The Tee Revolution: Get Inspired With These T-shirt Promotion Ideas
We believe it was William Shakespeare who famously wrote, “To tee or not to tee. It is no question. Always choose the tee.” Maybe The Bard never officially said those exact words, but we think he would have agreed that the T-shirt is always a winning promotion. While the T-shirt has long been a wardrobe staple, it is currently enjoying its reign as the must-have fashion item. From Supreme’s cult logo tees to Gucci’s coveted vintage logo styles, the T-shirt is proving it’s full of surprises. And thanks to these fashion brands making logo T-shirts a style statement, promotional tees are reaping the benefits. To take advantage of what the fashion world is calling “Logomania,” keep reading for T-shirt promotion ideas.
We already know that millennial pink is topping the color charts for 2018, but James Andes, marketing coordinator for S&S Activewear, Bolingbrook, Ill., revealed muted colors are having a moment in 2018, and make great T-shirt promotion ideas.
“Neutral colors are always going to be the ones high in demand, because they’re easy to use in most occasions,” he said. “It also greatly reduces the need to worry about artwork potentially clashing with the color of the shirt.”
Besides neutral colorways, S&S is going in on a bolder hue, as well. “We do have some apparel with colors options close to the swatch for the Pantone Color of the Year, Ultra Violet,” he said. “The Color of the Year is more about a vibe and feeling behind the shade they choose, so if people wish to use it, violets and purples, in general, will still accomplish creating the same mood.”
While Mary Bostwick, director of marketing, customer service and inside sales, for Delta Apparel, Duluth, Ga., said her company is not implementing the Pantone Color of the Year for its T-shirt lineup, she did provide a few popular color suggestions, including black, red, royal blue and athletic heather.
She also revealed an interesting source for Delta Apparel’s color ideas. “Much of our color inspiration comes from sneaker trends and the activewear market,” she said. On the other hand, Mark Seymour, chief sales officer for Next Level Apparel, Gardena, Calif., has seen high demand for sun-washed colors, as well as gold.
Besides color demands, end-users are looking for evolving silhouettes that are both flattering and comfortable. “We predict companies are slowly drifting away from ‘core basics,’ and moving towards fashion/sportswear pieces,” Bostwick said.
Seymour agreed that the T-shirt is getting a major upgrade for 2018, thanks to its role as a fashion icon. “Gone are the days of the disposable T-shirt,” he said. “Consumers want a favorite shirt that is made of soft fabrics and fits perfectly. They also want the freedom to choose an American-made and sustainable option.”
He added that silhouettes for women are now more boxy and roomy, and that retro styles, such as baseball and ringer tees, will continue to dominate in 2018.
In keeping with end-user demand for comfort, it’s important to implement quality fabrics in your promotional T-shirt offerings. Andes gave an example of a new fabric S&S would be distributing that he predicted would take off.
“Hanes is coming out with a new T-shirt this year called the ‘Modal Triblend,’” he said. “It has a combination of combed ring-spun cotton, poly and modal fibers. Modal is two times softer than cotton fibers, and is made using a CO2 neutral process, which is environmentally friendly. It should be a hit.”
Seymour also detailed some exciting new offerings for Next Level Apparel. “Soft mid and lightweight fleece are trending, following the T-shirt trends of the last five years,” he said. “We are launching a new 80/20 cotton/poly fabric that fits this demand. It has 100 percent cotton deface so it is also perfect for digital printing.”
In addition to the streetwear T-shirt fabrication trends, performance tees are also getting an update. “For example, summer sports programs or camps—poly cotton blends are taking over this segment and replacing 100 percent poly fabrics,” he revealed. “Our new mock twist fabric fits this demand and is a huge trend. Also, we see a trend towards substantial performance tees that are perfect for fun runs, socially responsible initiatives and gyms.”
Bostwick agreed that athletes are continually looking for updated fabrications to keep up with their fitness regimens. “While it might not be new silhouettes, we predict that innovative tech fabrics are on the horizon, which is why we are always in R&D working to provide new and exciting textile technologies,” she said. “[We must] also be mindful that they are also a vehicle for decoration.”
Like Seymour said, gyms and summer camps are great business opportunities for T-shirt promotion ideas, but there’s a lot of other possibilities, too. Bostwick recommended college bookstores and resort shops.
Seymour listed a few more T-shirt promotion ideas. “Concerts or sporting events [are popular markets for T-shirts],” he said. “We launched a women’s line inspired by music festivals. Music continues to be a strong fashion influencer and crosses over to all markets.”
The Selling Tips
When it comes to selling T-shirts, Seymour presented a few T-shirt promotion ideas. “Provide a shirt that [end-users] love to wear,” he said. “The more the shirt is worn in public, the better value it provides. Don’t fall into the trap of saving on the price per shirt and having your project end up at the dump.”
Bostwick supplied some additional suggestions. “Find out what your customer’s budget is, find out the fabrication they are looking for and try to match that with what [you] offer,” she said. “Lastly, maintain consistent communication and follow-through.”