Here we are again: our third and final installation of the Post-Coronavirus Print Economy series, and we’re so glad you’re joining us. 

As we get acquainted with our new economy, our new industry, and our new way of life, it’s important to remember that there’ll be an adjustment period. Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying. 

It’s normal to feel stressed out about the unknown, and it’s normal to feel frustrated at how helpless we are to the changing circumstances. But if this series works to do one thing, we hope that it’s this: that it lets you know just how empowered you are to take action.

That’s right: you might be feeling helpless, but you’re far from it. With actionable ways you can help your business stay afloat — and even thrive — through these strange times, this article will have you realizing your power in no time. So what are you waiting for? Get reading.

Take Advantage of Contract Decoration, From Both Sides 

In an uncertain economy, you can bet there’s a need for contract decorators. Your shop might be fulfilling orders or you may be sending some of your orders to contract shops.

For one, many shops may shy away from investing in new or upgraded decorating equipment in 2020. Plus, it may be harder to buy new equipment, as you face more stringent qualifications and higher financing costs. 

In general, you know that many contract decorators focus on the jobs other shops find difficult. For example, if you’re a contract shop, you’ll get an order for a one-color white print on 100% red polyester athletic jerseys. The shop that sent it your way knows that they constantly have problems with dye migration and don’t want to disappoint their customers with misprinted goods.  It’s ultimately more economical for them to send the work to you.

Don’t Miss Out on Your Opportunities
Contract decorating can benefit you whether you take on the work, or whether you outsource it to another shop. Here are five reasons why:

  1. You or your customer doesn’t have time to run the job.
  2. It’s a decoration method you or your customer don’t offer.
  3. All of your customer’s work gets contracted out, so you’re their production facility.
  4. The order might be a hot-market job, like for the World Series or Super Bowl, for a specific event and duration only.
  5. There might be logistical reasons, such as to save on shipping if your one shop is closer to the end-destination.

Push Out Art Services and Stock Art Content

Many businesses made the tough decision to lay off or furlough employees as a way to stay afloat through—and after—the COVID-19 lockdown. Since graphic design and marketing staffers are among those eliminated roles, virtual design services will be a valuable resource to generate custom art. 

Decorators and print shops can definitely step up to fill the void left by laid-off designers.

Don’t Miss Out on Your Opportunities
When you add an online designer tool like InkSoft Designer to your e-commerce website (or to the stores you manage for your clients), you empower companies to create and order professionally branded products even if they don’t have an in-house artist:

  • Stock graphics like professional editable vector designs and illustrations will help companies create artwork without having a designer on staff or outsourcing to a freelance artist. 
  • These tactics can also help you service other short-staffed decorating shops.

The Bottom Line

Like we said: you might be feeling helpless, but boy, are you positioned well to take action. With the technology available for apparel decorators today, the sky is the limit when it comes to innovating — on both product and service. 

So whether you take advantage of contract decorators or add high-tech design capabilities to your business, whether you serve as a contracted decorator yourself or offer your technology to other print shops in need, there are countless ways for you to step up. 

The world is going to look different at the end of this. It’s going to take a long while for our economy to get back to where it was. But we believe at our core that our industry’s businesses have the power, the resilience, and the creativity needed to rise to the challenge.

To continue to innovate, to create killer apparel, and to serve customers with excellence.

And to take these tough, tough times and grow.