Quality, customer service, and sustainability are just a few factors that screen printers consider when purchasing blank apparel. Price and availability are also important considerations, especially in a mid-COVID world where inventory ran low.
In a recent Brain Squad survey, we asked you:
What do you look for when buying blank apparel?
The question elicited a range of responses, with screen printers specifically emphasizing the need for vendors to provide reliable service.
Can you add anything to the list? Feel free to comment below with your own thoughts.
1. Ethical sourcing and sustainability are extremely important to me and most of my customers. Ethical business practices. I do not buy from companies that downcycle recyclables. Color. Consistency of stock availability. – Eric Carnell, Independence Printage Corp, Bellevue, Washington
2. When purchasing blanks, the qualities I look for in order are: Quality, value, ethical employee practices, customer service, sustainability. – Joshua Rogers, Grunt Style, Carol Stream, IllinoisAdvertisement
3. Our largest customer group is the universities. They’re very concerned about purchasing from transparent socially responsible suppliers. Having said that, there are not many local manufacturers of garments. We would LOVE to use local if at all possible. – Tracey Johnston-Aldworth, Traces Screen Printing, Waterloo, Ontario
4. Customer service and a partnership that will benefit both parties. SanMar is excellent at this and is our primary distributor. – Alison Banholzer, Wear Your Spirit Warehouse, Huntingtown, Maryland
5. All the above. Relationship building with distributors. – Rick Poore, Shirts101, Lincoln, New England
6. Stock availability to Australia. – David Ashenden, The Queensland T-Shirt Company, Queensland, Australia
7. For the most part, shops choose apparel based on these reasons: 1. Availability – can they get it? 2. Price – does it align with the order? 3. Softness – soft is the new black 4. Color selection 5. Printability – will it take the decoration well? – Marshall Atkinson, Atkinson Consulting, Mesa, Arizona
8. We have our favorite brands so we look for delivery and correct shipments. – Julia Cadotte Capps, J’s Silkscreens, Eastpointe, MichiganAdvertisement
9. Sustainable materials sourcing, options for using post-consumer recycled materials, made in Canada options (very few, and very expensive, but people like that and use it in their advertising), sourcing from regional supplier warehouses instead of from across the country – but sometimes there is no choice – and price and quality. (We help the customer match their budget to the best options.) – Andy MacDougall, MacDougall Screen Printing, Royston, British Columbia
10. Customer service always ranks at the top for me. If I have to abuse a vendor for a better price, it would seem to me that I have other issues in my company that need to be addressed if it takes a small discount to move me into profitability. What does this beat down of a vendor due to the long term relationship? – Keith Abrams, The Decoration Facility, Indian Trail, North Carolina
11. Delivery, customer service, and quality. – Al Messier, Team Print, Bourbonnais, Illinois
12. Currently our main issue with all of our blank goods is availability. – Chris Schultz, IT Sportswear & Promotions, Augusta, Georgia
13. Quality is a nonissue. Every business claims quality, so you have to be really careful to define what it means to each customer. The biggest thing post-COVID is the availability of stock at a single location. Supply chain issues have added time and cost to order turnaround, and this has negatively affected how our customers view our ability to deliver. Price is also a factor, but our customers have become less focused on this over the need to get their orders shipped complete as quickly as possible. – Mark Coudray, Coudray Growth Tech, San Luis Obispo, California
14. Customer service and quality. We have a big sales team, and they purchase the shirts based on client requests. They try to sell the better quality shirts, but a lot of times clients want to save some money and go for the cheaper, lower quality shirts. – Tyler Peyus, Interform Graphics, Centerville, UtahAdvertisement
15. SanMar seems to check off all of the boxes: Excellent customer service, product availability, trained staff samples available, twice-annual sales talks/new product introduction, fair pricing. – Bill Bischoff, Bischoff Design/Atomic Tees, Modesto, California
16. Printability, comfort, and inventory. – Eric Solomon, Night Owls, Houston, Texas
17. Service and price. – Steve Knight, Dynagraphics Screen Printing, Holly Springs, North Carolina
What’s the Brain Squad?
If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S.screen-printing business, you’re invited to join the Screen Printing Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting screen-print pros. Sign up here.
Watch Jay Busselle, Adrienne Palmer, and Jeremy Picker dive deep into DTG printing data, popular styles, and opportunities.
Apparel Decoration Trends for 2021 Part Two
Jay Busselle, marketing director, Equipment Zone, interviews two experts in apparel decoration trends: Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief of Screen Printing magazine, and Jeremy Picker, creative director and CEO of AMB3R Creative and Screen Printing Editorial Advisory Board member. Both share their insights on decoration trends, apparel styles, and some powerful data for DTG printing. Plus, Picker gives an exclusive look at his 2021 trend report. This is a follow-up webinar to Equipment Zone’s DTG Training Academy virtual event.
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