Stitches Small Business Volume 102 / February 17, 2014


Senior Staff Writer Theresa Hegel shares a few tips to help shops add multimedia decoration techniques in a production-friendly way to boost their profits.

Click here to watch the video.


It’s official: Army green isn’t just for GIs anymore. It’s become increasingly popular in recent haute couture collections, and not just as an accent color. Designers are outfitting their models in head-to-toe army green, making it a must-have shade for 2015. Even celebrities are getting in on the action. Rihanna recently turned heads in an army green jumpsuit while out and about in Los Angeles.

Suppliers in the promotional industry aren’t surprised. Army green has enjoyed continuous popularity in fashion-forward apparel lines. “It’s part of an earthy, natural palette that, while fluctuating with seasonal and fashion trends, definitely has staying power,” says Andrea L. Routzahn, vice president of portfolio and supplier management for alphabroder (asi/34063). “Now, army green is popular for active looks that are crossing over into corporate outfitting.” Currently, alphabroder offers performance wovens, outerwear and knits in dark oakmoss in its North End Excursion collection, inspired by active outdoor brands.

While 2014 saw huge demand for camouflage, that trend is gradually evolving into what Routzahn calls “utilitarian, military uniform and safari- or trekking-inspired looks.” Popular from catwalks to retail to wholesale, these neutrals, including army-inspired greens, grays, navys and khakis, “are definitely a fresh break from the neons and brights that dominated the market for the past several seasons.”

Meanwhile, Vicki Ostrom, senior designer at SanMar (asi/84863), sees inspiration for army green and similar hues stemming from preparations for the 2016 Olympics in tropical, lush Rio de Janeiro. “There’s also a lot of interest in military-inspired items, from baby clothes on up, including on the runways,” she explains. SanMar offers a stain-resistant roll-sleeve twill shirt (S649) from its Port Authority line in the shade that Ostrom says is “perfect for uniforming and has military-inspired epaulets and a crisp, professional look.”

Routzahn says army green is perfect for uniform programs at forward-thinking companies, because “it’s a fresh take on the traditional corporate identity look. We’re seeing opportunity with entrepreneurial companies involved with environment, craft and new-industrial movements.” She also cites craft breweries, farmers markets, landscapers, organic farming and environmental industries as promising markets.

Outdoors-centered companies are definitely a good fit for army green, adds Ostrom. “There’s been a lot of army green in winterwear this year,” she says. “It’s ideal for avid sportsmen and any company looking for a military-inspired look and feel.” 



The old adage that you get what you pay for is usually a warning worth heeding. The image-sharing application Instagram, however, is an exception to that bit of wisdom. With it, decorators can connect with potential customers and build a following for their services, products and insights – at zero cost.

Marki Lemons-Ryhal, social media expert and frequent ASI education speaker, is a keen booster of Instagram for any visually based business. Speaking recently at the ASI Show in Dallas, she stressed two of its fundamental appeals: the app’s 300 million-plus users and its cost – or lack of one. Plus, it’s easy to use. “You can use your phone to educate people about promotional products,” she said. “And how much did it cost you to share that photo?”

Lemons-Ryhal explained Instagram’s phenomenal reach in an article written for Chicago REALTOR® Magazine. “From Instagram, you can instantly share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr by simply tapping your mobile device.” She refers to this as her COPE philosophy: “Create Once, Post Everywhere.” Maximizing your impact requires a little strategy, however, and she recommends a few key steps for users to take.

First is to make use of hashtags and keywords. “You don’t want to just put a photo out there,” Lemons-Ryhal told her Dallas audience. “You want to leverage it as much as possible.” Hashtags allow your content to be easily indexed and discovered, she explains, and used effectively in conjunction with keywords, can land your site among the top Google rankings. She suggests visiting for an idea of which terms are most relevant to apparel decoration.

Lemons-Ryhal also encourages users to repost interesting and relevant content. “Follow Fortune 500 companies you’re targeting and share/like their content,” she says. For a little extra help, try using the Photo Repost application, she says.

Also, Lemons-Ryhal suggests using a specific description of what you do when creating social media profiles. “Put what you want people to buy from you,” she said. “Say the same thing in a different way across all your social media sites using the same keywords.” When people search for that term, it will improve your Google rankings.

Instagram is a powerful marketing tool with a visual focus that is perfect for apparel decorators. “Think of it like a highway that can lead you anywhere,” Lemons-Ryhal says. “At the end of the day, it’s how many orders can I get?”


Are you a family-owned shop that can’t get anything done because you’re always squabbling with your siblings? Is your production workflow and shop layout such a nightmare that your orders are habitually late or lost? Are your employees unmotivated and not getting the job done? If any of these (or other) dilemmas sound like your shop, we want to hear all about it. We’ll choose the shop most in need of a makeover and send Joyce Jagger, the industry-famous Embroidery Coach, to your shop for two days of tough love and a total overhaul of your processes. Jagger will review your shop top to bottom and get your people and processes in line. Click here to read about our first “Can This Shop Be Saved?” installment.

If you want to apply for this awesome opportunity, email Editor Nicole Rollender at and tell us about your shop dilemmas; we’d also like you to make a short video on your smartphone and email it to us so we can see your shop’s personalities and layout. Don’t delay! Email us by February 27 to be considered.


Epson wants to be part of the future of fashion. The printer manufacturer helped to kick off New York Fashion Week with a “Digital Couture” event last week, showcasing the capabilities of its SureColor dye sublimation printers with mini-collections presented by 11 up-and-coming designers from the Americas. Held at a spacious, concrete-floored studio a few blocks from the city’s Meatpacking District, the show featured vivid colors and crisp design with apparel that ranged from dreamy, flowing dresses to high-concept, zipper-laden unisex looks.

The packed show marks a major push into the fashion industry for Epson, according to Mark Radogna, an executive in the company’s commercial imaging group. “Polyester is actually a very big part of the fashion industry,” Radogna says. Sublimation inkjet printers, like Epson’s, use special dyes and transfer papers, which are heat-pressed onto polyester garments, bonding to the manmade fibers for color-rich designs that don’t flake or fade. “Fashion designers are able to see their vision right away, going from concept to cut and sew in the same day,” Radogna adds. “We’re hoping to bring short-run, high-end fashion production back to the U.S. The technology is so easy now.”

The designers featured at Epson’s show raved about the possibilities afforded by sublimation technology. Maggie Barry, a Los Angeles designer who has created custom pieces for celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell, loves the modern look and versatility of polyester fabrics and the soft hand of the sublimated prints. “It’s really the future,” she says. Barry married fashion and function in her “Space Tribe” collection, her standout piece a high-necked, full-skirted black dress, splashed with a bright orange, yellow and blue soundwave-like pattern.

Chilean designer Marco Antonio Farias says sublimation freed him to indulge in each passing inspiration, rather than limiting him to a rigid theme. “It was chaotic in a way,” he said through a translator. “I was able to translate my emotions with sublimation.” His collection included a flowing blue gown dotted with large poppies, its trailing, gauzy sleeves also decorated with the red flower.

Venezuela-born Leonor Silva, a designer who studied in Paris and has worked for Hugo Boss and Carolina Herrera, delighted in the precision of Epson’s sublimation printers. Among her three looks was a black trompe l’oeil print, mimicking the intricate look of lace on a stiff, white dress. She says she “made it edgy” by giving the faux-lace a skull and flower motif.


Mark Stephenson of ColDesi tells Theresa Hegel, Stitches senior staff writer, about the enduring popularity of bling and how to increase the perceived value of a garment by incorporating rhinestones or spangles with embroidery. Listen on



Anti-pill: A treatment applied to garments primarily to resist the formation of little balls on the fabric’s surface due to abrasion during wear.

Birdseye jacquard: A small, geometric pattern with a center dot knit into the fabric.

Double-needle stitched: A finish used on a sleeve and/or bottom hem that uses two needles to create parallel rows of visible stitching. It gives the garment a cleaner, more finished look and adds durability.

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AnaJet (asi/16000) recently teamed up with The Magnetic Collaborative, Google's event marketing agency, to support Google's Androidify event in Times Square. AnaJet printers created more than 1,700 custom shirts at the event in just two days. For more information, click here.

Charles River Apparel (asi/44620) has appointed Boston-based 360 Public Relations as a public relations and social media agency of record to promote the company's line of premium performance apparel.
now offers the new Swim & Dive Pack of vector clip art that includes 35 black-and-white and color interactive vector design templates and clip art elements available in .eps and Adobe Illustrator (.ai) formats. Templates are also available in CorelDRAW (.cdr). Visit for more information.

Condé Systems now offers DyeFlex Guitar Picks to its DyeTrans family of sublimatable products. Full-color designs with logos, artwork, text and photographs can be transferred onto the light gauge picks. Visit for an educational video and visit for additional information and pricing.

Debco (asi/48885) announced that it was named 2014 Gold Supplier of the Year at the recent PPPC National Convention Image Awards, and also won gold awards in five additional categories. For the full list of winners, click here.

Frosty Towel/A Quiver Full (asi/30267) has appointed Rick Dean to represent the company in Florida, as well as Lee Pearson Associates to represent the company in GA, TN, AL, MS, SC, NC.

Graphic Solutions Group
will host an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its newest Oklahoma location on March 26. Visitors will enjoy a vendor showcase, equipment demos, giveaways and refreshments. To RSVP to the event, email

Hanes Branded Printwear (asi/59528) has expanded its X-Temp collection with new T-shirt styles for women and youth and new sportshirts for men and women. In addition, the supplier announced its iconic Beefy-T T-shirt celebrates 40 years in 2015. The company also revealed the Hanes X-Temp Cool Cash screen printer rebate program, which allows suppliers to receive a $1.00 per-piece rebate on X-Temp sportshirts and $0.50 per piece on tees purchased from wholesalers before June 30, 2015. For more information, visit

Hirsch International now offers the Tajima Large Bag Auto Clamp, featuring an automatic air-type frame opening that's perfect for tote bags, duffel bags, luggage, blankets and other large items. It's recommended for use with the TUMX-C1501 single-head embroidery machine. Hirsch has also launched a newly designed website with an improved user experience, easy navigation tools and on-demand videos and brochures. Visit to view the new site.

InkSoft has released five new website design themes for InkSoft Studio. Click here to watch an instructional video and preview the themes.


Penn Emblem
(asi/77120) has launched a new series of instructional videos for decorators and other apparel professionals. Topics include heat-sealing thick garments, proper emblem placement, label tape and machine maintenance and more. Visit to view the videos.

Proforma (asi/300094) announced that one of its owners, Proforma Albrecht & Co (asi/116308), has achieved a level not seen before in the company's history. Proforma said that Fred and Suzette Albrecht, the owners of Proforma Albrecht, are the first members of the company's 25 Million Dollar Club, as their total sales reached $26.9 million in 2014. 

Pulse Microsystems honored two salespeople from Hirsch International for outstanding software sales. Jim Wesolowski, vice president of sales, and Steve Palevich, senior regional sales manager, received their awards at ISS Long Beach on January 16-18 from Tas Tsonis, CEO, and Brian Goldberg, president of Pulse Microsystems.

Roland DGA (asi/18201) has launched its new Roland Profile Center, a free, one-stop site that offers media profiles for Roland printers. Users can access and download Roland-branded media profiles, as well as VersaWorks profiles offered by other major media manufacturers. For more information, visit

S&S Activewear
(asi/84358) announced the addition of Next Level Apparel (asi/73867) and introduced Weatherproof Vintage (asi/68318) to the promotional apparel industry at the recent ASI Orlando, PPAI Las Vegas and ISS Long Beach trade shows. For more information, visit

Selco (asi/86230) has released its new 2015 catalog that features more than 50 new pieces. The catalog release also kicks off Selco's 80th anniversary year.

Stahls' (asi/88984) has added enhancements to its website to make it more intuitive and simpler to use. In addition to reorganization, the site has been expanded and designed for easier navigation. To preview the changes, visit

The Magnet Group (asi/68507) CEO Bill Korowitz announced that he and his business partners have formed TMG Capital. The equity firm, which is the sole owner of The Magnet Group, has formed exclusive joint ventures in the past year with The 1919 Candy Company and Castelli North America. 

Toddy Gear Inc. (asi/91411) has launched a new catalog and website, which include new marketing tools such as lifestyle images of products, new product descriptions, up-to-date specifications and newly published 2015 pricing. For more information, visit

Vantage Apparel (asi/93390) has received a Counselor 2015 Distributor Choice Award for Decorated Apparel. Additionally, Vantage won the PPAI Suppliers Achievement Award in the category of Embroidery II for a 154,000-stitch full-back logo.


Visit to experience exciting multimedia features, including the latest Stitch Report video and a slideshow showcasing kids' apparel and accessories..


Feb. 20-21, Columbus, OH
Embroidery Trade Show
(800) 866-7396;

Feb. 21-24, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco International Gift Fair
(678) 285-3976;

Feb. 22-25, Edmonton, AB
Alberta Gift Show
(800) 611-6100;

Feb. 24-27, Raleigh, NC; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN
ASI Roadshow

Feb. 26-28, Washington, DC
DC Fashion Week
(202) 600-9274;

Ask Phil  

Q: Hello Phil,
I’m in search of a car seat cover or protector. Do you know where I can find one? – Paul

A: I’ve got you covered. Start with the Terry Velour Car Seat Protector (VCOVER01) from FIEL-Fairdeal Import & Export (asi/53509); (800) 851-3435; Measuring 56” by 26”, this cotton terry velour cover is machine-washable, absorbent and slips easily over a headrest.

You could also protect with the Protektor Seat Cover Wrap (TLKB33-SPS) from Auto-Sun-Shade/Intertek (asi/37586); (800) 874-2330; With a unique self-storing design that mounts to headrests, it’s available in black or silver. Finally, ride over to Northwest Company (asi/74299); (800) 242-6996 Ext. 231;; for the Car Seat Cover (175), consisting of 100% polyester with urethane foam backing. One size fits most.

Selling Tip: Car seat protectors would be smart to offer along with products for small children or pets.

Q: Phil,
I’m looking for equestrian apparel blanks that we can embellish and offer to an equestrian retail customer of ours. They want a woman’s long-sleeve vented SPF/UV quarter-zip shirt. Thanks! – Jonathan

A: Pull over to River’s End Trading (asi/82588); (800) 488-4800;; for the Ping Ladies’ Ranger Quarter-Zip Pullover (3945). Made of 100% performance polyester, this top is moisture-wicking with UV protection, wrinkle resistance, princess seams and raglan sleeves.

Next, check out the Ladies’ Cerrado Quarter-Zip Wicking Shirt (4482) from Fossa Apparel Inc. (asi/55141); (888) 367-7271;; this stretchable polyester garment wicks moisture away and offers UPF 30. It’s available in black or heather gray. Or, zip to Omni Apparel Inc. (asi/99550); (800) 528-8688;; for the Women’s Boston Syntrel Interlock Quarter Zip (Z6562), featuring UPF 30+ protection, an athletic fit, antimicrobial qualities and snag- and pill-resistance.

Selling Tip: SPF/UV-protection garments are ideal for end-users who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as athletes, construction workers and bikers.

Got a question for Phil? If you can't find what you're looking for in the Embroiderers Sourcing Guide, write to: Stitches, Attn: Phil Stitch, 4800 Street Road, Trevose, PA 19053. Or fax your question to: (215) 953-3107. For the quickest response, e-mail Additionally, Phil is now answering social media inquiries through the Stitches magazine Facebook site. Click here to connect with the world's greatest product guru on Facebook! For RN inquiries, visit for the RN database link.

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