The first three years that Megan Lindholm ran her decorated-apparel business from her home, she hauled samples everywhere, from uniform fittings to school offices to baseball fields. “We had apparel literally everywhere, since we saved our print overruns for sampling,” says Lindholm, owner of 643SPIRIT in New Albany, OH. “We created endless mock sheets for people with style ideas. We took lots of bad photos of spirit shirts or basketball socks and sent them to clients.”
Finally, Lindholm was over the time-consuming back-and-forth with her customers and moved into a showroom. “It’s been fantastic,” she says. “People stop in to pick up what they want for their organization sales, and it takes five minutes instead of an hour. We host uniform fittings instead of carting samples all over town. People driving by see our signs for masks, custom tees and work apparel, and stop-in to order tees and hoodies for their workplace.” Are uniform fittings still a thing with COVID?
Here are 10 ways to set up an effective apparel showroom that customers can’t wait to visit.
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.