By Paul Fitzgerald - The quality versus quantity debate emerges in the sports apparel world
A shirt is not a shirt unless it’s a great fitting shirt, according to Rob Charlton, founder and owner of Next Trends Design Inc. in Mississauga, ON.
The 44 year-old, who has been deeply involved in the sports apparel industry for over the last 20 years, indicates that a new trend is emerging on the market, one which he finds fascinating on many levels.
You see, this new trend involves people now turning away the offer of a free t-shirt.
“People now are saying no to free t-shirts,” he says during an interview from his spacious and state-of-the-art facility near Toronto Pearson International Airport. “The quality versus quantity debate is now in full force and it’s interesting to see that consumers want quality fitting shirts.”
Charlton experienced first-hand the unique twist in consumer behavior after attending the, 2013 Mr. Olympia Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada and the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio
At both events, like others, a variety of companies were giving away free t-shirts to attendees.
One would assume that everyone would jump in a get their freebie.
But think again.
Consumers and especially fitness enthusiasts are not sold on free t-shirts anymore because they know free is not always better,” says Charlton. “At the Arnold Festival and Mr. Olympia Expo I saw literally scores of people walk past booths with free t-shirts and they didn’t even bat an eye. A couple of years ago this would have not been the case at all. Consumers are smart nowadays, they also spend hours day working on their bodies and they need a shirt that complements that and quite frankly there’s no ands, ifs or buts about it.”
Charlton’s company is the owners of the Authentic Wicked Wear brand. The big style they offer is the Vapor tee. Compared to the competition, the Vapor shirt is not only stylish, but is a great fit and brags quality on many levels.
Next Trends Design Inc. is one of the only companies that makes and prints their own product and sells them directly to the end customer. There are no middles sales agencies involved which makes Next Trend Design Inc. stand out among the competition. What’s even more impressive is that they sell millions of t-shirts to an array of companies all around the globe.
In taking a closer look, Charlton and his team are winning the t-shirt battle simply because they believe quality is better than quantity.
Next Trends Design Inc. makes their t-shirts right from the yarns stage. This means that your shirt will have the same specs one to two years later.
Freebies offered by other companies however are toast right after their first encounter in the washing machine.
“The big problem out there is that there are so many companies that make shirts at many different factories and it’s hard to control the quality,” says Charlton.
He adds, “Many customers are buying standard cheap unisex shirts, like Fruit of the Loom and Gildan, to name a couple, and the reality is no one likes them anymore because they don’t have any longevity.”
So, here is the big question of the day: If a company goes out and buys 10,000 cheap unisex shirts for giveaways and only 60% of people wear them, well how much did you really pay for those shirts?
Many supplement and fitness companies are known for large scale t-shirt giveaways. But just how are they enduring the quality versus quality debate?
Enter Steven Pritchard, who is ‘in the know’ in the sports apparel industry. He says that so many companies are losing money on offering freebies and giving their clientele, for lack of a better word, “throw away shirts.”
“I think it’s safe to say that companies and consumers alike are realizing that quality is paramount,” says Pritchard during an interview. “In fact the industry is changing so much that you could not pay people to sport an ill-fitting, poor quality shirt.”
One wash cycle for a freebie and it’s ‘by-by t-shirt’.”
Charlton says that with this new growing trend with consumers being more specific, means it will spark big change in the sports apparel world.
“Everyone wants a nice shirt,” he says. “People don’t want to stock up on cheap stuff; they want to wear something nice and look good. And this means that companies out there will have to step up to the plate or run the risk of seeing their client wearing competitors’ brands.”
He adds, “Our goal at Next Trend Designs Inc. is to make a product for a client and ensure they get the best return on investment,” he says. “Sure going the quality route might cost a wee bit more upfront but it’s considerably cheaper in the long run and the numbers defiantly all add up: Happy customers mean better business on many levels.”
Next Trends Design Inc. is winning the battle on the quality front. To learn more about their Authentic Wicked Wear Vapor brand visit www.authenticwickedwear.com