Embroiderer Caters To Conferences With Print-On-Demand Transfers
Conferences are a great niche for custom transfers because they allow you to offer a customized shirt without committing inventory. You may be left with some extra designs, but these can be used for follow-up orders after the event or for next year’s gathering.
By visiting a website like http://www.allconferences.com/, almost any decorator can easily identify if there are any worthwhile conferences near them that would make it feasible to pack up a truck or van with shirts, designs, and a heat press and spend a busy weekend selling logoed merchandise.
For Marjorie Corrow, president, Life’s a Stitch Embroidery, LLC, Niskayuna, N.Y., (http://tinyurl.com/6k6tzsw) custom transfers have been a profitable decorating method to use as she travels to conferences held by Christian youth groups and child abuse prevention organizations. Although Corrow is primarily an embroiderer and brings a few pre-embroidered items with her, the majority of her merchandise is printed onsite.
“I invest in a lot of blanks and about $200 in transfers,” she says, “and I use them for a couple of years. For example, I have two logos I use every year for my Christian youth group.”
One secret to success in catering to conferences is knowing what to bring. Corrow selects a nice variety of apparel appropriate to the event, which typically includes T-shirts, sweat shirts, caps, and women’s tops as well as miscellaneous little things.
“I usually have hoodies and T-shirts with the conference logo on the front chest, down the sleeve, or down the leg. I also bring a selection of blank flannel pants. I typically buy a lot of closeouts that I don’t pay a lot on. I have a good relationship with the wholesaler, and it will let me return closeouts,” Corrow says. “Of course, you have to be at a certain sales volume, and you have to return goods within a certain amount of time. But it allows me to send back apparel that isn’t logoed even though I have to pay the shipping.”
“I have a pretty good feel for how much and what sizes,” the decorator notes. “I only bring things I can sell in subsequent years. That is something that you learn over time.”
Corrow has found that even though she’s often bringing back an old design, she can still sell another piece to last year’s customer by changing the garment it’s applied to.
“For a prevent child abuse conference, I have a design that is hands with spread fingers and thumbs entwined in different colors, sizes, and configurations. They form a U-shaped necklace, and I apply it to the neckline of either a scoop-neck ladies’ shirt or a regular T-shirt.
“This conference is mainly women in helping professions, and the hands symbolize helping. They absolutely love it, and every year I put the hand design on a new piece,” she says.