We have a store front and just increased our capacity by 3 to 4 times with a ton of new equipment. We are slammed as well.
To answer your question, go cold calling. Go to schools and ask for an application to get on their preferred vendor list. Go to your local sports groups and ask to give a presentation on your work and ask about their bid process.
Go cold calling to local businesses and drop off a business card.
There is no substitute for getting out there and making contacts.
I am so backed up with request for softball/baseball bling that I actually had to give some orders away. I do mainly the custom logo bling, but the sem-personalized designs are in big demand too right now
to do a bid you need a spec from the league. basically they give you a number of items and what types they want. So for baseball it may just be the jersey. so nail down the specific type, say button down style with a logo on the front and number on the back. then you place a bid to them for the work.
It is important to know if this is your main source of income or something you do for additional income.
In sports apparel there are "seasons". You can cold call till you are blue in the face but it will not solve the issue you are facing and could make it worse. First you need to get to 100% + capacity in season. If you are there then you need to learn how to increase off season business. If you look at most dye sub sports apparel companies, especially cut and sew shops, they offer jerseys for a range of sports. Many that focus on a single sport will sub out their work so they do not have the expense of capital equipment. Some of the largest sports jersey sellers, especially in softball, do not do their own work.
You are left looking for markets outside of the typical softball jersey buying season or expand your offerings. One that has been incredibly successful for us is dye sub custom lawn chairs. Although we market specifically to our customers we get orders all through the year. The great thing many we do now have nothing to do with the team and are just personalized for an event or special occassion.
Not sure of your set up but the backs are 22 x14".
Speaking from my personal experience - if this is your primary business/income you need to just throw all in and go cut and sew.
I was where you are not so many years ago. It is very very hard to make it semi custom market and that market is getting smaller and smaller as more teams go to full custom jerseys. It will virtually disappear in the next few years excluding the very low end.
Making the move is not simple nor inexpensive but once you have settled in you will look back and wonder how you ever made it in the semi custom world.
I would sell everything off before I would go back to working with premade apparel.
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