Selling Women's Apparel
Apparel sales make up about a third of all promotional products sales in the industry, and according to the U.S. Census, 50.8 percent of the population is female. Bottom line? Unless your plan is to become a vanity boutique for the preteen "No Girls Allowed" clubs that dot the tree forts of this country, you're going to have a hard time with the apparel market.
Looking to break away from the boys' club or refine your women's apparel skills? Andrea Engel, vice president of portfolio and supplier management for alphabroder, Trevose, Pa., and Jennifer Tsai, vice president of operations and designer of the Lilac Bloom line for Tri-Mountain, Irwindale, Calif., shared some insights on trends and best sales practices for women's apparel.
Current Trends Coming In …
Like any other apparel category, women's apparel has its ebbs and flows with what's in style. Engel shared one trend she sees becoming more popular: performance. "Everyone leads an active lifestyle these days," said Engel. "We all want the performance features we enjoy incorporated into all of our clothing choices. Brands that tie together comfortable performance fabrics and styles that still look polished and professional are on the forefront."
Tsai shared another trend that's more about the appearance of the apparel. "Comfort and a flattering fit will always be in style," she said. "One of the biggest trends we have seen over the recent years is the longer length of ladies' tops from T-shirts to blouses and sweaters.
The short, boxy cut looks good on so few, and I think most women gravitate to styles that flatter their bodies," she explained. "The longer length in tops has a slimming effect and we keep that in mind for all of our Lilac Bloom styles."
Engel seconded the importance and rising popularity of fitted apparel. "Women are continuing to demand that manufacturers offer apparel that flatters all shapes and sizes," she said. "In our industry especially, when outfitting any group or company, women are expecting professional looks that fit."