Throw in the Towel Already
THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS won the Super Bowl and raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The season will be remembered for Troy Polamalu’s flying hair, Ben Roethlisberger’s frequent concussions, and of course, the return of a fan favorite, the Terrible Towel. Created by longtime Steelers sportscaster Myron Cope in 1975 as a way for fans to inspire a team, the Terrible Towel is more popular than ever. And, just maybe, promotional product distributors might do well to take a nod from Steeler nation and in a gloomy economy start looking for a Terrible Towel of their own to help start winning, and selling, again.
Learn the Playbook
Dana Zezzo, vice president of sales at Pittsburgh-based Pro Towels Etc., noted a challenge among distributors he talks with. Zezzo, a former apparel specialist turned towel aficionado, sees a vacuum, albeit unintentional, in distributors’ knowledge about towels. “I’m a 20-year apparel guy and it’s amazing to go out and call on distributors or decorators ... and very few of them have ever sold a towel before,” he said. That’s not to say clothing distributors should drop everything to offer an all terry-cloth product line all the time, but they should start thinking of towels as something to keep in the cupboard for a rainy day.
Zezzo added that in his time with Pro Towels Etc., he’s had success in informing distributors about towels. “No distributor here in two years since I took over Pro Towels Etc. has said, ‘You know what, I already know all that.’” In fact, as distributors learn more of the product specifics, it piques interest in the market. Zezzo said he often gets the reaction, “Okay, I’ll learn the towels, but why?” The why, of course, is sales dollars. As Zezzo noted, “Towels are a great Plan B to apparel.”