Adapting to a changing market

The thumbnail version:

  • The market is demanding small orders.
  • Market changes mean adapting.

The full version:

I remember a big textile screen print shop in Calgary back in the nineties that had licenses to print merchandise (mostly Tees and hoodies) for all the major professional sports leagues. I remember too how the production manager was in a constant battle with the sales manager over small orders.

The sales manager, in typical fashion considered a sale to be sale, whereas the production manager, also in typical fashion, considered a small order to be a nuisance. That was then; it’s different now. The licensed merchandise market took a dive, the big orders went away, and this particular big shop disappeared.

It’s a story about adapting to the customer’s circumstances and not expecting the customer to adapt to yours.

What reminded me of this was a recent article by Marshall Atkinson in Images. It is about “hyper-personalization” which he defines as: ” . . .  personalizing the garment to a unique individual. Very small decoration runs. Usually just one piece, but the print edition can be more if there is a unique something about it that is made for someone with a specific change to the garment.”

The article is worth reading in full. If he is right, it will be further evidence that the screen-printed textile market is changing and textile screen printers have to adapt to thrive, if not merely survive.