This month BPMA director general Gordon Glenister talks about the association’s recent clothing summit and how it could benefit decorators

At the BPMA we’ve been aware for a while that there are quite specific issues that the promotional clothing sector faces, which is why in November we held what we hope will be the first of many clothing summits.

The idea was to get all three elements of the sector around the table – the wholesalers, the decorators and the brands – and discuss the different issues each is facing.

Ralawise, Creative Apparel, Fanela and Fruit of the Loom were some of the attendees in what was a very exciting and promising three-hour meeting. One of the main results of the meeting is an agreement that in the new year, the BPMA will create a special sector on its main site that will be just for those in or interacting with the promotional clothing sector. This new site will be used to build awareness of the benefits of promotional clothing. We want to educate the end user as to the huge potential of clothing in promotional campaigns and how the clever use of garments can boost brand engagement.

We will do this in a variety of ways, such as by featuring case studies of particularly successful promotional campaigns that have used branded clothing, as well as detailing various different scenarios that marketers often face and how promotional clothing could be used in these situations. We will also include research and statistics that back up the use of branded garments. Educating the end user is vital.

The site won’t, however, just be for the end users: as anyone who has met me knows, I am passionate about education. I want to create a space where decorators can come for advice and ideas. We know that margin erosion is an increasing problem for decorators, so we want to focus on how to ease this by building value in a practical way, whether it’s by cross-selling, upselling or learning how to effectively explain to customers about the potential of higher value garments.

There is a sense that now is the time to do something, and I am excited about what the promotional clothing sector and the BPMA will achieve – together – over the next 12 months.

If you have any questions or topics that you would like Gordon to address, please email with ‘BPMA’ in the subject line.