Just as runway looks often end up in retail, retail apparel often makes its way to the promotional world (to the delight of end-users). We spoke to Nadia Santoli, manager of corporate communications & media relations for alphabroder, Trevose, Pa., to find out why retail inspired apparel works and how to pull it off successfully.
Promo Marketing: Why do you feel it’s important for promotional clothing to have a retail feel?
Nadia Santoli: It’s no surprise that corporate apparel continues to evolve and progress—in fact, many suppliers in the industry are inspired by current retail trends and have adopted a fashion-forward mindset when designing their own garments. Unique features, technology, detail, style and coloring prove to be top of mind when developing new products and collections.
As well, customers are now expecting promotional clothing to have a retail feel—they no longer want to buy just a typical, boxy cotton polo anymore. Today, wearers are looking for diverse, versatile pieces that are fashionable enough to wear anywhere, anytime.
PM: What are a few tips you have for selling retail inspired apparel in the promotional world?
NS: Instead of pitching apparel to your clients via a hanger, take the opportunity to wear some of the latest retail-inspired pieces offered by your suppliers. Only then can you provide a true testimonial of how the garment felt on you. Also, take advantage of the technology story that is available with some of these pieces, by comparing them to more traditional corporate apparel items that may not have heating or cooling technology, breathable properties and moisture-wicking elements.
No matter the trend or details that are available from one style to the next, the most important part of the conversation with your customer is to understand what they’re really looking for. Only after knowing that need can you or your team meet and exceed the customers’ expectations. Making sure you choose the right product that is available to you from your suppliers, in my opinion, is one of the most important attributes that attracts repeat business and the key to building a long-lasting relationship with your customer.