Editors Letter - Kathys Edit December 14

The Urge to Purge

I recently did my annual closet purging. This resulted in about four Hefty bags full of clothing for donation. Of course now, much to my husband’s chagrin, I have to buy new clothes to fill in the gaps (insert smiley face here).

It’s our civic duty, in my opinion, to complete these regular assessments so as not to offend the fashion-forward public with our ill-fitting, so-last-season apparel. It’s our duty at Advantages, too, to complete our annual assessment of what’s happening on the ad specialty side of the wearables world.

Our mission: Keep you in the loop about the industry’s top-selling category – apparel. Shirts alone accounted for about $4 billion of distributor revenues in 2013, according to Counselor’s “State of the Industry” report. “Other wearables” came in at number five. As such, here you have our “Apparel Issue,” focusing on trends and forecasts for 2015 and beyond. We also bring you a few great case studies of apparel in action.

Trends to note: Performance wear continues to rule. When you hear words like moisture-wicking, stain-resistance, wrinkle-resistance, anti-microbial and UV protection in relation to garments, you likely have a contender you should get samples of for clients in all kinds of industries.

Forget 50 shades of gray. Blue’s on cue. According to Pantone, several shades of blue will be hot in 2015. I’m wearing a lovely shade of blue right now, as a matter of fact.

Remember your first concert T-shirt? (Who was it, by the way?) T-shirts are still the rock stars of promotional apparel. And rock stars want them. One distributor – spotlighted in this issue – recently sold 5,000 T-shirts to a band promoting its summer-into-fall tour. She does a bulk of her business with bands and DJs. These days, clients want lighter-weight, more fashionable versions.Apparel embellishment is ever-evolving as well. Sure, you have your standard techniques like embroidery and screen printing. But how about ProSpangling or InFusion? Do you even know what Photochromics is? Read all about it in “Tried and True, Plus New,” in which our writer walks you through various types of decoration so you will be more in-the-know the next time you meet with your apparel buyer. There’s even a quiz. Let me know how you do.

On the subject of quizzes, our “Sales Boost” quiz this month is about cultivating habits that will lead to sales success. One of them is training your brain to focus on the positive.” Focus your attention on goals and the practical steps needed to achieve them. “Catch those negative thoughts as they creep in and then reform them into positive ones,” Chris Ruvo writes. “Turn ‘This prospect is just going to buy from the Internet’ into ‘I have a good plan for bringing value to this client that will encourage him to order from me.’”

As my sunny sister has written on a chalkboard in her kitchen, “Positive thoughts lead to positive results.” Let that be your motto too!