After a summer packed with fun, it's time to start sending the kids back to school. For the ad specialty apparel market, that means nine months of opportunity. Regardless of economic challenges, parents are dedicated to ensuring that their children are able to wear their letterman jacket or participate in team sports, so the recession won't have as deep an impact on back-to-school sales.
From uniform sales and spiritwear to teamwear and booster club fundraisers, 2009 is a great time for decorators to add the education market to their sales mix.
When it comes to selling apparel to the education market, "The first thing to pay attention to is color," says Luiza Raposo, marketing associate. "If you aren't able to present the exact school color combinations, your education buyer isn't going to respond."
The key is to work with companies that have extensive color offerings, and take spec samples with the school's colors into the appointment. "You're selling spirit," says Raposo, "and their spirit is tied in with their colors."
Another key to selling to education clients is to find new contacts within each school. "Look for groups that have numbers and resources," says Raposo. For example, you might currently sell to several of the sports teams and the marching band, but perhaps you don't sell to the choral program or an academic team. If those groups have large numbers of participants and a budget for activities or a fundraising need, they could be excellent prospects.
"Boosters and fundraising groups are our second-biggest market," says Raposo. Think outside the box and offer accessories like lunch bags and book bags along with apparel selections to maximize fundraising impact.