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The Softer Side of T-shirts

With a push for 100 percent cotton shirts and longer-lasting heat transfers, the promotional products industry is ushering in a soft, decorated and affordable view of T-shirt sales for 2012

February 2012 By Colleen McKenna
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DECORATION NATION
Since 100 percent cotton shirts hold prints and logos for longer, you can add some more patterns to your promotions. Sims offered a few examples of manufacturers who came out with new, all-over, imprintable patterns for T-shirts. One such pattern has been around for awhile, but has had a recent surge in popularity: tie-dye. Sims mentioned that Dyenomite introduced new plays on the multicolor effect. The Crystal Tee, which resembles a sponge-painted pattern, and the Cyclone Tee, which is a one-color spiral design are two examples. Another trendy pattern is camo, especially for women. "Code V stepped up in 2012 to provide ladies with an officially licensed Realtree Camo tee in pink," Sims said. She suggested country music concerts as a good venue for these camo shirts. The final design Sims noted was sublimation. "Sublimation is a cost-effective way to provide amazing color and clarity in the imprint," she said.

ADVICE AND AVOIDANCES
The standard "know your client" advice applies to T-shirt programs. "Number one is to know what your customer is trying to achieve with the promotion and pick a shirt accordingly," said Pellegrini. Sims echoed this advice. "Learn as much as you can about your customers," she said. In addition to knowing your client, know that a cheap T-shirt does not offer the long-lasting brand value your clients want. "Looking for the least expensive shirt is not the best way to get an account's attention," Pellegrini said.

Make the price and value right by knowing exactly when the promotion takes place. "If you're trying to promote a product or event in January in a cold weather region, using a T-shirt may not be the right vehicle. In all likelihood, that shirt wouldn't be worn until spring time," Pellegrini warned. In order to find the most seasonal and affordable tee, Sims advised to stay on trend by offering 100 percent cotton tees and blends, while keeping eco-friendly shirts, larger sizes and youth styles as options. She also encouraged distributors not to be shy about unisex tees because they can be more budget-friendly.


 
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