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Partner With Your Print Shop

For this month's blog post we wanted to share a bit of perspective for all of you who may deal with custom apparel and promotional product projects frequently and for all of those who may dream of doing so. We're talking about the big businesses, the small businesses, the event planners, the bands, the school organizers, the sports teams, the construction companies, the big brands, the small brands, the brokers, the side hustlers, and everyone in between.

Allow us to share with you a little story from South Shore Custom's history books. Let's set the scene, shall we? This particular story begins in a place known very well by companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Disney, Google, Apple and many more; A garage. Yes, what feels like a lifetime ago South Shore Customs occupied a small garage in Co-Owner, Ian Borneman's parent's home. This was a pretty big upgrade from the bedroom of our other Co-Owner, Kevin Ciminelli, we'll have you know. Even at this humble stage in South Shore Custom's journey, we began forming relationships with clients who have stuck with us to this day. This includes one particular client who's journey has inspired us to write this very blog post.

For the sake of their own privacy we will exclude some of the specific details about this client but what we can say is that they too had humble beginnings as a small urban clothing brand. Aspiring for growth and success, we worked with this client time and time again on various projects for their clothing line until one faithful day the client began to wonder about cutting costs. Is it possible to get the same product from a cheaper vendor? Is it possible to print my shirts myself? This question pops into the minds of a lot of people and we can say that from our own experience. It's a pretty tantalizing idea; that you can cut costs significantly by price shopping or by doing a lot of the work that you're outsourcing under your own roof.

As a service provider you always hate to see one of your clients decide to stop working with you but that is a reality of running a business, of offering a service. Clients come and clients go for so many reasons, it happens. This client went their own way for a couple years at first trying to work with some other vendors while they put together their own in-house setup. Their goal was to print on demand in order to keep costs as low as possible. After over a year of working on their own, our client came back to us with a completely different perspective, "I wish I never stopped working with you."

We would like to take a moment here to pause and say that it is in no way our intention to write a South Shore Customs "puff piece" with this blog post. While we of course would love the opportunity to work with any and all of you who may be interested in our services, we think that this perspective that we're sharing should go for all service-based relationships whether they're with South Shore Customs or not. We are but one shop in an industry full of others that one may see as competitors but we choose to see as peers. We are not in competition with anyone as we are all unique in our way and we believe all service providers have the ability and the right to run their businesses. So keep this lesson with you with whoever you choose to work with!

To continue our little tale, our client explained to us that they learned a couple different things the hard way.

Benjamin Franklin Quote

First, when it comes to shopping for the bottom-dollar price point, you get what you pay for. Of course any questioning of costs is normal and healthy but this client found that as they chased the cheapest prices, they we're provided with cheap results and poor service. This of course makes sense when you think about it, right? To arrive at a cheaper price, you must cut costs and that can be done in a lot of different ways. Some companies use cheaper goods or cheaper materials that are less effective, cut corners on process to reduce labor costs or even outright neglect basic service obligations. Always be careful when hunting for the bottom-dollar price. As the great Benjamin Franklin once said, "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

Second, after spending an enormous amount of time, energy, and cash to set up an in-house version of a screen printing shop, our client was left with the question, "Is the juice worth the squeeze?" This is not something novel to the screen printing industry, of course. As an outsider looking in, a lot of different services can seem simple but we gloss over the expertise, skill, labor, complexity, investment, and difficulty that is often found between points A and B. Again, healthy skepticism is described as healthy for a reason. One should always be open minded to different ways to solve a problem so they can make the best decision moving forward. In this particular case however we have a client who saw dollar signs rather than the true reality of running a screen printing operation and here's a little trade secret, RUNNING A PRINT SHOP ISN'T EASY.

It is here that we arrive to the crux of our blog post; Partner With Your Print Shop. We're going to take the reigns back here and focus on the apparel and promotional products industry specifically. When you have a vision that needs to be brought to the real world, you want it to come out correctly, right? You want the result to be of good quality, you want the service to be good, you want to trust your provider, you don't want doubts, you expect a reasonable turnaround, good communication, all kinds of things! You are trusting the execution of your vision to an outside party. When all of those thoughts and all of those criteria come together and a selection is made as to which vendor you work with on a project, the relationship looks a lot less like a consumer to business relationship or employer to employee or even owner to contractor relationships. It looks like a partnership, right? And that's what it should be.

"Rather than spending all that time, energy, and money trying to figure out how to print my own apparel, I should've just left it to the professionals and focused more on growing my brand." After this realization, this particular client continued to chase their dreams of creating a successful brand, continues to work with South Shore Customs to this very day and is actually one of our largest accounts.

The value of a good partner can not be overstated and one of the core principals of this type of relationship is trust. Find a print shop that you can confidently call your partner. A partner who cares about your product, your brand, your mission, your goals. A partner who will work with you to solve problems. A partner who will communicate and always do their best to make good on their promises. A partner who values quality. A partner who respects budget constraints. A partner with ideas and suggestions. Over the past 10 years and forever onward, South Shore Customs has been committed to being that type of partner for our clients and we're always striving to grow and better ourselves. Take a note from our client in this story, when you start looking at your service providers with this perspective perhaps you will be the next large account, the next success story and we'll be there every step of the way!

When it comes to bringing your project to life, the importance of who you choose to work with can not be overstated. The team at South Shore Customs is not only committed to providing a fast and affordable service, we also stand by our craft as artists who are invested heavily in creating the highest quality products for our clients. Have questions about process or pricing? Want to get started on a project? Speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.

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