THREADX and PRINTING United Demonstrate a Growth Path for Apparel Decorators
In mid-February, 154 apparel decorators gathered in San Diego for THREADX. The event, hosted by SGIA, was designed by apparel decorators, for apparel decorators. Terry Combs and Aaron Montgomery, industry vets and hosts of the 2 Regular Guys podcast, called it "Woodstock for decorators."
So, what exactly are these events?
PRINTING United, SGIA's evolutionary expo coming in October 2019, was founded on the theme of industry convergence—that new technologies and capabilities are blending and blurring market segments and specialties like never before. The event will bring together printers of all disciplines under one roof for partnerships and opportunities to expand their services and products into adjacent markets. Screen printers and other apparel decorators have always been a huge part of that equation, and THREADX represents SGIA's commitment to that community, in particular.
The THREADX event itself, held over three days at the Kona Resort and Spa, was more than a conference. Envisioned as an "effort to capture the zeitgeist of consumer culture and how it will affect the industry," according to its website, THREADX was designed specifically for apparel decorators to share ideas, build community and develop strategies for business growth. Speakers came from diverse backgrounds within the apparel decoration and design space, representing fashion brands, MLB teams, digital printers and more. This was a conference not just for apparel decorators who are passionate about their craft, but for those who want to take their craft, and their business, to the next level.
Dan Marx, director of content development for SGIA, sat down with the 2 Regular Guys and a Girl Who Prints podcast live at THREADX to talk about the event. "If you want to continue to do that craft, and do it successfully, I think that idea of branding your business right, of finding the right customers and the right niche that you can serve the right way, and feel that joy of doing the work but still running a strong and successful business—that's the magic key," he said. (The whole thing is worth a listen, so check it out below.)
Ford Bowers, president and CEO of SGIA, also joined the podcast for a separate interview on THREADX and its place within the larger PRINTING United ecosphere. He talked more about convergence, and especially the potential for apparel decorators to partner with printers from other segments looking to expand their capabilities and offerings:
Overall, PRINTING United represents an opportunity for any business that prints on, well, anything. Screen printing, pad printing, offset lithography, dye sublimation, direct-to-garment inkjet, label/decal transfer, embroidery, embossing, debossing, hot stamping—PRINTING United exhibitors bring tremendous expertise on each of these processes and more, making the event an ideal place to vet printing technology, find new equipment or discover the best process for a given item. The podcasts above are a good place to start exploring what the events are all about, but check out the PRINTING United website for more information.