Why Only Selling Trends Could Actually Hurt Your Sales

As a distributor or decorator, clients are looking for your expertise on all the latest styles, colors, fabrications, performance features, sustainability stories and basically everything else related to apparel. Because of that, being in the know on all this definitely helps build brand loyalty and bring more money into your business.

“Understanding trends is important to your apparel sales, because it shows you have an understanding of what’s going on at retail and what’s influencing large groups of people,” says Craig Sullivan, manager of Inside Sales here at S&S Activewear“By knowing what’s trending, you also can open up a new market or sales opportunity to your client they’ve never explored or didn’t know existed. This solidifies you as a true consultant to your customers, rather than just a salesperson.”

However, depending solely on “fashion” trends to lead your sales pitches to clients can actually hurt your apparel sales. For example, it’s just not enough to present the season’s hottest color stories to your customers and say, “Hey, these are the colors of the year. Which one do you want?” You must specifically connect those colors to your client’s brand, campaign or event colors.

“Yes, you must be savvy about current fashions and decoration methods to remain fresh and valuable to your customers, but it’s key to link trends to your customers’ markets to stay relevant.”

Alison Banholzer, owner of Wear Your Spirit Warehouse

Here are five ways to use—and transcend trends—to make even more apparel sales this year.

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What’s “Brand Fill” and How It Affects You and Your Client’s Bottom Line

Brand fill is a big issue in the promo industry. While this isn’t anything new, industry pros are shining a brighter light on it because of its negative impact on Mother Earth—and the promotional industry’s reputation.

Even if you’re new to the term “brand fill,” you’re probably aware of the problem it describes. Brand fill is a reference to the cheap, useless and unwanted merch that’s given out to people, which usually just ends up getting thrown away and building up landfills – contributing to the ongoing pollution of our planet. 

“One way to help prevent cheap T-shirts’ from becoming brand fill is simple. We educate our customers on the overall ROI of spending a little bit more money up front on a better-quality shirt.”

Megan Erber, Outside Sales Manager at S&S Activewear

And of course, the demand for these low-hanging-fruit products perpetuates the cycle. That includes fast fashion’s manufacturing process that only adds to the negative effects on the environment. (And we’ve watched H&M and Forever 21 get torched in the media for their fast fashion manufacturing practices.)

On the PromoKitchen podcast, Jamie Mair, chief growth officer at Spector & Co, said that “People see ‘branded stuff’ as junk, because there’s too much brand fill that’s being made and given out. We should be focused on selling products with purpose. Instead, there’s so much brand fill and fast fashion that it’s irresponsible, and not sustainable. We clearly see the implications in the supply chain and environmentally.”

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Sustainability and CSR: Why it Matters to Consumers and How to Sell it

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

Sustainability and CSR is increasingly moving to the forefront of consumers minds. David Shultz, of Commonsku and PromoCares, leads a panel of suppliers and distributors to discuss the increase in demand for sustainable products and how you can incorporate them into conversations with your clients.

Featured Panelists:

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

Session Takeaways:

More corporations and schools are starting to ask for sustainability metrics on apparel.

Denise Taschereau , co-Founder of Fairware, says that she’s starting to see more conventional corporations ask for background data on apparel.

“We’ve seen, in the last two to three years…what we would call more conventional companies coming to us and asking us for some pretty deep sustainability, metrics or information.”

Denise Taschereau , co-Founder of Fairware

Tech companies, universities and even those in the food industry are starting to map their carbon footprint as a company, all the way through their own operations, into their vendors operations and into the suppliers operations.

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The Sustainable Story You Didn’t Know About Gildan

Founded in 1984 by the Chamandy brothers in Canada, Gildan enjoys a reputation for being a leading T-shirt manufacturerand we’re sure you know why. Distributors and decorators say Gildan offers the most versatile shirt options out there, since you can always find the color, style and comfort level you want in the company’s selection.

“By purchasing Gildan, or from any of our company-owned brands, consumers receive timeless wardrobe essentials that never go out of style, while supporting a company that cares for its people, conserves the environment and creates stronger communities”

– Summer Scott-Samuel, Senior Merchandising Manager for Gildan

High Ranks in Sustainability

In Photo: Biomass that will soon be converted into renewable energy, and used to power Gildan’s operations

Gildan is also a fan favorite because of its sustainable manufacturing processes and commitment to responsible practices. In fact, Gildan recently placed 32nd overall among The Wall Street Journal’s ranking of the Top 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the world. Gildan was second among only three apparel companies included in this top 100 ranking and was also the only North American apparel company on the list. The apparel manufacturer also claimed the sixth spot among the top 10 global companies for innovation in its business model.

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Celebrities Love Adidas. But, THIS Is Why Your Clients Will Love Them Too.

Iconic sports brand adidas has made a huge sustainable splash—and the world has taken notice. That’s why it’s so exciting for S&S to be the exclusive distributor of premium adidas products to the wholesale market. We’ve now introduced the wholesale market to more than 30 adidas styles that contain recycled polyester, or are made from 100% recycled polyester, and more are on the way.

The prestige of this brand, coupled with its compelling recycled-product story and sustainable message, speaks to Gen X and Millennial end-users in a whole new way.

This year, and into 2021, distributors and decorators should start embracing the opportunity to present clients with adidas’ sustainable story and styles, as people are looking for more responsible brands to buy from. Here’s a few reasons why.

Celebrity Love for Adidas Is Blowing Up

When you take adidas’ sustainable efforts and then add in major star power, you get an unbeatable formula for brand success. Collaborations with artists like Pharrell Williams and Kanye West have led to the creation of highly sought after sneaker collections. Beyoncé’s “Ivy Park” athletic apparel line, just launched—capturing more of the urban and streetwear markets. Their newest brand ambassador, NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is the inspiration behind their recently launched collection, Pat’s Closet, and the talent keeps on flocking to adidas.

Many athletes and celebrities use their reach to help causes they care about the most. They feel a need to align themselves with things that can make a difference and Continue reading “Celebrities Love Adidas. But, THIS Is Why Your Clients Will Love Them Too.”

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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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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Sustainability is Becoming Fashionable

Fashion is an ever-changing landscape. Each year sees new colors, styles, and materials fall in and out of fashionistas graces. While this evolving aspect of fashion keeps things interesting, it’s also contributed to unsustainable practices in order to quickly turn out the next hit trend. Statistics show that the average consumer is now buying 60 percent more clothes than they did at the beginning of the century, but only keeping garments on average for half as long. Because of this, a growing concern for consumers worldwide is that unwanted and discarded apparel is ending up in landfills, or our oceans, and they’re demanding a change. 

Sustainable Is In

Fashion follows the trends, and the past few years have shown the trends leaning heavily towards sustainability. One study showed that internet searches for “sustainable fashion” tripled between 2016 and 2019. This trend is led strongly by Gen Z and Millennial consumers, who together represent $350 billion in spending power in the US alone. Statistics show that nine in ten Gen Z consumers believe companies have an obligation and responsibility to address environmental issues. 

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Why adidas is Your Sustainability Partner

Within the past decade, lots of major corporations have launched efforts to become more environmentally responsible. However, there are very few, who have gone as far as adidas has gone to develop an extremely broad and comprehensive sustainability program, both internally and externally. Here’s a quick look at why you can feel good about buying adidas’ products.

In 2018, @adidas produced more than 5 million pairs of shoes containing #recycled #plastic waste. #recycling Click To Tweet

Reducing plastic waste has been a big initiative for adidas over the past few years. Since 2016, adidas retail stores no longer use plastic bags. In 2018, they reduced plastic waste in their offices, retail stores, warehouses and distribution centers worldwide by OVER 40 TONS, and then replaced it with sustainable solutions. And if that wasn’t enough, in 2019, the company plans on producing 11 MILLION PAIRS OF SHOES containing recycled ocean plastic – up from 5 million pairs produced in 2018.

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