Better Together: Good Supplier Partners Equals Better Business
Raise your hand if you’ve ever ordered something online because it was a “good deal”? Maybe it was a heat press that came at a low cost
or 500 T-shirts priced so low it was too good to be true. These items probably came from some obscure vendor, but you thought, I’ll take
the risk to save a buck and secure the inventory.
Oftentimes, this scenario doesn’t have a happy ending. You wind up with a shoddy press that breaks after one use or the T-shirts never arrive. If the price seems too good to be true, and it’s from an unknown vendor, then chances are it is. It is crucial, especially in today’s world of e-commerce and supply chain challenges, to work with vendors you know and trust. At the end of the day, it ends up saving you time and even money (not having to reorder or fix things), and ultimately, you give your customer a good quality product.
How do you go about vetting your partners? And how do you know you’re getting good blanks? The folks at Delta Apparel not only have good insight into the topic, but serve as a partner to get you the high-quality inventory you need when you need it.
Building a Better Business
As an apparel decorator, a large chunk of your business likely comes from referrals. Whether it’s a satisfied client who ordered T-shirts
for her family reunion recommending that her son’s school also purchase their gear or the local businessman who bought embroidered corporate
wear telling his employees to go to you for their apparel needs, people love sharing about a good experience with a decorator.
When thinking about finding a good, reliable blanks supplier with which to do business with, Mary Bostwick, VP of marketing at Delta, says that following the referral/networking path on this side of the equation is a great start. “You can also try them out on a small order — this will allow you to get a full view of their capabilities,” she says.
But it’s also helpful if you do a little research first. “Understanding what your choice of vendor does well and how long it takes them to ship is the first step,” Bostwick points out. “Customer service and follow-up are key. Without these components, being successful will be a challenge.”
Customer service and follow-up are two key components as to why Delta makes a reliable sourcing partner. The company has been around for a number of years according to Bostwick, proving it has the right processes in place to provide decorators with top-notch products and service. “Delta has been in business since 1903 manufacturing products for our military, private labeling for many brands you know, and providing a superior canvas for apparel decorators of all kinds,” she says. “With this vast knowledge, we have paved the way for companies to buy Delta product easily and the deep inventories for them to keep coming back.”
Speaking of inventory, Delta has a long history in not only carrying its own line of products, but working with other brands to complete its offering.
“We watch our inventory levels very closely and plan accordingly, working in conjunction with the vendors to make sure we stay well stocked,” Bostwick notes.
The reason this is crucial for apparel decorators is being lived out in today’s world. With the massive boom in e-commerce, supply chain challenges, and the focus on better sustainability practices in the fashion industry, it’s important that decorators offer their customers the best possible product. The only way to do so is to partner with suppliers, like Delta, that check those boxes. “The step up to a higher quality product is not always as costly as you might think,” Bostwick points out.
“If we’re talking high-quality apparel that you can get your hands on relatively quickly, look no further than Delta’s Platinum line. “Our Platinum line is our fashion-forward collection of tri-blend and CVC styles in men’s and ladies’ silhouettes,” says Bostwick. “These high-end fabrications are luxurious and on trend in the marketplace at a value price.”
In addition to hunting down high-quality blanks, decorators and their customers alike want something that has stood the test of time — a T-shirt or pants line doesn’t stick around for long if it isn’t made up of good products. Take the Soffe line from Delta, for example. It’s celebrating its 40th year of existence this year. “Our iconic Soffe short has been around since 1982, [and is] tried and true and remembered by all ages,” Bostwick says. But more importantly, it’s also been able to adapt with changing times. “We continue to add colors and now offer many sizes and even variations of the style.”
Keep in mind that working with a supplier that brings the variety is also key to apparel decorating success in today’s world. Not only does Delta offer lines like the Platinum and Soffe, but it also has partners of its own. Bostwick points out that they are the exclusive distributor PEI (Callaway, Perry Ellis, Penguin) and one of two distributors for Outdoor Cap. With these popular brands and Dri Duck, Burnside and Liberty Bags, this sets you as the decorator up to be an all-encompassing provider when your customer needs more than T-shirts.
Overall, partnering with a supplier that has a long track record of success, a variety of options, and high-quality products will not only get inventory to you efficiently, but will lead to happy customers.