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How Decorators Are Adapting to Customer's New Needs & Purchasing Habits

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How Decorators Are Adapting to Customer's New Needs & Purchasing Habits
This session was featured in The S&S Virtual Experience (Feb 2021)

Lots of decorators have seen major shifts in their business, since the arrival of Covid-19. Some of those shifts were forced upon them by the sudden changes in business, which came along with the pandemic, and some were a result of them seizing new opportunities that began popping up.

In the video above, Mark Graham, of commonsku, leads four short 1-on-1 discussions with industry decorators to talk about, how they we’re affected by these shifts, what adjustments they made, opportunities that we’re already coming about, before the pandemic, and how 2020 created other meaningful changes at their company.

Featured Panelists:

Session Takeaways:

“Kitting” is now huge.

One of the biggest changes that occurred last year, was the complete stoppage of in-person events. Companies that would normally have ordered decorated items for their corporate events, trade shows or promotional needs, now suddenly had to rethink how they engaged with their customers and employees.

Lucas Guariglia, CEO at Rowboat Creative, mentions how he tried to find solutions for these businesses by really becoming more of a partner and consultant to them. Doing so gave him and his staff the ability to offer really creative ideas for how these companies could develop a unique at-home unboxing experience, though the use of kits with decorated swag, which really connected with their audience in a more personal way.

“We try immerse ourselves into their (the client’s) company culture…immerse ourselves into what they are trying to get across…For us, it really is becoming part of that company”
Lucas Guariglia, CEO & Co-Founder at Rowboat Creative

This is one of the reasons why “kitting” has become so huge recently. It helps give end-users an experience that replicates the same kind of energy and passion they might have received from an in-person interaction. Guariglia says that his company really tries to find out what their client’s brand embodies, so they can put themselves in the end-user’s position of really feeling what it’s like to unbox and receive those themed kits.

Gaming and podcast audiences are becoming a lucrative source of decoration work.

YouTubers aren’t the only ones building their audiences. There’s been a huge influx of Twitch streamers and podcasts over the past couple of years, and especially last year, when people were stuck at home with not much to do. You might have already started hearing friends or co-workers talking about the latest episode of their favorite podcast, and getting giddy for the next one to drop. Similarly, the new generation of gamers are constantly tuning in to watch their favorite streamer mystify them with their gaming prowess.

Huge communities are developing around these niches and Joel Halberg, Director of Sales at McKenzie SewOn, says they’re taking full advantage of it.

“We found an awesome niche by looking at who has a community following and whose putting out great content. When you’ve got engaged fans and a good community, most of them appreciate a solid decorated apparel item.”
Joel Halberg, Director of Sales at McKenzie SewOn

Growing communities like these, could become a good source for more decoration work, because everyone loves repping things that they love or have interest in. These decorated pieces are also what makes these people feel like they’re part of a community, and they’ll be more than willing to spend their hard earned money on something like that.

If you don’t believe us though, take it from this teenager, whose unboxing his new brand new hoodie from the well-known eSports crew, FAZE Gaming, who did a collaboration with Champion on this piece.

Clients are increasingly looking for elevated decorations.

With the streetwear market continuously expanding and retail collaborations growing, clients are starting to look for decorations that stand out from the crowd.

“Demands are primarily coming from the retail market. Even with the distributor market, their clients are looking to emulate what they see in stores or see with large national brands”
Traci Miller, President at Color 3 Embroidery Inc.

With these kinds of demands increasing, expectations are increasing as well, so it’s really important to make sure you clients understand the amount of expenses, production time and resources that go into making their high-end decorations come to life.

“The more educated our clients are, the better products they sell and the better opportunity we have for a partnership throughout the year to give their clients a really solid value.”
Traci Miller, President at Color 3 Embroidery Inc.

It’s also important to make sure that your other clients, who usually settle for the same old plain and simple orders, know about these retail trends and discover new ideas for unique placements or design concepts.

CLICK HERE to see the other videos from our virtual event.

Mar 14, 2021