e all love to support our schools, whether you’re 35 still rocking your favorite crewneck sweatshirt from college or you’re a high school student heading to the big game on Friday night. Supporting our schools through apparel and accessories is a way to not only show school pride, but also help raise money for the establishments we know and love.
Fundraising is so important because it helps strengthen the connections between schools, families, and the community. It’s a lifelong endeavor that starts early in elementary school, goes through college and doesn’t even stop after Graduation Day. Alumni are eager to rep and support their alma mater well after they accept their diploma. One day you may have your own kids, nieces/nephews, friends, etc. and want to help show their school pride too.
We want the schools to know we appreciate all the great things they are doing for our youth and what they stand for, but also have a little fun while doing it. Check out our new Back-to-School Style Guide and let’s talk about FOUR MAIN THINGS you should consider, when working with schools, to help make their fundraising efforts a booming success.
1. Don’t Forget about the Alumni, Parents and Teachers
Students love repping their school pride well after graduation, so they’re always on the hunt for classic and unique high-quality items to wear during a night out, around the office or at their favorite team’s game. So, how do you create a piece they can’t resist?
Go “old school.”
Fun vintage college apparel is a huge win with students and alumni because it has a timeless appeal that never goes out of style.
If the school has older logos they’ve used in the past, suggest putting together a throwback collection using one of those on a comfy crewneck like the Unisex Midweight Pigment-Dyed Crewneck by Independent. Since this is a pigment dyed style, it gives you that faded look, along with got a wide range of colorways suited for designing a classic.
Appeal to all ages.
The students aren’t the only ones who are wanting to rep their school pride. Parents, teachers and faculty are always happy to support their kids and students in fan gear, so make sure to pitch items that cater to older generations too.
For parents, you might want to include some premium fleece options, so cozy they’ll never want to take them off. Give them something different like the Boxercraft Women's “Fleece Out” Pullover, which has a stylish soft texture that would look great paired with embroidered school logos.
Don’t forget to include some onesie and toddler tee options too. Parents are eager to outfit their little ones in their alma mater’s spiritwear. You could create a design, using school mascots and a tagline like “future freshman” next to the school’s logo or name.
2. Personalization Is Everything
Another way to entice people to buy more school merch, especially alumni and parents, is to offer personalization options , which can bring your products to the next level. Honestly, the possibilities for customization are endless, but here are some fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Add a student athlete’s number onto the back or side panel of a baseball hat,
- Embroider or heat press sorority letters onto the arm of a quilted sweatshirt,
- Take a blanket with the school’s logo printed on it and add “Football Mom, “GO (Student Name)!” or “(Student Name) Biggest Fan” to it.
These are simple ways to make the merch more personalized and meaningful for customers. Plus, you’ll also be able to make a little extra on profits with personalization and additional placements as well.
3. Unique Decoration Methods
Speaking of custom personalization, we can’t forget about how and what we‘re using to decorate these items, because they go hand and hand. It’s the icing on the cake that makes people want to buy something. Using exclusive decoration methods makes your product stand out and feel fashion forward.
Throwbacks are in.
One of the biggest decoration trends, in the fashion world right now, revolves around nostalgic throwback culture. Younger generations are choosing to wear vintage styles as a way to stand out from the crowd. Pairing their vintage inspired spiritwear with current styles is a simple way to give their wardrobe a unique twist.
Embroidery decorations give modern styles that vintage vibe they love wearing and elevate the piece into a cherished keepsake. Distressed or faded artwork, paired with water-based printing methods, can also help take even the most modern looking apparel back in time.
The other key to creating irresistible styles for fundraising is coming up with fun decoration ideas for these schools that people might not see often.
For example, you could take a backpack from a popular brand like adidas, Champion or Oakley and then add reflective school or team themed designs to them, which would be perfect for biking around the neighborhood or the campus at night. Designs like these would also be attractive on activewear styles for those who love jogging late in the day.
Another cool idea would be using glow-in-the-dark ink to decorate a phrase like “Dreaming of the future” onto a onesie, so it shines brightly at night while the future student sleeps. Parents won’t be able to resist that one.
4. Key Fashion Must Haves
Having unique decoration on trending items is a total win. The younger generation of students want apparel that is in-style, versatile, affordable and comfortable, so students usually gravitate toward the more fashionable trends.
If they can’t find what they are looking for on campus, they’ll just shop elsewhere. Making sure clients have the top trending items to sell at fundraisers or within online school stores, gives them a huge advantage when trying to raise money. Here’s some trends for you to take advantage of today:
Greek and Highschool Kids love these. From matching sweatshirts and sweatpants to the newest trend of matching sweatshirts and sweat shorts, these are being seen in seasonless pastel color palettes and can be worn dressed up or down, from day to night.
Sororities and fraternities are a huge driver for these sets, and since most fashion trends start with this demographic, it’s best that we all take notes on what they are wearing.
These are not just for the coach leading the team anymore. These are becoming huge in streetwear and are now a must have in college stores and high school online shops. Greek clubs are also really embracing this look, by adding their Greek letters, using embroidery or patches to these jackets.
Y2K fashion trends are still going strong and bucket caps are at the forefront for the younger generations. Even IKEA® is selling bucket caps now. Offering these with your high school logo or sorority letters is an easy and inexpensive way to be fashionable.
5. Practical Items
Last but certainly not least, we can’t forget about the classic no frills, everyday practical essentials! It’s important to include trending items, but also equally important to include products in your assortment that people will need to use over and over again.
Think about accessories that people will always reach for to attend sporting events and beyond, like blankets, folding chairs, koozies, bags, totes, etc. These also fall into the impulse buy category, as well, so it gives schools a way to raise money during all their sporting events.
College dorm room essentials also fall into this category, so think about decorating laundry bags, toiletries bags, cozy sweatshirts and shorts. These are the items that you can also easily customize using the suggestions I mentioned earlier, which will take them up a notch in style and value.
You're Also Part of Their Success
The success of our schools wouldn’t be possible without all the hardworking efforts teachers, parents and volunteers put into not only educating our kids, but also running and fundraising for the programs that nurture them.
As the person that helps bring these fundraising items to life, you’re also a big part of that too. Keeping up with the trends and showing them unique ways of decorating spiritwear will enable them to continue bringing in the funds needed to keep these programs and schools around for years to come.