Limited runs on custom apparel are the secrete sauce behind Brennan Morton’s recipe for retail success.
“By doing limited runs of preorder stuff, people feel like they’re on the inner circle,” said Morton, the founder of NEPA CrossFit. “They feel like they’re getting something nobody else will ever have. A limited edition feel, and you make money without ever having to invest prior.”
Morton will get wild with his designs, putting his clever ideas on shirts. He explained those aren’t typically what he looks to sell longevity wise. But he does keep a stock shirt to sell drop-ins.
When it comes to new T-shirts, he looks to use the people around him. For example, once a year he holds a T-shirt designing contest. Members share their ideas and the winner receives a free copy of that shirt. Morton explained the cost of giving a free shirt is worth the marketing he gets out of the contest. It’s a great source for Facebook hits as members share and talk about their designs on the platform. “You’re going to find a bunch of your members would love to help you,” said Morton.
But members aren’t the only ones coming up with ideas. Morton has reached out to his female Coaches for help designing female apparel. “Don’t be afraid to go to that sect of people and say, ‘Hey, design your own shirt,’” he explained.
Don’t fear experimenting either. Whether it’s a different shirt type or another apparel product entirely — like socks, which go fast at NEPA CrossFit — the options are endless. Survey members on what they would to like to purchase, from trucker hats to baseball T-shirts. “Don’t be afraid to go to your members,” said Morton. “The next shirt I make, I’m going to start surveying prior to even beginning the concept because in the end, your members have a lot of knowledge.”
Most importantly, everybody prepays for his or her apparel at NEPA CrossFit. Morton wants to carry little to no stock. He said if supply is low, demand goes up. Plus, when he has money in hand the printing company is kept happy, too. “We’ve made the money off the T-shirts without having a thing in stock, which is huge because it doesn’t seem like much,” he said.
Make sure to also get a few different sizes in the shirt for people to try on. Morton has been burned before and will now buy a couple of blank shirts for his members to test out.
But a key thing across the board is to make sure you have a distinct brand. A visual logo that can be easily stamped on something is important especially for branded apparel. It’s hard to bring multiple colors into a shirt, and it’s expensive. Think about how you can make the logo one color while keeping it sharp. “You’re trying to become a brand that people would want,” said Morton.