How to Profit More with Lettering Part 2

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Get creative with your lettering. Overlapping letters or positioning lettering around sleeves or across the bottom of a garment are trends that are still seen today.

If you want to read part 1 of “Display Your Specialty, Spark Lettering Sales, ” an article written in 1989 by Carleen Gray for Impressions Magazine, click here. Here’s Part 2. Again, keep in mind that these tips are oldies but goodies and were written with retail store owners in mind. If you don’t have a store, or if you have an online store, try to imagine using some of these ideas online or on your Facebook page or other social media. For social media or your website, your displays would be photos!

Part 2: It’s Better to Show Your Customer, Not Just Tell

One very effective and inexpensive way to display lettered garments is to make what we call a “garment banner.” Use several garments to form a banner by hanging them next to each other in a row, and interlocking the cuffs of the sleeves together. Try different designs on the fronts and even sleeves of the shirts.

Keep It Fresh

With a basic lettering inventory in your store, you have enough supplies on hand to create many fresh-looking designs every

Stahls' pre-cut lettering kits remain a heat printing essential even in 2014.

Stahls’ pre-cut lettering kits remain a heat printing essential even in 2014.

Try combining lettering with stock designs to create a true custom look.

Try combining lettering with stock designs to create a true custom look.

month. Even though your inventory may not change, you can us different color and style combinations you have on hand so it will appear as if you offer a large selection of lettering choices. It is also very important to rotate your samples and designs. If you find that a certain sample garment you have created isn’t selling, create a new one. The ideal situation would be that you could sell all the samples you create, so that the designs are garments are automatically rotated. However, if you have a bad design, don’t wait six months for someone to bu it before changing it. A good rule of thumb is to change your samples every four weeks or so. Don’t forget the seasons of the year that are good times to introduce new designs: Christmas, Easter, spring break, back to school, etc. You probably already have a good idea of when your customers buy the most. Plan the presentation of your new designs and themes around these busy times. If it is a gift-giving time of the year, perhaps you could use items in your display that will help your customers think of lettered garments as gifts. Use gift wrap and ribbon as a background, or arrange a few garments with gift boxes and colorful tissue paper. Remember, it’s someone’s birthday every day and people are always looking for an unusual, personalized gift. You can create a birthday or presentation shirt for display to remind people of this great gift-giving idea. The biggest problem most people have with creating displays is getting ideas. This shouldn’t stop you from using

Don't forget, there's profit in those little letters. You can charge by the letter but it's usually more profitable to charge by the "print." Just consider each name you add a "print."

Don’t forget, there’s profit in those little letters. You can charge by the letter but it’s usually more profitable to charge by the “print.” Just consider each name you add a “print.”

displays as a selling tool. There are lots of places to “borrow” ideas if you’re having trouble coming up with your own!

Use Design Trends in Displays

To get ideas about what’s selling and what you should display, watch what’s selling in the updated sportswear sections in larger department stores. Look at the graphics. Let them influence your designs and adapt them to your lettered garments. For example, throughout the U.S. and Europe this year (1989), graphics are heading towards a cleaner, more defined classic look. The trends are towards bold, interlocking and overlapping letters. Some layout suggestions that are popular sellers to get you started are featured (in this article). An interesting new color twist is the application of tone on tone or little contrast, such as pastels on pastels, instead of sharp contrasts like white on navy. (This is one trend that is also still going strong today!) White letters on a white shirt is one example of tone on tone. This look is very understated and becoming more and more popular. The key is the combination of textures–like white twill on a white sweatshirt. Or try white puff lettering on a light pink shirt for a real eye-catcher. Think of yourself as a designer when creating your samples. Go outside the realm of what is popular and create something that you would like to become popular. Introduce a new trend in your store.

A good way to try a new idea you may have is using a local school name in your design. You usually can’t go wrong with a school name. In fact it is a good idea to always have a supply of lettering on hand in your local school colors.

We’ll finish up the rest of this article with Part 3 very soon, with a recap of Top Tips. Have a safe and enjoyable summer weekend everyone. Let me know if you see any great lettered t-shirts this weekend. 

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