vol 96 / August 19, 2014
In this issue:  
Trend Spotter
How To
Market Spotlight
What's Hot on Stitches.com
Ask Phil
Terms to Know
Calendar of Events
News Briefs &
Product News

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Click here for this and past issues online

The Stitch Report
Stitches Senior Writer Theresa Hegel talks about a few surefire ways to cut your inventory costs.

Click here to watch the video.



This varsity jacket (224183) from Holloway Sportswear (asi/61430) is made of 24-oz. Melton wool and includes genuine leather sleeves and pocket welts. It also features a quilted lining with all-access embroidery zipper for easy decoration, as well as high-quality rib-trim on the collar, cuffs and bottom band.

While student wardrobe choices have significantly changed with the times, one item that first appeared in the 1930s is still a coveted piece of apparel on campuses across the country: the varsity or letterman jacket. Their classic look is still a mainstay at high schools and colleges, and while they were once for men only, they now also feature feminine silhouettes. Students traditionally sport emblems, patches, pins and embroidered personalization on the jackets to display athletic and academic achievements, lending an air of prestige to the wearer.

"The traditional styling makes it easily recognizable," says Jennifer Nixon, marketing manager at Holloway Sportswear (asi/61430). "The wool body with leather sleeves is still the most popular choice. We see demand from schools as well as corporations." Kristin Williams, owner and chief designer at VSA Custom Apparel (asi/700739), goes so far as to call it the male version of the Little Black Dress. "It's classic Americana," she says. "The timeless look goes with just about anything. It can make a statement about who you work for and your accomplishments, or just act as a fashion piece."

While wool and leather are the traditional materials, they can make the jacket pricey, especially with the added cost of embellishment like chenille, twill or embroidery. Suppliers have adapted to client demands by offering wool/wool and wool/vinyl constructions. "To stay competitive in this market," says Andrea Cancellieri, vice president of marketing at GAME Sportswear Ltd. (asi/55752), "suppliers offer various customizable options and color choices."

VSA Custom Apparel has fulfilled orders for a slew of clients, including high schools and universities, corporations, stage shows, dance troupes, rappers, singers and TV and film stars. "Because of its classic nature and wide appeal, I think we've touched just about every market," says Williams. "From trucking companies to sales teams to celebrities, it's everywhere."

When looking to pitch, don't just consider the school market, says Peter Schlieckmann, product manager at Assertive Creativity (asi/37166). "Consider companies with high-ticket items and services," he says. "They're great for prize giveaways and celebrating product launches. They build a sense of pride and loyalty among those who wear them, and command respect from those who see them worn. The company that advertises on them wins trust since it's obvious they're willing to invest in a high-quality product that will be seen by everyone."



SparklyTees.com created this four-color transfer combining two solid vinyls with two glitter vinyls for Las Vegas softball team members and their moms. Glitter decoration has been rising in popularity with schools, sports and clubs.

Glitter transfers enhance the style and overall appearance of promotional apparel. They can be a powerful accent to a design, creating visual interest. "Customers love the shimmer of a glitter transfer," says Sue Wilcosky, marketing manager of Transfer Express (asi/91804). "The print really stands out, and the glitter colors are very similar to the athletic colors the players are wearing, but grab more attention." However, apparel decorators need the right knowledge, skill and technique to set the glitter in place correctly.

Materials to use include polyester, cotton and polyester/cotton blends. "This is not an ink that will stretch, so don't use it on ribbed tees or other stretchy items," advises Wilcosky. Before actually making a customer a design, Kelley Waltz, owner of Las Vegas-based The T-Shirt Guy (asi/530143) and SparklyTees.com, suggests that you test new materials to make sure the transfers will work.

When it comes to the beginning stages of applying a glitter transfer, you want to make sure the glitter is cut correctly. "Glitter is cut in reverse on a vinyl cutter using a 60-degree blade. After cutting, the extra glitter must be removed (weeded),"says Waltz.

An example of setting in a glitter transfer is having the heat press on 350 degrees for 15 seconds with medium press. "Place your shirt on the platen, prepress for a couple of seconds and lift the press. Position the transfer on the shirt, and press for the full 15 seconds. Carefully remove the shirt and transfer from the press, and allow to cool completely," says Wilcosky.

Advertisement: Fruit of the Loom

You want to make sure the glitter transfers are completely cool before peeling off. "Due to static, sometimes when you lift the press the paper may slightly lift up, which disrupts a perfect print. One tip we recommend is putting a lightweight cover sheet over the transfer before pressing so the static does not affect the application," says Wilcosky.

There are a couple of challenges when it comes to glitter transfers. One is that they have to be cut the right way. "The backing for glitter is very sticky. Weeding can prove difficult if the cut is not good. Glitter cut lines cannot be seen as well as other vinyl, so the cut is important to weeding," says Waltz. The other is getting customers to choose designs with large, bold prints and less-detailed art because they are the easiest for glitter transfer application. "The art really does make all of the difference," says Wilcosky.

Glitter is popular among the spirit and youth market. "Glitters are the new rhinestones. Using glitter, you can add a multi-decorated design that wasn't possible prior to the varieties of glitter that are now available," says Waltz.

Market Spotlight: education

Perhaps not surprisingly, the educational market has a collegial atmosphere, with ample opportunity for referrals, making it a rich niche to mine. Distributors and decorators who work with educators – from preschool through college – say that one of the sector's greatest strengths is that a single point of entry can offer a wealth of additional business.

Advertisement: The Embroidery Coach

"The good part is departments talk," says Brad Akers, president and owner of Chicago-based distributor Tip-Top Branding (asi/344851). "At many universities, there's some harmony between the different departments, so there's an ability to get in there and become a centralized source."

Buying among schools also tends to be consistent. Regardless of the economy, schools rarely nix their ad specialty needs from one year to the next, distributors say. Why? As college enrollment is rising nationwide (from 15.3 million in 2000 to 20 million in 2010, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics), universities are looking for more ways to increase their visibility among prospective students.

Education "is always a growing market as long as the population is growing," says Glen McCandless, founder and president of Focus Marketing and manager of SellingToSchools.com. But that doesn't mean growth is always rapid, McCandless adds. Growth generally parallels GDP, he says, a number that might hover near 3%. Still, he believes some growth each year is a hallmark of the industry.

Barb Burcham says loyalty, despite economic ups and downs, persists. "The colleges I have are pretty much my people," says Burcham, owner and president of Advertising Specialties & More Ltd. (asi/113357), a distributorship based in Norman, OK. "I just feel like they wouldn't leave me for ten cents less on a product."

For the most part, distributors say cold calls do little to gain entry with schools. Even on the elementary school level, where PTA board members and teachers are more approachable with a simple phone call and introduction, it always helps to find a connection to leverage, says Burcham. McCandless agrees, with one caveat: "The easiest way to get in is where you have a personal contact," he says, though companies can also make inroads by selling products at educational events, such as trade shows.

Ask Phil  

Q: Hi Phil, 
I am in need of capes for kids for a vacation Bible school. Any suppliers? – Nancy

A: Dress those little learners with AlfaPrints LLC (asi/34064); (330) 556-5566; www.alfaprints.com; the Kids' Superhero Cape (V975), the Children's Superhero Cape (C571) and more will spark their excitement and creativity. 
Matias Imports (asi/69571); (805) 300-2185; www.matiasimports.com; carries the Youth Superhero Cape (MTI102779), among other options, available in a rainbow of bright colors. Finally, check out Logo More Promo, Inc. (asi/67853); (805) 380-5086; logomorepromo@gmail.com; the Youth Cape (LMP100903) is sharp-looking, satiny and super.

Selling Tip: Superhero capes and other attention-grabbing outfits are smart ideas for self-promotions. They certainly leave a memorable impression.

Advertisement: Ricoma International Corp.


Q: Hello Phil,
I need men's polo shirts with pockets in tall sizes. I hope you can help me find some that come in many colors, but if not I just hope for a couple of colors. Thank you. – Ann 
A: It's a tall order, but I think I can deliver on this one. Rugged Outfitters (asi/84143); (888) 388-1453; ruggedoutfitters.espwebsite.com; offers the Contractor's Work Pocket Polo (K570), available in tall sizes and in five colors. It features color-fast fabric with stain-release finish.

You can also dress end-users in the Element Ltd. Short Sleeve Golf Shirt (096) from Tri-Mountain (asi/92125); (800) 824-6464; www.trimountain.com. This easy-care garment comes in sizes up to 4XLT and in 10 shades. Find several other options from this supplier as well. Or, shift over to the Extreme ePerformance Men's Tall Shift Polo (85114T) from Ash City USA (asi/37127); (866) 274-2489; www.asisupplier.com/ashcity. It's got a left-chest pocket with a unique pen slot and a self-fabric collar.  

Selling Tip: Performance polos, though they tend to cost more than regular polos, are almost always a smarter investment. Sell clients on easy-care properties such as wrinkle resistance, stain resistance, antimicrobial features or other great qualities these garments may offer.
Q: Hi Phil,
I'm looking for dresses for children that I can embroider. My previous supplier has discontinued the dresses in both lime green and mint green. Can you direct me to any other sources, please? – Maggie

A: Certainly! You'll find the most colorful selection from MONAG Apparel (asi/72010); (877) 996-6624; www.monagkids.com. Examples include the Interlock Lettuce Short Sleeve Layered Dress (40-0106), the Baby Rib Spaghetti Strap Dress (40-2160), the Interlock Short Sleeve Pleated Dress (40-0100) and more. Dozens of cute girls' dresses from this supplier come in the color Apple Green.  

Additionally, Pima Apparel (asi/78820); (909) 930-2666; www.pimaapparel.com; carries a Girls' Tank Dress (9008), a 100% cotton piece that's available in lime.

Selling Tip: Kids aren't the only people who love bright colors. No matter what you're pitching, show clients all the color options and suggest fun combinations they may love.
Q: Phil,
I'm wondering if you can help me locate a baseball bat bag for a local college team. – Vince

A: Batter up! Hit a home run with the Baseball Bat Bag (N8109) from A/4 Moshay (asi/30121); (888) 464-3824; www.a4.com. It comes with a padded, removable shoulder strap and two metal outside fence support clips with a reinforced buckle.

You can't miss with the Deluxe Bat Bag (1765) from Augusta Sportswear (asi/37461); (800) 237-6695; www.augustasportswear.com. This tri-color must-have can hold two bats, shoes, helmet, gloves and other gear.

Finally, tote the essentials with Brave USA (asi/41630); (800) 542-9338; www.braveusa.com; the Bat Boy Baseball Bat Bag (SB38) is available in 25 striking colors and has everything you need to get in the game.

Selling Tip: When you target schools, remember colleges and universities need promo products just as much as high schools and grade schools. Show them spunky spirit items to give out as new-student welcome gifts or sell at their bookstores.

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 askphil@asicentral.com. 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 www.stitches.com for the RN database link.
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This month's issue includes a ton of online extras related to our special "Can This Shop Be Saved?" cover story. Embroidery Coach Joyce Jagger spent two days at Point Embroidery & Screen in Stevens Point, WI, helping owner Craig Wold turn his struggling business around. Stitches Senior Writer Theresa Hegel caught up with Wold recently to find out the progress he's made since Jagger's visit. Listen to the podcast on Stitches.com.
For more details on Jagger's whirlwind Wisconsin visit, check out this slideshow.


Bean Stitch: A type of running stitch composed of three stitches placed back and forth between two points. Often used for outlining because it eliminates the need for repeatedly digitizing a single-ply running stitch outline. Sews much heavier than a single-ply or two-ply running stitch. Sews in a pattern of two stitches forward, one stich back, two stitches forward, one stich back, etc.

Buckram: Coarse woven fabric stiffened with glue used to stabilize fabric for stitching. Commonly used in caps to hold the front panel erect.

Side Vents: Slits found at the bottom of side seams. They are fashion details that allow for comfort and ease of movement.


Aug. 22, Bloomington, MN
UMAPP Selling Solutions Showcase Room Show
(651) 734-9767; www.umapp.org

Aug. 23-26, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Fort Lauderdale Gift Show
(678) 285-3976; www.ftlauderdalegiftshow.com

Aug. 24-27, Marlboro, MA
New England Apparel Club Show
(781) 326-9223; www.neacshow.com

Sept. 8-11, Milwaukee, WI; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY
Advantages Roadshow
(800) 546-3300; www.advantagesroadshow.com


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Please note the ASI Education Facebook page has consolidated with our main ASICentral Facebook page. Click here now and Like us!

Visit Stitches.com to experience the exciting multimedia features, including the latest Stitch Report video and a slideshow showcasing outerwear/fleecewear.

Ash City (asi/37127), now part of alphabroder, has released its Fall 2014 collection that includes 27 new Ash City styles. Click here for more information.

Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788) recently held a celebration called "BuildFest" to thank employees for their patience during the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot warehouse. Click here to view event photos.

Bullet (asi/42424) has launched more than 80 new items across several categories, including technology, bags, drinkware and stationery, all at affordable price points. For more information, head to www.bulletline.com.

Charles River Apparel (asi/44620) received a Bronze Award at the 35th Annual Telly Awards for its promotional video entitled "Look Good. Feel Good. Charles River Apparel." Visit www.charlesriverapparel.com and www.tellyawards.com for more information.

Debco Solutions (asi/48885) introduces Ask Darcy, an intuitive interface to whom users can ask questions while searching for products online. Ask Darcy is available on select technology products as indicated with an Ask Darcy logo. For more information and to try Ask Darcy, visit www.debcosolutions.com.

Fersten Worldwide (asi/53974) announced two additions to its Canada sales force, Sandy Baer and Beth Timbers. They will represent Fersten Worldwide and FILA in the Greater Toronto area.

Gemline (asi/56070) has recently added Bret Clemons as vice president of sales and Mark Shearer as regional sales manager for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Gildan Activewear (asi/56842) announced it increased its revenues by 13% in its recently completed quarter. The company had revenue of $694 million for the quarter, representing growth of 12.9% compared to the same quarter last year.

Graphic Solutions Group has released a new publication which will detail the latest products, trends and technical advances in the industry. The Pulse will be published monthly and is available online and by mail. Visit www.gogsg.com for more information.

top J.A. Uniforms has promoted Sabine Salnave to order processing manager after being with the company for over a year as an administrative assistant.

Leed's (asi/66887) has released new collections and branded pieces at a variety of price points. Items include Cutter & Buck Pacific Fremont Collection, the Fair Isle Collection, the Cross Prime collection and a new Carhartt line. For more information, visit www.leedsworld.com.

Penn Emblem (asi/77120) now offers PennTrans, a line of versatile, high-definition heat transfers that can be applied to a broad range of fabrics and offer a soft hand, and effective stretch and recovery. For more information, visit www.pennemblem.com.

Proforma (asi/300094) recently concluded its 27th Annual Convention & Family Reunion in Grapevine, TX, at the Gaylord Texan Resort. The event drew a record-breaking 850 attendees, who experienced more than 90 educational sessions, interactive panels and personalized training instruction provided by author Eric Lofholm. Proforma also welcomed 18 new members into its Million Dollar Club at the event and nine new members into its Multi-Million Dollar Club.

SanMar (asi/84863) has launched its new product line for fall, which includes 130 new products and a revamping of the Precious Cargo line of infant and toddler clothing and accessories. Visit www.sanmar.com for more information.

The Wild Side is now offering a variety of designs in a range of processes including plastisol, puff inks and rhinestones for the cheerleading market. These durable heat-applied graphics can be adhered to any color of shirt that is made of 100% cotton, 100% polyester and also 50/50 blends. For more information, visit www.thewildside.com using the keyword "cheer."

Transfer Express (asi/91804) is offering a new demo video that walks you through the process of using its Easy View online designer. The demo outlines the steps of choosing a layout, clip art, lettering and colors. Then it shows creating a proof to send your customer for approval before ordering. Click here for more information.

Trimark Sportswear Group (asi/92122) has released its 2015 collection that includes 44 new styles. Click here for details.

Vantage Apparel (asi/93390) has named Jeff Jennings the facility manager for its West Coast sales and embroidery facility in Santa Ana, California. Jennings has been working for the company for the past 11 years in a customer service role at the St. Louis embroidery location. 
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