I Believe, by Billie Staton

The who, what and wear of industry experts

Billie Staton… Garment-dyed is growing. The garment-dyed trend continues to be our best category in terms of percentage growth. Comfort Colors is the brand we carry, and it does well everywhere, especially in the southern collegiate market.

… It’s OK to be old-school. It’s interesting to me that many of our accounts will only order via fax or by telephone, and then require us to mail them paper copies of their invoices. It’s old-school, but if that is what works best for them, then they should demand it of us, and we are happy to accommodate.

… Social media can be fun. Social media is important to many of our customers, and as such, it is to us as well. We strive to make all of our technology, whether social media or otherwise, meaningful to our customers. We simply want all of it to be effective, easy to use and, when possible, fun. The concept of our Internet-based talk show The Thread was to create a forum that allows our customers to get a glimpse of what’s happening in the industry and at Staton. If you watch The Thread, you might gain an insight into a thing or two and enjoy it as well. The videos really are entertaining, especially during the credits.

… The industry is nothing like its early days. Products are different, technological advances are obvious and profound, the business climate is more demanding, and as such, business practices are much better – more refined, if you will. And, as a group, we have aged! (Notice the gray hair at the next industry show.) But to me, the most dramatic change is the composition of the industry’s manufacturers. In the ’80s, it was all Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Jerzees, Oneita and Lee. Gildan was not even in our industry then. Oneita and Lee have long been gone, and I think Hanes, Fruit and Jerzees are very different from what they once were. The offset to this is the vast number of category-specific manufacturers who now focus on and supply our industry. I believe these companies are the innovators, and without them the apparel segment of our industry would be severely marginalized. We carry products from many category-specific manufacturers, but rely most heavily on A4, Bella + Canvas and Comfort Colors.

… Being out of stock is unacceptable. The usual list of what’s important to customers includes payment terms, pricing, freight issues, days in transit and providing marketing support. However, two things have really risen to the top of the list: always having stock for immediate shipment and ensuring that every order gets processed and shipped error-free. These two things have always been a priority for us, and we continually monitor our systems for inventory availability and order precision. Anytime we see an opportunity to improve what we’re doing, we act on it. When you think about it, nothing is worse for an embellisher or distributor than to depend on a wholesaler to have inventory, but they are out of stock. Or they have stock, but ship the order incorrectly.

… Football rules in our household. I follow all things SEC (Southeastern Conference college football). I also keep up with Texas, Oklahoma and four NFL teams. During the season, football is the only television we watch. I wish I could serve on the College Football Playoff selection committee!

… Reading is a pleasure. I read a lot and always have my Kindle with me. I enjoy great literature and some not-so-great literature as well. I’ve read too many great novels to say that I have a favorite, but John Steinbeck is truly my favorite author. I think it’s because he pulls me into his novels so well that I feel a part of the story. I enjoy detective stories, suspense and mysteries too. I don’t tell everyone that (I know, I just did), and I usually buy books the day they are released.

… My mother is amazing. She is blind, and at 84, she’s lived alone for more than 20 years. She is my most admired person because she has always overcome her unique challenges and has never complained about anything. She is smart, engaging, informed and just fun to be around. When I am with her, I often forget that she can’t see.

... You should meet challenges one step at a time. I try to live by the philosophy: Do the best you are able as you go along, day by day. Don’t wait for later.