Ask Questions

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In order for me to learn more about our craft of printing I always have to ask questions. That learning is in turn passed on to our customers in the form of better products and experiences. I say this because many times it seems customers are not willing to ask questions. Some of them have done printing projects before so they know what they want, but others may have questions but for some reason will not ask. I always want to encourage people to ask questions. The Harvard Business Review did a great short article on asking better questions.

We want you to understand the process. We want you to ask questions about options. What can be done, what cannot be done. Screen printing is not the same as offset printing (business cards, flyers, posters, etc.) Understanding the differences helps the process go that much smoother and offers our customers a better experience based on expectations being set.

Finally, when you ask us questions it helps us formulate great options for your project. And at the end of the day, that is what we really want. To offer you great options to make your project the best that it can be, thus making you and your brand look awesome!

Brian NeSmith
Thread Zone

Thread Zone offers world class quality in screen printed apparel as well as embroidery and promotional products.

Craft Breweries Get It

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It’s not rocket science, and craft breweries get it. Think about this explosion in craft beer. Most of them started in a garage with some friends just like Crooked Can Brewing Co. When business starts small like this creative ways of marketing come into play. But creative doesn’t mean re-invent the wheel. Creative can usually mean cost effective. So of course this brings us to apparel and promotional items. Betcha knew I was going there didn’t you.

I can’t help but notice all of the local breweries selling t-shirts with their brand on them. And people are actually wearing them everywhere…..how else do you think I noticed? Recently at a family gathering, a particular family member showed up wearing a local brewery shirt. I was not the only one that asked about the establishment. So hats off to Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co., your shirt worked and had multiple people talking about your business, and by the way, I remembered the name to include in this blog.

It works…….let me say this again…..it works. Too many people think t-shirts are so simplistic and just push the idea aside. Not breweries though, they know. They know people are social, and they know things like a well designed t-shirt can help start a conversation. They also know they don’t have to break the bank. Most shirts we have observed are only one color prints.

So next time you visit your local craft brewery or attend an event with craft brewery participation, look around and I bet they are selling shirts, and a lot of them.

Top 5 Reasons Why T-Shirts are an Excellent Marketing Tool for Business

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Small and big businesses are always on the lookout for the best ways of marketing their businesses. With so many promotional techniques in existence today, using promotional items still remains a top marketing strategy. Branded t-shirts are an excellent way for businesses to market their ideas. Here are the reasons why you should consider printed t-shirts for your marketing campaigns.

Economical to produce

If you are looking for marketing products that will not dent your budget, then promotional t-shirts are an ideal choice. Make sure that the design is simple and requires the use of not more than three colors. This way, you will end up saving a lot on printing costs.

Round-the-clock promotional material

Most forms of business advertisement are usually short-term. Paper print will eventually be recycled, radio spots are usually brief, and billboards will eventually be taken down, not to mention the high cost. However, a nicely designed t-shirt tends to outlast all other promotional channels. Customers will hold their t-shirts for a long period of time and if a nice quality shirt they will wear it often.

Practical and functional

The drawback of most promotional items is the fact that clients tend to forget that they have them. However, promotional printed t-shirts are functional items that your audience will get more use out of. Every individual needs a new t-shirt and your customers will think of your business whenever they wear them. Make sure that you produce high-quality t-shirts that your clients can wear for a long time.

Team spirit

Apart from being sold to or given to customers, branded t-shirts can also be great for your employees. T-shirts can help to improve company morale. Businesses can give shirts and uniforms to new employees as a way of welcoming them and making them feel like they are a part of the team. You can also have your employees wearing matching t-shirts in sponsored events or other business affairs. When your staff members appear as one, your business will look more professional.

Widespread brand recognition

Every time a client wears your company printed t-shirts, they will be contributing positively to improved brand recognition. Your business will be marketed everywhere your t-shirt goes. This will in turn make your customers walking billboards for your business. Your business will be recognized by many people and this may end up increasing your customer base and sales.

To get the best from your printed t-shirts, make sure that you hire the right screen printing company. You should never settle for the first or cheapest company that you come across. Take some to look at several and decide which one best fits your needs.

Thread Zone prints custom apparel and exceeds the industry standard of customer service. Contact us to help with you next project at 407-907-6788 or email us at info@threadzoneprints.com

Why Event Shirts are Important

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Some qualifying background.  I have worked in the event industry for 15 years, and I have seen a lot of events come and go.  And what I notice is those event producers that spend money on a quality event shirt reap the benefits of marketing their brand, versus those that purchase the least expensive option.  Allow me to elaborate. 

There are many things an event should spend money to make the event a success.  But making an event a success is also thinking forward.  Will people remember it next year, or do you have to start the marketing process over from scratch.  A quality event shirt is one of the few items and sometimes the only item a person will take with them and use over and over again.  This, of course, creates a walking billboard for your event in the months leading up to the date.  However, if the shirt is cheap and poorly designed, people will simply throw it in a drawer or use it for a rag.

Many event organizers look at a shirt as a necessary expense rather than a marketing investment.  if you don't believe me just look at how many brewery shirts are out and about these days.  The craft brew market has figured this out.  They create not only a fun brand, but a good product and people are walking around doing their advertising for them.  Just this past weekend I learned of a new craft brewery here in Central Florida because of a t-shirt.

So next time you are involved with an event and are considering your budget, remember, the shirt can be worn for years.  But only if a quality shirt is selected and designed.

10 Free Tips to Buying Printed Apparel for Your Company

Just like anything else in business buying printed apparel for your company or event is a process that everyone wants to be as stress-free as possible.  So we compiled 10 tips that we feel will help in your buying process.

1. Plan Ahead: Don't forget that when ordering there are probably orders ahead of yours in the pipeline.  Many times busy printers run 7 to 10 business days out once everything is approved and ready to go to press.  So plan accordingly to make sure you get your job done on time.

2. Hire a Designer:  We all love free, but usually, you get what you pay for.  Printing on apparel is not like other print mediums and it takes a designer that understands this.  Spend a few extra dollars and find a designer that knows how to put together good shirt artwork.  Many companies like ours offer this service and sometimes we do it for free based on the size of the order.

3. Get Proper Artwork Formats:  This is closely related to the number 2 on the list.  But this goes hand in hand with having a designer that understands the best artwork formats for apparel printing are vector formats.  This would include .eps and .ai for example.  Be sure to get these file formats from your designer when completed, as well as .jpg and .png to use for electronic mediums like websites.

4. Order Quantity and Save:  If you are able to order in quantity you will save in the long run.  Here is an example.  Client orders 300 shirts and pays $5 shirt = $1,500 for the order.  Or Client orders 50 shirts 6 different times and pays $7.50 per shirt each time.  This equals $2,250.  Easy math.

5. Get Apples to Apples Quotes:  Too many times people get 3 quotes and just look at the bottom line price.  Many times it's not an apples to apples comparison.  Did all companies quote on the same style shirt?  Are set up fees included in quote?  Did the printer quote on just the printing and not the shirt?  This all matters in the final pricing.

6. Look at Online Reviews:  Yes, online reviews matter and you should look at them.  I generally feel that if at least 85 to 90% of the reviews are positive you will be treated well by your printer.  But don't just look at the percentage, look at the actual number of reviews.  If one company only has 5 reviews and another has 30, maybe the company with 30 is doing such good work and taking the time to interact with customers more, those customers want to tell others.

7. Don't Ask for a Discount:  Asking for a discount up front sets the wrong tone for a lasting partnership with your printer.  Remember they also need a healthy bottom line to grow their business.  Many printers will offer discounts such as pre-pay discounts or may throw in a few extras, but they are more willing to do so to clients with whom they have a solid partnership.

8. Make Referrals:  Did you know that travel agents many times travel for free because they bring so much business to hotels and restaurants and other vendors that make money from their clients?  We have extended discounts and sometimes thrown in some freebies for our clients that send others our way.  Yes, we reward those that refer clients to us.  Here's a non-print example.  Our family has referred much business to a local professional woman in our community.  Recently she showed up and gave our family free passes to a theme park for everyone to enjoy.  Yes, those of us in business tend to recognize those that help us and we want to reward their efforts.

9. Buy Local:  This is not one of those pleas to help put Amazon out of business.  We love Amazon.  But when local businesses or events come knocking on our door and want us to support our community, then those same businesses buy our products online from a faceless group based in an unknown city across the country?  That means we don't have the money to support our community.  So, yes, you may save a few dollars online, but in the end there becomes no community relationship.

10. Don't Purchase on Price Alone:  We always encourage folks to get multiple quotes, and as stated in #5 make sure it's Apples to Apples.  But our final tip is not to make your decision on price alone.  There will always be someone cheaper if you keep asking, but usually, you end up getting what you paid for.  We usually suggest gravitating towards the quotes somewhere in the middle.  This tends to be a fair quote, and most likely the printers will want to serve your needs and win you as a long time customer.

I hope these tips have helped and given you a few things to consider when purchasing your next round of printed apparel!

Thread Zone does printed apparel for many industries and includes screen printing, embroidery, and promotional products.  Call us today for a quote 407-907-6788.

Fundraising with T-Shirts

I spent some time in the non-profit world.  So I feel I am somewhat familiar with the events that typically take place to help raise money for various causes.  Events that most people are familiar with would include casino nights, 5K runs or charity walks, golf tournaments, etc.  However, there is something that many charities overlook because it's a relatively new idea.  Selling t-shirts as fundraisers.  Think about how many people you see on a daily basis wearing a t-shirt.  Stop and look at it sometime, read the message.

In our age of online platforms, we can now offer non-profits a FREE way to sell shirts online and make money for their cause.  Yes, I said FREE!  Many times people look at this with a skeptical eye, and rightfully so.  We all grew up being told nothing is for free, right? Well, this is!  Now, where are your actual costs? Time and effort is your cost.  We are able to help you set up the online sales portal, we can manage it for you, and produce the product and fulfill to your customers.  However, the client MUST put the marketing effort in to let folks know they can buy. 

It's not an "If You Build It They Will Come" platform.  People must be informed and told over and over again so they know to buy.  We have seen case studies of this program bringing in tens of thousands of dollars if the client really gets behind the effort.  And when it's all over, we show up at your front door with a check.  Yep, just that simple.

So next time you are looking for an out of the box idea, consider selling t-shirts online to support your cause.  You don't have to recruit volunteers for this one :).

What happens to leftover shirts

Any screen print operation will tell you that they have extra shirts lying around.  Not shirts that you probably want but rather shirts that have been damaged, or extras from large orders, etc..  So it's really a hodge podge of shirts.  So what do we do with all of these extras.

There are multiple options to make use of leftover t-shirts, rather than just screen printing them.  We have donated shirts to missions groups to take with them overseas to help those less fortunate that may need clothes.  We also recently donated leftover shirts to a local vacation bible school because they needed shirts to cut up for kids projects.  Many times we use our leftovers as test print shirts when we set up a new job.  We like to test every print before we go into full production to make sure everything looks great!  Then of course there is always using extra shirts as clean up rags.

The bottom line is we do what we can not to be wasteful and to use all of our resources.  Thats good for everyone!

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Artwork is key

Many of our customers are first-time folks ordering screen printed apparel.  The first time doesn't mean first time the company orders with us, although that happens too.  But rather the first time the customer is ordering printed apparel.  When we think of printing most people automatically think brochures, flyers, business cards, etc..  And while these are all great items, it's a completely different printing medium and process than apparel.

For the apparel industry, artwork takes on a different meaning.  Although we all want good clean artwork, for apparel we need to convert the art to spot colors and make sure all colors are separated before we can make screens and go to print.  I don't claim to know as much about traditional offset printing (on paper) other than to say the process varies from ours.

As a result, having good clean artwork is key to your design coming out well on your custom printed t-shirts.  That usually means we need what is called Vector artwork.  This is artwork that is typically formatted as .EPS or .AI.  It allows us to manipulate the size and still maintain the integristy of the design.

So remember, when you are considering ordering custom screen printed tee shirts.  Have your designer provide you with artwork that is ready to go to avoid any artwork set up fees from the printer.

Thread Zone does custom printed apparel through screen printing and embroidery.  Call us today for a quote!