"How It's Made" Can Make You More
Have you ever been channel surfing and land on a "How Its Made" type show, and suddenly you're GLUED? That's how it is for me, even though I have no interest whatsoever in how sawhorses, artificial palm trees, scuba tanks or barbershop chairs are built. I am fixated on CREATION. What inspired the inventor. How things are designed. Assembled. Imagined. Engineered. Refined. And the rest of the world seems to be as well. In fact the show "How Its Made" is celebrating its 13th year and 22nd season on television.
So what can we learn from that for OUR business? How can we be a hit, season after season, for our clients and prospects in the apparel trade?
Know how the things you sell are made. Be a storyteller about products that do more than just look good. Know the history of the garments. Understand how they WORK-they're called "performance" garments for a reason. Delve into how different fabrics are made. What special features mean. Why they're worth the extra spend.
Things like: Why do women's shirts button on the opposite side than a man's? Where did we get the name "tank top?" What does the word "wicking" really mean? How do temperature-changing fabrics really work, and why are they compared to POLAR BEARS? (See answers below in my P.S.)
How do you find out these facts? Ask your suppliers. The best reps know their stuff. Read your supplier catalogs. Scan the garment hang tags. Scour your industry publications, blogs, e-newsletters. Ask questions. And Google a term you don't know. Imagine learning a new term every single week and wowing your prospects by using it in presentations.
What will that give you?
The brand of "EXPERT." After all, isn't that what your clients are buying from you? Your expertise is what earns you continued respect, and respectable margins, and what separates you from the "take the order and run price-cutter" down the road.
Live long and prosper, my expert friends. Now back to learning about things I do care about... like lipstick, rolling luggage, kaleidoscopes, pierogies, and the hottest colors for fall clothing 2014.
Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
P.S. Here are the factoids I promised:
Why do women's shirts button on the opposite side than men's? In Victorian times, buttons on women's dresses were sewn so that their DRESSERS would have them on the correct side, since women did not dress themselves. That tradition continues even today.
Where did we get the name "tank top?" The term "tank top" comes from the 1920s, when some of the first swimming pools were called "swimming tanks." The traditional top without sleeves was considered appropriate attire for swimming, so the tops were called "tank tops." The name stuck.
What does the word "wicking" really mean? The word "wicking" shares the same process as a candlewick: a conduit to relay moisture into the air. Poly fibers in our garments wick away moisture into the air much faster than cotton counterparts, so this dry fast property is called wicking.
How do temperature-changing fabrics really work, and why are they compared to POLAR BEARS? Temperature-changing tech fabrics have hollowed threads that trap air inside to cool when hot, and to warm when cool. The threads operate on the same principle as a polar bear's fur, which is hollow on the inside, with the same insulating trapped air to protect the bear from the elements.
Have fun sharing these facts!