Several options are available to help you master the lucrative team-apparel market.
By Cara Cherry
When it comes to apparel decorating, there are a lot of opportunities available and many markets to consider. Some of the biggest areas to concentrate on include healthcare organizations, service industries, schools, and government agencies. Each segment offers tons of opportunities for personalizing and decorating garments. No matter which market segment you choose to focus on, there is one market that you really should not ignore: the team market.
It doesn’t matter what season it is or what month the calendar displays, many sports are now played year round. Year-round play means year-round demand. Whether you’re talking baseball, softball, hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, cheer, or volleyball; when teams are playing, then they need uniforms. It also means more spirit wear and more fan wear.
Techniques and solutions
If you’re currently only focusing on one technique, then get ready because there is a whole lineup of decorating possibilities available. Adding in new techniques is a great way to build up your offering and add to your bottom line.
Screen printing is one of the most popular options when it comes to embellishing and decorating uniforms. First, it’s extremely economical. Higher quantities equal higher profits. Screen printing is also less time consuming and quicker than many other processes. You can also apply it to different fabrics and textiles, from T-shirts to signs to promotional products. However, decorators may find themselves faced with a few issues when it comes to working with some of today’s high-tech fabrics (Figure 1).
Newer high-performance fabrics are extremely popular, but because they can be challenging to decorate, suppliers have begun to develop new techniques and new solutions that will work on a variety of fabric types. Many of the uniforms that you see feature polyester and nylon blends and weaves. Moisture-wicking fabrics and polyester garments are especially sensitive to high temperatures experienced during the drying process and can also have ink-migration problems. Fortunately, a number of different manufacturers have developed low-cure and low-bleed inks. Another option is to use an underbase to block the migration.
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