Get Ready for Fall with Fashionable Tote Bags!

Fall is coming, which means the season of fashion is upon us! Garments containing witty phrases and minimalistic designs are on the rise, making it easier than ever to create custom products that mimic the high-end looks available in big-name department stores. This quip-y trend extends across the wardrobe spectrum, from accessories to T-shirts to tote bags.

The use of tote bags is – pardon the pun – a mixed bag. Everyone in the world needs a way to transport their personal belongings from point A to point B, which makes offering customizable tote bags a lucrative business venture. Read on to see some examples of how you can create fashion-forward tote bags using heat transfer vinyl.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

Not all tote bag designs are created equal – depending on the personality type and individual style of the wearer, desired tote designs will vary from person to person.

Looking to create pre-printed totes to sell on Etsy? Identify different slogans and trends that may appeal to a variety of demographics. Remember to stay on top of holidays, current events and pop culture to ensure you are releasing on-trend products that will sell.

Prefer to stick to custom orders or personalized gifts? Find out more about who will be using the tote – what will the bag be used for? What does the recipient like to do in their free time? Apply these personal details to the design for a completely original item and super satisfied customer.

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CALLING ALL CRAFTERS

Fall is the perfect time to cozy up next to some pumpkin-scented candles and craft until the cows come home. Keep art supplies, small canvases and sketchbooks all in one place – customize a large tote with a creative art slogan to help stay organized AND inspired!

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TEACHERS LOVE ORGANIZATION – AND TOTES TOO!

School is back in session – make sure your mind-molding clients are headed to work in style with everything they need for the day! Create tote designs centered around a scholastic theme, or add personalized aspects like the teacher’s name to ensure their personal items never end up in the lost and found.

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Want more tote bag inspiration? Follow our Totes Awes board on Pinterest and stay on top of what’s trending!

HEAT PRESSING TIPS & TRICKS

Need extra heat transfer vinyl advice? Here are some extra tips to keep in mind when pressing your products:

•   Use a pressing pillow. Some items (such as infant bodysuits, shirts with pockets, garments with thick seams – even totes!) can be more difficult to press, as pressing flaws are more prone to occur on items with bulky seams or uneven surfaces. To ensure your vinyl is adhering evenly, insert a pressing pillow inside of the item before clamping your heat press. This method will help to ensure no lifting occurs and the heat transfer vinyl lays flat on the item.

•   Create a pressing cheat sheet detailing temps, times and pressure based on product type. Keep your cheat sheet near your heat press and you’ll never forget the proper times and temperatures required for pressing different types of vinyl + items. Coastal tests every product on our website – if you are looking for specific heat pressing instructions based on your equipment model or product type, you can find pressing details listed on the “More Information” tab below every product description.

•   Stay stocked with the right tools and supplies. Keep plenty of weeding tools handy near your work area (we all know how easily they can go missing!). No weeding tool on hand? Use an Exact-o knife instead – it will get the job done in the same time (but watch your fingers!).

•   Create saved presets in your cutter. This will save time when cutting and you’ll avoid having to do test cuts on different materials more than once.

Want more information on heat transfer vinyl pressing? Need advice on best practices? Give our customer service department a call at (800) 562-7760 and one of our team members will be more than happy to walk you through the process! For more info regarding tote bag and heat transfer vinyl product options, visit www.coastalbusiness.com.

New Trends in Sublimation Fashion for Women

Changes happen and fashion is one of those things that seem to change as quickly as any. The other morning I was finally awake enough to actually take a look around at the items that are in my wife and I’s closet. I tease my wife about how many outfits she has, but never really stopped to look at what was there. Then surprisingly, I noticed that her closet was full of sublimation garments. I could not believe it, since I am involved in that industry and I have not once made a shirt for my wife. So I started digging around and asked her where she gets the shirts I saw hanging in the closet while being amazed at how we afford such a full array of garments, I was shocked by how mainstream the retailers were who offered these sublimation garments.

Premium S/S Dolman Style TopAt this point my wife was completely befuddled by my sudden interest in her wardrobe and must have thought I was ready to have the “money” talk about all these shirts, but I continued asking questions. She pointed out shirts from Kohls, Charlotte Russe , New York & Co. and then pointed out one from a local factory outlet location, Before+Again Clothing, that only does events a few times a year right in St. Louis. So with that information I set out to reach the folks over at Before+Again Clothing to explore the trends in women’s fashion from people who know about all things having to do with sublimation fashion for women. Joe and Peter from Before+Again Clothing were kind enough to share some details with me about sublimation with women’ fashion. So, let’s dive in to the question and answer session I had with them by email.

Q: When did Before+ Again get started in the women’s apparel market?

A: What began over a 2 year period with countless fabric printing experiments in a one-room shop, eventually led partners Joe Werner, Peter Daneyko and Jon Rianhard, to their eureka moment and the creation of the Before + Again™ label. That occurred in 2008 and our products can now be found in over 1,000 specialty boutiques in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australia.

Q: How did you get started in the market?

Premium S/S Dolman Style TopA: The real excitement began when Joe’s wife, Susan, asked if some of her designs could be printed on fashionable and trendy burnout fabrics. Susan and her friends started wearing the new-look tees. That’s when the decision to create the Before+ Again Label began. It was in 2008 the height of the recession, but as a just -in- time manufacturer, our ability to be turn around highly creative pieces with low minimums fit well for a market that was nervous about high inventory levels. And in the fashion business it is key to be able to quickly react to what is on trend now and replenish product vs. waiting months for foreign goods which also require larger orders. Bottom line our equipment, design and production processes allowed us to mitigate risk to stores and give a tremendous amount of creative choice to consumers.

 

Q: What do you see happening in the future in the women’s apparel market?

A: With a lot of new micro-fibers and great new synthetic poly blends we anticipate doing a lot more very creative sublimation printing on a variety of styles and fabrics.

Thermal L/S V-NeckLet’s dive a little deeper into sublimation in the women’s fashion industry. As Joe and Peter mentioned this method of decoration really seemed to take off after 2006, noting that much of it had to do with the economy at the time. Prior to this time, much of the fashion available was mass produced overseas and the big box stores of the days were buying in container loads, if not more. As the world and the economy changed, so did the buying habits of many people. This opened the door for companies like Before+Again Clothing who make a great product in the fashion industry, but do not need to buy a full container to be able to make money. At the same time, our society changed how and what type of clothes we wore. No longer did we want to wear what everyone else was wearing, we wanted to wear clothes that spoke to our individual personality, especially in women’s fashion. This made sublimation a perfect marriage since women could get more personalized clothing and were willing to pay a little more for it. Now companies could produce short runs and retailers could hold less inventory due to sublimation.

smile2Other big changes that really allowed sublimation to grow in the women’s fashion industry were the changes to the fabrics, as well as the burn-out shirts that Joe and Peter mentioned. The burn out shirt is a 50/50 garment where a portion of the cotton in the garment is “burned out” of the shirt with a chemical leaving a nice soft polyester shirt with a little bit of cotton still in it. When decorating these shirts, not only are they really soft and comfortable to wear, but they give you a very unique washed out or “distressed” look. Also, companies like Vapor Apparel changed how the polyester was being woven allowing for a kinder gentler polyester shirt. Companies began to get creative and started pressing shirts that were already sewn together, intentionally leaving the creases in them to give a very unique look. These creases during the transfer process became affectionately known as “smiles” and graphic designers are planning for these in the artwork.

Classic Sleeveless DressThis trend in polyester continues to grow and it does not seem to be declining. Companies like Before+Again Clothing must continue to find the latest designs, fabric and out of the box ways to create new fashion. You see companies like Epson getting into the sublimation market place with printers that are designed around doing textiles and, to me, that says sublimation in fashion is here to stay. Sublimators will start to decorate other items outside of shirts, if they are not already, like scarves, dresses, beachwear, gloves, beanie caps and other wearable items to be more regularly decorated with the sublimation process. Personally, I just need to keep an eye on my wife’s closet (and maybe some of the receipts) and I’m confident I will see all sorts of new trends in sublimation in women’s fashion.

If you would like to know more about Before+Again Clothing, please check out their website at www.beforeandagain.com/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beforeandagain.