Tag: trends

How Did They Do That? Inspo-Worthy Decorated-Apparel Designs

How did they create that dazzling design? We asked eight decorators to show off some of their most creative embroidered, screen-printed and digitally decorated looks, along with insider tips to creating imprinted artwork that turns heads (and gets lots of brand impressions). Get ready to be inspired!

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Tales From the (Unprecedented) Trenches: These Shops Survived and Thrived

Last spring during the middle of COVID-19, a lightning strike hit Say It In Stitches in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Unfortunately, the bolt from the blue took out the contract embroidery shop’s commercial surge protector and two of its four 15-head machines. “This happened just as our state was opening up and customer demand was firming up,” says Alex Fernandez, president of Say It In Stitches.

The shop’s domestic machine parts supplier sent Fernandez a long list of parts, like circuit boards, encoders, servo motors and more, so they could identify and fix the problems. “It took us two months, along with a team of local and remote technical experts, to isolate the issues on each machine and to source the hard-to-find replacement parts,” Fernandez says. “We even had to go as far as South America to get a needed part from a used machine.”

In the meantime, the Say It In Stitches team didn’t miss a beat. Fernandez’s staff turned out jobs intended for 15-head machines on four-heads and even single-heads. “They worked all kinds of crazy overtime hours and weekends so our clients wouldn’t be affected by this event,” he says. “This is a testimonial to the lengths we’ll go not to let our clients down, especially during a pandemic.”

If the post-pandemic’s here and now has got your head spinning, you’re not alone. That’s why we asked embroidery and print shops that survived and thrived during the past year to share their success stories. 

You’re about to be inspired by their lessons learned around ecommerce, switching niches, online selling print on demand, and more—and how you can use these strategies and tactics to be more successful this year.

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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.”  

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