So you have this huge event; a charity ride, a gravel grinder, a race. And you have always thought that it would be so cool to have a jersey or a singlet to advertise your event. All your friends have said “I would so buy a jersey if you had one!” But how do you do it? What does it take? How many do I need to buy? How do I sell them? What do I do with the left overs? Why does this have to be so hard?
Well, it doesn’t. Let me lay this out for you and how this should work for you and not against you.
First of all most of the apparel companies will be happy to help you design a jersey, singlet, or complete kit. Most have a group of designers they work with that will be happy to take your design thoughts to the next level and make it real. Borah Teamwear has a group of extremely talented in-house artist that can take even the most basic drawing and turn it into wearable art.
So that part is done. You have a design but how do you sell them?
This is up to you and there are a few ways you can go about doing it: Stock inventory yourself and sell it at the event; pre-sell it through a web site; open a team store with your vendor; or a hybrid of both.
Stocking inventory yourself and selling it during packet pick-up is a great way to take advantage of the buzz of the event and the captive audience. There is a definitely a feeding frenzy during packet pick up and it is good to take advantage of it. The Iceman Cometh does just that and has the organizational structure to sell hundreds of custom items the day before the race.
A couple of downsides to this are that you have to have the organizational structure in place to do this well: Staff/volunteers, a way to display what you are selling, and a method to collect payment. The other down side is disappointed customers when/ if you run out of a size.
You can pre-sell it yourself by using your website, Facebook, or on something like BikeReg.com. Once again you will have to have the inventory on hand and handle all of the logistics yourself.
A good vendor, like Borah, will have a team store format that they can set up for you. What happens with a team store is as easy as shopping any other online store. You have a specific open and close date to the store – closing with enough time for your participants to get their teamwear in time to wear it at your event. When the close date hits, your order is batched together and then made and either ship directly to your participant or to you for pick up during packet pick up. A good team store should individually label each bagged item so it would be easy for you to get to the right person. The far easier way is to have the items sent right to the person. You don’t need the additional headache!
For those people that were just too slow to buy the jersey before the event ask your vendor to open a reorder store. Borah will do this with no minimums so there is no batching of items. Each item is made right when it is ordered. Like the original store set a time to open and close. Two weeks after the event is long enough. After that the buzz has gone.
Many events use a hybrid of these two: they pre-sell kits, have some available at the event, and then open a store post event. The number of kits at the events may be very limited, a few on display to excite people.
Do you have a new event? Do what the Bike Federation of Wisconsin did for their inaugural Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW). They advertised that a kit was available and had the word “FOUNDER” displayed across the back. The participants loved them! Everyone wants to be on the ground floor to say “I was there when it started!” The RAW kits were sold pre-event and post event using the online store format. The sales far exceeded expectations.
So talk to your vendor like Borah Teamwear, this might be a lot easier than you think!