What’s trending with the world’s most visible promotional product
Look through anyone’s photo album (or social media profile) and it’s pretty clear that t-shirts are an integral part of peoples’ lives—and have been for many decades. The t-shirts we wear create a visual timeline of our favorite events, schools, sports teams, places, trips and brands.
“A t-shirt often tells a story about who a person is—an experience, an accomplishment, a sentiment,” says John Spivey, marketing manager for Hanes Branded Printwear (UPIC:HBIINC). “As such, it is often a conversation starter and an endless opportunity to promote your business, organization, event or message.”
T-shirts are a low-cost, high-impact way to advertise a business—and the sharing economy is just one recent trend providing ample new opportunities for t-shirt sales. Take grocery delivery service Shipt, for example. It hires people part-time to shop for and deliver groceries that Shipt customers order via a mobile app—and the logoed bright green t-shirt uniform with company information on the back is a key advertising strategy. Potential Shipt customers in line at the grocery store are the prime targets for the information on the Shipt shirt (the logo is a spaceship).
There are many ways to make a t-shirt stand out. Abe Anteby, president of Threadfast Apparel (UPIC: T622344), says, “Fabrics with surface interest are gaining tremendous traction. Slub jersey [a subtly textured fabrication], snowy tri-blends [with specks of white], and all kinds of fleck and confetti are giving customers an opportunity to transform the basic tee into something special.”
Comfort is always important in t-shirt selection, and softness and style will continue to be key trends in 2017, says Spivey. “Blends with ring-spun cotton will provide additional options for premium fabrics. The definition of ‘traditional t-shirts’ will continue to expand as ringer tees and baseball tees are embraced as everyday styles,” he adds.
Spivey adds, “A person wearing a t-shirt is a walking, talking ambassador. So much marketing today revolves around authentic messaging and grass-roots social initiatives. T-shirts are the quintessential thought-starters—billboards but with a story and a passion.”
Shirts To Tell Your Story
The six-ounce, 100-percent cotton Champion short sleeve t-shirt has a tag-free neck label, shoulder-to-shoulder neck taping, double-needle sleeves and a bottom hem. The “C” logo is included on the left sleeve. Choose from sizes S-3X. It’s available in a variety of colors.
Heritage Sportswear UPIC: HERI0002 www.heritagesportswear.com
Bring on the bling with this Ladies Glitter t-shirt, constructed of 3.25-ounce, 95-percent combed cotton, five-percent Lurex jersey fabric. Perfect for spirit wear, cheer, dance, team and casual wear, the shirt has glitter knit and cover-stitched throughout the fabric. This t-shirt also comes in youth, a V-neck version, and a long sleeve. It is available in 12 colors and sizes XS – 3XL.
America (Wholesale Blanks Division) UPIC: Blanks www.jamericablanks.com
The Keepsake is part of Alternative Apparel's first 50/50 collection (50-percent cotton, 50-percent polyester) and has a distinctive vintage inspiration. Soft and breathable, the shirt has a classic fit, low shrink rate, a bound collar and tonal stitching on the inside collar. A tear-away label ensures comfort. Sizes range from XS to 2X, and the Keepsake is available in crew or V-neck as well as in 15 colors.
Alternative Apparel UPIC: ALTE8602 www.alternativeapparel.com
This classic full-color 100-percent cotton Digital T-Shirt is perfect for any event. Made from high-quality, durable Gildan Ultra Cotton, it uses cutting-edge technology to recreate a logo, photo or design in brilliant color. It’s available in sizes small to 5X.
ADG Promotional Products UPIC: ADGPROMO www.adgpromo.com
Not only is the Men’s Heather Performance Tee loaded with performance features including moisture wicking to keep wearers dry and comfortable, and BodyFreshé antimicrobials to fight the growth of odor and stain-causing bacteria, but also it offers fashion-forward styling and a modern fit for maximum comfort. It’s available in sizes S-3XL and in a companion style available for women.
Expert Brand UPIC: Exper698 www.expertbrand.com
This authentic Tri-blend Jersey Unisex Crew Neck Tee is constructed with a blend of 50-percent polyester, 38-percent cotton and 12-percent rayon. It features a regular fit and a snowy texture. Comfortable and durable, this tee is a vintage wardrobe staple. Colors include black, grey, navy, red, royal, green and orange. It comes in sizes XS-3XL.
Threadfast Apparel UPIC: T622344 www.threadfastapparel.com
There are always situations where you want to stand out. With the HV51 Non-ANSI Short Sleeve T-Shirt, available in a bright orange and bright yellow, you will get noticed. Constructed out of 100-percent polyester micro mesh, the lightweight, durable, performance-wicking material will keep the body cool while it’s hard at work. Sizes start at medium and go up to 5X.
Starline USA Inc. UPIC: STAR0009 www.starline.com
For a t-shirt with a retro, athletic flair, try this 5.2-ounce, 100-percent cotton Champion® Ringer t-shirt featuring contrast trim on the neck and sleeves. The styling and easy fit make it a go-to choice for events, clubs, uniforms and spiritwear.
Hanes/Champion UPIC: HBIINC www.hanesbullseye.com
This 100-percent pre-shrunk cotton pro-weight long sleeve t-shirt has a seamless rib knit collar and rib knit cuffs for stretch and recovery. With taped neck and shoulder seams for durability and a tear-away label that is easily customizable, this shirt also has a two-needle hemmed bottom that won’t unravel. It’s available in sizes S-3X and in 26 color choices.
Delta Apparel UPIC: delta03 www.deltaapparel.com
The Ladies Football Tee combines comfort and fashion for all fan apparel needs. Made of supersoft 60/40 combed ringspun cotton/polyester, this tee features a modern semi-fitted fit with a V-neck. It comes in 11 colors in sizes S-2X.
LAT Apparel UPIC: latsport www.latsportswear.com
Part of the Royal Apparel’s eco-friendly collection that includes 50 styles, this scoop neck eco tri-blend is 50-percent RPET, 37-percent organic cotton and 13-percent rayon. It comes in sizes XS-2X.
Royal Apparel UPIC: Royal992 www.royalapparel.net
Six Ways To Shrink Inventory and Shipping Costs
Small businesses have to find ways to be creative and resourceful to keep inventory and shipping costs down and remain competitive in their pricing. Here are a few ideas from Scott Allen of Albuquerque, New Mexico-based InkSoft, a company that makes business software for the printing industry.
- Find a local wholesaler/supplier. You might pay higher prices for the blanks, but when you can pick up orders, you avoid the shipping expense.
- The majority of products sold by successful decorators consist of a limited number of SKUs and colors. Having a narrow selection allows your customer ease of choice and makes a huge inventory unnecessary.
- Make friends with other shops in your area and build a mutually beneficial relationship where you might combine orders to reduce shipping costs and have a local resource when you need shirts in a hurry.
- For larger orders that require bringing in big quantities of shirts, consider contracting with a larger decorator in your area. This allows you to grow your business without needing inventory space.
- Order only as needed. There are suppliers that can have product to you overnight. This helps to reduce the amount of stock you need to keep on hand since you can get it quickly.
- While having inventory can be a drain on limited resources, you need to have enough to cover misprints. Sometimes it’s not even a misprint but a shirt with a hole or stain. You want to have enough backup so you are not short while decorating the order. Reject shirts can be used for test prints and can be a tax write-off at the end of the year.
- Ninety-one percent of Americans claim to own a favorite t-shirt.
- Thirty-four percent say white is their favorite t-shirt color.
- Sixty-two percent claim to own more than 10 t-shirts.
- If all those t-shirts were lined up, they would circle the globe 34 times.
- Two billion t-shirts were sold in 2010 compared to one billion in 2005 and 500 million in 1985.
- One single t-shirt requires six miles of yarn.
Source: New Image Inc.
Three Tips For Great T-Shirt Design
- Be bold – choose contrasting colors for the t-shirt and design elements so your shirt will stand out.
- Less is more – choose a main theme and a few supporting elements to ensure a cohesive design.
- Get creative – when selecting different fonts and images, consider options that will resonate with your group.
Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB.