The Power of Custom Apparel
Why choosing quality and leveraging tasteful design is the best marketing for your brand.
We’re all familiar with brands like McDonalds and Starbucks, and it’s no surprise that the reason is not the quality of their products. It’s the consistency of their locations and the sheer volume of impressions they receive by having such a vast saturation of the market. Now, I don’t want to assume, but it’s unlikely that your business has the funding or resources to reach that same level of saturation (McDonalds has over 37,000 locations worldwide and Starbucks comes in at 32,660). However, there’s a lesson to be learned here and a method that can be extracted and leveraged in a much more affordable and flexible manner.
It’s branded apparel. We’ve seen a rise in the branded apparel industry over the past decade that is wildly unprecedented. Bon Appetit magazine ran a story about Merch4, a company whose core focus is making restaurant tees. Whoever thought that restaurant merch would be a niche? Well, it is, and we love that. Branded apparel could be a band tee, a hat from a brewery, a hoodie from a museum, or a beanie from that trendy coffee shop your friends rave about. All of these products are representing a business or brand, and are creating thousands of impressions a day. Rather than being a sign by the freeway that speeding cars drive by, placing your logo on a product in a meaningful and thoughtful manner replicates that experience, but it goes even further–it’s to human scale (a person is wearing the garment, duh) and the human wearing it is a walking ambassador that can answer questions, hype up your brand if asked, etc.
So, how do you go about doing this the right way? It’s relatively simple, but unfortunately a number of brands are missing the mark. The leading cause for this is resorting to logo-slapping. This is the practice of uploading a logo online, applying it to a handful of items (a hat, tee, mug, magnet, coaster, the list goes on), and button smashing “buy now”. While we don’t want to straight up hate on this process there are a couple issues.
1. Quality. The quality is going to reflect the sheer volume these producers output–high output, low quality.
2. Minimal Design Capabilities. There’s relatively little customization involved in this direction, meaning your final designs will be limited (which is why these sorts of companies compensate with having a vast spectrum of products).
3. Landfill. Many of these products, lacking quality and design, end up in the landfill. There’s very little reason that a customer will fall in love with a poorly tailored product with a corporate logo on the breast pocket, and the lifecycle of that product is likely to end in the back of a drawer forever, or worse, the landfill.
Taking this all into consideration, we can assume that the solution is to do the exact opposite: work with a company that can produce at low minimum quantities, invest in quality design that elevates your brand, and ensure that your product is going to become a customer favorite that gets millions of impressions over the span of years that it is lovingly worn.
Conveniently enough that’s exactly what we do at Brist Mfg.. Our product team works tirelessly on and off the scenes determining the most on-trend product silhouettes, whether it’s the most fashionable beanie for next year’s ski season or the ideal button up for a summer festival. These products are the foundation for our design team, who will work with you to identify the ideal materials, colors, and graphics that will tell the story of your company. Next, we manufacture. We’ve developed a standard and level of quality that both our domestic and international producers are held to. The result? A retail-quality experience for your customers. Your job is running your business, and ours is to make sure your brand’s story is communicated through the quality of your branded apparel. You may not be able to open thousands of locations worldwide with signs a-glow 24/7 but you may consider the value of an apparel line that reflects your latest seasonal IPAs. And we can do that for you.