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Stitches' State of the Industry 2010
May 2010

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Average Industry Health RatingDecorators of all sizes – from mom-and-pop shops in rural areas to large contract operations in heavily urban areas – are confident 2010 is the year the economy will start to swing upright again. Despite the fact that Stitches readers felt 2009 was a far tougher year on sales and profits than 2008, more than half rated the economy as between "fair" and "robust." That tells you something about the resiliency of the decorated apparel industry: Even as economic forecasters continue to trumpet more home foreclosures, record numbers of businesses shutting their doors and the dollar’s decline, decorators have kept their eyes on the prize.

That’s why this is a great time for us to publish the second-annual Stitches State of the Industry report. Earlier this year we completed an exhaustive survey of industry members about their businesses and the industry in 2009. In this issue, we’ve compiled that data and developed smart strategies for you to keep your business competitive.
You’ll learn how to get more business from your current customers – and start a referral program that can bring in leads from day one. Curious about what markets are buying decorated apparel? We’ve got the answers. (Hint: Think choir robes, nonprofits and masons.) Are you worried about how to compete against other local decorators and online retailers? Don’t panic – learn how you can add and market more decorating techniques on a budget. Not sure where to invest those precious extra dollars? We’ve got the lowdown on the software and equipment you need to grow this year. Are you ready to meet your clients and prospects in cyberspace? Find out what you need to know in our primer on social networking sites, videos, podcasts and more.

Read on to learn how successful decorators are keeping their businesses in the black this year. We’re sure 2010 will be a great year for decorating businesses across the USA, since it’s your innovation, passion and irrepressible optimism that will fuel this comeback. – Nicole Rollender

Reporting by Robert Carey, Shane Dale, Brian Greul, Jimmy Lamb, Nicole Rollender and Dave Vagnoni. Research by Larry Basinait, ASI. All statistics included within the Stitches State of the Industry 2010 report are exclusive ASI research.








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