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Vol 234 / September 8, 2014

Knockout Products
Want camouflage hats to wow hunters? In this episode of The Joe Show, Wearables Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off several items to help you score more deals. Click here to watch.

Trend Alert: Varsity Jackets
How To Sell It: Fleece Jackets
Sales Challenge: Improve Your Cold Calls
What's Hot on
News Briefs
Wearables Terms
Our Favorite Wearables
Ask An Expert
Show List

Trend Alert: Varsity Jackets

This varsity jacket (224183) from Holloway Sportswear (asi/61430) is made of 24 oz. Melton wool and includes genuine leather sleeves and pocket welts. It also features a quilted lining with all-access embroidery zipper for easy decoration, as well as high-quality rib-trim on the collar, cuffs and bottom band.

While student wardrobe choices have significantly changed with the times, one item that first appeared in the 1930s is still a coveted piece of apparel on campuses across the country: the varsity or letterman jacket. Their classic look is still a mainstay at high schools and colleges, and while they were once for men only, they now also feature feminine silhouettes. Students traditionally sport emblems, patches, pins and personalized enbriodery on the jackets to display athletic and academic achievements, lending an air of prestige to the wearer.

“The traditional styling makes it easily recognizable,” says Jennifer Nixon, marketing manager at Holloway Sportswear (asi/61430). “The wool body with leather sleeves is still the most popular choice. We see demand from schools as well as corporations.” Kristin Williams, owner and chief designer at VSA Custom Apparel (asi/700739), goes so far as to call it the male version of the Little Black Dress. “It's classic Americana,” she says. “The timeless look goes with just about anything. It can make a statement about who you work for and your accomplishments, or just act as a fashion piece.”

While wool and leather are the traditional materials, they can make the jacket pricey, especially with the added cost of embellishment such as chenille, twill or embroidery. Suppliers have adapted to client demands by offering wool/wool and wool/vinyl constructions. “To stay competitive in this market,” says Andrea Cancellieri, vice president of marketing at GAME Sportswear LTD (asi/55752), “suppliers offer various customizable options and color choices.”

  Advertisement: Moshay

VSA Custom Apparel has fulfilled orders for a slew of clients, including high schools and universities, corporations, stage shows, dance troupes, rappers, singers, and TV and film stars. “Because of its classic nature and wide appeal, I think we've touched just about every market,” says Williams. “From trucking companies to sales teams to celebrities, it’s everywhere.”

When looking to pitch, don’t just consider the school market, says Peter Schlieckmann, product manager at Assertive Creativity (asi/37166). “Consider companies with high-ticket items and services,” he says. “They’re great for prize giveaways and celebrating product launches. They build a sense of pride and loyalty among those who wear them, and command respect from those who see them worn. The company that advertises on them wins trust since it’s obvious they’re willing to invest in a high-quality product that will be seen by everyone.”

Advertisement: Fruit of the Loom

Fall Fashion Preview
Check out the latest streetwear looks in our gravity-defying photo shoot, and learn the decoration tricks you’ll need to replicate them. Click here to read.

A Mixed Blessing
Mixed media gives decorators the edge they need to beat the competition. Click here to read.

Wearables Trendsetters
These apparel gurus are raising the bar on style and changing the way the industry does business. Click here to read.

Be sure to visit to read these stories and more.

How To Sell: Fleece Jackets

Fall is the season for layering. This is where fleece jackets come in handy because they are not too bulky or heavy. They are a comfortable and stylish staple – and the prefect platform for promotional use.

This heathered blocked knit (7120 or 7121) features a 100% polyester, sueded-black twill and moisture management. For increased comfort, it has a tagless label. Available from Vantage Apparel (asi/93390).

“Fleece styles are no longer only available in just traditional polar fleece – in fact, many textures within current fleece pieces add an increased level of interest and perceived value,” says Elson Yeung, director of private label design and merchandising at alphabroder (asi/34063). There are a variety of fleece materials trending, such as mélange, corded fleece, textured fleece with print, and moisture-wicking performance. New color-blocking techniques, like adding a pop of color to zippers or through contrast threading, are also selling well, Yeung says.

Some popular fleece apparel at Vantage Apparel (asi/93390) includes lightweight performance and microfleece layers in full-zips and quarter-zips. “These versatile fleece pieces can be worn to work or on the weekends, and are quickly replacing jersey fleece and traditional outerwear,” says Lauren Cocco, director of merchandising at Vantage.

Fleece jackets have a near universal appeal, ideal for corporate events, tradeshows, retail, charities and more. “Fleece can replace heavy outerwear if the end user is in a mild temperature environment, or if that person has to move around a lot, it may be a more comfortable and practical option,” Yeung says. “It can also act as a mid-layer to throw over a T-shirt for extra warmth.”

When a customer is looking for performance features, there are fleece jackets available with moisture wicking, easy-care properties and active-inspired features, including storm cuffs with thumbholes. “If your client is looking for warmth and comfort, an anti-pill fleece jacket will keep them warm and protected,” Yeung says.

Fleece jackets are great for promotional use because the garments are used regularly and have universal appeal. “In addition to versatility in wardrobing, these items also show off many types of decoration techniques and placement options,” Cocco adds. “For high-impact promotional branding, try vertical logos along the zipper or in the color-block panel.”

ASI Radio: Respond To Discount Pricing Demands
On the Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts gave callers advice on how they can overcome low-price requests. How do you handle loyal customers that suddenly start asking for bids? What value can you provide to shift customers' eyes away from price? Should you consider offering special introductory pricing to entice certain prospects?

Click here to listen to the complete call-in segment. If you missed any other part of the show, a recording is now available at And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast on Tuesday, September 9. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.


Ash City/alphabroder Canada (asi/34063) hosted a Fashion Show on Aug. 14 that showcased the latest styles from its 2014 collection. The show included apparel from various brands. To see photos and video footage, click here.

CustomInk launched its fourth annual “Be Good to Each Other” campaign in support of PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center. It is supported by celebrities and athletes who have designed their own custom bullying prevention T-shirts that they sell. All profits go to PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center. For more information, visit

Hirsch International (asi/14982) now offers the Seit SL-10 bridge laser machine. Its functioning roles include precision cutting, a large cutting area and a high production speed. For more information, visit

InkSoft was ranked No. 179 on the 33rd annual Inc. 500|5000 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

Penn Emblem (asi/77120) appointed Stephen Bachow as business manager, who will focus on health-care markets.

Roland DGA (asi/18201) has announced the reduction of prices of its popular VersaCAMM SP-300i and SP-540i wide-format printer/cutters. To learn more about Roland VersaCAMM SP-i series printer/cutters, visit

Workhorse Products now offers customers purchasing the Workhorse Sabre free access to a web portal designed to help better track and manage orders via the machine’s touch screen control panel.

Sales Challenge: Improve Your Cold Calls

Cold-calling can make even the most seasoned salesperson cringe, yet the technique remains among the most effective at generating leads. Here’s some expert advice to help up your cold-calling game.

Do Your Homework: It’s crucial to know something about the company you’re calling, and the Internet makes that easier than it’s ever been. Despite the ease of getting information, not every sales person takes the time to do their research, says Art Sobczak, author of Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling. “There’s no faster way to look like an idiot than to have to ask somebody what their company actually does.” Sobczak recommends searching out a prospective client’s mission statements and social media channels to get a sense of the company’s values and recent activity.

  Advertisement: Brother International

Try Social Engineering: After doing your research, Sobczak recommends calling the company to get some sales intelligence. If, say, your distributorship has carved a niche supplying products for national sales meetings, Sobczak thinks you should call a prospect’s sales department and ask questions about upcoming meetings, what they typically receive at those events, what themes are used and, of course, who’s in charge of planning. After this reconnaissance, your employees can start navigating through the organization. The purpose of this research is simply to prepare a productive opening and create a proposition that will actually get the attention of the person on the other end.

Focus on Opening Statements: Avoid product pitches at all costs at the beginning of a cold call, says Sobczak. “Once you start talking about products, it’s really easy for people to say, ‘We don’t need it’ or ‘We’re already buying our T-shirts from somebody else,’” he says. “You want to talk about the result of what you’re going to hopefully be presenting.”

Strive for Empathy: Many cold-calling experts offer tips for overcoming customer objections, but Sobczak believes that’s ineffective because you’re essentially just telling prospects they are wrong. Instead, ask targeted questions that are designed to be helpful and understanding. For example, a cold-caller might ask prospects what types of ideas they are looking for to boost upcoming marketing campaigns. The key is to act like a person, not a robotic voice on the other end of the phone line.


Coating: The process of applying direct emulsion to a screen.

Drop Needle: A knit fabric characterized by vertical lines within the cloth. Manufactured by “dropping” a needle from the knitting cylinder.

Durometer: A unit of measurement used to describe the “hardness” of rubber. In screen printing, durometer relates to the “hardness” of a squeegee blade.


Flannel Shirt
With its cozy hood, the Carhartt Women’s Belton Shirt (101436) is the perfect light layer for fall. The 100% cotton flannel is sturdy with triple-stitched main seams. It also features a dropped shirttail hem, snap front, two chest pockets with flaps and adjustable button closures at the cuffs. Available from Broberry Manufacturing (asi/42057).

Selling Tip: The runways this season were packed with babydoll dresses, combat boots and flannel. In other words, ’90s grunge continues to experience a revival. This top is perfect for both fashion-forward trendsetters and outdoorsy types looking for rugged, long-lasting style.

  Advertisement: Blue Generation

Q: I am looking for activewear from Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, such as jackets and warmup pants. Do you have a source for these three brands?
A: Start with Scoreboard Sports (asi/88747);; where you can find a variety of jackets and pants from both Nike and Adidas.

Next, consider driving to Driving Impressions (asi/50864);; for a nice selection of jackets and warmup pants from Nike.

For customers who demand Under Armour products, I’ve got you covered. Check out FP Services (asi/53475);; and Ambro Manufacturing (asi/35201);; for these elusive fitness staples at wholesale prices.

Selling Tip: For customers who are willing to pay a little extra, break out the big brands. But for those who are a bit more budget-conscious, make sure they’re aware of less pricey alternatives. 

Q: We are looking for a sleeveless T-shirt with a pocket. I can find them, but not wholesale. I hope you can help. Thanks!

A: Try LutzCo, Inc. (asi/68193); The Workwear Pocket Sleeveless T-Shirt (100374) is available in black, desert, heather gray and navy.

Or, get down and dirty with Rugged Outfitters, Inc. (asi/84143); The Sleeveless Pocket T-Shirt (product WS452) is made of soft and durable cotton, built for a day of hard work.

In addition, check out the All American Pocket Shooter Tee Shirt (3020P) from Jensen Promotional Items Inc. (asi/63302); It’s made in the USA and comes in seven colors.

Selling Tip: Sleeveless T-shirts are a smart sell to companies with outdoor workers, sports teams, gyms and fitness centers.


Sept. 17-20, Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show
(678) 285-3976;

Sept. 26-28, Fort Worth, TX
ISS Shows
(508) 743-0532;

October 22-24, Las Vegas, NV
(888) 385-3589;

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