Can you do shirts for that?
Industry consultant, Screen Printing columnist, and 2 Regular Guys podcaster Terry Combs (www.terrycombs.com) is an “idea-a- minute” guy when it comes to marketing. Well, not exactly: He never quite reaches the promised number of niche market ideas he intends to share with audiences when he speaks on this subject, as he did at last year’s ASI Show Chicago and in a recent SGIA-sponsored webinar. (He’ll be covering the topic again at the Graphics Central Pavilion at ASI Chicago, at 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 17.) But the ones he does cover provide a wealth of ideas for any screen printer on the lookout for new opportunities. We compiled a list of five rules to live by gleaned from this 30-year screen-printing veteran’s stories.
1. Passionate people spend money.
From charter fishers to dance moms to Harley-Davidson owners, Combs advises garment printers to look for niches where passionate parents and hobbyists will jump at the chance to capture the moment with a personalized T-shirt. In one example, two brave entrepreneurs set up mobile screen-printing shops in their trailers and set off around the country in search of forest fires. Volunteers lined up for simple shirts to commemorate their battle against nature; the printers made a quick buck. Perhaps you don’t need to stand quite so close to the heat of the action, but the moral of the story is that putting yourself in the middle of things nearly always pays off.
2. Always think: “I should do shirts.”
A Nova Scotian ice-cream parlor owner watched guest after guest sit in his shop and whale-watch as they enjoyed their sundaes. Rather than let them get away with priceless photos languishing on their phones and laptops, the owner bought a DTG printer and started printing keepsake T-shirts featuring images the visitors had captured moments before. If the ice-cream man is thinking it, then you as a screen printer better be thinking it, too. Imagine that your local high school is about to win a football state championship. What’s your first thought? Now, let’s say your daily commute is interrupted by the annual horror film convention. What’s your first thought? (Hint: It shouldn’t be about the traffic.)
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