Build Your Business

Retail at High Tide

October 5, 2017 |

At first glance, Virginia Beach,Virginia-based Surf and Adventure Co.’s past appears rather complicated. But based on the retail shop’s current status, it seems that its history has positioned the printing business for a solid future.

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Cut from the Same Cloth

September 5, 2017 |

Technology, e-commerce, fast delivery and customer engagement currently are hot retail topics, but these trends go beyond the business-to-consumer world.

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Childrenswear Makes Magic

August 21, 2017 |

It can be argued that trends don’t bob and weave in any other industry segments as frequently as in the childrenswear and teens/tweens apparel categories.

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The Web Store Playbook

August 21, 2017 |

In economics, there’s a theory called “opportunity cost,” defined as the potential benefits you miss out on when you choose one option over another.

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Life’s Calling

February 21, 2017 |

She smokes cigars and drives fast cars. But looking past the wafting smoke clouds and revving engines reveals a different side of Suzanne Whatley, owner of Branding Matters! LLC.

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Still Running Strong

October 12, 2016 |

Since its industry debut as tight-fitting, moisture-wicking,
support-enhancing apparel, performancewear has continued to be a staple
of gyms, greenways and yoga studios.

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On Top for 2017

October 12, 2016 |

With the year’s end just around the corner, it’s time to get ahead and
prepare to kick off 2017 with new products that will meet customers’
demands.

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An Inside Look at Outerwear

September 7, 2016 |

Whether it’s protection from the elements or statements of style to accompany a favorite outfit, jackets — and the entire outerwear category at large — have undergone a transformation.

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Innovation in the Trenches

May 17, 2016 |

Upon hearing the term “innovation,” it’s natural to think about technology as it applies to products. But what about other aspects of apparel decorating, such as techniques, design, business practices and marketing? 

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A Different Decorator

May 3, 2016 |

Stephen Terrell wanted to prove the naysayers wrong when they said his way of doing business wouldn’t work. That desire ultimately catapulted his company, Print Works, to notable success in a relatively short time period.

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Blurring the Lines

April 20, 2016 |

When it comes to apparel, consumers have long been experimenting with
what they wear in their free time, in the office and for exercise. And
thanks to fabric technology and some of the performance properties
introduced in wearables, multiple clothing styles have become acceptable
in different environments.

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Trends Up Top

April 20, 2016 |

Headwear has seen a surge in action during the last two years, from an
emphasis on form and fit to style and color. In keeping with apparel,
headwear is incorporating all of the latest technical benefits to keep
wearers satisfied and comfortable.

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One-Click Colorization

April 18, 2016 |

Color editing and stylizing can be a bear of a chore to handle,
consuming lots of time to achieve a customer’s desired look on a
sublimation-friendly product.

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The Art of Email Appeal

April 18, 2016 |

I recently led a seminar in which I asked the audience a couple of
questions about spam email. In the interest of full disclosure, I
already knew the answers, but my motivation was to get attendees to
think.

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Keeping It Local

April 4, 2016 |

In 2005, Tom Rauen was working as a bartender in the small college town of Dubuque, Iowa, and — like most new college grads — wondering where life might take him next.

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Pretty Meets Practical

March 15, 2016 |

It’s all about lifestyle when it comes to womenswear this year, with suppliers offering up-to-date, tailored-to-her looks fit for the gym, office and everywhere in between. 

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Are Custom Orders Costing You?

March 15, 2016 |

Custom work comprises the very thread of the decoration industry. It carries a high perceived value, which means you typically can charge a premium. The availability of new printing and embroidery technology now makes custom work not only feasible, but also profitable.

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Easy Does It

March 15, 2016 |

In today’s marketplace, being a consumer is easier than ever. Online marketing and technology have revolutionized the way business is conducted and customer expectations. Understanding the new paradigm and incorporating it into your sales model is critical for success. 

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Shop of All Trades

March 7, 2016 |

Large, high-volume printing shops don’t just appear. It takes years of
hard work to grow into a successful apparel-decorating business.

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Creating Your Dream Team, Part 2

March 7, 2016 |

Owning a business is hard work, so making sure you have the best employees is important. You need to have reliable, trustworthy people that want your business to succeed as much as you do. 

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IP Law: A Primer

March 7, 2016 |

Designer Wolfgang Joop once said, “Fashion is about suspense, surprise and fantasy. It’s not about rules.” With all due respect to Mr. Joop, most lawyers would disagree…

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Inside the Embroidery Evolution

February 11, 2016 |

Today, embroidery machines are the most technologically advanced they’ve ever been. Machines typically achieve more than 1,000 stitches per minute, and designs are loaded quickly and easily.

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Market Watch: B2C vs B2B

February 11, 2016 |

What a great time to be in the decorated industry. Consumer confidence is up, print and embroidery technology has made more custom “one-offs” possible and new website technology is readily available to the masses, regardless of budget.

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Process Engineering

February 8, 2016 |

When Michael Rothermund got laid off from his fourth job in the engineering industry, he knew it was time for a change — and all signs pointed to the T-shirt business. 

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What Apparel Decorators See When They Go to a Mall

February 8, 2016 |

I’ve done it. You’ve done it too. You are sitting there waiting for your spouse, mind wandering and bored, when someone walks by wearing a T-shirt. Your first thought to yourself is “Geez, who printed that? Look how off-center it is!” Once you start, you just can’t stop.  

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Tees Still Trending

January 15, 2016 |

The T-shirt is a fashion staple in virtually all closets across the country. The horizon looks strong and promising for this wardrobe basic, and colors and styles continue to evolve.

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Sworn to Perform

January 15, 2016 |

Whether for sports, activewear or corporate apparel, performancewear represents tremendous profitability in a less-contested market space.

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Use Tech to Build Trust

January 15, 2016 |

Too often, technology and people skills seem like they work against each other in a business environment. They actually should reinforce each other and help optimize customer service.

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The Framework of a Champion

January 14, 2016 |

Each year, Impressions invites apparel decorators of all experience levels from shops of all sizes to enter the annual Impressions Awards competition.

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A Much-Needed Jolt

January 11, 2016 |

It started in his high school graphic-arts class in the 1990s. That is where Jason Lansdell, owner of Rome, Ga.-based High Voltage Prints, learned about the printing industry…

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Performance Perfection

October 26, 2015 |

Whether your customers are hitting the gym, participating in outdoor activities or even performing strenuous tasks, the breathability, comfort and performance properties of their apparel can be the difference.

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The Digital Directive

October 26, 2015 |

In an industry where speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness are paramount, it is critical to arm your shop with the latest digital decorating machines
and supplies.

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The Online Fast Lane

September 11, 2015 |

Speed is a key factor in online sales success. The longer it takes to respond to a customer’s request or needs, the more likely he is to look elsewhere.

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Wearable (Bankable) Art

September 11, 2015 |

Regardless of whether a T-shirt is destined for a retail rack or created for a one-time event, the quality of the garment’s design can impact sales.

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Protect Your Rep

September 11, 2015 |

We live in a digital world, daily interacting both personally and professionally. Sooner or later, someone will say something about you or your business that isn’t flattering.

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Subbing It Out

September 10, 2015 |

One of the good “problems” associated with a screen-printing shop’s growth is reaching the point where it can no longer handle the current production load.

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Powered-Up Printing

September 8, 2015 |

It seems fitting that Hi Voltage Productions, Mike Ritchey’s aptly named apparel-decorating business, occupies a former 5,000-square-foot electric power station.

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Getting to Know HCS 2012

September 8, 2015 |

If you haven’t heard of the 2012 Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), it’s important that you take the time to familiarize yourself with it as soon as possible. 

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Niching Down

August 7, 2015 |

A high percentage of all small businesses make a big marketing mistake. I don’t want to call it a fatal flaw, but it’s responsible for slowing growth, decreasing profits…

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Rapid Rise

August 7, 2015 |

It took Andrew Blood six years to regain his independence after an accident, and he’s been working almost non-stop since to make up for lost time…

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Classy Comfort

July 31, 2015 |

With the fall and winter months right around the corner, consumers will be looking for garments to keep them warm and stylish. Soft, light fleece-wear always is a solid option…

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Quality Control

July 31, 2015 |

Quality should be a lynchpin of any business. For my shop, it’s something that customers have come to expect and it has been a key factor in our success.

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Inside The Funky Fairy

July 2, 2015 |

As an embroidery instructor and consultant, I speak with many embroiderers who would like to start a business, as well as current business owners. Sometimes a business can sprout from the tiniest seed…

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Trendy Tots

June 30, 2015 |

Childrenswear comes in all different shapes and sizes, with outfits designed for rapidly growing newborns, toddlers or youth.

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Planning an Engagement

June 30, 2015 |

When it comes to email, I’m a bit of a fanatic. I’m fascinated by what works and what doesn’t. Sadly, most of what clogs our inboxes is junk that’s only worthy of deleting.

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Factors Driving Fashion

June 29, 2015 |

Welcome to the mid-decade of promotional wearables. According to industry pros, it’s a season of transition, transformation and tradition…

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Technology Meets Fashion

June 29, 2015 |

It’s amazing how far-reaching apparel decoration can be, not only for the wholesale market with which we’re all familiar, but high fashion as well.

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Lucrative Lids

April 14, 2015 |

Headwear can make the perfect add-on — especially for athletic and promotional orders — while also satisfying customers and giving profit margins a boost. 

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Rush Hour

April 7, 2015 |

Just like their brick-and-mortar counterparts, online businesses need traffic. After which, this traffic needs to be converted to either capture a potential customer’s email address or place an order.

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True to its Roots

April 6, 2015 |

Yellowknife, Northwest Territorries is home to more than picturesque views and the Northern Lights. Sarah Erasmus, co-founder of Erasmus Apparel (EA), has made her dreams come true there, creating apparel for residents and visitors alike. 

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A Business Software Roundtable — Part 2

April 6, 2015 |

In Part 1 of our three-part series, Impressions spoke with four companies about the general direction they feel shop operating system technology is going. Here in Part 2, we continue our discussion, and focus in on specific products being offered, and what special features they have.
 

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What Women Wear

March 19, 2015 |

Promotional fashion style leaders are keenly aware of several trends dominating new product development, particularly for women.  

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Adding the ‘Wow’ to Womenswear

March 19, 2015 |

There’s an interesting push in special-effects printing for ladies’ and juniors’ apparel that is more subtle. It even starts to push the boundaries of what is commonly considered special effects.  
 

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Pushing Boundaries

March 19, 2015 |

The secret is simple, really, according to Rich Santo. Success not only comes when you can creatively and efficiently deliver on promises to your customers, but also when can push the limits.
 

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Ladies First

March 18, 2015 |

It’s all in the details when it comes to womenswear. Suppliers know a just-right hem, drape or seam can make all the difference.

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Specialized Stitching

March 16, 2015 |

They’re lighter, faster, more efficient and more technologically advanced. Clearly, the evolution of embroidery machines continues.

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Online Search: An Update

March 16, 2015 |

Gone are the days of Internet keyword-driven search. It was sweet while it lasted, but during the past two or three years, a big shift in Internet-driven searching has taken place.

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Rolling the Dice

March 13, 2015 |

Sometimes, an opportunity comes along and you just have to take it. Whether it’s a sure bet or a leap of faith, a new and different path can pay off handsomely.

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Apparel Decorators: The Holy Grail for PPDs

March 12, 2015 |

So, just what are promotional products distributors (PPDs) searching for in the quest for decoration excellence? We asked dozens of these busy promotional apparel counselors what they seek or currently have in a superb contract decorator.

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Target Acquired

March 12, 2015 |

About two years ago, I was browsing Facebook and looking at entertainer fan pages, which included musical groups, singers, songwriters, etc. I was stunned by how many fans some of these pages had. 

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On The Move

March 9, 2015 |

In the fast-paced performancewear market, consumers’ purchasing decisions are driven by comfort and high-tech details.

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The Heat Is On

March 9, 2015 |

In the world of apparel decorating, there is nothing more popular or challenging than embellishing on performancewear. The question really isn’t whether you will decorate performancewear; rather, it’s when and how will you do it?

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Hitting the Right Target

March 9, 2015 |

Your business’ success depends on getting its message in front of a qualified audience of potential buyers (emphasis on “qualified audience”). This is where precise targeting comes in.

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Pushing Boundaries

March 9, 2015 |

Success not only comes when you can creatively and efficiently deliver on promises to your customers, but also when can push the limits. 

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Let’s Get Digital

March 6, 2015 |

Speed and efficiency are the names of the digital game. Every year, this market segment offers exciting new state-of-the-art products.

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Trending: All Over Printing

March 5, 2015 |

When it comes to allover printing on garments, dye sublimation has been a growing trend. Whether you’re at the grocery store, mall, post office or your favorite deli, you’re bound to see shirts covered entirely with oversized images, or in unusual placements.

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How Green is Your Green?

March 3, 2015 |

Though some greenwashing is done with the intent to deceive, in many cases there’s just a difference of opinion as to what qualifies as natural, green, eco-friendly, environmentally safe, etc.  

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Social Work

March 3, 2015 |

Social media is about reaching out to your prospects and customers, and connecting with them in a meaningful way.

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Keywords Can Add Value to Your Products

January 12, 2015 |

Today, there are a ton of keywords that you can add to your product offering. It is not hard to find these keywords; just look around where you shop. From the grocery store to street vendors, trending keywords are everywhere. 

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Rolling the Dice

January 12, 2015 |

Sometimes, an opportunity comes along and you just have to take it. Whether it’s a sure bet or a leap of faith, a new and different path can pay off handsomely. Such was the case for Scott Dortch, president of Royal Pacific of Las Vegas (RPLV). 

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Ready to Start an Apparel Line?

January 12, 2015 |

If there is one notion you want to understand completely before you leap off the high diving board, it’s how big and deep the pool below will be. Don’t just launch yourself and hope you’ll make it.
 

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Are You Guilty of Greenwashing?

December 22, 2014 |

Have you heard the term “greenwashing” before? While “whitewashing” is defined as a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, greenwashing has been coined to describe the effort a company may make to appear to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, but, in fact, their efforts don’t really add up to any substance.  

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What’s Your Customer Worth?

December 22, 2014 |

It seems some decorators have a love-hate relationship with their customers. They love getting the orders and collecting the checks, but they hate the process of finding customers, qualifying them and working through the order process.  

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Home Work

December 22, 2014 |

What Paul Costanzo did with his home’s 1,500-square-foot walk-out basement is the kind of project people dream about on all those home-improvement shows.

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How to Maximize Your Screen Printing Profits

November 25, 2014 |

Before you can reap more profits from increasing your business, it is important to review your current system so that you can take advantage of more volume in the future. It is better to refine your process prior to adding more business because an increase in volume doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in profit.

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Back to School

November 24, 2014 |

Whether your local school already has a school store with an apparel shop or is new to the school spiritwear industry, custom screen printed and digital transfers can help those businesses grow. 

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Story Telling

November 24, 2014 |

As decorators, we’re faced with the challenge of letting prospective and actual customers know why we’re the most trusted and valuable choice to create their garment graphics. This is no small task.  

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The Complex Organic Cotton Issue

October 7, 2014 |

The following is a letter from Garry Bell of Gildan Activewear that was submitted in response to Jimmy Lamb’s article, “How Green is Your Green?” which appeared in the September 2014 issue of Impressions

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More Than Luck

October 6, 2014 |

When Elaine Hayward came up with the concept for her decorated apparel business, Absolutely Specialties Inc., she was looking for a way to balance her roles as a stay-at-home mom and (at least) part-time worker.  

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Cool Kids

October 2, 2014 |

The kidswear market spans small tykes, active youth and trend-seeking teens, making it one of the largest, most demanding — and most lucrative — niches.  

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Printing Profits

October 2, 2014 |

As with any type of screen printing, there are pros and cons to contract work. The key to making it pay is being aware of what they are and gearing your operation to meet the challenges. 

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How Green is Your Green?

September 8, 2014 |

With consumer spending on the decline, many companies are desperate to boost sales and see jumping on the “green” bandwagon as the perfect solution. 

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The Music Man

September 8, 2014 |

It all started with some T-shirts – or the lack thereof. Ask Greg Szechenyi how he got started in the decorated apparel business, and the diehard musician will tell you he just needed some shirts to promote his band. 

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Gametime Garb

September 3, 2014 |

The team sports arena remains one of the most profitable niches for apparel decorators. But the competition is fierce in this hot market, and customers are looking for the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. 

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Top it Off

September 3, 2014 |

Adding headwear offerings can bring good margins, as they make great add-ons for other orders. The varying price points for caps means there are styles designed for every client’s needs, from youth athletics, to corporate and fund-raising events. 
 

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Creating a Sales Funnel

September 3, 2014 |

Large quantities of people will come to your website, but only a few will leave as new customers. Your job is to design a funnel process that delivers a steady stream of profitable customers for the business. 

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Home Work

August 11, 2014 |

What Paul Costanzo did with his home’s 1,500-square-foot walk-out basement is the kind of project people dream about on all those home-improvement shows.
 

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The Importance of Your Supply Chain

June 2, 2014 |

There is one thing in common that all shops in this industry share, and it is the reliance on our supply chain. We all need ink, screens, emulsion, shirts and a multitude of other products to keep our shops going.
 

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Fighters and Survivors

May 5, 2014 |

While Tees By Tazz continues to carve a solid niche for itself in the decorated apparel world, the story of how the Loveland, Ohio-based shop came to be is defined by owner Tazz Ringel’s relentless will and determination. 

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Race to the Bottom: Pricing Wars

May 5, 2014 |

Having your customer base suddenly dry up because another company is slashing its rates seems shockingly unfair and can quickly get anyone’s blood boiling. So what’s going on here and what can you do about it? 

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The Great Inventory Debate

April 7, 2014 |

I recently was challenged via Twitter by Patti Keegan of Keegan Tees, located in the awesomely named city of Effort, Pa., to discuss the pros and cons of using purchased goods versus customer-supplied goods.
 

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How to Increase Efficiency and Maximize Workflow

March 10, 2014 |

Regardless of your shop’s size, equipment or the number of employees, the primary daily goal is getting more orders produced, shipped and out the door. Sometimes in the quest to just handle those challenges, getting down to examining how you can increase your throughput doesn’t quite make it to the light of day. 

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Added Versatility

March 3, 2014 |

A
small Michigan offset printing business expands with screen printing
services — adding a revenue stream and improving operations in the
process. – See more at:
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A small Michigan offset printing business expands with screen printing services — adding a revenue stream and improving operations in the process.

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Professional Picks

February 27, 2014 |

Woven shirts dominate the corporate market and have for decades. Beyond a wide variety of basic options, suppliers introduce new styles every year with fashion details, expanded color options and performance technologies.
 

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The Great Payoff

November 20, 2013 |

Jeremy Capron has heard it before. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. As it turns out, not only did he prove that adage to be true, but he also found a way to make money while abiding by it. 

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Peak Performance

November 19, 2013 |

In the cutting-edge performancewear market, comfort, movement and technology are paramount. This year’s offering doesn’t disappoint. 

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Outdoor Outfitting

October 7, 2013 |

With cooler weather fast approaching, outerwear suppliers offer a variety of options for your fall and winter orders. 

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Building a Reputation

October 3, 2013 |

ThreeSixty Graphix hopes to achieve long-term success by keeping quality, service and a commitment to getting the job done as top priorities. 

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Beat the Heat

October 1, 2013 |

For the uninitiated, hot-market printing is the term used in the decorated apparel industry for contract printers who take on the stressful, and often large, T-shirt printing duties after a sports team wins a championship.
 

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Feel-Good Fleece

August 2, 2013 |

With stylish options, fleecewear also maintains its status as a fashion staple. This year’s selection includes everything from contrast detailing to neon colors and heather looks. 

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10 Reasons Start-Up Decorators FAIL

August 1, 2013 |

This year’s crop of start-up decorated apparel companies arrives as its predecessors did: with elevated levels of excitement and optimism, varying degrees of well-warranted apprehensions and trepidations, and a 50% chance of making the cut. 
 

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Small Shop, Big Bark

August 1, 2013 |

When Mili Mulic and Brad VanSteenvoort decided to start a screen printing business together, their combined capital came to a whopping $350.
 

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Risk and Reward

August 1, 2013 |

As the T-shirt turns 100 this year, we are reminded that this versatile medium isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And that’s good news for Susan Becker, owner of Reading, Pa.-based Jersey Ink Custom Apparel.

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Outfitting Tots & Teens

June 24, 2013 |

From tiny tykes to towering teenagers, youth customers make up one of the most influential demographics in the decorated apparel industry.
 

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AOP the ITA Way

June 7, 2013 |

If you’re looking for a screen printing business that can successfully play with the big boys, it’s safe to say ITA Printing is it.
 

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16 Tips for Becoming a Better Networker

May 13, 2013 |

Six degrees of separation are allegedly all that stand between you and anyone on the planet. According to my father, “There are not six degrees of separation, there are two; you just have to think hard enough.” 

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There’s a Cap For That

April 11, 2013 |

Today’s headwear market has wide-ranging appeal, providing everything from practicality to fashion-forward looks, performance-quality fabrics, sustainability and unexpected details. 

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