Content Is King

When it comes to marketing, it’s not uncommon that little things can have a huge impact. It’s not uncommon that there can be a very fine line between mediocrity and overwhelming success and it’s often in the small details that people tend to overlook. Let’s talk about your website. I have seen people spend over $1,000,000 on development and trying to build a site that has all these fancy bells and whistles. However, the most important part of the equation are not the bells and whistles. It’s the ability for people to easily find your company when they’re in the market for obtaining whatever it is you sell. More than not, people have very little patience and they’re looking for instant gratification when doing a search. If you’re not located on the very first landing page then they’re going to call somebody who is. Let’s put it this way. Why would you build a major Shopping Center in the middle of the Mojave Desert where nobody drives by? That would be a really bad idea. Let’s say you’re trying to market a St. Louis t-shirt printing company who offers custom screen-printing & embroidery. I would start out by asking myself, what search term is going to be relevant.

There’s an old saying when it comes to building a site that is easily found – CONTENT IS KING. For example, I would load it full of keywords that I considered to be commonly used by potential customers such as St Louis digital t-shirt printing or St Louis screen printing. When your site is full of this particular content it’s going to have a better shot at showing up when one searches the internet. Another recommendation that I would strongly encourage is to hire and experienced designer who has experience in web optimization. There’s a time to recognize your limitations and not try to do everything yourself. In an attempt to try and save a few dollars it could also cost you a whole lot of business. I’m not saying that you should take this approach with all your marketing needs but this particular requirement should be left up to the professionals who do it everyday.

Understand that you are not a one-man band. There is great power in networking and if you’re doing it with the right personnel, there’s no limit how far they can take you. Also, understand that there’s only so many working hours in a day so you are running your business and the business is not running you.

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Technology advances over the years

Let’s talk about digital t-shirt printing. We live in a world where information as well as money can travel across the globe in a matter of mere seconds. Technology has had a tremendous impact in changing almost every aspect of our lives. It’s not uncommon that what we used to view as impossible 20 years ago is now commonplace. Like anything else though, technology is a two-edged sword that can be used for making our lives a whole lot easier and allow for instant gratification, but it also can offer a vehicle for the bad guys when it comes to defrauding and theft.

When it comes to the St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery industry, it has really opened up tremendous opportunities. Here are a couple examples. The very first thing that has to happen when a customer requests an order for custom embroidery is there needs to be a piece of software written that will tell the computer how to embroider that logo. After that software has been established, it can be reused over and over again as long as it doesn’t change in any way shape or size. My digitizer used to be located in St Louis, but now the company we use for that when outsourcing this need is actually located in Thailand. I find that amazing that I can send an email to somebody on the other side of the world and typically within that same day, we receive the software. Time and distance seems to be irrelevant regardless of how far away someone is.

When it comes to t-shirt printing, the very most important factor in starting a job is good clean artwork. Typically vector art is created in Illustrator or Photoshop and is considered to be the industry standard. Once this is established, it allows us to increase the size of an image without it breaking up or distorting. It also allows for us to easily color separate the image when dealing with a multi-color design. Most of our customers don’t have that already established so again, we send it off to that same company in Thailand to do all of our vectorizing and normally receive it back within a 24 hour turnaround time. I find that very impressive and it also comes in very handy when dealing with orders that are extremely time sensitive and we’re not given a lot of lead time.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when our sphere of influence was strictly St Louis shirt printing market share. Now we are literally shipping shirts all over the country. This was all made possible by the impacting differences of technology.

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Summer Is A Busy Time

We happen to do a lot of t-shirt printing for folks who work outside for a living, such as landscapers and roofers. Summer is a very busy season for us. Many are going to switch over from long sleeve apparel to short sleeve. There’s an old saying that goes, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. There is a very fine line sometimes between having enough work to meet our overhead versus having too much work where we can’t seem to fill the orders fast enough.

I remember last year at this time when it was so easy to do business compared to the challenges that we seem to be facing now. It used to only take a couple minutes to research and locate blank screen printing apparel, but now due to the supply chain crisis facing our nation, it can take hours to find something and then shortly after you eventually locate it, it’s gone again. I can’t think of a lot that is more frustrating in business than to have a potential buyer that’s all ready to go and you can’t fill the order because of lack of blank product availability. It’s not as if we’re the only St. Louis Screen Printing and embroidery company out there that is experiencing these challenges as everyone in my industry is in the same predicament. I should really count our blessings though, when I take into consideration that so many other St. Louis digital t-shirt printing companies in the area are experiencing labor shortages as well.

One strategy that we have adopted is to go the route of purchasing the best equipment that is available. Unlike employees, the machines show up everyday for work. They don’t get hurt and they don’t complain. Lesson learned, the better the equipment, the less employees are needed in order to run them.

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2020 – what a year!

I’m constantly reminded of how quickly things can change and what I used to think was simply a given, it’s not taken for granted. Life that we knew has been made radically different since 2020. It has proven itself to be one of the most complicated and difficult years to manage since I’ve been in business.

There has been a significant impact on every different type of industry and the St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery business is certainly no exception to that. Looking back, I’m just blown away with the obstacles we had to overcome such as labor shortages as well as supply chain problems. What used to take just a few minutes to locate blank t-shirts and other types of apparel now can take hours. Assuming we are eventually able to locate it, we have to purchase it immediately or just a few minutes later it could be gone again. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a customer who is already to pull the trigger and place an order only to find out, we can’t locate the product needed.

These types of challenges have forced many St. Louis t-shirt printing companies to reevaluate their daily operations. It has also forced us to lower our expectations regarding what was considered to be a productive week or not. It wasn’t very long ago when I was trying to set the bar very high in order to recharge monthly goal profits, but now we are considering it a win if we are just able to meet our overhead. The crazy part is that this all has happened in a very short amount of time.

I’ve heard it said that necessity is the mother of invention and this necessity has forced our hand to come up with innovative ways of marketing ourselves and doing business. For example, instead of trying to land big fish, such as 1000 or more units at a time, we are now selling a lot more digital t-shirt printing applications and lower quantities. This requires us to not only find the blank product much easier, but it also allows us to have a better profit margin for each individual piece sold. The same goes for custom embroidery. Sometimes bigger is not better and less proves itself to be more.

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The world has changed in the last 2 years

There are so many challenges these days, when trying to navigate running a St. Louis embroidery and screen printing company. Just when you think you have things figured out, the world changes yet again. Just a little less than two and a half years ago things were going along just fine and then Covid 19 reared its ugly head and changed the world as we know it.

Our business like so many others was greatly affected because so much of our overall workload is event-related, such as Muscular Dystrophy runs and Cancer Survivor walks as well as golf tournaments for trying to raise money for well deserving causes. This all came to a screeching halt not long after the virus showed up and people were scared out of their minds. So many businesses were shutting down such as restaurants as people were afraid to congregate in fear of contracting this nasty bug. Then all of a sudden there was a vaccine and people started to get a little bit more confident and started attending sporting events and other public gatherings and our business started to pick up like so many others. At that point, we started to get our confidence back as things were starting to turn back to normal or at least a small sense of what used to be normal, and then we had an election.

Soon after that, we got hit with the new set of challenges, one being the supply chain crisis. This pretty much affected every business in the country that relies on using imported goods such as ours does. What used to take 5 minutes to locate t-shirts now can take up to a couple of hours and then five minutes later after finding them, they’re gone again. This blank apparel is sitting on cargo ships in containers that are not being unloaded in a timely manner and causing great backups at our ports that receive such product. Two years ago we didn’t have the customer base and then not long after we got that back, we couldn’t get the blank goods needed to fulfill orders.

A friend of mine who also owns a St Louis digital t-shirt printing company ordered a brand new digital press. When he first bought it, they told him he would be receiving it within a couple weeks and the next thing you know, 3 months went by and he still hadn’t received his machine. It finally showed up last week. I can’t express how frustrating it is to have a customer call in for an order and not be able to find the blank t-shirts in order to fulfill it.

I’ve been in business for myself pretty much my whole adult life and I’ve never witnessed anything quite like this regarding what’s known as the supply chain crisis which is made worse due to Covid. To sum it up, running a St Louis embroidery and custom screen-printing company in this current economic environment, it’s not for the faint of heart.

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Custom T-Shirts Are The Most Popular Style Trend Of Recent Times

Custom T-Shirts Are The Most Popular Style Trend Of Recent Times

Fashion is always changing. Every day, there is a new trend which everyone starts following. The one thing that is the most important when it comes to fashion is that your look and style should say something about your personality. Your style is the best way to represent yourself without using words, which is why custom tees are the new wave in recent time as it not only lets you make a top of your own choice, but also lets your express yourself completely.

We’re a St. Louis digital t-shirt printing company that can help you express yourself by making customized tops for you. With the help of custom screen printing, you can have any words or images of your choice applied to your apparel. You can give it your own touch by also adding embroidery and different textures to it.

Wearing a top that represents who you are as a person is the most recent trend! There are many ways you can design your items.

Here are a few creative ideas:

  1. Make a Statement

Your style is one of the first things other people notice when they meet you for the first time. To be sure that your style is making a statement, have a saying applied on it, literally! You should use a St. Louis based company will let you have quotes or words that reflect your beliefs printed on your top. It can have quotes like ‘Believe in yourself’ or ‘Live every day to the fullest’ on it or funny phrases like ‘I will stop wearing black the day they make a darker color!’ or ‘Rebels have more fun’ etc.

  1. Something That You Love

Your style is something that represents you, so having a picture of something that you love on your top is a great way to express yourself! With the help of custom screen printing, you can have any image printed flawlessly on your top. It can be a picture of a TV show character, a celebrity or even your pet. You can decorate it more by adding embroidery or textures to your item

  1. An Image Which You Relate To

Digital t-shirt printing is the most recent trend because they let you express yourself in any possible way! We are a St. Louis screen printing company that allows you to have any image or embroidery printed on your top. If there is a funny meme that you relate to, even that can be printed on your clothes.

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5 Must-Haves Merchandising Items for Your Brand

5 Must-Haves Merchandising Items for Your Brand

In the contemporary competitive environment, brands have no choice but to market their products and services pugnaciously. The customer’s recognition span is already down to a few minutes. Therefore, brand merchandise has emerged to be a marketing strategy that pays off in numerous ways.

As a brand, your success depends on how versatile an identity you could establish through merchandise. All across the USA, brands in the past decade have displayed massive confidence in merchandising strategies, and St. Louis, which is home to over 8 Fortune 500 companies, does it no different when it comes to brand merchandising.

The five types of merchandise identified below, play a significant role for the profitability of a retail store. Any retailer who wants to survive in the competitive marketplace, must contain all these five items. Customer’s experience is affected dramatically by your marketing skills, and the following five types are considered as major customer’s experience enhancers.

  1. Clothing Apparels:

It appears as no surprise that clothing merchandises are considered as one of the most influential merchandising products globally. As brands focus on digital t-shirt printing and custom embroidery strategies to connect with the younger generations, clothing will be the keystone. With immediate access to information, the current generation surely turns their heads towards such brands that offer innovative clothing apparels and convenience. The clothing merchandise includes custom t-shirts, basic tees, and silk bandannas.

  1. Self-care merchandise:

In the astute world of Covid-19, a lot of people are reluctantly going through depression and anxiety. In this regard, we must promote self-care items to eliminate turmoil in your consumers and show a gesture of care and well-being. You can introduce branded sanitizers, napkins or face masks with your brand logos by placing custom embroidery all over them.

  1. Custom Packing bags:

The best way of getting inside your customers’ homes is to decorate the packing bags with your brand’s name and logo. You want to make your bag stand out from the competitors; screen printing on a fabric bag can do wonders. Consider including a passage to provide customers with a sneak peek at the contents. Add the link to your website and your upcoming services on the bag. It could increase the traffic on your website and enhance your popularity.

  1. Specialty-made Pens:

To spread your brand awareness, a brand typically opts to create personalized pens for its customers. Undoubtedly, pens are the most productive and regularly used instruments; people feasibly carry them everywhere, so each time while using them, they will surely pay heed to your brand’s logo. Furthermore, screen printing and/or digital T-shirt applications would be a feasible way to get this type of design on your pen.

  1. Folders are essential:

It would help if you were composed when clients begin reaching out to you for more data and information. An exceptional way to do that is to create presentation folders. Presentation folders make your profile creative and bestow a professional look. Consider getting a structured file instead of a fancy one to help the clients keep the documents organized.

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Doing your own work versus using contractors

Someone much wiser than myself once stated that knowledge is power. This certainly holds true when trying to run a successful St Louis screen printing and custom embroidery company. This doesn’t mean that effort counts for nothing. However, if you’re running a hundred miles an hour and you’re running North when you should be running South, you’re running in the wrong direction. Somebody once said that experience is the best teacher, but that guy must never have been a business owner.

You should keep your friends close and your competitors even closer as they can teach you a whole lot. Some mistakes are unforgiving and there’s a lot of wisdom in studying your competition in order that you can avoid making many of the same mistakes that they did.

When it comes to perfecting the process of digital t-shirt printing there’s a whole lot more to it than simply owning the equipment. There’s a huge learning curve. I can remember when I first broke into the St Louis screen printing and embroidery market. I had a whole lot of ambition, but I had zero experience. I actually went to work for one of my competitors and told them that I would be willing to work for free in exchange for some hands-on experience. He took me up on my offer and was able to at least get my feet wet. One thing I quickly learned was that you can watch somebody print t-shirts for a year, but when you actually get behind the press and get a squeegee in your hand, its a very challenging endeavor. Plan on ruining a lot of product in the process. That being said, it can be done but you need to be patient. Eventually you will learn and perfect the pulling of the squeegee properly and develop that muscle memory after many repetitions.

Another alternative than doing it yourself would be to find some reliable companies that you can outsource it to. Keep in mind that you’re only as good as the guys who are doing the work for you, so you need to establish a network of vendors who are not only talented but reliable. This might seem like an easy task but it’s not. One of the downsides of not doing your work in house, is that you have to get in line and sometimes there’s a two to three week turn around. A lot of customers can’t or are not willing to wait that long. That being said, if you do happen to go this route it will save you the expense of the equipment, along with all the other traditional overhead that most digital t-shirt printing companies incur that do their own work in house. Think about it, you not only have to purchase the equipment, but you have to have a place to put it. This means that you’re probably going to have to incur the overhead of monthly rent for building.

After counting the cost and weighing your options you might come to the conclusion that you’re much better off just doing marketing and sales and let the people who are already established do the actual production for you. Just food for thought.

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Recommendations To Keep Your Shop Cool

Recommendations To Keep Your Shop Cool

Now that it’s finally summer and folks are trying their best to keep cool, take breaks and make improvements to their custom T-shirt printing facility as well as focus on your employees. Here are a few suggestions you might want to consider.

Make sure that you have enough fans. A comfortable employee is a productive one. Since we’re using screen printing equipment that actually gives off heat, such as the over-sized dryers that cure the ink onto the t-shirts, it’s not uncommon that temperatures can reach 105 degrees very quickly during the heat of the afternoon. Just opening up the windows in order to try to add some cross ventilation is probably not going to be adequate. I highly recommend you invest in some over-sized fans in order to keep that air moving. I’ve even seen some that come with misters that really are a game changer when it comes to keeping you cool.

Another recommendation would be to start your work day earlier. You could even shut down during the afternoon hours when the temperature is at its highest and then reopen again in the evening in order to get the lion’s share of your production done at night when it’s cool.

Another thing to also take into consideration is that your equipment is much more likely to fail in extreme temperatures. With the cost of digital t-shirt printing equipment being as expensive as it is, you sure don’t need anything breaking. You also don’t want to incur any downtime that is going to backup your production from cycling through as efficiently as possible.

Keeping your workers properly hydrated is one of the most proactive things you can do. Maybe have a water cooler installed as there are services that provide you with an endless supply of good clean cool drinking water. They will come and pick up the empty canisters and replace them with full ones on an as-needed basis for a very reasonable price. You could even go to a department store such as Sam’s and purchase your own cooler.

Another thing to take into consideration is the way you store your ink as it needs to be in a temperature-controlled environment. Plastic based t-shirt printing inks are considered to be the industry standard and they start to cure when heated up. They have a very limited shelf life and in warm environments ink has a tendency to actually start setting up inside the container before even being used.

Another thing that might help is to encourage your workers to quit drinking hot coffee on their breaks. This seems like it would be a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many people would app to have that. Coffee actually has a tendency to dehydrate your body much like alcohol. Something that you might consider in order to help morale would be to have Team activities such as barbecues as incentives in order to reward good performance. You could even offer paid weekends off in order to help help your workers feel more appreciated and fairly compensated for the unpleasant work conditions that a Saint Louis summer can lend itself to. We all realize that when one employee doesn’t show up for work, that puts an extra burden on everyone else that does so you might want to encourage them to schedule their vacation times in the cooler months. This would help from making what is already a very challenging work environment from getting even worse from lack of help. Another idea would be to invest in a freezer and stock it full of ice cream and popsicles.

To sum it up, these are some very helpful ideas that will help you run a comfortable and productive St Louis t-shirt printing and custom embroidery company throughout the months of June through August.

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Top 10 Styling Ideas For Summer

Top 10 Styling Ideas For Summer

It might be surprising, but we have reached the first anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you’re staying in St. Louis, MO or elsewhere, mandatory masks, moderate traveling, reduced concerts, and restricted dine-ins, we have seen it everywhere. However, with things gradually opening up and adjusting to the pandemic lifestyle, people are finally setting up their wardrobes, routines and life in general around the pandemic regulations.

While summer has finally set in, it’s time to revamp your closet with a few summer outfit ideas, and you’ll instantly get the feeling of exuberant joy for coming back to life.

Maybe you’ve been fantasizing about embracing basic summer outfit or finding new ways to style them. Every different piece of clothing in our closet has pivotal importance, but the era of interesting outfits will never fade away. We’ve rounded up ten popular styles that will inspire you throughout the summer.

  1. Pair it up with a nice looking skirt:

Catch the breeze by pairing up a summer blouse with a cool looking skirt that flows along with the wind. Seek out for something that’s tiered and bright, making it perfect for both lunch dates and official meetings, with comfortable fitting apparel following a dip of the ocean.

  1. Dress it down with skinny jeans:

In St. Louis, summer is a great excuse to take out your most reliable outfits, and there’s no better combo than attractive digital t-shirt printing combined with skinny jeans. Consider pairing dark skinny jeans with any thing you like, creating a comfortable yet classy appearance.

  1. Classic denim shorts:

If you have a classic sense of humor, invest in a few structured denim shorts. Wear it with a basic top in order to compliment the look by tying a silk scarf around your neck and tie it all together with elevated flip-flops sandals.

  1. Professionalize it with a blazer:

Often, the summer season can be fickle, and you might have shoved your jackets and coats in the trunk. A blazer will help to style you up for a more formal look. Consider wearing a polo with decorated custom screen printing that has cute animals on it and throw on a classic blazer to professionalize the look.

  1. Create a chic look with a camisole dress:

Create a delightful blend of trendy and classy look by wearing a camisole dress over a basic top. Pair it up with your favorite footwear, either sneakers or sandals, accessorize it with a delicate layered necklace, and you’re good to go.

  1. Custom Screen Printing combined with a fitted skirt:

Besides a flowing mini skirt, a fitted dress is equally versatile summer garment, and when paired up with the right accessory, it looks flawless. If you’re heading to a concert or any youth event, consider getting some digital t-shirt printing design on your tee.

  1. Chunky boots with an over-sized top:

With the hottest days of summers, the optimal solution might lie in your closet. An over-sized top paired up with shorts and combat shoes looks overwhelmingly impressive. You can prepare your classic look by adding a few graphic designs through conventional screen printing.

  1. Basic tee with a maxi:

A versatile silk maxi with a white dress hasn’t disappointed us yet. Considering how strong the apparel can be with the help of accessories and a few extras, we can entirely rely on the outfit until the warmer season exists.

  1. Stand out with leggings:

Forget about keeping the appearance precise; go bold when it comes to a summer outfit. Keep it consistent with a with flattering leggings. You can rock the look by adding a cozy embroidery pattern to your casual wear.

  1. Shoe accessory is a must:

Whether you’re heading to the office or having lunch with friends, you can wrap a pair of sneakers or chunky boots that goes amazingly well with every custom outfit. Complete the look with complimentary skinny jeans or denim shorts, as you please.

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