Back to School Markets Deep Dive


Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. Aaron and Terry took a deep dive into going after the back to school market with your garment decorating and personalization business. They will bring you in-depth details on ideas to market your products to the back to school niche and tips for successfully gaining increased business from it. Have a pen and paper handy as you will want to take notes on these suggestions for growing your business.

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Back to School Markets

Selling directly to school bookstores and organizations like the PTO for back-to-school

    • Back-to-school orientation (Every school will be set up differently when it comes to decorated merchandise.)
      • This is the day or days all students come in for their schedules, student ideas, etc.
      • If someone isn’t selling apparel and other school logoed products it should be you. If someone is, no reason you can’t help them add to their inventory
        • Phone cases with the team mascot or even student ID printed (Riley’s school)
      • Partner up with another club or organization for a specialty product such as water bottles, etc.
  • Have back to school designs, make it easy – They are not designers or even buyers really. Just an underpaid teach most of the time or a volunteer Mom. (Story of MRE and using Shirt Kong over others.)
  • Getting on the School Supplies program – Amazon story, offer some personalization with the supplies to make it a kit that can be presented to the kid as a gift for their first day.

Selling to booster clubs

  • If the school is paying the bill, get a PO no matter how much the teacher or advisor says you don’t have to wait for it.
  • If the school isn’t paying, how are you getting paid?
  • And don’t let the school year end without getting your check!
    • Generic booster club or specific to a sport like football
      • The school booster club will support all sports
      • Big football schools will generally have their own booster club
        • Internal fundraiser – silent auction (Where can I buy those?)
        • White outs, black outs, gold outs…
        • Think of some unique applications – number on side of baseball caps
      • Same for high school band boosters as a separate group
    • Joining up? Only if you are a real booster… not just for profit.
    • Like nearly everyone in this marketplace, they are not professional buyers.
  • Can we get some examples of specifics that people can do to make this easier for the buyers?
    • Some things you can do to make it easy to buy… “easy to buy” is the key
      • You create samples – and a range of sizes for students/parents to try on
      • You create simple order forms to fill out
      • When you deliver the decorated items, especially when multiples can be ordered, bag and label with a name for ease of distribution
      • Offer a second opportunity to place orders as the 1st wave is being delivered

Selling to student organizations

  • It’s time to sign up new members. What do they get for joining your club?
  • Offering unique products as fund raisers… something that isn’t competing with the school store or PTO.
  • Simply find the advisor (teacher) in charge and ask to come in and make a presentation to the group.
  • The more creative and imaginative here, the better you’ll be received
  • Once you make one or two connections, the rest fall into place.

Selling local school related products via retail

    • If you’re selling retail, how difficult will it be to add a section for one or more local schools?
    • Giving back in some way to the school or school groups is very important here. “$1.00 from every shirts sales goes to…”
    • Hitting up the event sites. Groupon, Zulilly,, Eleventh Avenue

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Trade Shows

Other News/Events

  • Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Workhorse Products in Phoenix – August 13-14
  • Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Atlas Screen Supply in Chicago – November 12-13
  • Compare & Contrast: Garment Decorating, Screen Printing, Sublimation, Direct-to-Garment & Heat Transfers – SGIA Las Vegas Room Number: N115 – September 14, 3:00 pm Pacific

Terry’s Books

Screen Printing: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.

Direct to Garment: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.

Scheduling and Estimating Production Time for Garment Screen Printing Just $2.99 as an e-book

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