Digital Printing Transforms the Wearables Space at the SGIA Expo
Promotion is one of the key elements of branding, said Sharon Donovich, Product Marketing Manager at Kornit Digital (Booth 1617) at the Digital Textile Printing in the Rising Promotional Products Industry session held Tuesday afternoon. And promotional products, in particular, are a great way to stand out from the crowd. Promotional products are a $21.4 billion business, and wearables like hats and shirts make up 32 percent of that proverbial pie.
Wearables, she noted, often cost more than other promotional products, but they provide an exponential amount of value. Everyone will see the item when the customer wears it, it will likely last longer than a pen or a cup, and because items like tee-shirts have more surface area than items like pens, it gives brands far more room to articulate their message.
And digital technology is making it possible to bring that power to an increasing number of companies and brands, both large and small. In the past, with analog technologies, Donovich said that printers often had to target large companies and brands that could afford to produce long runs in order to create these items profitably. But with today’s technologies, runs from 1 to 1,000 or more can be just as profitable. “Maybe it’s not effective only printing one when it comes to promotional items, but you can do it,” she joked. “You can take any job that comes in - five shirts, 250, it doesn’t matter.”
And it extends beyond just promotional products. Many garment manufacturers are also going to shorter runs, moving from a print then supply model, to one where they don’t create the printed pieces until after the item has been sold. This is a fundamental shift driven by online sales and ecommerce. Printers who have an expertise in short-run, quick turnaround wearables will have an edge in capturing this market as well, expanding their customer base.
“Digital printing answers [all of the] challenges [of the modern promotional and wearables market,]” said Donovich. “It is faster to market, you can have a global fulfillment network, there is infinite design flexibility, it reduces the fixed cost element and it reduces inventory.”