In today’s competitive apparel market, where there is no shortage of options, presenting the right product to your customers could be a daunting task. Offering the right products, as well as services, can set yourself apart from your competitors. But you can’t always do everything yourself…. sharing this responsibility with the right partners and suppliers could be the most successful, strategic decision for your business. The apparel marketplace is vast and saturated with different products at different price points, quality and focuses. There are branded products that you may recognize in the retail space, spanning from basic t-shirts to highly technical jackets, as well as industry Private Label products that address a spectrum of opportunities that is specific to your needs and the promotional industry. How you navigate the product and supplier landscape will determine what you can offer to your customers, and understanding the industry’s offering of Private Label products can become an advantage that you may already use. If not, here are a few reasons why you should, and what to look for when you do:
Designed for the Industry
The term Private Label can vary by description from supplier to supplier. Are your supplier’s Private Label products simply a re-labeled garment or is it truly designed with your requirements and the industry in mind? Look for things that add to your value proposition to your customers, such as designs that suit the industry and end-use. Since decoration is such a crucial part of our industry, can the garments withstand embroidery? Furthermore, have they been tested to withstand it? Does the design complement or interfere with the decoration locations? Look for things that are truly unique; for example, embroidery access systems that allow for the raw backing of the embroidery to be hidden in jackets. What may seem to be a marginal topic of conversation could lead to a better experience and level of confidence with your customer.
Merchandised for Your Needs
The importance of knowing your supplier’s Private Label products goes beyond the design of the garments. Another quality Private Label product’s offer is the consistency of the product line. A quality supplier will offer choice that is workable and relatable to your business. One thing often overlooked is consistent colors amongst the inventory of a style. When your customer buys a Classic Red from you at the beginning of the year, their expectation of a reorder is to be consistent to all the other orders they’d placed. Beyond the consistency of a single style, additional opportunities that may be available to you could be identifying outfitting options. Many times end-users are outfitting a team that will require not only a polo, but also a shirt and a jacket to complete the outfit. Take advantage of the industry Private Label brands that offer you that one-stop solution to create that outfit with the consistency of colors, not only within its inventory of a single style, but across its entire collection.
The Right Brand for Your Opportunity
In addition to the above, the intended targeted market and audience of a Private Label collection can also benefit your position. Look for collections and brands that have an intended end-use in mind. Are your customers looking to outfit staff in a warehouse, or are they outfitting the opening of a new resort? Are your customers looking to put together a corporate gift program, or uniform for their national sales team? The availability to have an answer for each of those through a supplier’s Private Label collection is not always possible. I always encourage asking those questions with your suppliers’ sales representatives, seeing how much they understand what you and your customers are looking for. In addition to selling garments, your supplier should be offering solutions to the opportunities you bring to them. Final Thoughts Lastly, get to know your supplier’s Private Label brands and what they represent. Understand the end-user target demographic for each of the brands. The designs for any given brand in a supplier’s assortment need to represent an end-use and a function. For example, when designing for a corporate-focused brand, the importance of a professional appearance throughout the day is a top consideration. When designing for our active-focused brand, we think of the activities and environment the products will be put through. When designing for hospitality-focused and occupational wear brands, functionality and comfort of the intended wearer is critical. The Private Label brand’s job is to identify each of those designations and verticals of end-use. By working with suppliers that can provide you with those options and clarity, you will be able to efficiently offer the best service and options to your customers; and all that’s left is the fun part with choosing the right designs! Joe’l Bastien alphabroder Director of Strategic Accounts JBastien@alphabroder.com (800) 523-4585