Back to School for EVERYBODY
A few weeks ago, I went back to school. I attended an annual Women's Leadership Conference hosted by PPAI - the Promotional Products Association International - with 120 vibrant, bubbly, sales-savvy industry divas. There were two official "classroom" days, but also volumes to be learned in the networking schoolyards of a pre-conference trolley tour, the welcome dinner, and every breakfast, lunch and supper you mingled with a new pal.
Sitting on the plane ride to the conference, I giggled a bit thinking how even at age 54, there's still an excitement, a buzz, about going back to school. Whether you're venturing to a business seminar, trekking back to your alma mater's campus, or boarding your first gargantuan yellow school bus as a tiny first grader, there's magic about your first few days. You want to look your best. You want to stand out, while fitting in. You want to express who you are as an individual, while being a part of a team.
A month or two from now, many of us will be delivering orders for this year's back-to-school programs. As we're selling those programs, we need to keep that feeling of what it's like to be the new kid on the block in the back of our minds. How it feels to put on that school jersey for the first time. How the proper fit is important. That fashion look. Those in-demand brand labels. Those team colors. That all-important logo or special message. And when they all work together, how much pride those garments will instill. Not just that week but even decades later as that garment becomes part of your "memory drawer" of your "good ole" school days.
So before you SELL back-to-school, go back to school YOURSELF. Read up on what's hot in back-to-school programs. Browse through catalogs and websites to see what young people want today. Dive into the fashion necklines and fabrics. Learn the bells and whistles, and pockets and zippers, and treatments and stitching. Read about out-of-the-box decorating techniques. And don't forget to include must-have accessories to complete the looks or suggest for fundraising campaigns.