Not Your Parents’ T-shirts
Have you walked through a bustling college campus lately? While picking up my daughter after her freshman year of college this past week, I had a chance to see the spring of T-shirts in full bloom everywhere-on the bike paths, being sorted in laundry piles, dotting the cafeteria like sherbet flavors. As my daughter gave goodbye hugs to the masses, I studied the styles they wore. The necklines they showed off. The curves they were silhouetting. The fabrics they were made of. The labels peeking out their necklines. (Yes, I even asked a few to show me the label inside the shirt they were wearing, despite "Oh, Mom!" eye rolls.)
What I learned? These were not your parents' T-shirts. Maybe some of the guys'? Yes. But the girls'? Nope. They had their own looks, feel, style, personality, texture, imprint, statements. It shouted to the dorm room ceiling why fashion tees have been wildly skyrocketing in sales for my company: KIDS WANT FASHION! And they're willing to pay more for it.
Here's some background:
- 28% of the US population is between the ages of 15 and 34. That's a total of 87,248,000 US buyers in age group. They not only have huge disposable income themselves, but also billions of dollars of their parents' money. And one of their biggest buys? Apparel. And that includes imprinted apparel.
- Habit. This generation of buyers grew up living and loving logoed tees from the time they were infants. Logoed tees define them, show who they belong to, belong with, as well as make their statements of individuality and uniqueness. In America, we LONG to belong. But we also crave standing out. Our clothing helps this generation do that.
- They want fashion-conscious styles that flatter their trimmer bodies, yet are comfortable for their relaxed, comfortable lifestyles.
- They crave softness. We've pampered these pups with things that feel good.
- They understand the value of a brand, and don't blink at spending more for the brands they love.
So why not give them what they want? The fashion brands! The Next Levels and the Bellas, and the A4's in athletic wear.
Before you go in ready for that basics reorder, consider WHO you're outfitting. Bring a fashion tee sample-not just the basic ring spun cotton, but the CVC's and the Tri-blends that are raves in retail right now. Don't just show the crews, but also alternative necklines and silhouettes, like V-necks and razor tanks and dolmans and scoop tees and flowies.
The fashion style they select just might become their favorite tee at the top of the laundry pile. And isn't that where you want your customer's T-shirt to be? On top-where your margins will be too?
Have fun selling fashion!
Mary Ellen Nichols, MAS
Director of Marketing Communications
Bodek and Rhodes