Add Value With a Custom-Built Hoodie

Sublimation and embroidery both have a high perceived value. Combining the two into one garment only adds to that value.

Wearables asked Norman Bishop, president of Bishop Garment Co. (asi/40585) about this distinctive custom hoodie the company created for Google.

Q: Who created the design?

Norman Bishop: We created a similar design for one of the Harry Potter movies. A distributor showed the Harry Potter hoodie to Google, who liked the idea and some of the components in that hoodie. So, we created a Google-specific hoodie incorporating those elements based on their feedback. It was a collaborative effort between the distributor, the client and our design team.

Q: What techniques were used?

NB: The stripes on the sleeves were selected to match two of the client’s Pantone colors. We then used a large embroidery across the front chest for the client’s logo and incorporated Google’s icon through sublimation into the hood lining.

Q: Why do these techniques work well together?

NB: Sublimation and embroidery work well together because they’re complementary techniques. They are both perceived as having a high value. The juxtaposition is also interesting, in that embroidery is a traditional technique and sublimation is a newer, more technologically advanced technique. The fact that the sublimated lining can’t be accomplished on a finished, inventoried item adds to that higher perceived value, because the recipient knows that this particular item was created and customized specifically to incorporate that engineered logo technique.

Q: Who would buy this?

NB: Any clients who want their branded merchandise to stand out from the competition would choose a customized item like this. It screams to the recipient that the garment is not cookie-cutter, but instead designed from scratch, customized and built to order. Any company that considers itself a market leader or a supplier of premium products could incorporate this wearable into its branded merchandise program.

Q: What equipment and supplies were used?

NB: We worked with a traditional cotton-poly blend for the main body fabric of the garment and used a 100% polyester lining that could be sublimated for the hood. We used the latest roll-to-roll sublimation equipment that can achieve a 720 DPI resolution for the hood lining and standard embroidery equipment, along with Madeira thread for the embroidery.

Q: What are some takeaway tips?

NB: When you’re selling a customized decoration technique that can’t be accomplished on an off-the-shelf inventoried item, you need to stress the importance of differentiating the client from competitors and truly elevating the client’s brand through customization. Consider employing the following two sales tools:

  1. Put together a virtual mock up showing how the client’s specific logo can be incorporated through various decoration techniques, like sublimation directly onto garment panels prior to sewing. We tried to show techniques that cannot be achieved on inventoried items off the shelf.
  2. A sample of a similar random piece, or a customized piece specifically made for the client is the most powerful sales tool.