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How To Profit More with Lettering Part 1

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Here's an archived snapshot of Carleen Gray (today's VP Marketing of GroupeSTAHL), back in the early 1990's when she was on the road as a Workshop Leader for our traveling workshop program. Carleen is still making educational presentations on behalf of Stahls' today, most recently at the ASI Show in Chicago.

Here’s an archived snapshot of Carleen Gray (today’s VP Marketing of GroupeSTAHL), back in the early 1990′s when she was on the road as a Workshop Leader for our traveling workshop program. Carleen is still making educational presentations on behalf of Stahls’ today, most recently at the ASI Show in Chicago.

I recently ran across an article from our archives that was published 25 years ago in Impressions Magazine! It was an article titled “Display Your Specialty To Spark Lettering Sales” and it was written by Carleen Gray. Originally published in September 1989, we are going to reprint it here again, because most of the tips are still very valid and more importantly, very helpful. (please keep in mind that some of the references may not seem current, since they are from 1989) I’ll publish it in several posts. Here is part 1:

How many of you with lettering departments actively seek out lettering business? Not just the thriving team business, but the other types of lettering customers that exist in every community by the thousands? There is a hidden market out there to which only a small percentage of lettering shops are catering. Who are these customers? There are the neighbors who need 47 shirts with individual names for that upcoming family reunion. The golf club manager who wants 35 personalized shirts for the caddy crew. The joker who wants a “Can you believe Harry’s 50?” shirt for his friends’ 50th birthday party. The fishing tournament organizer who needs 10 shirts for next weeks trout contest judges. And the boss who wants to give the top salespeople a personalized “presenatation” T-shirt instead of a plaque. Are these types your customers too? If not, it’s probably because they don’t know you do lettering. Using your lettering department to its full profit potential is worth the small amount of time and effort you may have to invest. Try the following suggestions to help your lettering department become the profit center you always hoped it would be–or never realized it was!

It was great to run across this in our archives, especially the hand-drawn illustrations by Emmett Harrington. Emmett passed many years ago, but he was a talented artist who helped bring many of our lettering ideas, brochures and marketing pieces to life.

It was great to run across this in our archives, especially the hand-drawn illustrations by Emmett Harrington. Emmett passed many years ago, but he was a talented artist who helped bring many of our lettering ideas, brochures and marketing pieces to life.

You’re A Specialist–Market It!

Whether it’s your main business or not, let people know that you offer the specialized service of personalized lettering. Most people don’t know where to go when they want a small number of personalized shirts. One of the easiest ways to let them know is with a sign that says “Custom Lettering Done Here, While You Wait” or “Personalized Specialist.” Better yet, print that same slogan on a shirt and hang it in your window. One store owner we know attracts customers with his own brand of humor and a shirt that says “We print anything on a shirt–Your Name, Your Kid’s Name, Your Ex-Wife’s Phone Number.” There are many variations on this theme you could use. It’s worth the investment of the garment. Many store owners are reluctant to use garments from their inventory as part of a display that they may or not be able to sell in the future. It is possible to simply tack the letters on the garment so that you can remove them without damaging the garment, but it is also possible to create a few display garments that you can actually sell. Blank garments just don’t sell as fast as imprinted garments.

Show Vs. Tell

Once someone has entered your store with the intent to purchase a lettered garment, the next step is clinching the sale. Usually the customer will have a rough idea of what he or she wants, but is willing to hear suggestions from your salesperson. In this case, having real garments on hand to back up your suggestions is far more effective than showing a drawing or a picture of the garment with lettering. There is a big difference in telling the customer what the finished garment will look like and actually showing him. The real difference is he will probably give you the order if you show him. It’s very important for the customer to be ale to see the color of the garment with the color of the lettering he has chosen, as well as the design, if possible. The more time you spend showing the customer what it will look like, the more likely he is to give you the order.

It’s funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Watch for parts 2 and 3 and the rest of the story coming soon…

How To Print Two-Color GlitterFlake Designs

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This video was released back in May, but I know that there are people out there that haven’t seen it and since it contains valuable information on printing two-color designs with GlitterFlake, I’m reposting it here. If you have any questions about two color application, please don’t hesitate to ask. For a complete list of all our how-to educational videos, click here. 

Family Fun Day at Stahls’ Hotronix

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Friday was Family Fun Day at Stahls' Hotronix in Masontown, Pennsylvania.

Friday was Family Fun Day at Stahls’ Hotronix in Masontown, Pennsylvania.

It was “bring your family to work” day at Stahls’ Hotronix, also known as “Family Fun Day.” Everyone got to see what goes on behind the scenes at the world’s largest heat press manufacturer. There was a lot to see and do for family members, including tours, food and heat printing. Everyone left with a custom printed shirt and a smile. Thanks to all the family members that were able to attend. And thanks to Ben Robinson and everyone at Stahls’ Hotronix who helped make this day a huge success.

From the Floor of the ASI Show

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Brian McLeod shakes hands with Bob Soll of Chicago Knitting, a customer since 1950. Thank you for your business Bob.

Brian McLeod shakes hands with Bob Soll of Chicago Knitting, a customer since 1950. Thank you for your business Bob.

Carleen Gray, VP of Marketing for GroupeSTAHL, sent me this photo and gave me a brief update from the floor of the ASI Show in Chicago. She and Brian McLeod, General Manager of Stahls’, had a wonderful time meeting and speaking with many customers and dealers. But one booth visitor in particular stood out–Bob Soll has been a customer of Stahls’ since 1950! His present company, Chicago Knitting Mills, has been doing business with us since 1968. Chicago Knitting specializes in custom garment decoration of all types and they are famous for their beautiful chenille lettering. Thank you for being such a loyal and active customer Bob, we truly cherish and appreciate your business. In addition to chenille, Bob also mentioned that he keeps his heat press very busy, applying pre-cut Thermo-FILM letters as well as GlitterFlake and other specialty materials. Bob mentioned, “When we see something we like, we make samples, put it on the floor and it sells.” You make it sound so simple Bob! But we know it’s true, when you show customers how great heat printing looks, you are usually not far away from a sale. Congratulations on the success of your business, we look forward to many more years.

Today At GroupeSTAHL

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Tighe and Ben of Hotronix Heat Press Manufacturing had an opportunity to meet new  GroupeSTAHL CEO Chris Lawson in Michigan earlier this week.

Tighe and Ben of Hotronix Heat Press Manufacturing had an opportunity to meet new GroupeSTAHL CEO Chris Lawson in Michigan earlier this week.

There’s been a lot going on at GroupeSTAHL lately, with visitors from around the world, new buildings, new products, new customers and new opportunities.  Suffice it to say, we are working hard to provide you with the tools you need to make your custom garment decoration business successful, no matter how big or how small. Today we had the honor of welcoming Tighe Torbit and Ben Robinson of Hotronix heat press manufacturing. They both play very important roles in making Stahls’ Hotronix the world’s largest manufacturer of heat presses.

I would also like to take this opportunity to publicly announce the recent retirement of our CEO Brian Sukarukoff and the appointment of Chris Lawson as the new GroupeSTAHL CEO. Earlier last week we said “thank you” to Brian during a special teleconference. We are all very grateful for Brian’s many contributions to GroupeSTAHL and we wish him all the best. Needless to say, Brian left big shoes to fill and will be missed. But we are more than confident that Chris’ proven financial, operations, leadership and business building skills will take GroupeSTAHL into the future.

Please join us in welcoming Chris Lawson as CEO of GroupeSTAHL.

Please join us in welcoming Chris Lawson as CEO of GroupeSTAHL.

With Chris we welcome a unique combination of business and leadership skills. His financial background as a CPA is a strong foundation but when combined with his vast experiences in operations, marketing, and IT, we have someone who brings new meaning to the word “Renaissance Man.” Chris’s track record has shown how he has given new life to several companies through expansion, increased distribution and groundbreaking marketing. One of his accomplishments is the Atwater Brewery, which grew to the #2 brand in Michigan by its third year. We can’t print his entire resume here, but here are some more of the highlights: As the former CFO and Executive Vice-President of Ross Roy Advertising (a $1.0 billion(billing) private advertising/marketing services company specializing in advertising, merchandising, direct marketing, sales training and collateral, public relations, new product launches. Sold to Omnicom, Inc.) , Chris led the development and execution of a strategic growth plan that helped this regional company become one of the top 5 in its industry in America. Part of this process included integrating 15 agencies around the country under one financial roof.

Along with proven strategic planning, financial, operations and general management skills, Chris also brings hands-on entrepeneurial experience. He was managing partner of a real estate sub-development of the Town Center of Palmetto Bluff, a 23,000 acre master planned golf community and resort and also an investor, owner-representative in the development of the Ford Plantation an exclusive private “outdoor sporting community” near Savannah, GA. Please join me in welcoming Chris to the GroupeSTAHL family.