Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Industry Predictions for 2015

Back to the Future. 

It's 2015 and we're still not flying cars to the office or preparing gourmet meals with the push of a button. Man, did the Jetson's lie to us or what? Seriously though, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I know I did. Christmas is my favorite time of year, so it's always bittersweet to take down the tree, pack up the ornaments and remove the lights from the house and yard. I say it's bittersweet because as sad as it is to see the holiday trimmings packed up for another year, it's also exciting to think about a brand new year with all its untapped potential. 2015 is a blank canvas just waiting for you to paint your masterpiece.

Around this time of year, it's a common practice at Stahls' to make predictions about what the future holds. Ted Stahl makes the rounds and asks anyone and everyone their opinion about industry trends. What's hot? What's not? Where will the market be in a year? In 5 years? In 10 years? I often wonder if the man has a crystal ball because he always seems to be 5 steps ahead of everyone in his predictions, and he's almost always right. After working with him for 15 years, I realize he doesn't have a crystal ball and he doesn't wait to see what trends the industry will bring to his doorstep, he creates the trends. "BE the industry" he likes to say. To see Ted's Trend Overview for 2015 visit his blog at

When asked to make my predictions, I tend to see the future through the lens of technology. It's difficult for me to make predictions about CAD-CUT® Materials, Custom Transfers, Digital Printing or Screen Printing since most of my day is spent with my head buried in Excel spreadsheets, project management software, Skype conferences, research and heated UI/UX debates. I CAN however make some predictions about industry trends relating to technology and of course Cadworxlive®.

My Industry Predictions for 2015. 

This year will see an increase in companies extending technology to their customers in an effort to create more value, streamline business workflow processes and increase sales. Improved web technologies will make it easier than ever for companies to create a professional web presence with integrated design tools and production routing capabilities.

Automated design-to-production processes and same day (or next day) shipping will allow personalization professionals more fulfillment options than ever before. More production options mean more production capacity, allowing businesses to focus more on selling and less on manufacturing. Why fulfill orders in-house when you can strategically outsource and sell in greater volume? I'd rather take a 15% margin on a $1,000,000.00, than 25% of $300,000.00.

Local market opportunities will continue to drive growth for start-ups and established businesses alike. The business is there if you're willing to go out and get it. Strategic networking can drum up more business than you can handle. Armed with nothing more than a heat press, a cutter and a Cadworxlive® membership, you can create all kinds of business opportunities. Some products you can sell to local niche markets include: custom t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, caps, umbrella's, shade tents, gym bags, book bags, corporate uniforms, team uniforms, custom shoes, signs, banners, stickers, decals, magnets, fat head wall graphics, and so much more. I even saw a guy personalize a moto-cross dirt bike tire with CAD-CUT® Super Film and a heat press. Take it from someone who knows. I've turned down more than a few personalization jobs simply because I was too busy to take on the work.

The increased popularity of moisture wicking, performance materials will continue to create opportunities for custom sublimated products. Strategic alliances in the industry have the potential to rewrite the economics of this niche. If you've considered offering custom sublimated apparel in the past, but held off for one reason or another, 2015 might be the year it finally makes sense.

Cadworxlive®  Predictions. 

2015 is going to be an exciting year for The entire system is getting a complete overhaul. Expect to see a brand new web site with a host of new features designed to make your business more successful.

New Cadworxlive® Web Portal

One size does not fit all, so we will offer 3 levels of membership to perfectly tailor the Cadworxlive® solution to your evolving business needs. As always, we will continue to offer a FREE membership to loyal and active customers of any GroupeSTAHL affiliate company. Stay tuned for a complete feature tour of the new site in the near future. Some features will make a big splash; I guarantee you won't find more value for the money anywhere on the web. Like Ted said "BE the industry."

I'm working on it Ted. :)