Author: Laurie Prestine

5 Wow-Worthy Decoration Techniques to Sell Now

Design credit: A&P Master Images

Bright, chunky embroidery. Full-color prints with detailing you can appreciate even when you’re social distancing. Statement graphics that spell out what we’re all thinking.

For decorated-apparel providers, keeping up with your customers means reimagining your offerings and how you take their experience with you to new heights.

We’ve got five must-have decorating trends that you should pitch to your clients now, whether you’re a decorator or a distributor who sells a lot of promotional apparel. 

These high-profit imprinting techniques will position you as a branding and marketing solutions provider in 2020 and beyond.

Get ready to see how to use these decorating techniques.

OVERSIZED AND 3-D EMBROIDERY


Embroidery is a tried-and-true, classic decoration option that looks clean and crisp on polos, jackets, hats and more. This year, it’s time to turn up the volume on this traditional technique.

On the winter 2020 runways, Etro and Chloé debuted brilliant embroidered designs—a little bit of attitude mixed with a luxe feel, making it appealing to edgier brands and younger wearers.

There are a few ways to pitch trendier stitched logos and designs: 

  • Offer dimensional or puff embroidery as a full logo design or as an accent element.
  • Introduce unique thread types, such as metallic, neon, variegated or glow in the dark.
  • Play with orientation, such as angled type on a hat front or a jacket back.
  • Play with location. While the left chest is the most common placement for embroidery, there’s no limit to where you can stitch logos, text or designs on garments. If you’re presenting an apparel program to your clients via Zoom, showing off your location skills will make a big impact.

Pitch this imprinting technique for:

  • Corporate collections
  • Company store offerings
  • Premium uniforms
  • Retail and streetwear brands.

VINYL AND CHENILLE PATCHES AND APPLIQUÉ

While buyers often think of chenille or vinyl as a throwback to letterman’s jackets or team gear, it’s not so this season. If you haven’t noticed, streetwear brands are owning these appliqué and patch styles in 2020.  

Whether you outsource or produce your own appliqué lettering or designs, there’s a big market for this decoration method right now. For example, West Coast-based Big Printing T-shirt Co. produces high-quality chenille patches. 

And the sky’s the limit for these patches and appliqué designs. Big Printing owner Dawaud Muhammad trained his staff in the art of custom chenille patches (hello, Halloween-themed bandaged flowers and zombies) that he sells to other decorating shops and apparel brands like Top Boys.

And if you have a heat press, vinyl heat-transfer designs are highly customizable and full color, so you can meet your buyers’ exact requirements for fonts, images and shades. 

No matter what industry your customer is in, you can recommend a unique patch or appliqué design to fit their brand and end-users. So if you’re working with a wellness brand, you could recommend a lotus flower, Tree of Life or mountains. If your customer is a dance studio, pitch a pair of ballet slippers or a pirouetting dancer.

Pitch these imprinting techniques for: 

  • School and team programs
  • Colleges and universities
  • Sororities and fraternities
  • Dance schools
  • Fitness and wellness brands
  • Retail and streetwear brands.

Plays well with this style:

Threadfast Apparel Unisex Denim Jacket

DIRECT-TO-GARMENT PRINTING

Bella + Canvas Ladies’ Flowy Scoop Muscle Tank

As direct-to-garment equipment has become even more affordable (less than $5,000 to get set up), lots of decorators who offer embroidery and screen printing have added DTG to their shops. Why?

First, DTG allows you to easily run quick samples and small runs of vibrantly colored, photorealistic designs on T-shirts for your clients. When COVID-19 hit, some decorators printed positive slogan tees and sent them out as part of care packages to their customers, local businesses and frontline workers. 

(To learn more about key ways you can serve your customers’ new needs, read our blog, “Yes, Your Customers Need You Now More Than Ever.”)

Finally, you can pair a DTG print with other techniques, such as puff embroidery or a faux leather patch for high-profit multimedia design that echo what buyers see at retail. 

Tip: When you pair DTG with embroidery, you’ll reduce your stitch count, while still turning out a bright, full-color design. And, when you reduce your stitch count, you’ll save time during the embroidery process. Using fewer stitches also results in a less-dense design that’s more comfortable for the wearer.

Pitch this imprinting technique for:

  • School and team programs
  • Company store offerings
  • Retail and streetwear brands
  • Lifestyle brands.

TEXT AND STATEMENT GRAPHICS

 

Remember when Viktor & Rolf sent a parade of couture slogan gowns down the runway with messages like “No” and “I’m my own muse” last year? That was nothing compared to this year. 

For many people and brands, 2020 has been unique, trying, pivotal and transformative. While T-shirts have always been about sending a message—whether it’s about a cause you support, a political message or saying, “I’m with the band”—text and statement graphics are huge right now. 

You can screen print, sublimate or DTG print text-based graphics on T-shirts, hoodies and tote bags, just for starters. And yes, the message makes an impact, but so do the colors and fonts that you choose. Black-and-white text graphics are definitely having a moment, especially on the music scene, but full-color graffiti-inspired messages also score a double take.

Tip: Work with your graphic designer to choose a compelling and unique selection of fonts to show your customers. Script and graffiti fonts are in this season. 

Pitch this imprinting technique for:

  • School and team programs
  • Company store offerings
  • Band merch
  • Lifestyle brands
  • Health and fitness brands
  • Retail and streetwear brands

Plays well with these styles from Threadfast Apparel

UNIQUE PLACEMENTS AND MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

One way to instantly stand out from other decorators (even if you don’t change your decoration style)? Be a thought leader in logo and artwork placement. 

First, go beyond the left chest or center jacket back: Can you embroider on a collar? Can you print inside a hood or down a sleeve or pant leg? Can you add a patch on the hem of a short? 

Take a look at the types of garments you sell the most often. Figure out where else you can decorate that will make an impact on each and gain your customers even more impressions, from the front, back and side. 

Then, decorate sample garments to bring these new locations to life. This is your chance to upsell your customers to multiple locations on a hoodie or jacket, adding to the garment’s perceived value. 

Remember, you can use one image, but different techniques like embroidery and screen printing, to decorate multiple garments and locations. For example, Utica, NY-based A&P Master Images uses stitching and printing to turn out shirt and hat sets.

Tip: Offer to personalize garments when it makes sense, such as embroidered name drops. This is another great opportunity to upsell.

GET STARTED TODAY

If you’re ready to rock the rest of 2020 by offering on-trend decorating options to your clients, here are four steps to get started:

  1. Choose one or two new takes on imprinting and go a little wild in your shop. Have fun decorating apparel styles that your customers ask for the most.
  2. Share your new decorated samples on social media in photos and videos to get your customers excited about how they can debut new branded looks.
  3. Schedule virtual sales calls to pump your customers up about your new ideas for transforming their branded apparel program.
  4. Take advantage of dimensional marketing! Send your best clients samples for an amazing unboxing experience. 

SHOP alphabroder BRANDS TO FIND STYLES OF THE MOMENT.

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