Developing and producing a preprint line of garments takes time and effort, but as Trimingham explains, a foundation made of solid plans and the right mindset can build up to success.
A final note before going into the specifics is that you may or may not be aware of how dramatically the marketing approach to products is changing. Almost all of the traditional media for marketing and advertising (newspaper, magazine, radio, and TV) have become less effective in the past five years—and many have become nearly obsolete for garment marketing. Successfully marketing any new product requires a careful look at how the produce is effectively advertised and presented in light of the changing ways that people shop and make their buying decisions. Creative use of alternate marketing strategies, such as direct mail, catalogs, and the Internet, seems to be the best path to follow lately.
1. Define your drive.
The ability to push past obstacles is supported by your drive or passion for the subject. Having passion about a business venture will help keep you going when things get rough. Make sure your vision and drive align with the preprint line that you are trying to sell. If you are behind the concept, it will show in your actions, words, and efforts. This is important with decorated garments in particular because they represent such an emotional purchase. Your support will show clearly in the choices surrounding the artwork. If the art is just good enough, then that is how a buyer will feel as well. Even very experienced retailers and buyers still make emotional decisions that are driven in part by the passion and commitment the printed garments reflect.
2. Study the market and the competition.
There is a reason that this item is number two on the list. Careful review of the market and competition at this stage, before any graphics are created, will reveal how much of an effort you’ll have to make to expose your designs and differentiate them from the competition. The specifics that you should look for include the following:
• Market depth—how much demand exists for this type of preprint?
• How many competitors are selling what you want to sell? (If you are in the wild- life market, for example, be prepared for some steep competition.)
• Are there shows or events that feature this market in particular?
• What are your competitors’ experiences and how well are they estab lished in this venue? Do they have most of the market invested in them or is there room for more competitors?
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