Cherry LA: A Lesson in Creativity for Any Small Business

When it comes to 2019 fashion, streetwear is still king. Brands like Supreme, Stüssy, and even Louis Vuitton, continue to buzz in circles of hype beasts and fashionistas alike. The rise and reign of streetwear is intrinsically tied to social media, with brands like I.AM.GIA proving that overnight success is just one Hadid or Jenner Instagram tag away from blowing up in popularity.

Though breaking into the landscape may seem impossible as a small business, Cherry Los Angeles has shown there’s plenty of room for the small guy to shine in the streetwear scene. While Cherry LA’s re-worked Dickies and bold graphic tees are worthy of praise, their ever-growing success can really be attributed to their bold and brilliant branding. If you’re looking to carve your own path in the streetwear sector, be sure to add Cherry LA to your inspiration board for ideas in creativity.

New to the brand? Don’t worry, we’ll get you up to speed!

Continue reading “Cherry LA: A Lesson in Creativity for Any Small Business”

Tommy Hilfiger: America’s Favorite Preppy Brand

Following bankruptcy in the late ‘70s from his first apparel business, The People’s Place, Tommy Hilfiger set out to master not only the creative pulse of fashion, but also the business of commerce. By this time, preppy style had manifested into a class of its own, with aspiring designers opening doors to wealthy clientele left and right. With the style originating from upper-class Ivy League college students on the East Coast, it drew inspiration from popular New England sports like sailing, fencing, golf and polo. Preppy became so much more than a fashion statement, it was (and is) a culture and lifestyle. So, how exactly did Hilfiger go from bankruptcy to iconic, internationally-recognized, “preppy American luxury”? Continue reading “Tommy Hilfiger: America’s Favorite Preppy Brand”

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. Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know to​ Launch Your E-Commerce Site”

Setting Customer Expectations for Optimal Screen Printing Designs

In the screen printing business, quality customer service and the ability to retain clients can have a huge impact on your bottom line. While many companies operate based on the coined phrase, “the customer is always right,” it doesn’t mean clients should walk all over your business or exploit your services. Part of operating a successful business is creating reasonable customer expectations upfrontespecially when it comes to screen printing designs.

Educating the client early about any artwork limitations helps build brand trust, ultimately leading to repeat customers. The last thing you want is Continue reading “Setting Customer Expectations for Optimal Screen Printing Designs”

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.
Continue reading “5 Steps to an Effective SEO Strategy for Your Small Business”

HOW TO SCREEN PRINT using DISCHARGE INK as a BASE w/ PLASTISOL (feat. ComfortWash by Hanes)

Ever think about printing with both plastisol and discharge inks together? In this video, Geno shows us just how to do that, using Matsui High Mesh Discharge White Ink and GSG Vortex plastisol inks on the ComfortWash GDH100 Garment Dyed Tee.

Why would you want to print this way? Sometimes, using discharge ink as a base, allows the plastisol colors on top to pop and look more vibrant, as you’ll see in the video.

If your going for a vintage look, discharging on garment dyed apparel is the perfect option for printing, since the ink will be set into the fabric, rather than be set on the surface of it. This gives you that “worn-in” look that makes the design look aged.

 

From Skate Shop to Fashion Powerhouse: Business Lessons From Supreme’s Rise

Supreme, often referred to as “the Chanel of streetwear”, has inched its way to the top as one of the most influential brands in the industry. A-list celebs, skaters, cool kids, hip-hop legends and hypebeasts alike can be seen donning the infamous red-and-white logo. So, how did a small skate shop on Lafayette Street in downtown Manhattan turn into a complete fashion powerhouse? Ask savvy entrepreneur, James Jebbiathe founder of Supreme.  

Jebbia was a teen in the ‘80s growing up in Crawley, West Sussex, England. He used his spare money to travel to London and shop at a hidden store, which would eventually mold Supreme’s business model. By age 19, he moved to the United States and started working as a sales assistant at a store in SoHo, before eventually opening Supreme in New York.

While you probably won’t be able to replicate Jebbia’s secret business sauce, we’ve listed some valuable lessons in Supreme’s rise that can be used to help shape your company:

Do Your Research

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James Jebbia learned about the retail industry when working at Parachute in SoHo. Before opening Supreme in 1994, he actually opened a different streetwear brand, Union NYC (now closed), in 1989. All this to say, he had a bit of experience in the retail industry before starting a wildly successful company.

Wanting to start your own brand can be exciting, but always make sure you research the industry before diving head first into the unknown. Some basic things you should know:

  • Where to find quality, wholesale apparel and products  
  • How to price your products competitively  
  • Ways to sell your items

Beyond just researching how the industry works, know your target audience and what matters to them. By 2020, Millennials will make up 30 percent of total retail sales in the U.S., and Gen Z will make up 40 percent of all consumers. Studies have shown that both Millennials and Gen Z consider environmental issues in their purchasing decisions. So, if you’re looking to sell graphic tees, considering water-based, eco-friendly ink choices may be a unique selling point.

Get Scrappy With Your Hustle (And Build Street Cred)

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Supreme is infamous for giving fashion the middle finger—proven by several cease-and-desist letters. It’s also known for encouraging its employees and consumers to add their red-and-white logo stickers on posters and products as a “stamp of approval”. For example, they slapped their logo sticker on the front of a Kate Moss Calvin Klein poster in 1994, and printed Louis Vuitton’s double monogram on their skateboards in 2000 (though they eventually collaborated). Jebbia’s willingness to ruffle a few feathers in the name of creativity built credibility with niche, influential cool kids and it payed off.

Now, we’re not saying to start copyrighting a bunch of artwork, but there is something to be said about Supreme’s hustle and scrappiness. Some ways you can spread the word about your company on a smaller budget include:

  • Partnering with micro-influencers who are willing to promote your brand for a small cost, or exchange promoted posts for free swag
  • Creating short promo videos to post across social media
  • Reaching out to small businesses (relevant to your target audience) to see if you can leave promo cards at the counter

Realize that Culture Shapes Trends, Especially Youth Culture

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Almost every piece from a Supreme drop has ties to art or culture. They have a way of partnering with brands like Nike and infusing their vibe to create a totally unique outfit for the young fashion consumer.

Art and culture always find their way into what we wear and how we represent ourselves, leading to a shared sense of influence. By continually having a pulse on what’s going on in the community, Supreme is able to present apparel and products that are desirable.

When thinking of new designs, look to what’s going on in your community for creative inspiration. However, always remember to remain authentic to your brand.

Know the Power of Supply-and-Demand

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Supreme is good at many things, and utilizing basic economics to its advantage is no exception. James Jebbia was once quoted saying, “…if we can sell 600, I make 400.” The demand for product always exceeds the supply, thus driving up the value. Though, in Supreme’s case, they take it a step further by almost never restocking a dropped collection once it’s sold out (hence the huge resell market).

If you’re just starting out, your demand for product is likely low so this may not be a tactic you can use right away. However, educating yourself on supply-and-demand economics will ultimately help you make strategic business decisions in the long run, particularly as your business grows and competition rises.

Which business lesson from Supreme was the most helpful or interesting? Let us know in the comments!

 

5 Benefits of Direct-to-Garment Printing

With several, quality methods available to create impressive, custom apparel garments, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is a newer technique gaining recognition among printers – especially small-business owners. Created in the late ’90s, DTG printing uses a custom inkjet printer to apply water-based inks directly to the textile. The garment’s fibers then absorb the liquid. The process is likened to printing a document at home — replace paper with garments. The outcome is some seriously impressive designs customers go crazy for.

Whether you’re considering contemporary tactics to add to your business services or just getting started and marinating on a customization method, direct-to-garment printing can be a lucrative option.

Below are just five, key benefits of what DTG printing has to offer: Continue reading “5 Benefits of Direct-to-Garment Printing”

Specialty Ink Basics: Setting Your Screenprinting Business Apart From Competitors

In a competitive screenprinting market, it’s vital for your print shop to continually find areas where niche skills can be added to help set your business apart. One way to catch the eyes of potential customers is by dazzling them with specialty inks. Before you cringe (we know, special inks can be hard to work with), specialty inks can bring a lot of value to your business, create awesome designs, and you can (and should!) charge premium pricing for the services. To help get you started, we’ve listed three Continue reading “Specialty Ink Basics: Setting Your Screenprinting Business Apart From Competitors”