“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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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”

5 Things College Students Love Wearing

When we think of college we think all-nighters, dissertations and spring break shenanigans. College is a time for education, growth, and discovery, in all areas of life—from earning a degree to crafting a signature style. More importantly, the numbers show that the college retail market is vast and thriving. 

Research by Deloitte revealed college students and their parents planned to spend $4.2 billion on clothing and accessories in their back-to-school shopping last year, with an average per student spend of $279. 

So, what are college students actually wearing these days, and how can your brand cater to the market? Instagram, Youtube, and niche sites like CollegeFashionista can give you an inside look from the student’s themselves. 

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Overcome These 4 Fears About Selling Apparel Right Now

When Howard Potter, CEO of Utica, NY-based A&P Master Images, first started his decorated-apparel business, he operated from a 15-foot-by-15-foot room in his house. “In the beginning, I sold apparel mostly from catalogs and ordered samples to show customers only when I needed them,” he says.

As his business grew, he increased his showroom space—from 8 feet on a wall, to an 8-by-10 area, and then to a large 20-by-20 showroom. “We created a better layout and experience for our customers to view products,” Potter says. “But when we didn’t have tons of space to show actual garments, we didn’t let that become a block to stop us from selling.”

Potter focused on a couple of things: showing clients the most popular and effective mid-level and up styles in a variety of colors, plus recommending apparel and decoration unique to each client’s needs. “We want them to know that we aren’t trying to make them look like everyone else,” Potter says.

Many distributors and decorators, who’d like to sell more apparel, need to overcome their fears about selling it (even more so than overcoming their customers’ objections).  Luckily, we’re here to help you get past the four most common challenges we’ve heard about.

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Everything You Need to Know to​ Launch Your E-Commerce Site

As the digital age continues to transform the way consumers interact with brands, more brick-and-mortar print shops are adapting to include an online retail presence. It’s a smart play considering the apparel and accessories e-commerce sector is expected to generate over $138.7 billion in revenue by 2022. 

The time to take your business online was yesterday. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to launch your e-commerce site.

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3 Things to Know Before Starting Your Own Custom Apparel Business

With the prominence of graphic tees and streetwear in high fashion, custom apparel has seen an uptick in volume—especially among Millennials. In 2017, 34 percent of Millennials bought custom pieces, and 42 percent said they’re willing to pay more for customized items (as opposed to non-custom clothing). Considering that the global custom t-shirt printing industry is projected to exceed $10 billion by 2025, it’s a business with high-profit potential and a comparatively low initial investment.

Before taking the leap to start your own custom apparel business, we’ve listed three important things you should know. Continue reading “3 Things to Know Before Starting Your Own Custom Apparel Business”

5 Steps to an Effective SEO Strategy for Your Small Business

Most businesses have heard the term “SEO” and have a basic understanding of why it’s important. However, when it comes to truly understanding, planning and implementing a sound SEO strategy of their own—they don’t always follow through. Too often small business owners get wrapped up in the day-to-day operational needs, and see a list of marketing to dos as daunting tasks. The truth is, search engine optimization is part of the long game, but is integral in determining digital visibility and success. In simpler terms, it’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it.

In order to achieve brand awareness, organic traffic growth, and ultimately, product purchases—you need to cultivate an SEO strategy.
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5 Tips for Successful Custom Embroidery

Often when the term “custom apparel” is heard, our minds jump to the ubiquitous methods of screen printing and sublimation. However, the art of embroidery should not be forgotten. Embroidery creates an added level of detail and lends a sophisticated, high-end look to any garment. From adding decoration to jeans to logos on company shirts to fun designs on casual wear – the options are endless.   Continue reading “5 Tips for Successful Custom Embroidery”

5 Fall Trends and Styles You Should Keep An Eye On

Fall (arguably fashion’s favorite season) is almost here. Get ready for crisp air, pumpkin-spiced everything and the chance to break out the layers once again. The fashion industry has spoken, and this year’s fall trends are all about making a statement. We’ve listed a few of the daring new trends to try along with trusty favorites to help spark ideas for your fall inventory.  

Bold Prints

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Animal prints, western motifs and high contrast florals will be everywhere this fall. From soft muted neutrals to Continue reading “5 Fall Trends and Styles You Should Keep An Eye On”