In this episode of The BIG Idea podcast, screen-printing guru Tim Gibson talks about what shop owners can expect in decorated apparel over the next few years. “There’s a resurgence in heavyweight 100% cotton T-shirts,” says Gibson, director of sales and business development for Hanes Brands’ Print Wear Division. “Now, a younger demographic is being reintroduced to the Beefy T, with its more traditional fit. Everyone’s heard of Hanes, so it’s easy to market.”  

Gibson started in the industry as a screen printer and then moved into shop production management, before settling into the sales side of the business. He started his own company, TMG (The Marketing Group) in 2004 and then sold it to work in sales management for other big-name firms. Gibson has a firm grasp on every aspect of the decorated-apparel industry and is in the know when it comes to forecasting trends. “At Hanes, we do a lot of homework, through our team of product developers and trend spotters,” he says. “We find that trends in the print channel take a year or so to trickle down from fashion to this industry. Case in point: the color mustard.” 

Gibson notes that for apparel suppliers, it’s key to profitability to get trends right. “One new color—five SKUs—costs about a million dollars per SKU to add to our lineup,” he says. “It’s a big undertaking. Your finger has to be on the pulse of the market so you can react.”

If Gibson has any advice for new and established shop owners, it’s that the cream rises to the top. He stresses the importance of knowing exactly who your company is and what its values are. “You have to have something that sets you apart,” he says. “Focus on that market. Dial that in. Don’t be everything to everybody. Knowing who you are, and focusing on your market is crucial.”

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