Let’s Talk Apparel Expectations: Are Yours Unrealistic?

Let’s face it—sometimes our expectations don’t align with what reality can actually provide us. We are all guilty of it. Some people don’t want to hear that, but if you decide to continue reading, you will learn to better manage your expectations and end up with a finished product that checks all of your boxes. Here are the top 3 things to consider when placing your next apparel order:

  1. Just because you ordered 200 decorated polo’s doesn’t mean you are going to get 200. This is called “spoilage” and it’s a real thing in our industry. Basically, things can go wrong and you as a buyer have to understand this and be able to come to terms with it. An example of this is a needle breaking, by no fault of anything other than destiny. When a needle breaks that garment is ruined. The industry standard for spoilage is +/- 5%. However, if you find yourself a top notch decorator, they hold tighter standards and are usually less than +/- 2%.
  2. Don’t think you can buy 24 of something for the same price you paid on your last order of 144. Just like any standard promotional item, screen printing and embroidery comes with quantity pricing. It all has to do with the efficiency of running a job. It’s simply more cost effective to produce a bulk order, which means the savings is passed on to you.
  3. Don’t take for granted that there is inventory of your garment today. It may not be there tomorrow. Doing business in such a fast-paced environment means that your apparel company is competing, in real time, with everyone else’s apparel company. If you have a firm date needed for your apparel solution, you need to lock in the order while stock is good. If you don’t do this, be prepared to either wait for your order, select a different color or settle for a different style altogether. The best thing to do if you’re going to be using a style as a standard uniform piece is to partner up with your consultant and create an apparel program. This way you can get locked into style and pricing for the full year.

By understanding and accepting these 3 truths of buying company apparel, you will not only become a more educated buyer but your buying stress level will decrease. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. If you’ve made it this far, you are now ready to better outfit your team with stellar hats, polo’s, jackets and everything in between. Happy shopping, company apparel expert!


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