Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. This weeks show is about Niche Markets ideas you should be targeting to get your 2015 kicked off in the right direction. This show derives from Terry’s free weekly newsletter called “Screen Print Weekly” where one of the segments is 52 Niche Markets. This is a must listen show for your business to grow in 2015.
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Niche Markets Ideas to get 2015 Kicked Off Right
What I Did Last Summer
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park on Lake Erie when I was in college. Every summer they hired 3,000 college students to staff the, concessions and every other job description. And every ride, every department, had their own unique t-shirts. If you worked the Blue Streak Roller Coaster, you had a Blue Streak t-shirt. If you worked the Paddle Wheel Boats, you had a Paddle Wheel Boat t-shirt. These aren’t the official work shirts, these are the after-hours shirts you wore to signify where you worked in the park.
You don’t have to be next to a major amusement park to be a part of this market. Are there businesses, parks, dude ranches, summer camps, or other seasonal employers in your area? Those seasonal employees might be prime targets for Summer Job t-shirts. It’s the “What I Did Last Summer” t-shirt!
It will be that time of year soon. While most classes have a gathering wearing a little dressier apparel than tees, many also include a family picnic or similar get together as part of the reunion weekend. That’s your cue for T-shirts.
Contact local high schools for the names of event coordinators and suggest tees for their outdoor activities. You can also check local newspapers for announcements of committee meetings, etc.
You can assume there is a reunion starting at five years, and proceeding for every five year interval after… the class of 2005, the class of 2000, the class of 1995.
Camps & Conferences at Your Local College
Most colleges host a number of summer events utilizing classroom facilities and dormitories to generate revenue and to generate interest it their own particular college. I’m not talking about the usual college tours and pre-college visits by incoming freshmen. Instead, I’m referring to band camps, cheerleading camps, continuing adult education sessions on a variety of subjects and disciplines, etc. These events occur on campuses both large and small, in every region of the country.
Task: Contact your closest institution and find out the schedule of all summer activities. Hopefully, this list will include a contact person. Most of these events are prime targets for decorated apparel. Some will have made arrangements already, but others will be glad you called to check one more task off their to-do list.
Summer will be upon, so planning for these on-campus events is well underway. Now is the time to make contact and make a sale.
Tip: Offer to print a sample garment and allow for a last minute final order of sizes/quantities. The event coordinator can give you a good ballpark number of attendees. Your flexibility on deadline may close the sale.
These events present a great opportunity for decorated apparel. Every tournament and golf outing will offer giveaways and prizes. This type event can be an ongoing source of business. And most sponsored events repeat year after year. Do a great job, and keep the business. Everyone from the PTO to local charities use golf events as a way to raise money and draw attention to their causes.
Check with your local golf courses for contact lists for upcoming events. You might offer the local pro a “finder’s fee” for any business he sends your way. Many pros subsidize their incomes by helping groups provide prizes and giveaways for events on their courses. You could be the decorator of golf shirts and other parts of the player package.
Tip: Remember to offer printed golf towels for all participants as well. Water based ink is recommended.
Screen printers sometimes cringe at the mention of a family reunion, but in reality, any decoration method will work. Just promote the concept in your local paper, or with an event location. Again, a finders fee.
Your customer for this market will be an uneducated buyer, meaning they will come into your shop knowing nothing about what is required for screen printing. The conversation often starts with the idea of using a photo of the entire family, or their sainted grandmother. But reality of multicolor costs will bring them back to earth for a simple one color front and back image.
If you pursue this niche, prepare to print many a tree with family names scattered among the branches. And each customer will think it very clever and original. Trust me, it’ll happen. Prepare as well to print every size from Youth 2-4 to Adult 4XL in the same order. You’ll need to explain that more than one screen (image size) will be required to accomplish this range of sizes.
Find these customers through ads in your local newspaper. Also, ask around and see where these events are held in your locale. If it’s the local VFW Hall (or similar location), ask them to pass out your card and flyer in exchange for a “finder’s fee” for each family who places an order. This is the quick inside track to making the sale.
Car Club people love their cars. My printer friend in Grass Valley, Calif. does VWs around Lake Tahoe shirts every year. She’s an owner and a participant, but also sells shirts at every event. Guaranteed there’s at least one club near you.
Everything from Alpha Romeos to VW Vans, there’s a club for every make, model and year. Sites such as CarClubs.com will give you lists from around the country and around the world to work from in starting this niche.
I’d be willing to offer a small wager that at least one club is close to your shop, and probably more. These groups show their cars and cruise their cars. They attend events and they buy anything related to their vehicle of choice.
Tip: Your best opportunity here will be in multicolor cartoon images and photographic reproduction. So your higher end skills may be required.
On the plus with this automotive niche market, you can then pitch the same or similar graphics to other like clubs around the country. Book a few of these clubs and then you can sell to clubs focused on other makes of cars or trucks. By selling one club, you can build a reputation as a printer who understands this market and is seen as an expert in the marketplace.
Lots of local businesses have company picnics during the Spring and Summer. Is there a location near you where these events take place? Contact the venue and talk with them about t-shirts and finder’s fees for connecting you with the businesses.
Maybe your own customers now how these same events. Create a flyer or sample shirt and contact your customers directly. You might even inspire some of your local customers with the concept of having a summer event!
Revenue Flow Through Repeat Customers
I’m a huge proponent of creating a revenue flow through repeat customers. I’ll use lawn care as an example. You’ve got men and women mowing, planting, raking, pruning full time every day. And as they do it, they’re ruining the shirts issued to them by the company they work for.
Your task, create an easy way to 1) offer a package of shirts, sweatshirts, caps, etc. for each of their new employees, and 2) a simple way to offer replacement garments as the season progresses.
Who else uses garments… and uses up garments? My classic example of Jim’s Towing Service comes to mind. How about local auto repair shops… heating and air conditioning… plumbers? Create this New Employee Pack/Fill In Pack concept and reproduce it among a variety of businesses.
From the Chat Room:
2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration: What Niches do you guys have to share?
alanhowe01: Cedar Point was a yearly event when i was growing up in Detroit, in High school we would skip school in the spring and go there for the day
KristineShreve: Cedar Point was big when I grew up too. It was the closest amusement part to my hometown in Michigan.
GregKitson: Cedar Point, THE ROLLER COAST! Love the place growing up in NE Indiana
alanhowe01: Kristen were in Michigan are you from?
KristineShreve: Born in Midland – now live in Traverse City.
alanhowe01: oh yea how cool i live in Columbiaville Michigan ( thumb area)
KristineShreve: Wow, small world.
alanhowe01: in our day the Blue streak and the gemini were the killer ones
GregKitson: THE ROLLER COAST lots of airtime,,,,,,
alanhowe01: as far as niche markets …college fraternitys
2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration: Very small world. Love it!
KristineShreve: Don’t feel bad Terry – I’ve never gone to any of my reunions either. I bet there would be a big market for reunion stuff though.
2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration: Alan great one. I’ll share it.
alanhowe01: also in schools ever one wants the football teams or basketball , but the ones over looked are Theater, Cheerleading, any clubs , Band etc. usually more profitable
KristineShreve: 1973 – I was four years old. (Sorry Terry – Couldn’t resist! )
KristineShreve: Alan has a good point about band, theater etc. I did choir and orchestra and drama in high school and we had jackets and shirts for everything.
alanhowe01: Dance clubs , and dance studios , are all about the Bling in screen print , rhinestone, glitter ..it has become huge
alanhowe01: i wasnt 4 i was 7 in 1973
GregKitson: 1973 spent the summer working at a Boy Scout Summer Camp as a lifeguard. Oh the memories of my Bronze God Years, nobody knew at SPF was at that time.
KristineShreve: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H stuff like that – all good niche markets. I was a Girl Scout for years and we got shirts for camps and events all the time.
alanhowe01: i have a customer that does Classic auto clubs , for screen and DTG
GregKitson: SAMPLES SELL, screenprinters get over the crap about not wanting to spec shirts because you don’t want to make screens, SAMPLES SELL!!
GregKitson: I agree SAMPLE CLOSE rate is over 75% from my experience. With print cut and DTG options samples are lots easier
KristineShreve: Another good niche market – local theater. I did muscials in high school and we got a new shirt for every show. Most local theater companies do this – the cast always gets a shirt to help advertise the show.
alanhowe01: ok best idea i ever heard , had a customer that would pick a big rival game in football and basket games would print some shirts for the game (DTG) say 12 and cut a deal with the cheer leading squad to give them at N/C to throw to crowd w/ his info on back
alanhowe01: it worked great for him , and he gained the cheer leading orders in the future and others in the community
alanhowe01: for dtg you can print coasters and these are great for Real estate agencies and custom Home Builders
alanhowe01: or sublimation
alanhowe01: as well as embroidered shirts for the staff
KristineShreve: Churches are another good niche market. Shirts for youth groups, shirts for mission trips, things like that. Even shirts for staff.
2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration: Awesome stuff. Thanks everyone. We will get this into our show notes with credits to you all.
GregKitson: Joe’s Bar & Grill in my presentations
2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration: Good stuff Greg. You need a picture at a Joes Bar and Grill too.
alanhowe01: monroe michigan
alanhowe01: i have used joes bar and grill also Greg
alanhowe01: those are the ones i recomend as well on all points
2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration: You guys sell those Alan?
GregKitson: MAGIC Las Vegas Feb 16-20, 2015
alanhowe01: yes , epson accu rip and film maker
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