Who could have predicted a side hustle founded in 1993 with a single-head embroidery machine would grow into a leader in the police, firefighter and spiritwear apparel verticals? Or, that this former part-time business in a small Iowa farm town would transform into a profitable venture that combines global supply-chain logistics operations from fabric sourcing to assembly, to importing and personalized production?

We can think of one such powerhouse: Peosta, Iowa-based Inventory Trading Co., the parent company of Hero247 and X-Grain Sportswear, headed up and founded by Patrick Einarsen.

The secret to their team success? Extreme focus. Check out four key focus areas that recently expanded the firm’s footprint.

Focus #1: A Dedicated Decorating Process

Inventory Trading has laser-focused on delivering the highest-quality embroidered apparel, honing their stitching skills. However, in recent years, the team added screen printing to the mix, to create some killer multimedia designs for clients. Printing makes a great backdrop for embroidery, both for adding texture and saving on stitch count, for lighter, production-friendly pieces.

Focus #2: Lots of Garment Choices

After its first few years in business, Inventory Trading stopped decorating blanks from other manufacturers, and instead took the big leap into designing and sourcing its own garments. To do this, Einarsen and his team focused on specific product offerings and marketplace positioning.  The result? They offer three annual product collections. Each specially curated capsule collection includes a selection of complementary basics and personalization options that Inventory Trading knows its core clients will love.

“Simplicity is scalable.”

Derick Smith, Creative Director, Inventory Trading Co.

Focus #3: Defined Niche Markets

The company focused first on personalized police and firefighter department apparel through its Hero 247 division. Then, the team expanded into high school and college athletic departments via the X-Grain Sportswear division, covering some of the most competitive decorated-apparel verticals.

Focus #4: A Stellar Customer Experience

If you ask anyone on the Inventory Trading team to identify their primary customers, the answer is unanimous: Helping “chiefs and coaches” manage regular apparel campaigns. That’s why launching super-effective online stores became a natural next step, providing a platform to sell the company’s curated apparel collections. That way, personalized customer experiences extend beyond chiefs and coaches, to also include every end-customer””departmental personnel, athletes, parents, boosters, fans and beyond.

Big, Focused Success in 2019

The Inventory Trading team opened and closed more than 5,000 individual client stores in 2019 using the InkSoft Stores platform. They built over 700 stores in November alone, with 378 closing on a single day in November coinciding with the last day of guaranteed Christmas delivery.

Focus by the Numbers

  • 3 annual collections
  • 6 products per collection
  • 5,013 stores in 2019
  • 15 sales representatives
  • 5 team store developers
  • 6 graphic designers
  • 7 customer service reps

InkSoft is proud to be a part of our clients’ growth. It’s why we’re intensely focused on being the number one sales platform for the decorated-apparel industry, helping our clients grow sales, get organized and deliver amazing buying experiences to their customers.

X-Grain Trusts InkSoft to power their online stores.
X-Grain Team makes a visit to the InkSoft HQ

Interested in learning how InkSoft can bring this level of success to your business?

Let’s start the conversation.