In conjunction with his shop’s 35th anniversary and recent rebranding, George Clements, owner of George’s Flowers in Roanoke, Virginia started selling t-shirts with his company’s new tagline — and the apparel is “flying off the shelves.”
In 1981, Clements focused on plants; gradually, he became a full-service florist. To capitalize on consumers’ insatiable hunger for plants, he decided to “get back to his roots” and beef up his plant selection — which has proved a great success, said Floral Management columnist and Floral Strategies President Tim Huckabee, who’s been helping Clements refresh his business.
“He liked that phrase and had the idea to put the slogan on t-shirts,” said Huckabee. Clements purchased the shirts wholesale for $6.50 a piece and retails them for $15. He initially ordered 50 and, in two months, sold out most of his inventory. (He gave a few shirts away for a social media contest.)
In addition to generating a little extra income, the shirts are essentially walking billboards in the small city, Huckabee said. Shop employees also wear the ultra-soft, colorful cotton shirts as their uniforms. The shirts keep the staff cool and comfortable in the Virginia humidity (good for morale and, consequently, customer service) and makes them immediately visible to customers.
Considering branded apparel for your shop merchandise? Here are some tips from Clements’s experience:
Pay attention to what’s selling. For his first shipment, Clements purchased t-shirts in five colors: blue, gray, red, orange and green. When he reorders, he will nix orange, as it proved the least popular with his clientele.
Send a personalized message. Tying the t-shirts in with his shop’s rebranding has helped Clements spread awareness about recent changes in the shop, generating new interest in the long-established local business.
Keep comfort in mind. If the athleisure phenomenon has taught us anything, it’s that people value comfort. Before ordering t-shirts, gauge the quality of the cotton. If it’s super soft, your apparel has the chance to become a wardrobe staple (read: an amazing word-of-mouth opportunity).