Decoration Diaries: How One Distributor Handled a Complex Uniform Revamp With a Company Store and Fulfillment Program
Family owned and operated Flywheel Brands, Chattanooga, Tenn., began in 1981 as a decal manufacturer based inside CEO and founder Jay Simpson’s one-car garage before growing into the creative marketing agency that it is today.
The advertising industry isn’t foreign to Simpson, who followed his father’s entrepreneurial spirit to create his own advertising business, selling products during the day and producing them at night in the early days. One of his first sales that he manufactured was actually a screen print job for a port-a-potty company. But part of that 40-year company evolution has included moving out of that small garage, as well as diving into a wider variety of branded solutions, including decorated apparel.
“Over the years, we have fostered a network of decorators that we can count on to aid us in adding momentum to our client’s marketing initiatives through products ranging from screen printed T-shirts to private-labeled garments,” said Matthew Nutt, director of outside sales for Flywheel Brands.
The distributor—which has also grown to now include Jay Simpson’s son, Bart Simpson, serving as the company’s president—views branded apparel as part of the equation to meet its clients’ needs.
“Having the ability to offer decorated apparel has provided us with additional opportunities to guide our clients in winning the day. Sometimes, the need is for a unique apparel program, a high-end, retail-inspired T-shirt or apparel as just a single aspect of a new-hire kit,” Nutt said. “Whatever the apparel challenge may be, offering decorated apparel has allowed us to remain a full-service brand marketing partner to our clients.”
Continue reading this installment of Decoration Diaries presented by Next Level Apparel to learn more about how Flywheel overcame a yearlong pandemic-related delay, and utilized both its branded apparel and e-commerce capabilities to design a food service uniform program with a company store component that successfully outfitted everyone from chefs to corporate employees.
The client’s need: Our client, a leading food service company in the Southeast, needed guidance in establishing an e-store based uniform program that offered both on-demand and inventoried apparel pieces. Along with a seamless ordering and fulfillment experience, the client desired to achieve consistency with the embroidery of their branding across all departments while offering a higher quality uniform compared to what had been utilized in the past.
The execution: We leveraged our incredible supplier partners! Without our strategic partners in the technology and apparel arenas, we would have experienced additional challenges in completing this project. Although we did experience a 12-month delay as a result of the pandemic, the initial vision remained the same throughout the project. From start to finish, our vision and recommendation was to keep it simple. As a result, we did not recommend or take advantage of any complex decoration methods.
The obstacles: Our largest challenge, aside from building and implementing the e-store, was to use apparel pieces that created brand consistency across a wide range of departments. The needs were as diverse as outfitting chefs, delivery drivers, the corporate office and every employee in between. We provided multiple samples to ensure garment colors, embroidery decoration and garment fit were consistent across the entire organization. Taking advantage of product lines that have a reputation for routinely being consistent in color and fit across multiple SKUs was key in navigating this challenge.
The outcome & advice: This project has been an overwhelming success. By focusing on simplified branding across the company, the client has achieved their consistency goal. Our best piece of advice is to keep it simple, and that advice applies not only to other distributors but to clients and end-users as well. From the implementation of the e-store to the decoration process, keeping it simple may be the most successful solution in the end.
For details on how to participate in a future edition of Decoration Diaries and share your apparel decoration project success, email Amanda Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to read more Decoration Diaries, or click here to download "The Promo Distributor's Guide to Apparel Decoration," a free resource from Promo Marketing. Decoration Diaries is presented by Next Level Apparel.