name is memorable, but also easy to understand.

Mistake #7: Creating an Awkwardly Constructed Name

Saying “kwality” instead of “quality” is nonsensical. Resist the urge to replace a Q with a K, or an F with a Ph. They’re only more confusing for customers and make it more difficult for them to find you online.

Mistake #8: Refusing to Change a Bad Name

It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong, and it’s okay to change an ineffective company name to something better. A bad name won’t just go away and your business’ problems won’t just disappear. You might have to put in the work to make a change so that your business can flourish.

The bottom line is: Put some serious thought into your business name. You want something unique and memorable that reflects your business goals and conveys your message. Start brainstorming—you might have a stroke of genius.