With the surge in demand for face masks reaching every corner of every state, it’s no wonder that wholesale apparel manufacturers and apparel decorators are switching gears.
Instead of focusing their supply chains and operations on t-shirts, they’re adapting to the crisis at hand by aiming their focus at masks.
Supplying them. Designing them. Selling them.
The need for these masks has never been greater, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
And, perhaps the best part of jumping on-board to this new niche industry? It doesn’t just serve to meet demand.
Like we mentioned in our “Masks Are Needed: You Can Help” blog, helping to bring masks to the people impacts each of the three crises our country currently faces.
It impacts our health crisis, because it provides people with a measure of protection that reduces the spread of the virus we’re fighting.
It impacts our economic crisis, because it keeps businesses like wholesale apparel manufacturers and apparel decorators operating — and even thriving.
And it impacts our social crisis, because it reminds our communities that we’re all in this together. That we’re each wearing masks because we want to protect those around us — and that we’re connected, even when we’re distanced.
So, if you’re thinking that moving towards face masks makes sense for your business — for most businesses in the industry, it does — we have some practical ways for you to implement the shift, coming right up.
Put face masks in an online store
Just like you would for the apparel you design and print for your customers, put your new face masks into an easy-to-access, clearly-showcased online store.
Whether you’re offering custom designs or a slate of your own prints, the face masks should be displayed with the same care — and pride — as your other products.
With InkSoft Stores, you’ll be able to give the same integrity to your face mask store as you’ve given to your t-shirt stores, giving your customers a quick, simple, and effective way to find the mask they need (and want) and have it delivered, no contact required.
Take a look at this InkSoft store, for example: PPE For Good.
An online store, in partnership with The Identity Source screen printer, that sends all proceeds earned directly to first responders.
Or, take a look at CustomInk: they’ve already opened a Health & Wellness Store specifically for the selling of face masks.
The bottom line is, whatever types of face masks you sell, and however customizable you let your design process be, make sure you’re giving the masks the proper platform.
Make sure you’re making it easy for your customers — who are already wrought with stress — to buy the thing that they need.
Make it a campaign
Making face masks that are widely available is already a community-minded initiative. But, if you’re looking to go a step further, make your mask-selling part of a fundraising campaign.
Whether you rip a page out of PPE For Good’s playbook and donate all your sales earnings to first responders, or whether you add in face masks to a larger campaign, there are countless ways for you to utilize mask-making to give back.
We’ll outline a few.
Here For Good
First, we’ll look at the Here For Good campaigns. These campaigns (read about them here, here, and here) partner a community’s local businesses with a nearby apparel decorator, resulting in custom, branded t-shirts — and funds that are split between the business and the decorator.
By creating a way for communities (near and far) to easily support their local businesses, the campaigns don’t just create new streams of revenue for the businesses that participate — they also create a stronger sense of unity.
Because most apparel decorators already have the know-how and the tools to design and print face masks — and so many wholesale apparel manufacturers are now producing them — we suggest adding those masks to the campaign.
You can highlight — to all local businesses involved — how great it would be to start creating custom branded masks.
With a business’s logo, or a message of hope — the ways to customize the masks are endless. But, they accomplish more than just the t-shirts already on their roster.
Because the masks aren’t just pieces of clothing — they’re not just markers of support for a business that’s been affected by the pandemic.
They’re a federally sanctioned method of protection.
If you put custom masks on the table, we’re pretty confident that the local businesses will buy-in — and that the campaign sales will see a dramatic increase.
Combining functionality with community support is always a good idea.
Fundraise for the vulnerable
Here’s another way to approach a campaign: don’t just look out for other businesses, but look out for other people.
That could mean donating all proceeds to frontline responders, like PPE For Good.
Or, it could mean partnering with a local business that’s looking for a way to fundraise for the employees it’s had to lay off.
Take Louisiana restaurant chain Zea, for example: after laying off 600 members of its staff, it was searching for a way to help them. Then, it found a local screen printer that was excited to help.
The Quarantine Cuisine campaign was born — with all proceeds going to the restaurants’ laid-off employees.
While these are awesome examples of initiatives that are making a massive difference, it’s important to remember that, with fundraising, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
You may not be able to donate all proceeds to a group of vulnerable people right now — and that’s okay. We’ve all been affected by the economic results of the pandemic’s far-reaching hands, and we all understand.
Whether you’re able to donate half of your sales earnings, or donate $1, or one mask, for every purchase made, you’re still affecting change. You’re making a difference. You’re helping not just your own business, and your own staff, but your whole community.
And that’s something to be proud of.
Don’t shy away from creative solutions
The point of this blog wasn’t to shove the idea of mask-making down your throats — although we’re fairly certain that was a byproduct.
The point was to inspire you to get creative. Take a look at your facility, at your equipment, at your expertise, and figure out what makes sense for your business.
How can you best adapt to the current state of our country?
How can you best fill the needs of your customers?
There’s no shame in switching gears — in adopting a new set of supply chains now and circling back to your old ones later. In fact, if you ask us, there’s nothing more badass than creative flexibility.
Except, maybe, creative flexibility that serves the community.
At InkSoft, you know we’re all about community-mindedness. We’re all about working together to combat adversity, and helping out where we can.
That’s why we’re encouraging you to take our technology and run with it.
Let our Designer feature separate you from the (soon-to-be many) businesses already selling masks; with it, your customers can customize theirs in real-time, from the comfort of their couch.
Let our Stores feature get your new products up and running before the other businesses have a good handle on eCommerce; with it, customers of any age (and technical ability) can scroll and select with ease, ensuring a seamless buying experience.
And, if you’re looking to fundraise, let our Fundraiser capabilities — already embedded in our Stores feature — streamline the whole process for you.
We’re constantly brainstorming different ways to help because we believe that, if we’re not working together, we’re not reaching our full potential.
Whatever you need, whatever you’re trying to accomplish, our technology and our team are here for you.
You can reach us at 800-410-3048. Any questions (or campaigns for us to feature in our ‘Spotlight On’ series!), we’d love to hear from you.
The InkSoft Team
Be sure to read the first installment of the “Masks Are Needed” blog post.
Launch Online Group T-Shirt Fundraising Stores with InkSoft
Click the get started button below to request a personalized tour of InkSoft. Let our experts share how print shops and apparel decorators are using online fundraising stores to add new sales opportunities, grow revenue, and acquire new customers.