Impressions - September/October 2010 - (Page 18)

Leaders in the decorated apparel industry are taking advantage of the economic lull to run leaner and meaner when things pick up. t seems as though every time the economy turns south, one particular bit of advice crops up non-stop — in the paper, on the news and, presumably, as a topic of discussion in corner offices worldwide: Savvy business owners should use the downturn to streamline operations, invest in productivity and investigate the latest products and techniques so they’ll be ready to take off running when things look up again. Clearly, the folks on this year’s TopVolume Decorators list were paying attention. Many of them report doing just that this year, whether it was adding equipment, developing new techniques or, in some cases, adjusting shifts. That’s not to say the economy left everyone unscathed — we’ve kept this year’s list at 20 top shops and readers who have kept an eagle eye on the rankings over the years will notice some perennial top finishers are missing. But that’s OK. This has never been — and was never intended to be — an all-inclusive list of decorators. Rather, it’s a snapshot of the industry gathered via participation in an informal and strictly voluntary survey. We send out emails and decorators either respond, or they don’t (although we do admit to engaging in a little friendly prodding from time to time). On the other hand, that means the door is open for a few new finalists — you’ll notice several decorators making a first-time appearance on this year’s list. And to us, that gets right to the heart of this industry — people who are willing to gut it out and get the job done, even in the toughest times. INNOVATION IS KEY Ask any decorator what innovation means and the answer is almost uniformly twofold. In one sense it applies to decorating techniques — pushing the envelope to create garments that answer consumer demands in new and unexpected ways. The other definition is purely business school fare — finding new efficiencies in the myriad processes that go into getting that design on the garment. Read on, as this year’s Top-Volume leaders weigh in on both. When it comes to taking garment decoration in new directions, Garland, Texasbased PXP Inc. is definitely blazing trails. That could account for its rise to tenth place this year, up from 25th last year, when it was listed as Pony Xpress Printing. Principal partner Jeff Henderson reports his company has made significant investments into in-house R&D to develop body heat-activated scented inks. Imagine peanut butter and jelly sandwich-, chocolate cupcake- or cotton candy-scented designs for kids’ shirts, as well as margarita-scented imprints for grownups. Seasonal offerings include pumpkin pie and candy corn. The By Shannon Wilder, Contributing Editor 18 Impressions >> September/October 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - September/October 2010

Impressions - September/October 2010
First Impressions
Product Gallery
2010 Top-Volume Decorators
Back to Basics
Inside Outerwear
Technique: Use Proper Techniques to Easily Embroider Fleece
Technique: Water-Based Ink and the Environment
For Screen Printers Only
Online Directory
Tech Tips
Using Layer Styles for Digital Printing
On Design
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - September/October 2010