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Press Releases

GPE 24

06 Feb 2024

The challenges and opportunities facing garment decorators in the sportswear market

Andy Rogers

Andy Rogers Marketing Director (UK & Europe) at Stahls shares the current challenges that are garment decorators are facing. He also details the opportunities that the sportswear market offers.

The timing for the Sportswear Pro 2024 could not be more perfect.  

With the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris, three European talents having secured spots in the top six for the forthcoming NBA draft, and with Euro 2024 in Germany on the horizon, 2024 promises to be an exciting year for sportswear decorators in Europe. While soccer maintains its reign as the most popular sport across the continent, American football and basketball are rapidly gaining popularity.  

Globally, the sports and fitness wear market is booming, eagerly awaiting more textile printers to enter the game. 

However, garment decorators are facing challenges in keeping up with the high demands and the need for faster production and delivery. European national leagues, for instance, expect three sets of team shirts and merchandise produced within a matter of weeks for each season. The infamous NBA draft poses a similar challenge, demanding thousands of shirts to be produced within a day or two. Failing to meet such high-volume orders can mean being left out in the competitive market. 

So, how can a textile printing entrepreneur break into the market with such demanding requirements? Successful sportswear decoration businesses share a common strategy: establishing a reliable supply chain. Many brands achieve efficient and timely production by partnering with reliable suppliers for blanks and transfer prints. Through strategic production planning and staff education on efficient heat press usage, these businesses meet on-demand needs and on-site decoration requirements. 

To make use of the opportunities that the sportswear market offers, textile printers can follow the example of these brands – by building relationships to distributors and manufacturers, and by using the right products, items can be decorated in no time with little cost of investment. Starting small, e.g. with a local soccer club, entrepreneurs can use a heat press and buy blanks and transfers on demand to fulfill an order of a couple hundred shirts or jerseys with instant turnovers. 

The best opportunity to build these relationships to distributors and producers as well as get to know the newest products on the market is to see them for yourself. Take the first step towards your thriving textile decorating business:  

At Sportswear Pro 2024, 19th – 22nd March in Amsterdam.

The event, sponsored by STAHLS’ Europe, is the global showcase for heat print on demand garment decoration technology and personalized sportswear production. Attend to get an in-depth look at the newest innovations and the opportunity to discuss your goals and challenges with experts of the industry. With one of the biggest textile printing events all year, FESPA Global Print Expo, happening right next door, this is your chance to get ahead. 

With heat printing on demand being such a big topic in 2024, countless producers are starting to offer solutions that allow for faster turnovers while others have already perfected theirs. If you are trying to get more than just a foot into the door of the sportswear market, make sure to look for exhibitors that offer high quality heat presses, transfer prints that are easy and quick to apply as well as technology that is made to save you time.  

When producing high volumes, make sure to look out for time-savers: That is, any type of product that allows you to save a few seconds with each print. Anything that helps you quickly place your transfers or reduces the time you have to wait for them to cool off is a time-saver that is worth checking out.  

No matter the size of your business, your goals for 2024 and how much experience you have with producing on demand sportswear, these events cannot be missed. 

We are looking forward to seeing you at FESPA and Sportswear Pro 2024!  

Discover the latest innovations in sportswear at Sportswear Pro 2024, taking place from 19th – 22nd March 2024. Sportswear Pro will showcase the very latest technologies and solutions for on-demand and customised sportswear production. From sample design and automated digital workflows, to innovative materials and integrated wearable technologies, the exhibition and visionary trend forum will present sustainable, faster and leaner production solutions to sports and activewear brands and manufacturers. Register here and use promo code SWPJ410 and save 30 euros.

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