Here Mark Dix, sales director of The Outdoors Company, provides some helpful advice on upselling and decorating bags and rucksacks.
Q. Explain how a garment decorator can upsell to customers using bags and accessories.
A. The trusty backpack is a natural companion to the outdoor jacket or cosy fleece. If your customers are looking to kit a fleet of sales execs out on the road with co-branded premium outerwear, it makes sense to offer premium brand baggage options, too.
When sourcing premium branded clothing for the customer, it’s worth asking them what the purpose of the clothing is: Where will they be wearing the clothing? What type of activity will they be undertaking? Is the technical aspect of the clothing vital? Or is the opportunity for co-branding and getting their business noticed more important? Because adding a bag or two to that clothing order can often help the customer be fully prepared for their activity, whether it’s an event in the Scottish Highlands or the purchase of branded uniform for an entire workforce in a bustling city centre office.
If the outerwear is for promotional purposes – for an event – offering a tough, steady wheeled trolley-style transporter like the Rolling Transporter 40, 90 or 120 from leading premium technical pack manufacturer Osprey might be a good option for carrying promotional items and other equipment to and from the stand.
And bags also make great corporate gifts or giveaways at events which is another reason to offer them to a customer already purchasing promotional merchandise. Herschel bags and accessories are not only incredibly popular in the retail market at the moment, there are some fantastic options to suit a variety of budgets.
If the team are staying over, a roomy, durable duffel bag like the 100% recycled Black Hole Duffel from eco-friendly Patagonia or the iconic Base Camp Duffel from The North Face might also provide lots of space for the next day’s kit, with various compartments for all those valuables you need to keep accessible when you’re rushing out after breakfast!
Backpacks, messenger bags and duffels are all popular choices for commuting, business travel and eventing. Premium bags from well-known retail brands known for their exceptional design include versatile compartments to accommodate the devices and gadgets we all rely on for work each day. The Jester and Vault Packs from The North Face – two best-selling bags in the corporate sector – both feature padded laptop sleeves in the main compartment to protect devices from bumps and falls, whilst the fleece-lined pocket of the Rodey Pack, also from The North Face, is a nice little addition designed to keep your smartphone safe.
As well as promowear and corporate gifting solutions, businesses do now want great quality, great-looking bags that actually last and that staff will want to wear both in work and out. Kitting staff out with bags from premium brands lets everyone know what kind of company you are. Personalising premium brand bags with a company’s unique logo is a way of aligning one’s mission and ethos with those of these premium brands, turning employees into walking advertisements.
Q. Any top decorating tips?
A. Branding bags can be tricky, owing to all the little pockets and compartments that pose challenges for the decorator’s machinery. Access to the most desirable areas on the bag isn’t always possible. So it’s important to be familiar with the design and construction of the bag first before letting the customer get carried away with branding options!
Reading up on the features of the bag and understanding the properties of the fabric used is really important when branding bags from premium brands as this often determines whether you choose to embroider or vinyl print.
From an aesthetic point of view, an embroidered logo on a traditional polyester rucksack or messenger looks better, often mirroring the logo of the premium brand. However, if the bag will be used outdoors in wet weather – and waterproofness is essential – embroidery may not be the best option due to the piercing of the fabric compromising its ability to keep water out. Applying a waterproof back taping on the inside of the bag to seal the area of branding is sometimes an option.
For some of the most popular duffels from Patagonia and The North Face, embroidery will often be the only option. Owing to their rugged construction from materials containing laminate, there is always the possibility that the heat created by a vinyl transfer process will melt the fabric. And sometimes the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating means it just won’t stick.