Top Five Decorated Apparel Money-Making Niches

Top Five Decorated Apparel Money-Making Niches

Top Five Decorated

Apparel Money-Making


Sponsored By:

Webcast Moderator

Nicole Rollender

• Editor, Stitches magazine, and

Embroidery Business Insights and

Stitches Small Business newsletters

• Director of Education for ASI

• E-mail:

Agenda for today’s session:







Offer strategies to help sell decorated apparel and other


Top decorating techniques being requested

Five hot (and some unique) markets

Tips for partnering with your digitizer, other decorators

and apparel suppliers

Audience Q&A

Webcast Panelist

Jane Yoder

• Owner of Picture It Inc. DBA Wear

Haus Design; a Woman Minority

Owned Business since 2006, Wear

Haus has been in business since 1992

• Won "Best of Show" in Chicago, three

of four shows for her embroidery work

• Offers laser textile, embroidery,

screen printing, logoed apparel and

promotional products

Webcast Panelist

Michael Savoia

• Owner of Villa Savoia Inc., a textile

embroidery and embellishing company

that serves the national interior design


• Started his own company in 1992

• Worked in the interior design industry

in showroom sales and as an interior

designer for many years

Webcast Panelist



• Owner of three companies – Black

Eagle Designs, Busy Head Creations

and Hook Wash

• Vegan embroiderer (thread and

products) for the last two years (in

embroidery for 13)

• Stresses thinking outside the box at

every opportunity – advocates never

being hemmed in by conventional

ideals in the embroidery world

Webcast Panelist

David Bebon

• President of JWEB Corporate

Apparel, a division of JWE Designs Inc.

• 28 years of experience in the textile

and garment industries

• Member of Wearables’

advisory board


• Contributing writer to various trade

publications and a seminar presenter

The State of the Decorated Apparel


50% of decorators rate the health of the decorated

apparel industry in 2008 as “fair”; 33% say it’s “robust”

43% of decorators reported increases in decorated

apparel sales in 2008

42% of decorators invested in new decorating equipment

in 2008

Decorators say their top three sources of competition

are: other local decorators; large decorators selling in

their territory; and Web sites offering decorating services

* Results from soon-to-be-released Stitches State of the Industry Report

Panelist Question: Let’s Talk Trends

What are some apparel and other

embellishable items trends for 2009 that

decorators should be pitching to clients?

Hot Apparel Trends in 2009

Value-priced apparel, without sacrificing quality, is

generating interest ($10 and under price point)

Brands are still hot; new additions to wearables

marketplace, such as Adidas

All types of performance wear (marry function and form)

Sustainable apparel and eco-decoration methods

Hot Apparel Trends in 2009

Bright colors in T-shirts and polos, such as yellows,

oranges and greens (reflect reaction to current economic

climate, as after Sept. 11, 2001)

Decorators are going regional: for example, Portland,

OR. Think snowboarders, bicyclers, hikers, vegans and

yuppies. To serve this health-conscious, activist

demographic, decorators offer hoodies, fleece-lined

nylon shell jackets, fleece made of soda bottles and

newsboy caps.

Hot Home Décor Design Trends

Interior designers require rich detail as a sales

tool; for example, appliqué and interpretations

of ethnic patterns.

Hot Home Décor Design Trends

Turkish and Uzbekistani art are very desirable;

Michael Savoia reuses antique fabrics to

embellish new items. He pulled these images

from a tattered panel and created a headboard

panel and a bed skirt.

Hot Home Décor Design Trends

Chair and sofa skirts;

leading edges of

curtains embellished

with beautiful designs

Trend toward modern

images; designers

are attracted to

clean, geometric lines

in larger urban areas

Panelist Question: Decorating Techniques

What are some of the hottest new decorating

techniques available for promotional

apparel and other blank items right now?

Laser etching

Decorating Techniques

Embroidery (look to specialty work)


Screen printing/ digital printing


More tonal, color-on-color embroidery;

embroidery placement still predominately on the

left chest and on the right sleeve cuff

Laser Etching on a T-shirt

Laser Etching With Applique

Specialty Embroidery

Screen Printing: Discharge

Panelist Question: Hot Markets

What are some hot (and unique) markets

that decorators should target to sell

decorated apparel and other items to?

Hot Markets

Education/schools (athletic teams, bands, etc.)

Government agencies/ alternative energy-related


Uniforms (promotional apparel may be suffering in this

economic climate; so, focus on businesses that require

employees to wear uniforms, such as service industries,

hospitality, local YMCAs, etc.)

Health care (health-care staff will buy uniforms, lab

coats, scrubs, etc. This includes the standard

fare: dentists, chiropractors, doctors, hospitals, labs,

walk-in clinics and pharmaceutical companies.)

Hot Markets

Interior design firms/ home décor market

Alternative medicine/ways of healing (massage,

Reiki, acupuncture and acupressure, and yoga).

Greater acceptance of alternative healing

solutions, so embellishments that identify these

healing modalities are an up-and-coming market.

Home Décor Market: Monogram

This is a monogram

based on a historic

document that



digitized for Michael

Savoia. He used

cotton thread to give

it a more matte

appearance and

used a distressed

cotton velvet to

enhance that effect.

Home Décor Market

Display bold monogrammed pillows in your shop.

Tip: When monogramming, fill your border sash

frame; for example use 12-inch high and wide

monograms on 20-inch square pillows.

Tip: Work with your fonts. Change them to artwork

and create grounds and outlines.

Tip: Try a complex fill pattern over a velvet appliqué

that is surrounded by rich satin stitches.

Alternative Healing Market Designs

Panelist Question: Go Green

Do you see eco-friendly material or

decorating options rising this year?

What are some techniques decorators can

use to capitalize on this trend?

Sell Green

Understand the eco-apparel life cycle (for example:

Where is the organic cotton grown? Is it certified? Is the

fabric processed in an eco-friendly way? How about the

garment dyeing and finishing? How about how it’s

shipped?). Clients will want to know that you know these


Understand eco-friendly/natural fabrics: for example,

organic cotton, bamboo, Tencel, Cocona, recycled

polyester, etc.; an important part of the story is many

sustainable apparel products and fibers are performance

enhanced (moisture wicking and antimicrobial).

Sell Green

Look to decorate in eco-friendly ways. Some

trends: organic cotton thread; more water-based

screen-printing and digital-printing dyes. Know how

natural fabrics react to different embellishment


Who’s buying? Gyms and spas, health care,

hotels and resort, health-food stores, corporations,


Green Trends: Example

Hemp and other

natural fabrics

(especially in home

décor market: cotton

thread, and natural

materials; cotton,

wool, silk, cashmere,

mohair, linen fabrics

and blends)

Panelist Question: Prospecting Techniques

What are some techniques decorators can

use to prospect locally or regionally?

Prospecting Techniques


Examine and pitch to the local businesses in your home

town and the places where you shop and dine – think


Purchase sample garments and decorate them with your

prospect’s logo. Present the apparel on a hanger rather

than as a folded garment. Let the prospect experience

the garment.

Panelist Question: Selling Strategies

What are the best ways for a decorator to

sell more unique or more expensive

decorated work to clients?

Selling Strategies

Partner with your digitizer to offer unique design

twists (add a design element to a logo) to your


Partner with your apparel supplier to create custom

looks – really use your supplier’s resources.

Partner with other decorators to offer embellishment

techniques you don’t offer, or upscale multimedia


Selling Strategies

Find a niche: for example, pet items (think

bandannas, collars, leashes, coats, apparel, etc.) If

you succeed with a golf course, for example, go to

other golf courses in the area and share your

success story.

Keep good-better-best samples in your shop to sell

the better-quality item – let your clients experience

the garments’ differences.

Go regional (again): for example, Portland, OR,

where bicyclists need waterproof messenger bags

that can be over the shoulder but rest on the back or

opposite hip.

Panelist Question: Final Advice

How can decorators educate

themselves further on the hottest

new decorated apparel and other

embellishable items trends?

Decorators should:

Final Advice

be familiar with top supplier catalogs

offer clients samples

bring clients new product ideas that

differentiate you from your competition

shop the market – attend trade shows, open

houses and regional table-top shows

Audience: Q & A Session

Contact Information

Jerilee Auclair,

David Bebon,

Michael Savoia,

Jane Yoder,

Nicole Rollender,

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