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10 Tips for Launching a Preprint Garment Line

(May 2009) posted on Wed May 20, 2009

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.

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By Thomas Trimingham

One preprint line I’m aware of was developed through extensive polling of potential garment shoppers. Individuals were asked to rate more than 400 slogans and an equal number of simple graphics, then the marketing group conducting the poll identified the saying and graphic that continually rated the most popular. Next the phrase and image were combined in a limited print run and field tested through sidewalk sales. In a sense, you could think of this as the American Idol method of choosing the final designs that can make it into a preprint line.

The important elements of this style of marketing and development are patience and persistence. Adding the final step of testing is equally as important because customers make many inconsistent statements regarding their true buying habits when surveyed. It’s easy enough to experience this: Next time you have a set of graphics on paper, stop a few individuals and ask them what their favorites are off of the paper examples. Present them with a real sample for sale immediately after they make their decision and see what happens.


5. Pool, organize, and tabulate all information about the market.

Information achieves its real strength when it’s organized and then structured to demonstrate priorities and trends. Take your market research and real buying-trend results and put them in a spreadsheet or table. The patterns you’ll notice after organizing your research results are often very surprising. Lots of emotion and reactionary behavior may be represented by the purchasing patterns you uncover and may make it difficult for you to choose a clear direction for your preprint line. However, if you conduct your market research thoroughly and record every detail carefully, the data will point toward the ideas with most potential for success.

One client that I know of used the popular auction site eBay and placed all of the shirts from his proposed line in online auctions for two weeks. Afterwards, he organized and tabulated the results. Not only did he have a clear way to gauge the popularity of various preprint ideas, but he also gained additional useful data in the form of consumer questions about his products and some after-the-sale feedback options, such as the ability to survey the winning bidders about why they selected a particular product.


6. Make final decisions about design styles.


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