Month: July 2021

Everything You Need to Know to Rock Out Events This Year

An example of Z Shirts’ tented booth at a two-day Morristown Derby Days event in Morristown, IN, with lots of decorated pieces, along with a Riley Jr. 4/1 press, Riley Jr. 6/4 press (with three arms removed) and Vastex D100 conveyor dryer, and lots of blanks for printing.

Back in spring 2020, right before the virtually overnight pandemic shutdowns, the Specialty Materials team was at a trade show like normal. “After being there just one full day, that night a county judge banned any large gatherings of more than 500 people,” says Liz Hood, marketing manager of the Tulsa, OK-based shop. The next morning, all the exhibitors, including us, had to pack up our booths and get everything out by noon that same day. That was pretty surreal.”

Fast-forward to December of that year, The Decorated Apparel Expo (DAX) hosted a live event that Hood and her team participated in. “This went really well, and we felt we reached people  we might not have talked to during an in-person event. We got our message out to a wider range of people.”

Lots of decorators and distributors participated in online events and trade shows during the pandemic to stay ahead of the networking curve. “Companies that stayed in front of their customers virtually, either appearing in virtual trade shows or on supplier webinars did the best during the pandemic,” says Kristine Shreve, director of marketing and outreach Applique Getaway. “Online educational offerings had a heck of a ramp-up during the pandemic and there were opportunities everywhere to appear on camera. The trick was to plan and try to offer the most professional session possible. As time went on, the tolerance for poorly planned or poorly done online efforts declined sharply.”  

Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know to Rock Out Events This Year”

Here’s How to Make Amazing Artwork Your Shop’s Competitive Advantage

Artwork is among your shop’s most valuable, and profitable, assets. “Graphics are our industry’s currency,” says Craig Mertens, general manager of GraphicsFlow. “The shop with the more relatable artwork will win in the marketplace.” 

Successful decorators use graphics as their competitive advantage. “At the end of the day, when faced with options, buyers will usually choose the shop with the best designs and graphics, given the emotional connection to their brand and identity,” Mertens says.

At Night Owls Print Shop, the art team is one of the shop’s most important assets. “We couldn’t put out the level of work that we do without our team,” says Co-Owner Valerie Solomon. “If you’re printing any full-color design, you rely on your art separations to make printing and setup easier. That’s why skilled artists are vital.”

“Anyone can put a logo on a shirt, but not everyone can put killer artwork on a shirt. That’s the superpower you’re looking for to increase your sales.”
Marshall Atkinson, Atkinson Consulting

Even if you’re running a DTG shop, a talented art department will set you apart. “Artists challenge the status quo or think outside the box, so that gives you a competitive advantage,” says Michelle Moxley, innovation director at The M&R Companies. “Plus, on-press artists can drive innovation into an embellishment, expanding your capabilities and accentuating your uniqueness to the market.” 

As a decorator, you know your customer artwork files are among the most valuable assets you have … and your artwork department is one of your main revenue generators. However, if your graphics workflow isn’t tight or your graphics files aren’t organized, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. “Anyone can put a logo on a shirt, but not everyone can put killer artwork on a shirt,” says Marshall Atkinson, business consultant at Atkinson Consulting and Shirt Lab Tribe. “That’s the superpower you’re looking for to increase your sales.”

Continue reading “Here’s How to Make Amazing Artwork Your Shop’s Competitive Advantage”