George Gershwin. DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. The Beatles.
Three of the most unlikely song stylists to be placed on the same list? Probably. But the one thing they have in common is each wrote a musical homage to rising temperatures.
So, if their lyrical theories about summer are to be believed, the livin' is easy (Gershwin), you can probably unwind (DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince), and it's all right because here comes the sun (The Beatles)!
The promotional products industry might not be so effusive as to greet the entire season in song, but there's no denying there's something about the summer that makes you feel a little lighter, a little more mellow. And for distributors, the selling environment gets a little more friendly. Tap into the collective contentedness with a well-placed wearables sales pitch. Here are a few things to remember as you take your place in the sun.
Make Room in the Schedule
With the promise of beach days comes boardwalk charity runs. As the outdoors beckon, company barbecues take shape. The season engenders outdoor activity. "Summer has tons of events that bring business to distributors," emphasized Todd Proffit, marketing director for Anaheim, California-based Alstyle Apparel.
But it's not only the golf tournaments and walk-a-thons that create opportunities, noted Heather Brunner, marketing manager for Sharon, Massachusetts-based Charles River Apparel. She pointed to bike, swimming and road races, as well as regattas and summer camps, as but a few other avenues where promotional apparel is needed.
The fun, however, is not summer-exclusive. Both Proffit and Brunner have found season-specific styles to have legs year-round. Proffit pointed to Alstyle Apparel's cheer shorts as one example. "You would think [they] would sell only during summer months, however we have good traction all year round," he said. And although a particular weather pattern might put styles such as shorts top-of-mind, emphasizing an item's versatility only means greater marketing reach for end-users.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, "We have seen a growing trend for fleece requests in spring and summer," Brunner said. She explained that resorts stock up for cooler evenings, and businesses give fleece garments as corporate gifts. "Just because a fleece is given as a gift in the height of summer doesn't mean you have to wear it at the time," Brunner added.
Right Here, Right Now
For those summer wearables meant to be used in the moment, however, there are a few ways to make apparel more, shall we say, hot?
Color choice, while important to keep in mind in all seasons, becomes especially pressing as the seasons change. Lori Anderson, marketing manager for River's End Trading Company, Hopkins, Minn., said blues will be especially popular in the coming months in a wide variety of shades. "This is definitely a popular color … and we see it as a top-selling color this summer," she added. In addition, Brunner predicted lilac will be big, and explained that pastels are historically more attractive and appropriate for the summer months. Proffit also echoed the purple sentiment, and added yellow, turquoise and red to the projected palette.
While retail usually drives color trends across the board, keeping color in mind isn't necessarily limited to fashion-related reasons. "For the summer months, colors determine whether or not the garment will attract sunlight and make the wearer perspire or deter sunlight to keep the wearer comfortable," Brunner said.
But color can only do so much. No summer promotion (or article about summer promotions) would be complete without a mention of fabric technology. "With golf and outside activities, we see an uptick in blends and performance polos and tees versus cotton apparel," Anderson said. Moisture-management technology, anti-microbial treatments and UV protection are all selling points that go a long way when sweltering weather is anticipated. And despite the fact that moisture-wicking breathable fabrics have become an industry standard, she added, they're no less sellable. "Performance qualities are important this time of year, especially in polo shirts, because … many of them are worn outdoors … in the hot and humid weather."