In the same way that New Yorkers hunt for a premium cup of coffee available, we were searching for the highest quality promotional goods available to us. And there isn’t anything wrong with that!
After my initial outreach, it came time to go into product details. Communication is key to getting the quality you want, I learned. Here three pointers that came in really handy at this stage:
1. Be specific. When sending product details, it goes without saying that you need to be very specific. From precise measurements to materials, it’s important for your manufacturer to know exactly what you want. Things can get very complicated when you’re communicating all of these details over e-mail, so to keep things organized and in one place, we sent Amplifier a spec sheet with all the details of what we wanted for our t-shirts:
We also sent a similar sheet to StandOut Stickers, even though we had already discussed product details via e-mail.
I found that it also became necessary for me to understand what our chosen factories were working with. Amplifier shared what ink would be used to print our logo on our t-shirts, StandOut Stickers explained the thickness of their materials and what made their stickers durable. In order for you to get what you want, you need to know what is being offered, so be specific about what you want and make sure to ask for details, in turn.
Keep in mind, it is also important for the factory to have details. When Amplifier was starting production, they sent us this e-mail:
To which we ended up responding with a photo set of a sample t-shirt we were working off of, with careful measurements indicated:
2. It’s OK to ask what the industry norm is. While it is very important for you to be very specific, don’t expect to know everything. When trying to figure out our t-shirt sizing breakdown, we realized that we weren’t really familiar with the ‘sizing norm’. Instead of throwing a wild guess out there, we decided to ask Amplifier, who were much more knowledgeable on the topic than we were.
3. Always ask for samples. Even if you feel like you know enough about a product, you’re always better off getting a sample. There’s only so much that can be communicated over the phone, e-mail, or with images, and having your product in-hand (or an example of what your product will be like) makes a huge difference. With items like stickers, for example, it was particularly important for us to get samples because I had no idea what a 3” vinyl laminate sticker felt like as opposed to some of the other options on the market. It’s also something exciting to look forward to – who doesn’t like getting packages in the mail? Here’s a shot of the Maker’s Row team checking out some samples sent our way:
Even at this stage of the process, careful attention to detail is very important. For example, once we moved in to the proofing phase, Amplifier sent us this image for approval:
On first inspection, it looked perfect. However, after looking it over, we realized the logo looked like it was a little higher up than we wanted it. A quick e-mail and confirmation later, and our t-shirts were ready for the production stage.
While the production process itself was something we could not document, the crew over at Amplifier were kind enough to take a gorgeous set of photos of ‘The Making Of” from their perspective! Here are a few images, but we would highly recommend going through the entire set to see how seamlessly Amplifier works:
In the end, getting the promotional goods you want for your company can seem like a daunting task. If you stay organized and consistent, I think you’ll actually really enjoy the process (I did). It’s exciting, knowing that you’re getting swag for your team, and that your company’s designs are going to be on t-shirts, stickers, pens, notebooks, or whatever you choose. My final suggestion? Take a deep breath, and just think about how happy you’ll be when you’re ripping open your first box of promotional items (like Tanya and I are doing here). You may not believe me, but this box made me happier than finding that prime cup of coffee conveniently located on my way to work.
I think the final product came out great, don’t you?