John LaRoy, CEO of Apparel Redefined, discusses the maximizing summer time with premium branded apparel for construction and general contractors, emphasizing the need for high-visibility safety apparel and versatility of promotional items like hats, gloves, and vests.

He also highlights the significance of branded apparel for summer events, corporate outings, and charity events, emphasizing the need for coordination and communication among multiple parties involved.

Additionally, he discusses strategies for creating memorable summer experiences for schools, small businesses, and families, including quality event merchandise, community building, and unique experiences to optimize fundraising and tourism efforts.

Key Highlights

• Branded apparel for nonprofits and construction industry. 0:00
• Branded apparel for events, corporate outings, and weddings. 5:39
• Outdoor activities, festivals, and fundraising in the summer. 11:29
• Creating memorable experiences through apparel and merchandise for summer events and lake life. 17:27

Presentation Transcription

Curt Anderson  00:00

too. All right, welcome back. We’ve been having a great series here talking about premium branded apparel. I’m with none other than the founder CEO of Apparel Redefined John LaRoy. John, happy Friday. How are you today?


John LaRoy  00:15

I’m doing well, Curt, Happy Friday to you too. Yeah, we got some good momentum here. We got to keep, keep beating ourselves, I guess.


Curt Anderson  00:23

I’d say we’ve been having some wonderful conversations. And just earlier, you’d be proud I was geeking out earlier today we’re talking about with another client, we’re talking about liquid death and some of these branded, you know, conversations that you and I’ve had over the weeks. But today, you know, this time of year, we’re coming in, it’s summertime weather’s getting warm, and everybody’s finally outside playing for us. Those of us that live up north, let’s dive into some different industries and in you know, coming up with some high level strategies from for premium branded apparel for different friends and folks out there. First, I want to dive into let’s hit the construction industry, right, is we’re driving on the street, everybody, you know, the roads, roads are, you know, getting fixed and torn apart. Let’s dive into construction and general contractors. What are some solutions from branded apparel? From the branded apparel perspective? From from your, what are your thoughts there?


John LaRoy  01:17

Yeah, I mean, it’s the last thing on everyone’s mind, but it’s actually in the construction side, too, especially depending on what field you’re in, you know, paving your own streets and sand, you know, and even heavy, heavy civil. It’s about safety, you know, like OSHA comes in, and they require high vis. So it’s not only something that should be top of mind and not be a last minute decision. It’s actually required now, you know, different anti certifications with, you know, sleeve markings and tapings and body tapings. And we just tried to make it as plug and play as possible, like what is what do you need? What’s your is there an anti certification? Is it purely high vis? What sizes do you need, and honestly, two, you really do see an inventory crunch on the high vis stuff. Right now, because it’s pretty, pretty stable across the United States in terms of inventory and supply, you know, after fall, because the Midwest kind of in North essentially just kind of stops. But now you have, you know, the entire United States competing for some inventory here. So you do see a little bit of a crunch. So it is important to get that stuff except especially in your extended sizes. out to your your team. You do see, there’s been a lot more emphasis on vests. And you know, especially in the trades that get really dirty. You can throw a vest over somewhat protect the shirt. And you know, you see hard hats, promotional item, gloves, you see it all, even just you know, regular baseball hats, but in in safety colors, you could do decoration, safety colors, there’s all different types of stuff out there. But number one thing when you ask the guy wearing it, it’s really important. Because you do see some dichotomy there where the older guys, the guys have been doing it for 20 years, like, I don’t want any of that moisture management stuff. It sticks to me, I want the old traditional cotton tea. And he’s talking to the younger guys, like don’t bring any of that cotton stuff around here. So it really comes down to like, you know, do they want the same thing for the crew? What does the GC have to but really, at the end of the day, it really is on the bottom of the GCS list, which is totally understandable, they’re up against deadlines. There’s major things that need to get done. But they do need to have, you know, safety apparel, and hive is, you know, options out there for their crew. Another thing to do is when you come to the the end of a project, they have what’s called this topping off party. And he’s diving off parties. You know, there’s a lot going on those days, you got investors, you got, you know, residents you got, you know, cities and villages coming in to celebrate, and you want it to be seamless, and sometimes those get forgotten, right, you know, in terms of the apparel, and it could be two days before three days before oh my god, I forgot these gotta have them. And we’ve been there been there done that and we you know, if we can do it, we’re going to do it and make make our partners and clients look good.


Curt Anderson  04:25

Well, that’s great in our friends out there listening, you have to go back to our last episode we were talking about all about just in time. And so, you know, things slip through the cracks. You know, if you and I are hockey fans, you know, if pockets pass you by, you know, you’re like, Oh no, I need something in a couple of days. That’s where that just in time comes comes in. But I love this, you know, week in week out, you talked about that. The you know, what’s the promise of your brand? We’re talking about, you know, from a construction standpoint, that safety, that’s fantastic. So a lot covered there. Let’s go here. You know, summertime I know I see tons of on nonprofit events, a lot of charity events, you think five K’s different fun summer events? What are some tips that you have for folks in a branded, that need branded apparel that maybe aren’t doing that on a regular basis? How can we help those nonprofits, a lot of times, it


John LaRoy  05:15

starts with the artwork and that space, right, you have, you know, you could add, like a new park dedication, you could have some type of events, you know, around, you know, summer holidays, or you see a lot of outdoor concerts and those types of events. And if you have multiple parties involved, or even sponsors, like you see a lot of summer T shirts with sponsorships on the back. So there’s a lot of coordination. So communicating with whoever’s involved, the shareholders that are involved in getting the t shirt, and it’s crazy to think you know, how many hands or companies or people might be involved. But typically, you know, you see anywhere from 15 to 20, sponsors, that’s 15 to 20, different logos, because people don’t just want the company name, people invest a lot of time in their brand, what is their brand, a logo, they want to, if they’re supporting something, they want their brand conveyed, the way it should be done, which is the logo. So getting access to those files that are print ready, or if they’re not print ready, having our graphics team dive in and making those files print ready, and getting them on getting them on a template, because you know, whether they’re giving them away, that is not as common as Hey, for 15 bucks, 10 bucks, whatever your proceeds go to some type of organization, you want to present do you want to show it, you want to market it. So getting that mock up out to the community, whether it be through, you know, community websites, like we have patch up by us, and they blast that stuff out to the community, they’ll put fliers and village halls and centers like that. So it’s much more easier to move product and get excitement if you have a digital mock up, or physical mock up created. And we want to support because the success of the event. And the success of the apparel are very intermingled, and we want, we want to have the best outcomes for our clients.


Curt Anderson  07:06

You’re making a fantastic point. I remember years ago helping out with a hospice bike race and you know, coordinating. You know, those corporate sponsors, there’s a lot of moving parts there. So you’re making an excellent, excellent point. So let’s slide in, right, let’s slide in there, since we’re talking, you know, corporate events, those types of, you know, a lot of summer activities going on there. From the corporate side, what are some tips advice that you have for folks during the summer? A


John LaRoy  07:29

lot of corporate outings, you know, you have potential, like theme park visits, you have retreats, you have wellness events, you know, all things great to be outside, especially in the north, I mean, we we celebrate our short three and a half month window very, very well, we get a lot done in three months. And, you know, craft breweries, there’s, you know, breweries and distilleries all up and down to Lake Michigan corridor here. And they’re all fighting, they’re all fighting for exposure, you know, and you leave with a taste of their beer. But they really want you to leave wearing a t shirt. Because that’s going to get you and their brand more recognition. So again, it’s it’s really about at that point, you know, if it’s an internal event, again, spend the extra couple of dollars on a premium t shirt. You want your people to be proud and comfortable with what they’re wearing, and then continue to wear it because it’s advertising free advertising for your company and get it out there. And again, we talked about this, I think in episode one, the tribal aspect I you know, the the Maslow’s first need of feeling belonging, you know, it’s it’s team sports season, it’s baseball season, put your shirt on, belong to a group belong to a team, get that feeling of cohesiveness and really go out and have a good time. And, you know, it’s, it’s, you’re walking through and you see, like, a whole group of people, maybe it’s only 10 Maybe it’s 50 Maybe it’s 100 you’re immediately, like, what are you doing? I want to be a part of that, you know, like, why wasn’t I invited type thing. So, you know, it’s, it’s, again, the power of branded apparel is pretty, pretty impressive. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  09:16

that’s great. You know, creating that FOMO right. And being a guy, what a guy’s love, we love wearing that same T you know, you get a favorite t shirt, you’re gonna wear it for 1020 years, right? Is you’re mentioning that quality is so important, so powerful. Let’s go here. So another thing and a school, tons of activities. We’ve got graduations, different sports activities coming to the end, coming to the summer. How about some tips there? Yeah,


John LaRoy  09:42

I mean, graduation parties. Everyone’s kind of looking for like, what’s novel, what’s unique? How do we one up the kids down the street or you know the party that we want to win. We see it a lot like hey, we want to do t shirts for my son’s or daughter’s graduation party. Um, some parents like to embarrass, they want to put a picture of them as a kid or something like that. So we have all those tools, all that technology to make that a reality. Because prior to print on demand and direct to garment that was kind of a challenge or like, hey, we could do it, but it’s only gonna be one color. Now you’re gonna have full color on there. Yeah, but again, it’s a nice touch. It’s something that, you know, we go home with, I mean, selfishly at my wedding, we got married in July was actually the hottest day of the summer. And our Party favorite was t shirts, and we printed, you know, like, you have the guest list. So every one that attended our wedding, went home with a T shirt, and the guest list we printed on the back so I could see, hey, I attended the wedding. And it was a really nice shirt. And we did in a couple of colors. And you know, it’s better than a piece of candy or some of the other trinkets you get at at wedding. So yeah, weddings, events, you can’t go wrong with a T shirt, you know, and backing up one step we talked about before corporate corporate sales guys love the golf, right. And a there’s a lot of good business done on a golf course, I gotta keep telling my wife that but you’re gonna be out there. At least if you’re not in the office, you should be wearing something that’s representative of your company. So corporate polls, golf, polos, comfortable, functional. And, you know, in terms of representing your brand, you should be in one. Yeah, that’s


Curt Anderson  11:29

that’s great. And so you know, as you mentioned, for those up north, I everybody’s outdoor for the next three and a half months. So you have ballgames you have concerts, you have different events, again, fundraisers. All you know, could be a softball tournament races, as we’ve mentioned, talked about some of the festivals, you know, maybe concerts, what are some advantages, there are some tips that you want to share?


John LaRoy  11:52

Yeah, before we just kind of glaze over at softball bar, we are in Southside of Chicago, we got the 16 versus a 12 inch group. And every year, you need New Jersey. And we love our softball teams, you know, and every one again, it’s a one off type thing. You know, what did we do last year, we got to do some bigger, better crazier, we do hats we could do you know, some guys were to pants and a 12. Initially, we got shorts, you know. And these guys, I mean it before I got married before I had kids, I was playing Five, six nights a week. It’s down to one. But it’s still it’s still fun. But yeah, there’s a lot of guys out there in the competitive leagues, and even, you know, weekend attorneys, and they’ll have five, six teams they play for and all different uniforms. But getting back to what was what was the other segment we want to talk about,


Curt Anderson  12:39

like, outdoor activities? Yes. Concerts, you know, could be nationality, festivals. I mean, there’s, there’s so many different things that go on in summertime. You know, and again, a lot of these folks, it’s new, you know, they do it once a year. And maybe someone so you know, did it for years, now they’re handing off to somebody new, you know, so it’s kind of it’s not something that people do on a daily basis. They need to be, you know, they need to be educated on like, Hey, what are some best practices here for those festivals? Right. Yeah.


John LaRoy  13:06

I mean, farmer’s markets are huge up here, too, you know, a ton of farmers markets, you have all these new companies, old companies, what have you in on, when you go to a farmers market? There’s a lot of people selling eggs, you know, how do you stand out? How are your eggs better? But yeah, festivals, concerts, everyone, you know, when you think about a memory, right, your your most memorable moments, you can remember what you’re wearing, you can remember probably who you’re with, you can remember, you know, usually not the date, but the time of year feeling that type of stuff. But like, one of the most powerful memories is like you can see yourself and your friends and your groups like in a photograph of your mind of what you’re wearing. You know, and again, you’re at some type of festival, you’re at some events. It’s really powerful if that person is wearing or that company or that group is wearing an event sponsor T.


Curt Anderson  14:04

Yeah, you know what, you just gave me chills because we have a woman here where I live locally who unfortunately passed in the 911 tragedy, she was on one of the planes, and they do an annual race of a year I saw and I this was like, 2008. Okay, I still have that sweatshirt. It’s in great condition. It was durable. My my daughter now you know, it was stolen from me. Don’t tell anybody but my daughter wears it. You know, it’s not mine anymore. She wears it. But here it is, you know, 1617 years later, 16 years later. And and a great thing as you’re mentioning, you know, people wear those T shirts with pride they love you know, when it’s a quality and they can say, Hey, when did you go to that concert? Hey, you know what, let me check the t shirt. Hey, remember what a great time we had at that event is I think the word that you just, you know, drop the mic on is experience. It’s not just the t shirt. It’s that experience. Or you’re out in public. You know, like, Oh, you were at that concert. I was at concert. Oh, you know, you’re part of this. So I mean, you there’s so much the experience the memory, the community that you’re building. This is great. Let’s slide into you mentioned boy that’s another thing you and I have in common I was I was a five six night a week softball softball guy back in my younger days, but lots of sports teams, you know, there’s soccer out, you know, you know, lacrosse, even some of the, you know, non main sports, right? For sports teams, we’re coming into summer manually be thinking out ahead, or, you know, for fall, right, we’re coming to the end of the school year. What are some tips advice that you have for schools, you know, either coming in any year summer, what do you any advice there for sort of for sports?


John LaRoy  15:39

Yeah, I would say, Organization is key. And utilizing the tools that are out there, like the online stores, to disseminate information, collect payment, potentially have a fundraiser. Everyone’s busy time is extremely precious and limited in the summer. And you might not see that person at school or at your school’s out. And but you still want them to get prepared for, you know, the end of summer bash, or, you know, again, South sashco We do a lot of walkathon at the Catholic schools to raise money. And those are always done August September, just because you can count on the weather. You know, as you move closer into September, October, you’re starting to lose at that dice. And so getting that organization getting that participation, utilizing the tools that are out there that now everyone’s familiar with, you know, the online store is a great tool for that. And even like right now, we’re doing a golf outing next week for my alma mater, American High School. And the golf outing. Scene is huge in the summer, you know, there’s there’s literally two or three every day for every and how do you again, the one off, how do you make your golf outing at 150 a golfer or higher, better than the other golf outing, you know, you get your decorated balls, your tees, sometimes it’s a polo, a hat, golf towel, microfiber, you know, bag, golf bags, all different types of stuff that you can brand. But what we’re doing as a live event, we pre made 50 custom hats for the event for the golf outing. And every golf cart will have a QR code for these ads, and we’re trying to raise as much money as possible for the high school. So you got to honor guys out drinking golf and bet and having a good time. And I’m betting that we’ll sell all the hats, you know, within the first half hour, you know, because we have a couple on display. And this is something that we could do it you know, every event and that point of sale and seeing the stuff there. And almost like the competition or like a union by when you’re a cheapskate you know, it’s I think, like, you’re you’re in that in that foursome and, and just being able to do things for the schools, for the organizations. That’s fun. But it’s also it’s not like, Hey, here’s 10 bucks, and you don’t know where the hell it’s going. You’re getting something back. And again, a premium product that you’re gonna wear. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  18:05

that’s, that’s fantastic. Again, so many wins, right there. You know, somebody, it’s a great donation, somebody gets a great takeaway, and now they’re wearing it. And plus, you’re walking billboard. Right, right. That’s, you know, we haven’t even hit on that. I think that will slide into the last topic, last industry that I wanted to touch on. You know, let’s talk about hospitality and tourism. As you mentioned, you know, we’re coming into summertime. And just think I mean, there’s just a wealth. You mentioned farmers markets, things on a on the shore, all sorts of different tons of tourism opportunities. What are some tips that you have for maybe like the small mom and pop retailers that are buying T shirts, you know, for their local business? Any advice there for the summer?


John LaRoy  18:45

Location, location, location, right, we talked about, like, there are so many brands that have popped up in the last 10 years like hashtag Lake life, right? Again, we love her lakes here in the Midwest. packing up the car Friday at three o’clock driving a couple hours to go to your lake house. And for those to like, you know, to quote Jimmy Buffett, you know, changes in latitude changes of attitude, like you’d have the worst record Rican world, you hit that car. You sit in traffic for three friggin hours for you know, an hour drive, you get to the lake, get your feet up, get the fire going, crack your beer, and it’s a whole different mentality and really only for about like 22 to 24 hours anyway get in a car and go back to work. But it’s amazing. You have maybe eight to 10 weekends to get that done, but that mentality of Lake life and all the resorts and the little pop up shops and you know, how do you make that experience unique and memorable and merchandise double it there’s a lot of options. You got your koozies you got your hats, you got you know, even laser engraved like charcuterie board, you know something that like you got the outline of the lake because all these little lakes are unique and their patterns and their looks and You know, and then everyone’s got the kids out you know, you got your toddler tees you got You can even customize stuff for the boat, you know, there’s limited limitless options to make your experience memorable and unique. I mean, some of the greatest memories growing up here as kids is like just getting to visit all the different lakes, all different Lake houses. And that’s etched in your mind forever. And it’s truly an amazing experience. And again, it’s it’s, it’s unique, and I’m blessed to be a part of it. But yeah, it’s it’s amazing that what the merchandise aspect can do for creating those memories. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  20:48

Drop the mic man just that was just awesome. It’s just it’s all about the memories you know, as a little kid and now you know, as a father now you get to replicate that and do it for the next generation. And just man so much, so much excitement that we just covered in you know, memories, safety we’ve talked about you know, that walking billboard, you know, your brand promise having quality product out there last parting parting words of wisdom for our friends there today.


John LaRoy  21:19

And I’m just still, like, in my mind stuck on the lake life but again, it’s like, you know, every one of these lakes, they have, you know, either like sociation or some fee and or I mean, some some community and, again, what you’re getting at what I’m getting at is just the sense of belonging and community that is conveyed you know, you have Lake Sarah, you got torturously goes all the lakes and everyone’s really proud of it. And they shouldn’t be and again, just just being outside, summertime, family friends, companies groups. It there’s no better time.


Curt Anderson  21:59

Amen, man so we will wrap up on that so we’re talking summer time at apparel redefined and just what a wonderful time of year. John, thank you for your information, your wisdom, your brilliance, your energy, excitement and enthusiasm. So big takeaway, get out there. My Lake my lake is like real break down the road. I’m gonna I’m gonna wrap up with you and I’m gonna go hit the lake. So join us again. We’ve got So John, we’re gonna start bringing on some guests on the show. So I’m really excited about that next week.


John LaRoy  22:27

I was to have Yeah, yeah. Kurt, happy Friday. And yeah, I guess. Help us help you make those memories and love to be a part of it. Kurt. Thanks again. And I look forward to next week.


Curt Anderson  22:39

I thank you guys. Have a great rest of your weekend. We’ll talk to you soon.