EZ Corporate Clothing Blog

Your Best 2016 B2B Marketing Tactics

18 January, 2016

EZ Corporate Clothing

 

We're a few weeks into 2016 now, and if one of your goals is to improve your marketing for your B2B business, EZ Corporate Clothing has some tips for you. From improving your online brand to finding new customers, we've got you covered.

1. Check your online facade.

You know presentation is important, but that goes beyond your storefront. What does your online profile look like. Sure you have a website to conduct your business, but what's it saying about you? Is it easy to use? Is it updated with the latest information? Is it mobile friendly? Many people will find your business online via their mobile devices (especially those who are busy running their own businesses!) and it's super important to make sure your website is usable in this format.

2. Get on social media.

People love to get behind the scenes of their favorite brands. So tell your story in your blog. How did you reach success? What were some of your setbacks along the way? How can you showcase the people behind your brand? Take some pictures of how your product is made and post them. We do this from time to time on our social platforms. We take pictures of orders as they are being made and post them, sometimes tagging the client to show their work in progress.

3. Get found!

SEO should be your friend. Blogging can help with SEO, as can Pinterest. Talk about topics relevant to your customers (one great idea is to answer common questions that customers can refer to as needed) on your blog and show off your products on Pinterest. Be sure to use your keywords as your blog tags and in the descriptions of your pins.

4. Find your customers.

Use social listening tools like Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and Topsy to track the conversation surrounding your products and your brand. Better yet? Keep an eye on your competition and stay ahead of the curve.

5. Create a budget for paid media.

Set aside a budget (it doesn't have to be huge!) for things like AdWords, Facebook and Twitter ads, and even LiveIntent advertising. Social media ads can get you a pretty big bang for your buck, and with super specific targeting, you can get your ads right in front of your desired audience. You'd be surprised how far a $200 ad campaign on Facebook or Twitter can get you!

6. Get on LinkedIn.

The best social media site to be on as a B2B marketer is LinkedIn. People are looking to make connections with people in their fields, so get on there and find people who share your interests. You can also recycle your blog posts and post them on LinkedIn to expand their resonance. 

7. Have a conversation.

Whether it's with an influencer in your industry or a customer, engaging online shows your business is a step ahead. Always respond to customer interaction--whether it's positive or negative--in a timely manner. Helpfulness online goes a long way!

 8. Add personalization.

What can you do to make your customers' experiences more personal? We've added a "Your Company Store" section to our website where frequent customers can repurchase their uniforms. This makes it easier for them to order and saves them some time in the long run. Find a way you can add a personal element for your customers. I guarantee you, they will appreciate it.

9. Do something risky!

A college friend of mine recently said that her company is terrified of doing anything out of the ordinary. How are you going to find new customers if you don't step out of your comfort zone a little? Go ahead and partner with another small business that complements yours on a promotion. Two is always better than one.

10. Post customer reviews.

As social creatures, humans like to listen to their peers. Whether that's on the next book they're going to purchase or what company their business is going to work with. You do great work at your small business--show it off!

Let us know what some of your best B2B marketing tips are on Facebook and Twitter.

-Michelle Giuseffi

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The History of Screen Printing

29 December, 2015

EZ Corporate Clothing

As one of the most common types of customization, it's no wonder screen printing has been around for a long time. But just how long has it been since screen printing was invented? Where did it come from and how did it become such popular method of customization for uniforms?

Gildan Adult DryBlend T-Shirt with PocketThe earliest instance of screen printing is believed to have occurred in Asia. About 2000 years ago during the Song Dynasty, the Chinese used human hair stretched across a wooden frame to create screens for screen printing. They then used leaves as stencils to create designs, and that's how it's considered that screen printing was born. Later in Japan, silk was used to make the screen and lacquers were used to make stencils. Here is where screen printing got its alternate name "silk screening."

Bella Ladies 7.5oz. Full-Zip Raglan HoodieScreen printing didn't make its way over to Western Europe until the late 18th century. However, it wasn't immediately widely adopted because silk--required to make the screens at the time--wasn't readily available. During the early twentieth century, Roy Beck, Charles Peter and Edward Owens revolutionized the process by manipulating chromic acid salt sensitized emulsions to create photo-reactive stencils. This group revolutionized the screen printing process; however, it wasn't widely accepted due to how dangerous the chemical process was. Today, we use a similar process, but with chemicals that aren't as toxic.

Gildan Adult Dryblend Jersey Polo - PrintedBy the mid-twentieth century, screen printing became an art form. The National Serigraphic Society originated the term "Serigraphy" to distinguish between industrial use of screen printing and an artistic use of the process. The most notable serigraphy artist is arguably Andy Warhol whose most popular piece is his multicolored, multi-sectioned portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

The multi-armed screen printing machine that can print multiple colors that we use today came into play in 1960. Michael Vasilantone invented the machine to print logos on shirts for a bowling team--very similar to the logos we create at EZ Corporate Clothing today. And so was born the most common use of screen printing services today: t shirt screen printing.

Gildan Ladies Ultra Cotton Pique Polo - PrintedToday, we set up vellum screens on wooden frames and attach them to our multi-armed screen printing machine. A stencil is created for each color, and your garment rotates around the machine while one color is rolled onto the shirt at a time. Once each color has been applied, we send the garments through a very hot dryer. Then, we box them up and ship them off to you!

Have questions about the screen printing process? Give our screen printing clothing company a call at 1-877-304-1899, and we'd be happy to answer them!

-Michelle Giuseffi

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Digital Printing 101

15 November, 2015

EZ Corporate ClothingThe printed t-shirt has been around for about a century, and anything that's been around that long has probably experienced some sort of a digital evolution. We know you're well versed in what screen printing is--but what about digital printing? Sure it looks similar, but there are so many differences. Here's a little Digital Printing 101 from EZ Corporate Clothing!

Look and Feel

To the untrained eye, screen printing and digital printing might look similar, albeit digital printing can produce a more faded look. The difference is really in the feel. Screen printing lays a layer of ink over the fabric meaning that you can feel the print raised up above the fabric of the garment. With digital printing, the ink is printed into the garment so that the entire surface is flat. It's almost like printing on paper in the sense that the ink and what you're printing on really become one.

Fabric Choices

Screen printing works on just about any type of fabric (of course we wouldn't recommend screen printing on things like velvet or terry cloth).  Digital printing, on the other hand, is really only an option for 100% cotton garments. The problem is polyester doesn't absorb ink the way cotton does, and if the ink isn't absorbed into the fabric your design won't show. You'll also want to avoid anything plastic as there is a heat press involved in the digital printing process, and heat plus plastic equals a melted, not pretty garment.

Color

Because digital printing by nature has a softer look, it will only show up on light colored garments. It looks best (with the richest ink colors) on white garments, but we can also use digital printing on light gray or beige garments. Anything darker is risky.

Quantity

While we require a 24 garment minimum for screen printing orders because of the set up time, digital printing requires little set up time, so we are more than happy to print just one custom garment when it's printed digitally.

Timeline

Having less set up time also allows us to produce digitally printed products more quickly. With rush orders, sometimes we can produce a digitally printed garment in the same day!

Still have questions about digital printing? Give us a call at 1-877-304-1899!

-Michelle Giuseffi 

Company Holiday Gifts Your Employees Actually Want

08 November, 2015

With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's the perfect time to start thinking about what you're going to give the members of your team this holiday season to show just how much you appreciate them. We know this requires some planning, and it's probably something you want to start thinking about sooner rather than later when your business gets swept up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Here EZ Corporate Clothing offers some ideas.

1) An assortment of gift cards

A cute way to display gift cards in a holiday wreath! #fabulouslyfestive:

Use decorative clothes pins to attach gift cards to a variety of stores, restaurants, etc. to a holiday wreath at your company holiday party. Then, instruct your employees to take one or two (depending on their value) on their way out.

 2) Fun promotional items

 

Stainless Steel Travel Mug with Logo - EZ Corporate Clothing
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No one wants a company t-shirt for Christmas, but something out of the ordinary like a company branded wine bag or travel mug is fun, useful, and create a little extra advertising for your business. Read more about the value of promotional items here.

3) Homemade baked goods

Chocolate crinkle cookies, my absolute FAVORITE cookies. My grandma makes a whole batch just for me every Christmas.:

For smaller companies (perhaps not a bakery though), a touch of homemade can be reasonable and go a long way. Make something classic like chocolate crinkle cookies or something bold like these coconut lime sugar cookies.

4) Something to clear up desk space

Custom Wooden Business Card Holder - EZ Corporate Clothing
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Since many people display pictures of family members at their desk, a great way to save some space is a pen holder/picture frame combo. Another way to declutter your desk and save space? This custom wooden business card holder

5) Teach them something or motivate them in some way

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Give a book! Make your whole company your book club. Pick something business oriented like Daniel H. Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us or Kelly McGonigal's The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You, And How to Get Good at It.

6) Give and let them give back

in my opinion, orcas/killer whales are the most beautiful creatures on earth:

Tisbest allows you to buy gift cards and then the recipient gets to choose which charity benefits from your contribution. Much more personal than donating to your charity of choice in your employees' names.

7) A team bonding company lunch

The most incredible falafel spread for Birchbox team lunch.:

Probably as simple as it gets, but sometimes it's nice just to set aside some stress-free time to talk to you coworkers about something other than a looming deadline.

We'd love to hear what you're giving your employees this holiday season to show them just how valuable they are. Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter!

-Michelle Giuseffi

The Challenges of Soft-Hand Printing

18 October, 2015

EZ Corporate Clothing

To the general public, screen printing probably means just one thing, but those of us in the business know that depending on things like the look a customer is going for or the color of the garment, we need to tweak our process. One instance where special attention must be paid is when a customer asks for a soft-hand printing.

What is soft-hand printing? It actually has less to do with the screen printing process and more to do with the final result. Soft-hand refers to the way the print feels--as in you can barely feel it. It's much thinner than your average layer of ink. The soft-hand effect is typically difficult on dark garments, especially when the ink you're using is either very light or very bright.

One way to get the soft-hand feel is by adding a soft-hand additive to the ink. These additives--including fashion soft, chino base, or a reducer--are mixed into the Pantone ink to create a softer print. The result is close to water-based printing, but with these additives we're able to achieve more detail. These additives, however, tend to work best on light garments because they make inks lose their opacity. This means that you'll see a bit of the garment color come through into the print. Not exactly desirable.

If you've been reading our blog for a while, your next question might be why don't we run orders like this through a flashing process? Well, for one, adding a second layer of ink isn't going to get you that soft feel we're after here. Also, because inks with additives end up being so transparent, the ink color will appear washed out when applied over an underbase.

If a customer is going for a vintage feel, we might suggest water-based printing as it gives a bit of a faded look. Again, water-based printing will have a more transparent result than your typical screen print and, therefore, isn't always a good option for a dark garment. It's also important to keep in mind that water-based inks aren't always an exact Pantone match, and you sacrifice the ability to produce a very detailed design with this method of printing.

Discharge ink is your best bet for screen printing on dark garments. Also, a water-based ink, discharge ink bleaches the garment while depositing the ink. This method is also great for a faded, vintage feel as the result is muted, with flatter colors, and the edges tend to be softer than traditional screen printing. This method is probably better for a more modern-type business because it's difficult to achieve the tight, logo designs many companies are looking for. Another caveat is that the discharge process only works on 100% cotton garments.

Have questions? Ready to place an order? Give us a call at 1-877-304-1899 or email us at shop@ezcorporateclothing.com!

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The Corporate Clothing Items Your Employees Want This Fall

13 October, 2015

As the weather starts to get cooler, you're probably thinking of ways to ensure that your employees stay warm, especially if they work outside. We know you have your basic t-shirts with your logo on them, but you might want to consider investing in warmer branded gear. This way, as your employees layer up, they won't be concealing your logo. Here are some of EZ Corporate Clothing's favorite items for staying warm this Fall.

Charles River Mens Soft Shell Vest - EZ Corporate Clothing
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For days when it's not too cold yet, consider this Charles River Men's Soft Shell Vest.

 

Bayside Knit Cuff Beanie - EZ Corporate Clothing
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Top off your uniforms with the Bayside Knit Cuff Beanie.

 

Devon & Jones Mens Pima Pique Long-Sleeve Polo - EZ Corporate Clothing
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This Devon & Jones Men's Pima Pique Long-Sleeve Polo is professional looking, but warmer than a branded t-shirt.

 

Charles River Men's New Englander Rain Jacket - EZ Corporate Clothing
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If you're looking for something with a hood for those rainy, chilly, Fall days, we recommend the Charles River Men's New Englander Rain Jacket.

 

Gildan Heavyweight Blend Hooded Sweatshirt - EZ Corporate Clothing
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One of the most basic ways to keep your employees warm is the Gildan Heavyweight Blend Hooded Sweatshirt. This one is a classic, and you will definitely see us wearing these during the colder months at our office!

 

Charles River Pack-N-Go Pullover - EZ Corporate Clothing
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The Charles River Pack-N-Go Pullover conveniently folds up into it's own neat pouch for easy storing if a 48 degree Fall morning turns into a 70 degree afternoon.

 

Bayside Long-Sleeve Pocket Tee-Shirt - EZ Corporate Clothing
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Looking for something casual yet warmer than a t-shirt? Consider the Bayside Long-Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt.

 

Gildan Dryblend Crewneck Sweatshirt - EZ Corporate Clothing
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Want the warmth of a sweatshirt, but not the bulk of a hood? Check out the Gildan Dryblend Crewneck Sweatshirt.

 

Devon & Jones Ladies Soft Shell Jacket - EZ Corporate Clothing
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We couldn't leave without recommending something in a ladies fit! We love the Devon & Jones Ladies Soft Shell Jacket.

 

What will you be outfitting your employees in this Fall season? Tell us--or better yet--show us your pictures by tagging us on Twitter: @EZCorpClothing.

-Michelle Giuseffi

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How to Run a Successful Social Media Giveaway

28 September, 2015

EZ Corporate Clothing

Sometimes it feels like brands are constantly giving away extravagant prizes like vacations or shopping sprees worth thousands of dollars left and right. Maybe you feel left out because your small business can't afford to send a customer on a trip to Hawaii. However, that doesn't mean that you can't use a social media giveaway to the advantage of both your business and your customers'.

In today’s blog post, EZ Corporate Clothing offers some tips.

 

Download these free social media icons to add the perfect artsy feel to your blog.  With step-by-step instructions on how to instal them.:

 

1. Have a goal.

Sure, running a giveaway is fun, but it's also a good idea to have some strategy behind it. Want to increase your social media following? Require entrants to like your Facebook page in order to enter your giveaway. Want to encourage engagement? Require a comment or response to a question to win. You could even ask entrants to fill out a survey as an entry method. Be sure to load your survey up with questions that will help you learn about your customers and better understand their needs.

2. Team up.

Find another brand whose audience meshes with yours and team up to offer a prize package comprised of an item from your brand and one from their brand. Not only does this increase the value of your prize, but you'll probably reach more eyes if you're both sharing from your social media pages.

3. Offer something people want.

What's the point of a giveaway if no one wants the prize? Be sure it's something desirable to a large enough group of people. You want lots of entries to choose from, not just a small handful. 

4. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Be sure to photograph whatever it is you decide to giveaway beautifully. The picture should clearly show the giveaway item, but you'll find that you'll attract more attention with a beautifully styled photo than a simple picture of your item.

5. Talk to legal.

This is the boring but necessary part. To avoid any conflict down the line, be sure to have a set of legal rules drawn up. You can probably repurpose these for several giveaways, so be sure to keep them as general as possible.

6. Pick a winner.

It might be tempting to pick your favorite answer on a comment to win type of giveaway, but be sure to choose someone randomly. A conflict of interest could get you into some sticky situations. I often export my comments into Excel, assign random numbers and choose winners that way.

7. Deliver the prize in a timely fashion.

Nothing is worse than telling someone they've won and then not sending their prize for a week! Send it quickly and wrap it beautifully.

8. Include a personal note.

Because it never hurts to go the extra step. Bonus points if it's handwritten on stationary!

Have you run a successful social media giveaway? Tells us about it on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Challenges of Screen Printing on Two-Ply Garments

13 September, 2015

 

EZ Corporate Clothing

While t-shirts might be the most commonly screen printed garment, we have a lot of options at EZ Corporate Clothing. T-shirts are very straightforward since we work with them everyday, but sometimes other garments require a few tricks to get the printing right. What happens when a garment a customer wants screen printed is constructed with two fabric layers, or two-ply? Sounds like a printing disaster waiting to happen, but luckily we have a solution.

Bayside Pocket Tee-Shirt - EZ Corporate Clothing
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First, let's talk about two-ply garments. This refers to any garment made up of two layers of fabric as can be commonly seen in windbreakers, sweatshirts, or even shirts with a front pocket. The two layers of fabric are typically sewn together at the seams allowing them to move freely against each other. This secondary layer is great for keeping you and your employees warm, but not so great when you're trying to adhere ink.


So what, exactly, is the problem with screen printing on a two-ply garment? First, we'll explain the screen printing process on a regular t-shirt. The garment is placed on a screen printing pallet. A squeegee then comes down and drags the ink across the garment. This works perfectly fine for a garment with just one layer of fabric, but when you add a second layer that can move independently of the bottom layer, this pushing motion can create a problem. This top layer of fabric will stick to the screen and move around making precise application of ink impossible.

What's the solution? We bring in clamps that are placed over the garment once the garment is placed on the pallet. The clamps hold the garment (both layers of fabric) in place so that the squeegee can move effortlessly over the garment. However, as with most workarounds, there is one drawback. Since we have to apply these clamps, the printable area shrinks a bit. However, We can still very easily print an almost full back and a left chest design without issue.

We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the screen printing process. Have questions? Want to place an order? Give us a call at 1-877-304-1899.

-Michelle Giuseffi

The History of the T-Shirt

30 August, 2015


Ideas to Improve Your Company Culture

25 August, 2015

Company values and company culture are talked about a lot these days. Whether you work in the strictest of corporate environments or if you can wear jeans on a Tuesday without any questions, we’re sure your company culture is something that has at least crossed your mind.

At EZ Corporate Clothing, we’re pretty laid back. We wear jeans year round (and shorts in the summer too!), but that doesn’t mean we’re any less productive than a company with stricter policies.

In fact, I think you get more done when you’re more comfortable! Read on to see some of our core company values and how they’re implemented at EZ Corporate Clothing. We hope you’ll find an idea to use at your company!

Growth (Personal, Professional, and Business): Each year, every employee writes down goals to fulfill in each of these categories to review with their supervisor. We think this is effective because it lays out a plan for the coming year that the employee and their manager can agree upon. This way both the manager and employee see eye to eye on what to expect out of the coming year.

We also read books that relate to our jobs. In customer service, for example, representatives read QBQ!: The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller and Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen Lundin to learn effective ways to talk to customers and have fun while doing so. Maybe you don’t want to ask your employees to read books on their downtime. There are also lots of useful webinars and Ted Talks that you could set aside some time for them to interact with at work.

Change: We’re constantly re-evaluating our processes to make things both better for our customers and more efficient. If something isn’t working, update it!

Teamwork: Members of our team are encouraged to cross train in other departments. This is beneficial to our customers because if we know a little bit about how other departments operate we’re better able to assist them. It also means that we can get things done faster. If our production department is drowning in orders, but shipping is having a slow day, our shippers can help production get our products created.

Excellence: We strive for excellence in everything we do here at EZ Corporate Clothing. That includes everything from making sure your customizations on your garments are perfect to getting orders delivered by (or before!) deadlines.

Fun: From our fantastic office holiday parties to bowling trips to beach volleyball and summer barbecues, our staff sure does have fun together! In terms of spreading the excitement to our customers, I’d be lying if I said I’ve never hula hooped with an in-store customer…

Hard work: We are absolutely a hardworking bunch at EZ Corporate Clothing. Many of our employees wear multiple hats. You’ll find customer service representatives answering phones and tweeting plus helping our embroidery department trim and shrink wrap garments… and all with a smile on their faces.

Honesty: It’s important to be honest to your colleagues and own up to your mistakes, but it’s also important to be honest with our customers, especially when you’re working with personalized clothing. When you order from EZ Corporate Clothing, you’ll always know what is going on with your order.

Punctuality: Whether it’s showing up to work on time or getting orders to our customers by the requested date, we do not believe in being fashionably late at EZ Corporate Clothing.

Pride: Our slogan says it all, “You take pride in wearing it, we take pride in making it.” We proudly wear our EZ Corporate Clothing gear too!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about our company culture and that you’ve found something useful to use at your own office. 

To learn more about EZ Corporate Clothing please call 1-877-304-1899 or visit our About Us page.

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