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Are you involved in any new innovations, product developments or pioneering research? If the answer is yes then we want to hear about it. In the fast-paced working garment industry we pride ourselves on providing our members with the latest information to keep their business ahead of the game. To participate in a feature download our features list here or email us at media@director-e.com

Exploring New Avenues
Feature: 27/7/2010

atie Anderson from ETC Supplies provides tips to help the printwear industry survive the difficult economic times ahead.

Over the past couple of years, all businesses manufacturing and otherwise have found themselves in the same boat: recession. The economic downturn we've experienced during this time certainly can't be denied, but we don't believe that there's any point moaning about it.

Recession can be a killer for business, yes, but it can also be an opportunity. With the market around us slowing down, we've been able to spare the time and resources to develop new products and explore new markets.

This breathing space has allowed us to really look at our existing services and customers, and evaluate how we can get the best out of the economic downturn. We have been able to retain our turnover and profits during this time by introducing new and larger product ranges.

Not only does this mean that we have survived during a time when many of our competitors haven't, it also means that once the economy picks up again, we can expect to experience significantly higher sales than before.

The key point in this strategy is to think outside of the box and explore new avenues in your industry. For example, before the recession ETC Supplies were an embroidery supplies company. We supplied our customers with products such as threads, backing and embroidery consumables.

Now, however, we have become a complete garment decoration supplies company; supplying other companies across the UK and Europe with emblems, garments (including caps, workwear and occupational care clothing) and vinyl supplies among other things.

Not only does this mean that we have expanded our business prospects, crucially it also means that we have expanded those of our customers. For example, we now offer premade vinyl and embroidery solutions. This means that companies that have traditionally offered just embroidery to their customers can now offer vinyl cutting without the need to invest in expensive machinery.

Conversely, companies who have traditionally supplied vinyl printing can now branch out into embroidery in the same way. We offer embroidery patches that can be easily heat pressed directly onto the garment. This can also be beneficial to companies who currently offer an embroidery service, as it can be a great way to keep stock and costs down.

Services such as ours mean that these companies don't need to stock all sizes and colours of embroidered garments such as schoolwear. Instead, they can simply stock the embroidery badges which can then be pressed onto the necessary garment when the customer wants it. This can result in huge savings in stock holding.

This shows that companies don't necessarily have to have lots of capital to hand in order to add new branches to their existing services. In fact, by using techniques such as this one, companies can develop these new branches with little or no monetary investment.

As you can see, by introducing these new services we have been able to not only recession-proof our own business, but also to help our customers to recession-proof their companies.

There has been talk recently that we may be experiencing a 'double-dip' recession namely an economic crisis that will have two downturns. If this is the case, we urge you to think carefully about how you can develop and expand your business into new areas of the garment industry.

Think about additional products and services that you have to offer your customers and, like us, you could find new avenues for your business to sustain or even increase your profits during this time of recession.

Author: Catherine Christie
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