Jim Nicol of TheMagicTouch

“This opportunity will never come again,” states Jim Nicol.

The managing director of TheMagicTouch (TMT) has always been adept at finding the positive in any situation, and even in the midst of the biggest shutdown the world has ever witnessed, he is still managing to offer upbeat advice to garment decorators.

Jim is certain that the country – and the garment decoration industry – will bounce back from the economic shutdown created by the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, business owners should make the most of being able to stand back and properly evaluate their business. “Look at your targets, your goals, where you want to be in five years. The number one thing is to get your CRM (client relationship management) system up to date and also really investigate your stock. I guarantee you’ll find old stock – take those old polos from the stock line on the balance sheet and move them to marketing.”

Not only do these items then become tax-deductible, Jim explains, but you can also decorate them and give them away to local businesses.

We’re definitely going to bounce back, so use this time to plan

Use this time to plan who you are going to contact and line up those marketing emails so they’re ready to go once it’s “morally right” to press the send button, adds Jim, and get ready to bounce a lot of garments out there to promote your services – “Nobody will ever refuse or be pissed off if they receive a T-shirt with their logo on”.

Some people are already doing well making T-shirts for charity, he points out. “The opportunity is there as long as they do it for the right reasons, and it’s done right and done officially; they’re affiliated to those charities.”

While TheMagicTouch is currently only selling products to those supplying essential industries such as the NHS and prisons (despatching on Tuesdays and Thursdays only until further notice), Nathan Newbury, head of technical at TMT, has been offering advice throughout the lockdown to people calling up with technical queries, because now is the ideal time to brush up on those skills, says Jim. “CorelDraw, Photoshop, Illustrator – all those programs that you don’t usually get a minute to think about – investigate them properly while you have the chance.”

The industry will be even more competitive on the other side of this, according to Jim: “It’s going to go mental, the knives and pencils will be even sharper, so don’t rely on the same old customers but instead aim for the creation of new work by marketing your business to new contacts and finding new industries to approach”.

Above all, Jim advises: “You’ve got to remain positive. We’re definitely going to bounce back, so use this time to plan.”