ISS Orlando Show Recap

ImageThanks to everyone for the great experience at the Imprinted Sportswear Show Orlando this past weekend.  Contrasting the ISS Long Beach Show and the ISS Orlando Show, the California show was much larger and had several times over the number of vendors participating.  However, I really liked the Orlando show as I was able to have more in-depth conversations with some old friends, and some new ones too.  Here are some thoughts:

  1. Great job by the folks that came to my “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Lower Your Operating Expenses” talk on Saturday.  Everyone that attended was really involved in the class and we had a great discussion.  I love comparing notes from people in different shops, and hearing how other people have the same daily struggles somehow makes your challenges less intimidating.  Someone from the class wanted my article for “100 Things You Can Do To Make Your Company More Sustainable” so here’s the link if that would help you too:
  2. Based on the many conversations I had at the show with both vendors and shop owners alike, I’d say that this industry is still reeling from the downturn that happened in 2009.   Sales are coming back, but not quite at the same level as before.  Lots of shops are tightening their belts still, and learning to do things differently and more efficiently is on the top of everyone’s minds.  A lot of shop owners are “interested” in new equipment or processes, but really only to see if it could be a fit for them long term, and most would contract out their embroidery or DTG if they could until they can build enough sales to make it a permanent production line.
  3. Spent a bit of time at the show with Ray Neeley with Gildan, and he showed off their new great mix of heathered colors in both tees and hoodies.  Definitely can see some potential using these for some projects.  I’ve always been a big fan of Gildan, as I like their color line and quality.  (
  4. I stayed a few extra days and had some Orlando time with my family.  Of course, since this is the #1 tourist venue in America there is a plethora of gift and t-shirt shops around.  I can’t help and stop in to see what’s in the retail shops.  Nothing too surprising on the decoration side, although my seven year old son loved seeing the “I Love to Fart” screen printed on butt of some tighty-whitey underwear.  All kidding aside, I did see some retail lines screen printing their “permanent tracking label” in the inside neck area of the shirt.  They are using their PO # and city that it was printed.  This seems to be a standard for the ones I reviewed that had it.  Of course, this was only on about 10% of the youth shirts I inspected.  My survey base was gift shops in a theme park, our resort hotel, tourist stores and a Walgreen’s.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission folks have made an impact as there are some labels, but they certainly aren’t everywhere yet.
  5. Customer Service is still king in tourist based Orlando Florida.  Love the attention and friendly staff doing their best to make sure I have a good time, or have everything I need to make my stay in their city a good one.  This is the attitude and dedication that I wish I could export to other areas of the country, as I frequently run into some real duds that are in customer facing positions.

Thanks again to everyone at the ISS Shows for setting everything up for me with my speaking engagement, they make it easy.  If I missed speaking with you at the show, please drop me a note at and let’s compare notes!

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