Of the Big three – Hanes, Gildan and Fruit of the Loom only Hanes was present.
Hanes were promoting both the Hanes and Stedman ranges on separate stands.
The Hanes stand was a minimalists dream, big lights and 3 plasma screens. A bit like Foxtons, the London estate agents, there was little evidence of product on display. The Stedman stand had the product behind bars, guarded by people dressed painted to look like wild animals. What was the slogan “Bite the Customer” or was it “Fight the T-shirt” I can’t remember.
Continentals stand reflected a cool fashion image, a sort of French Connection ready for print or embroidery.
At embroidery machine stands Baruden, Tajima, SWF and Midwest ……, things were much as usual – embroidery machines busily beavering away. No hint of minimalism here.
The suppliers of heat presses and vinyl seemed to be getting plenty of traffic.
The newer technology digital printing took my interest. There were several stands including YES and Amaya offering rival machines that could print multicolour prints straight onto a t-shirt.
Notable new stands included Trutex the schoolwear supplier. I didn’t really understand the logic of their strategy of offering free embroidery on their products when the majority of visitors at the show were printers and embroiderers.
Back at our JHK stand things were busy. Could the customers get past the marketing manager from Blue Max /Stag taking photographs of our stand? Had Kustom Kit’s people had been round for a third time for brochures and price lists. No wonder we were running out. How could we politely stop the people who had decided that they wanted to win the Ipod and that they were going to do this by going through all the scratch cards. Things had started to turn nasty when they decided that the only reason that they hadn’t won was because that we weren’t really giving one away.
There were plenty of interesting moments. “Could the person who picked up the promotional bag with the lap top inside, please return it to the organisers office”.
The show was a great opportunity for new printers, embroiderers and find suppliers.
After 3 days of scoffing biscuits and multicoloured M&M’s which reflected the colours of our T-shirts it was time to go home. As for next year why does this show have to be in Birmingham again….. London or Manchester would make a nice change.