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Sponsored By: Targeted Media Services Inc - Hanes

Vol 231 / July 28, 2014

Customer Service Culture
Great customer service doesn't just happen. Dan Taylor, founder and CEO of BamBams (asi/38228), says it's about having the right people and fostering a corporate culture that enhances and stresses customer service at every turn. Counselor Editor Andy Cohen interviewed Taylor at the Best Places to Work Conference in Chicago to find out more. Click here to watch.

Trend Alert: Normcore
Q&A: Trimark Sportswear Group
Sales Challenge: Transforming Company Culture
What's Hot on
News Briefs
Wearables Terms
Our Favorite Wearables
Ask An Expert
Show List

Trend Alert: Normcore

Versatile basics that go with everything, such as black hats with white embroidery, fuel the normcore trend. This high-profile hat was decorated by Kaules Screen Works (asi/705309).
Actual trend or media creation? Sincere style or the ultimate in irony? The debate rages on about "normcore," months after it took hold in fashion and social media. Still, the fact that leading fashion publications like GQ and Lucky have taken note of the trend indicates that there is something legitimate to the idea. "Honestly, it appears that normcore is all over the place," says Garrett Kaule, owner at Kaules Screen Works (asi/705309).

What is normcore? It's consumers forgoing the latest designer brands for affordable clothing that is comfortable, casual and not flashy. There is a heavy dose of '90s-era branded nostalgia to the idea, and famous "anti-fashion" icons like Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Jobs have been heralded as exemplars of the trend. With an emphasis on fitting in, there are already millions of people who gravitate toward these sportswear basics.

"I believe normcore is all about wearing clothing that is relaxed, and for people who are less focused on style," says Kaule. "I've always felt like you should wear what you feel comfortable in. In a sense it has been around for a long time; as for myself, I've been wearing blue jeans, T-shirts and hoodies since forever. Look at Mark Zuckerberg (hoodie and jeans) or Steve Jobs (black turtle neck and jeans with sneakers). I've also noticed that styles are trending from the late '80s and '90s."

The style has been around for quite some time (such as typical suburban mom and dad outfits), but has re-emerged with a broader demographic. Consciously or unconsciously, it's about fitting in and not making a statement.

"Normcore is a look," says Rafael Perez, owner and founder at Spectrum Ideas LLC (asi/88638). "It does not have styles within styles. It is a type of look, as is punk, contemporary, street, etc. It's considered like sort of an anti-style that thrives on the nondescript."

Normcore is all about being an easy outfit to put together. It's a no-fuss look for people who want simplicity. "Less is more. For the past year, 90% of our production for custom headwear has been black hats with white embroidery. You can technically match it with almost anything," says Kaule.

Normcore is featured in a variety of apparel – jeans, pull-over sweaters, T-shirts, sneakers and hats. They come in relaxed fit and baggy styles evocative of the '90s, but also the slimmer fits that are popular today. Who will wear it? "As it becomes adopted in Paris and London, not to mention in the New York scene, it will be worn, I would say, mostly by confident types who wish not to show their fashion badges in the form of high fashion," says Perez.

Bottom line, normcore appeals to those who want to dress without feverishly keeping up with what's new and cool. "People are tired of following trends every four months," says Kaule. "Tired of worrying about what celebrity is wearing and paying $100 for a T-shirt. That's my honest opinion."

Advertisement: Virginia T's

Flock Together
Here is one technique screen printers can use to separate themselves from the competition. Click here to read.

Your Trusted Source
Our annual SourceBook features hundreds of companies for apparel and screen-printing products. Click here to read.

Getting Emotional
Learn how colors can trigger various emotional responses. Click here to read.

Be sure to visit to read these stories and more.
Q&A: Trimark Sportswear Group

Trimark Sportswear Group (asi/92122), has furthered its company-wide focus on decoration with the introduction of inFusion, a new decoration technique. Unlike traditional screen printing, inFusion essentially fuses the garment and the design together. Bill Horst, marketing manager at Trimark, discussed this new printing technology and the company's plans to make it the talk of the industry.

Trimark Sportswear Group (asi/92122) has released a new decoration technique called inFusion that doubles the resolution of screen printing, offers unlimited colors and is undetectable to the touch.
Q: Can you tell us about inFusion and what makes it different?
Bill Horst: InFusion is a completely new technique, available only at Trimark. It is the new untouchable decoration. Once the garment is decorated, you won't be able to feel the decoration, even if you tried. InFusion offers double the resolution of screen printing, and unlimited color is available for one low setup fee. We developed it with a proprietary combination of high-spun polyester and cotton, and inFusion is only available on this specialty fabric through Trimark. InFusion offers large retail decoration locations including decoration over seams and zippers. In addition, it's a high-resolution decoration and is undetectable to the touch.

Q: Why is this new decoration technique gaining popularity?

BH: InFusion is gaining popularity because of its unique traits and untouchable distinction. It is our latest innovation from our decoration research lab, with characteristics that are unmatched by screen printing. With InFusion, the brand message and the garment become one. The end result is a branded garment that is not heavy, but ultra-lightweight and breathable to wear. This technique is great for companies with colorful logos or photographic detail.

Q: How does inFusion work?
BH: InFusion is a proprietary decoration technique from our innovative research lab. If we told you how it works, we'd have to hide you forever.

Q: Which markets are best suited to inFusion?

BH: Any market that wants youthful, on-trend looks for their branded apparel. If a customer is looking for a technique that decorates large retail locations with unlimited color on one setup, inFusion is the decoration to choose. If they are looking for decoration that is untouchable, lightweight and breathable, inFusion is the sure-fire winner.

Q: How was Trimark able to develop this process?
BH: This new method is another technique that is consistent with our push to continue offering the industry innovative techniques and trendy, functional apparel. It is our passion to evoke pride through branded apparel. We are continuously researching innovative techniques and products to bring the latest in promotional apparel. InFusion breaks boundaries and goes beyond expectation to change the norm. It's no longer a logoed tee, it's a brand statement. With exclusive techniques, like inFusion, our customers and their customers are getting branded apparel that evokes pride for their own company, cause or team. When an individual is proud to put on that branded tee or hoodie every day, we know we did our job.

Look To The Future
Do you manufacture or sell wearable technology products? If so, we would like to speak with you for an upcoming article and feature your product. Email Wearables Editor C.J. Mittica at, and please include information about your item.

Sales Challenge: Transforming Company Culture

Employee engagement, consistent transparency, and brutal, company-wide honesty are critical to improving office culture, according to David Woods, president and CEO of AIA Corporation (asi/109480).

Woods details how his company took drastic steps to reenergize its workplace and improve efficiencies: "Back in 2011, we began what we called our Transition to Excellence program. We thought we were a good company, but we wanted to be great."

With the help of a consultancy and guided by internal surveys and conversations, AIA set out to learn how it could get better. "We found out our people wanted more training, and they wanted to see a career path for themselves," Woods says. "They also wanted more control over their work and didn't want company leaders to be making all the decisions for them."

AIA later took another step in its transformation by holding a voluntary employee retreat at a resort, asking attendees to be blunt in their assessments of the company. "Nothing was sacred," Woods says. "We learned that we just weren't communicating very well. As leaders of AIA, we started to understand what we could be doing better."

After gathering information, AIA worked to implement a host of improvements, developing cross-functional teams, a peer-coaching program, and a mandate that staff resolve problems one-on-one. "If someone has an issue with someone else, they have to go to that person and work it out, instead of pointing fingers or talking behind their back," Woods said. "We want concerns handled honestly, fairly and professionally."

AIA has also instituted an incentivized suggestion box campaign – with ideas and concerns all posted publicly – that led to 445 company changes in the program's first year alone. "We're really breaking down the barriers," Woods said. "What's so important is that people at the top have to be committed to the effort."

Discharge Inks: Used to print lighter colors onto dark background fabrics, they work by removing the dye in the garment, leaving a much softer texture. They can be tinted with color pigments, but exact colors are difficult to control.

Flocking: A decoration method where glue or adhesive is printed onto the fabric and then foil or flock (or another special effect) material is applied for a mirror finish or a velvet touch.

Reducer: A colorless ink additive used to lower the viscosity of the ink making it easier to print.
Ash City/alphabroder Canada (asi/34063) now offers items from American Apparel (asi/35297), Bella+Canvas (asi/39590) and Fruit of the Loom (asi/84257) in Canada. For more information, click here.

Boxercraft (asi/41325) announced an expanded Fall 2014 line, with three new products: the Trendy Team Flannel Pant (F20), Signature Cotton Boxers (C11) and Kickoff Fleece Capris (K44). For more information, visit

ClipArtBoom has released its Baseball Pack — baseball-themed vector templates and clip art files in a variety of colors. For more information, visit or e-mail

Evans Manufacturing (asi/52840) announced the promotion of JoAnn Ginter to senior account manager for the Pacific Northwest. She is responsible for Alaska, northern California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Great Dane Graphics offers new animal designs for apparel, including a golden retriever, basset hound, horses and more. For more information, visit or e-mail

GroupeSTAHL has appointed Chris Lawson as CEO, effective immediately. He is the former CFO and executive vice president of Ross Roy Advertising, a billion-dollar private advertising/marketing services company.

Heritage Sportswear + Virginia T's (asi/60582) announced its biggest sales promotion, The Gildan Great Grand Give-Away. Orders can be combined with all three brands offered through the company: Gildan, Anvil and New Balance. The top buyer will be awarded a $1,000 Visa incentive card. For more information, visit and

Hirsch International (asi/14982) offers Autograph 2, the latest upgrade to Pulse's standalone software. It has many features that result in faster and easier access. For more information, visit

Imprintables Warehouse (asi/58475) now offers Cad-Color Solutions Opaque Printable Heat Applied Graphics Material that can be used to create vibrant four-color process designs. The material is designed for white and dark apparel and will go on different types of fabric. For more information, visit

was named the No. 1 Top 40 technology company in New Mexico. The "Flying 40" list is compiled by Technology Ventures Corp. and is based on revenue and revenue growth.

Roland DG Corporation
announced several changes and additions to its board of directors. Among the announced appointments, Robert Curtis, previously senior executive director of Roland DG, was promoted to vice chairman, director. Also, David Goward was promoted to director from executive officer.

Rymax Marketing Services Inc.
won its fourth consecutive 2014 Platinum Partner Award for its corporate gift services and gift card reseller services by INCENTIVE magazine.

Selco (asi/86230) has partnered with Fast-Fix, a jewelry and watch repair company, to offer consumers local repair services. Each new watch will include information on finding local Fast-Fix locations and discounts for extra services.

Stormtech Performance Apparel
(asi/89869) has launched its Fall/Winter 2014 collection, including more than 40 new styles and colors. Visit for more information.

Wolfmark (asi/98085) has acquired Creative Imprints. The entire operation and equipment have been moved into Wolfmark's Neenah, WI, location.

Crop Tank Top

Staying cool and fashion forward is a breeze with this crop tank top (6680) made from a 52/48 cotton/polyester blend. This simple top can be paired with a maxi skirt or even a pair of jeans to complete a trendy look, and can be worn to the beach or on a night out. The shirt comes in four colors. Available from S&S Activewear (asi/84358);

Selling Tip: A younger, female demographic is an ideal target, as crop tops are very popular among this age group. While summer is a great time for tank tops, this shirt also layers well under flannels and hoodies in cooler months.
Q: It might seem a little early, but my customer wants pink Santa hats to decorate. Do you have any sources?

A: You can find Christmas cheer throughout the year with Brighter Promotions (asi/42016); The Mrs. Claus Pink Plush Santa Hat (HAT072) fits the bill.

Or, get your spirit on with the Felt Santa Hat (6735) or the Plush Santa Hat from Illini (asi/62190); Both are available in pink.

You might also spoil your client with the Pink Velvet Santa Hat with Plush Trim (20731-P) from Beistle (asi/39540);

Selling Tip: Planning ahead never hurt anyone. Encourage your clients to think about products they'll need in the upcoming months to save time, money and headaches.

Q: I'm looking for gardening gloves with floral patterns. Can you help?

A: First, check out Atteff International (asi/37455); The Cotton Gardening Gloves (GL9121) come in three floral designs with matching-color knit wrists.

Or, try the Floral Print Cotton Canvas Glove (AD1032) on for size from Fairfield Line Inc. (asi/53510); It features a white gauntlet cuff and PVC palm.

Roll up your sleeves with Rivers Garment Inc. (asi/82571); The Cotton Polyester Work Garden Glove (GlovesRPSZ0003) comes in blue, green and red, and is sure to please any planter.

Selling Tip: Don't forget gloves for those who work outside, such as gardeners, laborers, beekeepers and more.

Aug. 3-5, Las Vegas, NV
ISS Show
(508) 743-0532;

Aug. 6-7, Long Beach, CA
The SAAC Show
(805) 484-7393;

Aug. 13, Nashville, TN
PPAMS MidSouth PromoShow
(615) 465-8109;
Aug. 15-16, Nashville, TN
Embroidery Mart
(800) 866-7396;

Aug. 22, Bloomington, MN
UMAPP Selling Solutions Showcase Room Show
(651) 734-9767;
Sponsored By: Targeted Media Services Inc - Hanes
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