Sell Their Story

Exploring new ways to make the 'walking billboard' concept stick.

Dissimilar to other big cities in the US, San Francisco residents rarely showcase their pedigrees with college alum sweatshirts or flash their wealth with high-end fashion labels. And tourists tend to be the only ones repping SF apparel (simply because they didn’t realize it would be a high of 60 degrees in the middle of summer and the need for a warm hoodie is real). Instead, SFers rock where they work. They choose to wear hats, T-shirts, and sweatshirts adorned with their place of business’ logo, proving their worth in this dog-eat-dog city. 

Rather than purchasing a Gucci belt or a Louis Vuitton purse, those who work for big tech companies or rising startups receive a plethora of gear on the first day of their new job. When they’ve worn those pieces out, they head to their company’s e-commerce store to buy even more branded apparel. 

The benefits are three-fold. The employee feels a sense of pride, community, and ownership toward the company to which they’re giving their weekdays (and many weekends). The business gets a walking billboard (a phrase you’ll see throughout this issue). And your shop gets a new and recurring customer.

Mark Coudray touches on this in his article “Every T-Shirt Tells a Story” on page 18. “This opportunity centers around the ability to tell the story the image on the garment represents. Rather than all the attention on complex imagery and graphics, the emphasis is on the associated story,” he says. And that couldn’t be truer for these printed products that simply state the company’s name or logo.

As I walk the streets of San Francisco, the story I’m told is one of innovation, grit, and success. Although I don’t work for a company based here, I feel a sense of connection as I pass those who are working for (and outfitted in) apps I often use like Airbnb, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Uber. Even more so for the startups that are just taking off, spending their spare cash on moving, personal advertisements. I’m not hesitant to ask the T-shirt wearer “What’s that?” “What’s your story?”

Have you seen an increase in brand awareness tied directly to garment printing? Is your shop gaining new entrepreneurial prospects? Are your current clients ordering more hats, bags, and jackets touting their own emblems? This trend is an opportunity to encourage existing customers to rethink how they’re telling their brand’s story, both internally and externally.
 

View more from this Screen Printing issue