If you’re an apparel decorator looking for other avenues to revenue, the answer may be closer than you think. It may not require additional equipment, and mostly just needs a little extra research and blank items. We’re talking about promotional products, and if you haven’t explored adding them to your apparel decoration services, now has never been a better time to do so.

In order to get some insight into how to make this leap, Yasmin Marrero, director of student sales and design and creative project + account manager at Campus Ink, sat down and answered a few questions about the benefits as well as reasons why getting into the promo world can only serve to help.

Q: Why should an apparel decorator add promotional products to your mix?

Simple: solely because so many customers are dual-sided. Your customers come to you for screen-printed apparel, right? Many also want trinkets like mugs and other things to represent their brands. You don’t want to send the customer to someone else, so offering promotional products is a way to keep them. You’ve already built the relationship, so the front-end work is done.

On top of that, it pushes you over the edge in comparison to any competition. You’ll show that you’re well-rounded.

Q: How easy is it to add promotional products to an apparel decorating business?

There are a few diff platforms you need, such as SAGE. There is also knowledge you need like how to price the products and who to work with, but you can learn it easily. There is a lot of education out there. Once you learn it, it’s so easy to do. Create accounts with vendors, and they can help you with pricing.

On that note, figuring out your best vendors and researching who’s a good fit for what your company wants to offer is a good place to start. Your company itself has to figure out what it’s purpose is. Are you here to make money on promotional products (high minimums) or foster relationships (minimum quantities). There are different ways of going about this depending on your goals. Evaluate the customer and order and make sure it’s beneficial for you and your company. Ask yourself what the pros and cons are of taking any order (which is the same thing you’d do with an apparel order).

Q: What are your favorite promotional items to add?

I love a good tumbler, but in general, there are so many options in drinkware. There’s so many styles — you can engrave, you can full-color print … It also goes back to your vendor. I like working with a good vendor no matter what your products is. Maybe you need to switch and start selling something else; your vendor should help you with that. Some customers are really specific about their needs, and you want to work with vendor even when it’s difficult. The options are endless, so it’s easy to find something for your customer.

Q: If you could offer five reasons why getting into promotional products is beneficial, what would they be?

  1. Keeping your customer. If you already help them with shirts and the like, why have them search the web for custom tumblers when you can be their one-stop shop?
  2. Attracting new customers. If someone knows you can provide them a better or more curated experience selling custom promotional products than some site off of Google, you’ve won.
  3. Knowledge of industry. If you learn more about promotional products, you’ll begin to see the difference between a profitable opportunity and a dud. Some great promotional product orders can bring in a lot of money with little to no work done by you.
  4. Working with suppliers/vendors. As mentioned above, that means little to no work done by you. You don’t have to add it to your current production schedule as much as just keep an eye on it.
  5. Creating connections plus adding resources to your artillery. By adding promotional products to your offerings, you begin to create connections, colleagues, and friends at different companies who can supply or help you out with opportunities in the future.