Why Does Digitizing Matter for Apparel?

Why Does Digitizing Matter?

I am pretty sure that each of us has a shirt, jacket or hat that is embroidered with a logo. It may not be for your current company or even anyone you’ve ever worked for, but you have it. I am a golfer and play in a lot of tournaments and always look forward to getting a shirt (if it’s a good one that is… please don’t skimp here!).

I am also sure you have seen some logo’s that look absolutely fabulous embroidered and others that just don’t look right.

The difference may be how the logo was digitized. What does that mean? Well, you take the logo and turn it into a stitch file that tells an embroidery machine how to sew onto a garment. If it’s not done correctly the end result could be a disaster!

It’s not as simple as scanning the logo into a program and off you go. No, it takes someone with skill that can determine the best path for the logo to run (think of the machine picking up the

Eastern Logo is Clean

Eastern Logo is Clean

various threads). The sequence is very important as it affects how the design will “lie” when complete. If it’s not done correctly, you could have unwanted gaps in the fabric or uneven text.

The designer also determines the type of stitches and how many. We have many complicated logo’s that we embroider regularly. Others have tried to undercut us and steal the business by “skimping” on the number of stitches, however, you can always tell. The logo just doesn’t look as complete.

If you have decided to embroider apparel you need to make sure to always get a swatch for approval. This is not a virtual of your logo as it might appear stitched on a shirt, this is a true sew-out of your logo on fabric that is similar to what you plan to use. If you don’t think it looks quite right – speak up! The swatch is typically the best it’s going to be. And, don’t be shy about asking for a swatch until you are happy with the result. Just because they say they can “fix” it doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the case.

So what happens if you approve a swatch and then the shirts look different. How did that happen? If you the digitizer and embroidery machines are in the same company, it shouldn’t. If they aren’t there are a few possibilities.

First it may be the fabric of your garment is totally different than the swatch fabric (a good embroiderer will typically ask what type of fabric so they can use that for the swatch). Another reason may be the speed in which the machines are run. If the file is not set up for that type of speed (typically faster) it can impact the quality of the finished embroidery.

Digitizing is a very specialized process that takes time and experience to produce a quality result – in this case, less expensive is definitely not necessarily better.

Imprinting Class: Embroidery

Embroidery A large majority of my blog posts involve me harping on the importance of putting your logos on promotional products. Now, I know that you know what promotional products are (giveaway t-shirts, stress balls, padfolios, koozies, bags, pens, etc.), but what do you know about the actual imprinting processes? This is part one of an informative series about those processes. Today’s lesson: embroidery.

The MacMillan online dictionary defines embroidery as “the activity of decorating cloth with [colored] stitches.” That’s easy enough. A design – in this case your company’s logo – is sewn onto fabric. But how do we get from your logo on paper to having it sewn on a cap?

First the logo must be converted into stitches, a procedure that we call “digitization.” This involves figuring out exactly where which type of embroidery stitch will be used, how letters and symbols will be connected to one another, and logo sizing. It’s an involved process that ultimately determines how much your embroidery will cost.

Once the logo has been digitized, an accurate stitch count is determined. That is, we know exactly how many times the needle will need to pass through a piece of cloth to achieve an embroidered logo. Higher stitch counts are more expensive than lower ones because they require more time on the embroidery machine and they use more thread.

But price is not decided by stitch count alone, the cost of embroidery is very dependent upon quantity. Setting up the machines for each logo is a lot of manual labor, so if you are only sewing your logo onto 6 polos (Gossett Marketing’s minimum order quantity), then the price will be higher than it would be for 500 shirts. Basically, if the cost of the setup is amortized over fewer shirts then the price is higher.

And that’s what it takes to embroider your logo onto fabric! Leave a note in the comments below if you are interested in embroidered promotional products.

Click on this YouTube video to see an embroidery machine in action:

July 4th Promotional Products

Apron

The 4th of July is coming up. Of course it is a day in which we all celebrate the birth of our nation, but it can also be a day to celebrate your brand! Give your customers and employees one (or more) of the promotional products listed below – they’re perfect on the 4th and all summer long:

Caps: protect your customers’ skin with an embroidered cap.
– Beach Towels: your logo can be huge on these!
– Sunglasses: it’s always great to have an extra pair.
– Coolers: ideal for picnics or days at the beach.
– BBQ Tools: yes, you can put your logo on these too! Great for, well, barbecues!
– Hand Fan: they’re inexpensive and have a large imprint area.
– Sunblock: put your logo on high quality sunblock, something everyone should use.
– Matches and Lighters: your employees have to light their grill and sparklers.
– Koozies: they work for beer or soft drinks.

If you’d like some additional ideas, contact the Gossett Marketing team! Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

And to get you excited about the holiday, watch this amazing fireworks display on YouTube:

Promotional Products Work!

promotional products work week
Every spring promotional marketing products professionals celebrate “Promotional Products Work! Week.” Created by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), it is a weeklong celebration of what we do (designing, creating, and selling promotional items) and why we do it (because these products bring our customers excellent brand exposure).

In addition to creating a celebration of all things promotional products, PPAI is also making my job easier by providing videos to support their case. Check out the YouTube clip below to see which items people love in the workplace – and how they help their recipients remember your company’s name.

Before watching, did you know that writing instruments, hand sanitizer, USBs and stress relievers were some of the most popular at-work promotional products? Or that 74% of people have at least one promotional item in their office? The fact that of those people, the majority remember the advertiser whose logo is on them. That tells me that people keep logoed giveaways around for a long time and that they actually use them.

So, to get a great return on your marketing investment, give people items that they actually want – useful office items. Promotional products work!

The Power of Uniforms

Uniforms
Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the house in the morning. I don’t claim to be the world’s best dresser, but I try to look put together when I walk out the door, and on occasion this proves challenging. On those mornings, I always think the same thing – wouldn’t it be great to have a uniform?

Uniforms can really be anything. They might be as simple as matching caps or as wacky as full-blown costumes. But no matter their style, they are all great promotional pieces because your employees are literally walking around advertising your company. They don’t have to be a huge investment either: we can embroider as few as 6 shirts with your company’s logo. What a great way to both advertise your company and to make it easier for your staff to get dressed in the morning!

Look at this YouTube clip from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead – not quite the uniform I had in mind!

Honoring Nurses

photo from www.dobsonhealthcare.com

photo from www.dobsonhealthcare.com

National Nurses Week runs from May 6th through the 12th. It is a time to recognize the service of nurses, who are often the unsung heroes of the healthcare industry. As I have mentioned in the past, here at Gossett Marketing we do a tremendous amount of promotional products for various hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices so we have produced many an order for Nurses Week. Here are some of my favorites:

Power Banks – Tech items are the hottest things going in our industry right now and power banks might be the most popular type of product in that category. We all have personal electronics equipment with us all of the time, right? Sometimes the battery wears out and we have no access to a plug (or – yucky! – we have to sit on the floor to reach one), so having a handheld power source can be a Godsend in desperate situations. One of our hospital chains gave imprinted power banks to their nurses and the gifts were a hit!

Bags – We regularly produce bags for Nurses Week. We have done duffels, backpacks, boat totes and the like and always get good feedback for these gifts. Why? Because who can’t use one?! The best part is that these are either imprinted or embroidered with a logo and then carried throughout the community, effectively doing branding all around town.

Trunk Organizers – When you think of nurses you probably don’t think about the trunks of their cars, but trunk organizers were one of the most popular items we have every done for any organization’s Nurses Week gifts. These are collapsible storage containers that are placed in a trunk and keep things tidy in the back of a car. They are super useful but they might not be the type of products that a nurse (or anyone) thinks to go out and buy themselves, but once they have one they don’t know how they ever lived without it.

Picnic Blankets – Like trunk organizers, picnic blankets are not items that most people think to purchase for themselves; however, they are surprisingly handy to have. While most of us do not regularly picnic, you can bring these to tailgates, use them at the beach or at a park, or just in the backyard. That is potentially good brand exposure!

Anything that you can do to support nurses is excellent – thank them for their hard work, give them a hug, or, better yet, give them a gift! And if that gift is a promotional marketing product then all the better!

Brand the Sand: A Fun Summer Item

Flip Flops

Even though it is only May, it already feels like summer here in Miami. The days are long, the sun is bright, and it is hot. So hot, in fact, that I am planning on hitting the beach this weekend- a nice dip in the ocean will refresh this overheated blogger!

A great perk to working at Gossett Marketing is the fun, branded samples that we receive. One of my favorites is a pair of rubber Havaianas-style sandals that we had made for the Orange Bowl a year or so ago. They’re black and have silver “Obie” logos. Subtle but cute! And you can bet that they will be on my feet when I hit the sand on Saturday.

While I love our Orange Bowl flip flops, I wish we had added one thing to them. If I had my way, we would have carved their logo out of the sole of each sandal. That way, when the wearer walked on the beach a logo imprint would have been imprinted in the sand. Imagine giving your customer sandals that literally branded the beach for you! If that person was on Miami Beach, then thousands of viewers could potentially see your company name. It’s a creative promotional product that is ideal for the summer – what an impression custom-soled flip flops could make! (Sorry for the bad pun, I couldn’t help myself!)

Why Online Promo Products Stores?

photo from www.shumsky.com

photo from www.shumsky.com

As any reader of this blog well knows, I work at Gossett Marketing and we are a promotional products distributorship located in Coconut Grove, Florida. That means that we sell the imprinted promo items that keep your logo in front of your customer 24/7. Traditionally promos are sold when we talk to a customer, determine the type of product that they need, make suggestions, secure the order, process it, and have it delivered. Pretty straightforward. Well, we’ve found a way to make ordering even easier – by offering our customers their own online promotional products stores!

Online stores can work a couple of ways. One is to have a traditional internet-based marketplace where imprinted promotional products are sold directly to the public. So if someone is particularly passionate about, say, a hotel chain, they would be able to buy its branded items. The other way to handle a promotional products online store is to create one that is for a company’s internal use: this is the way we have been creating and utilizing them lately.

We do a lot of work for large, decentralized companies. They all have their own marketing departments who determine their logo standards, but very often that information is slow to trickle to each and every affiliated entity. Therefore, although the organization is only supposed to give away promotional products with its logo imprinted in a specific PMS purple color, very often the distant branches might miss the memo and give away orange-logoed pens. That’s not great for creating a consistent brand, which is why a corporate online store is an excellent way to ensure continuity.

When we set up online stores we tend to work with an organization’s marketing department to select appropriate promotional items – very often it’s hundreds per store! – so that when it is mandated that their promo products must be ordered through the online store they know each item lives up to brand standards. Additionally, when we sit down with a marketing department to better understand the types of items they feel comfortable imprinting with their company’s logo we are also able to learn more about their logos. So when a distant branch wants that pen with an orange imprint, we can nip that in the bud pronto!

Whether you are interested in selling your promotional marketing materials directly to the public or if you would just like for those types of items to consistently reflect your brand standards, you should definitely consider taking the plunge and setting up an online store!

Don’t Waste Your Tradeshow Dollars

Flying Teacup
Are your promotional products boring? Do you just slap your logo on sticky notes and hand them out at tradeshows? So many companies do just that – their giveaways are an afterthought and, well, that’s why they end up in the trash can!

As I’ve mentioned before, at Gossett Marketing we strive to provide our customers with unique and different promos, and that often means that we create completely custom pieces for them. When I meet with new people and I tell them that, they generally balk and say something like “we don’t have the budget for custom items,” but custom does not equal expensive! For instance, we had a “U”-shaped stress reliever made for the University of Miami Health System. It’s a great piece that I’ve seen sitting on countless desks, and it did not break the bank. We can have “Silly Bandz” made in the shape and color of your logo for pennies. And completely unique lapel pins and buttons can be produced for less than one dollar.

If your company does have a bit larger budget, then the possibilities are truly limitless. We designed and produced a “flying teacup” for Virgin Atlantic Airways. Then there was a “flamingo in a can” for the opening of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. And some of my favorite promotional products have been the distinctive acrylic and pewter Miami-themed frames that we created for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Promotional products shouldn’t be throwaways – they should be different and interesting so that they do not end up in the garbage. For the same price as a notebook you can give away something completely unique. To me, that’s a much better bang for your buck.

What is the most creative promotional product you’ve ever given or received? Leave your comments below.

When Promo Products Get Weird

photo from www.tampabay.com

photo from www.tampabay.com

Professional and collegiate athletic teams give away a ton of promotional products. It’s an easy way for them to market themselves: they promote the giveaway that they are going to, well, give away, to get people excited about attending games, then once spectators leave the venue, they take their imprinted items home with them and use or display them. Therefore, they continue to see the team’s logo well after the game, and ideally that will inspire them to buy another round of tickets. Makes sense!

Teams give a variety of different promotional items. Some are pretty standard-issue marketing pieces: stress relievers, bobble heads, t-shirts, and coolers all come to mind. But some teams get pretty creative. Take, for instance, the Tampa Bay Rays, who give their fans…well…why don’t you read an article in Promo Marketing Magazine to see what one of my home state’s baseball teams hands out to its fans. Click here to read, and trust me, it’s worth it!

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