Become an Apparel-Decorating Expert

If you’re a distributor who wants to sell into the approximately $7.5 billion corporations and organizations spend on decorated apparel annually, you need to know how to talk about the various imprinting methods the promotional industry has to offer.

Embroidery is one of the most traditional, desired and enduring imprinting methods big and small brands alike use to decorate apparel, whether it’s adding customization to company uniforms or adding a little spice to apparel given as a personalized gift to employees or customers.

Embroidery is more durable than many other decoration techniques, such as screen printing, which can fade over time, and works well on a wide variety of fabrics. However, there are many factors to be aware of before placing an embroidery order on behalf of your client.

Embroidery Pros
Stitching has lots of benefits, namely quality and cost-effectiveness. Embroidered corporate uniforms can last through years of wearing and washes. In addition, this imprinting method works on almost every fabric, color and material. For example, textured fabrics like ribbed or pique don’t work well with screen printing, but embroidery is a sure winner. Even headwear looks stellar when embroidered or 3-D puff embroidered.

Embroidery Cautions
If your client’s design is too large or detailed, screen printing can be a more economical option. As part of the process, you can request a virtual proof from your decorator, but it might be wise to request an actual sew out on a garment sample so you and your client can verify the quality of the work (although this is more costly).

Most embroidered apparel is priced per thousand stitches. If the logo design is large or complicated, it’ll require more stitches, which will increase your client’s price. On the other hand, very small detail or lettering in a design can be difficult to embroider and should be avoided. But use as many colors as you like, as embroidery is priced by stitch count only, no matter what colors are used.

“People will only wear a garment or cap they like,” says Jimmy Lamb, a veteran embroiderer and industry educator. “Cheap apparel and poor embroidery usually end up getting tossed, thus any cost savings evaporate because your client’s advertising goal was never achieved and costs them more money in the long run.” Your supplier partner can advise you on the best apparel for your client’s needs.

Embroidery is priced by stitch count, but the overall cost will usually include a digitizing fee to turn the art file into one the embroidery machine can read and stitch. This is a one-time fee, unless you make changes to the design for subsequent runs.

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