Fundraising and School Online Stores

Best practice story for anyone trying to get school fundraisers going…

Took a little bit of a risky order for an entire school district in Seattle and created 15 school fundraisers that ran for the last two weeks. Each school used a 2 color unique print on three basic items (t-shirt, dryfit, hoodie). We offered a universal polo, jacket, sweats, and shorts that were available on each store. Each store had a pickup time and location that was provided by the district. We created custom checkout fields to take down students name and grade.

After we built the 15 stores, we created a landing page on our website where the school district pointed all their families to that had a link to each individual store (see photo). We set very strong expectations with the school district. They had to sell a minimum of 24 items per design, and would have to buy enough to hit those totals if a sale didn’t go well. We charged them an extra 2$ per item to Bag & Tag each customer’s order in a poly mailer from Uline (newly discovered profit enter). There would be no changes to orders or refunds once we processed them.

The district was more than thrilled with us because we were solution oriented and made everyone’s life easier. We took all the hassle out of collecting sizes, money, and distribution. They even decided to add a few dollars per item to fundraise.

We wanted to make sure this was marketed well so the school shared with me their mailing list and I created some basic emails that went out to parents via mailchimp.

The results were amazing. We sold a few thousand pieces and the districts made quite a bit of money along the way.

What I’m getting at here is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. They are probably an administrator in a school district and have much better things to do than figure out apparel. We took all the stress out of their position and handled the rest.

If you are scared of Amazon or any other threats in the industry, recognize that our digital economy is pushing the industry to be more convenience based. Think 2 day Amazon shipping, Starbucks, uber etc.

We have made strides to adapt our business to be more convenience based and it has paid off immensely! Price was never an issue here because everyone was winning. It ended up being an extremely profitable job!

I’d love to hear how this has worked for anyone, or any best practices.

Fife High School Makes the Playoffs

The staff at NW Custom Apparel congratulates the Fife High School Football team for making it into the 2017 playoffs. To celebrate their victory we are offering a limited edition t-shirt and hoodie. Both are direct to garment printed with the fife logo on front and a 12 on back with real looking texture of a football.


fife high school playoffs 2017

Corporate Webstores and Fundraising

Milton Police Fundraiser

Hero of Twisp Fundraising Shirt
T-Shirt Stack Heroes of Twisp

How to Create A Successful Online Fundraising Program

With limited funding and tight budgets, many schools, organizations and nonprofits are desperate for innovative and simple ways to raise money. Selling customized, printed goods in an effort to fundraise isn’t new and novel; however, selling these same customized goods in an online, fundraiser-store format is innovative and has a very profitable and exciting future.


What's in It For Me? Understanding the Benefits

  • No Cost, no liability: No inventory or commitments.
  • Fast: An online fundraiser can be created and launched in minutes. The online store can be shared rapidly via email blasts and social media promotion
  • No Inventory: The client doesn’t have to stock, distribute and worry about dated or unsold merchandise. 
  • Physical Products: So many fundraising campaigns seek money and contributions with nothing tangible in return for the donor. With printed goods as the fundraising vehicle, the donor receives a tangible item for their contribution, thusly increasing the likelihood of soliciting more contributions. 

Digital to garment printing is superior to screen printing

Digital to Garment is superior

Digital to Garment printing is superior to screen printing on apparel. This is a bold statement but it is true. Have you ever been in a screen printing shop and seen the dirt and filth. Now fast forward and visit a DTG shop. No mess or filth anywhere

Review of the facts

Let’s review a few facts about screen printing vs digital to garment printing.

Set up

Set up. The set up for DTG is as simple as point, click and print. Screen printing entails a separate screen for each color in the design. A 6 color print would take six separate screens for each color plus the white under base. This process will take at least 2 hours. DTG is scan design into computer and transfer to printer. Total set up less than 15 minutes.


Once the screens are used it is clean up time. This is another hour of labor. There is no clean up with DTG. Very efficient.

Environmentally friendly

DTG uses inks which are water based and environmentally friendly. They meet all the requirements of the consumer protection laws. Screen printing uses plastisol inks which do contain carcinogenic materials. These materials have been know to cause cancer if breathed in for any period of time. Water based inks produce a soft hand and smooth finish. Women lover apparel printed using the DTG method with water based ink. There is no stiffness in the fabric as water based ink is absorbed by the fabric and not painted on.
Re orders are a big problem with screen printing. For example a customer wants a 6 piece fill in order which has six colors. The time to do this is at least 2 hours. If you do it with the DTG method it takes about 6 minutes. Again no mess to cleanup.


Doing samples with DTG is far superior to screen printing. Can you imagine the problems when you are trying to introduce a new line of decorated apparel. With DTG is goes from the artists drawing board direct to the garment. Slam dunk. A sample run with DTG can be done in a day. A sample run using screen printing can take days or more.
These are a few arguments supporting DTG printing. There are more which will be in future blogs.

What marketing lessons can we learn from Jurassic World?

jurrasic WorldBigger and faster don’t mean better

The main dinosaur in the movie, the terrific giant Indominous Rex, is the result of a strong goal-oriented idea. Scientists and founders of Jurassic Park wanted to create the biggest and most aggressive monster on Earth so as to attract people and grow attendance at the park. Most companies, and start-ups especially, want to grow quickly any way possible.

Sometimes they succumb to the machine and use quick-response trending techniques like black-hat SEO or focusing on revenue and quantity. In this case they forget two basic principles: consistency and sustainability. This is not about how much you can grow; it’s about how you do it. A disproportionate growth rhythm will bring unnatural growth, which is one of the worst things that can happen to a start-up. Try to grow slowly but continuously, be remarkable and unique, work hard and let time define your slot in the market.

jurassic world 2Stick to your story (past, present and future)

The reason why this movie performed so well in cinemas is quite simply that it sticks to the original plan. That’s what people want to watch, because that’s what Jurassic Park is supposed to be, right?

The same thing happens to your business when you start selling chocolate and suddenly, for no reason other than a lack of ideas or personality, you start to sell apples. Stick to your plan, the one that helped you catch on to a customer base. Your fans are your first customers. These are the ones who will spread the word, and you’ll notice their gratitude.

Innovation is what makes you grow

For the folks who run the park in the movie, innovation is the key that allows them to move forward. They spend big money improving technology, sharpening design, and strengthening their huge lizards. Basically, they make their product/service better.

The only way to success in your market is through solid innovation. Do it differently. Don’t copy your competition. Spend less money trying to reach everyone, and instead build presence by offering the best product you can.

Techniques to Brainstorm Like a God & Infographic!

There is no such a thing as a great idea and immediately crafting it into a piece of art. So in order to make this process easier and more effective we created this list of brainstorming techniques combined with other methods that activate your lateral thinking.

You will be able to unite your efforts to find a conclusion to a specific problem by gathering ideas spontaneously contributed by its members with the ability to solve problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately evident and involving thoughts that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.

brainstorming 1Walking a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes:

Approach the problem through the eyes of someone else. It could be your mum, your teacher, the shopkeeper downstairs, your boss, anyone. Try to replicate what their thought process would be and the solutions they would encounter.

Hero Time:

Who wouldn’t love to have superpowers? Stop desiring and start believing with this brainstorming solution. Would you handle your problem differently if you had any super power? We cannot promise you’ll find the most incredible content, but you’ll have a jolly time and mate, truth be said, this usually leads to better ideas.


Illuminati Session:

Also called The Iconic Brainstorming. Similar to walking in someone else’s shoes but this time pretend you’re a VIP, the more iconic the better. How would you deal with the issue if you were The Queen of England? Barack Obama? The Pope? Adolf Hitler? Being the figures they were (or are) you can come up with some extreme solutions.

The Outgoing Plan

Did you know that even if your office is super cool it somehow kills a part of your employees creativity? Routines are pretty bad when it comes to get creative. Why don’t you take them out for lunch, have a couple of beers and think about how to solve that pressing issue? Being in a different environment will bring unique ideas to the table.

brainstorming 1REM Stage and WTF?!

All you need are 5 basic elements: A pen, a notebook, a friend, tiredness, and a comfortable place where you can lay down. Now that you’ve got everything, go to sleep and leave both the notebook and the pen near by. This will be your friend’s favourite part: As you are falling asleep, have your friend wake you up with a loud noise. Grab the pen and write down the first thing comes to your mind.


It’s quite common to get lost at certain point even before you brainstorm. Your goals are not clear, the panorama is foggy… doing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) may help you to get a cleaner scene where you understand what’s going on and what you can do better.

Virtual Brainstorming

We accept that in general we obtain better ideas from group brainstorming sessions, but sometimes it’s just impossible to meet everyone in the same place at the same time… till we remember there’s something called the Internet. Some studies already show that virtual sessions unleash our creativity more than non-virtual. Everyone has Skype, Hangout, Facetime… Don’t hesitate to do it next time, it’s way better than not doing anything at all.


Advergaming- The advertising value video games can offer

AdvergamingThe very best advergaming is actually a playable, interactive game that happens to include promotional messages.

Video games are designed to keep you in that sweet spot between happiness, frustration and progressive skill development. You just want to keep playing and playing. So, naturally, hardly anything would be more frustrating than advertisements plastered all over the screen, annoying promotional pop-ups or full-screen video commercials interrupting your gaming flow. That’s why you might think that marketing and video games don’t mix well. Yet advergaming exists and is very much alive.

The difference between gamification and advergaming

Gamification is the combination of marketing strategies with classic gaming techniques to keep you engaged with the brand or product. When you compete with your friends for Foursquare Mayorships, collect points for My Starbucks Rewards or play McDonald’s Monopoly, you’ve been lured in by gamification.

advergaming-hero-imageAdvergaming might sound similar, but it’s not the same. It means developing an actual game for the purpose of marketing. There are three main types of advergames:

1) Advertising inserted into an existing game

Have you played Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U? Did you notice how you can race with Mercedes cars in the game? That’s product placement right there. Back in the 90s, the rising wave of popularity of video games had advertisers salivating over all the possibilities to place brands and products in your favourite video games. What followed were games like Zool, a platformer where an alien ninja ant fights its way through a sweet world of candy — sponsored by ChupaChups — and Cool Spot, which had players jumping and running around…with the 7-Up mascot.

Advergaming_web2) Full games for desktop computers, consoles, or mobile devices

The restaurant chain Chipotle released a free iOS game called The Scarecrow in 2013. Marketed as an enticing game in which the player breaks up a monopoly, it not-so-subtly promoted the company’s values. Regardless, The Scarecrow was a huge hit with fans. Players downloaded the game more than 250,000 times in just four days.

3) Games on a company’s website

You might think of these as branded mini games, which you’ll find on sites like Candystand. But successful advergames on the web go beyond throwing together a bit of flash animation. Ubisoft’s video game Watch Dogs is set in a dystopian future where players hack cameras and mobile phones. To promote the game, Ubisoft produced the website WeAreData*, which offers infographics and real-time visuals of geo-data from Paris, London and Berlin.

What if brands had fictional ambassadors?

Celebrities and athletes have been representing brands since before most of us were even born. It’s not surprising that it still works; we emulate our idols. Lately, some companies have started thinking well outside the box. They’ve gotten creative by using fictional characters as brand ambassadors.

The idea is extremely entertaining, so we got to thinking: What other cool possibilities are out there?

So, let’s pair some of the most creative fictional characters as brand ambassadors for top companies. Hell, maybe they’ll take us up on the idea!

Sherlock Holmes

Praised as one of the most intelligent minds to set foot in his own world, Sherlock Holmes’ astounding reasoning, myriad disguises, and his uncanny investigative abilities make him not only a hot ticket fictional character, but a smart choice for the right brand.

With Sherlock the brand ambassador at the helm, this accounting firm’s marketing report will thrive.

The famed Holmes is guaranteed to carry confidence and assurance to those who trust PWC with their books.

Peter Pan

The mischievous flying boy from Neverland is always eager for a new adventure, especially since traveling doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.

Hmm… travel. You ever heard of Kulula Airlines? It’s a South African travel company that already stands out for injecting humour into their daily endeavours. Perfect match, and a great opportunity for creative branding.

Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz)

This innocent and friendly girl managed to get from rural Kansas to Oz in record time. She also walked, and at times skipped, the exceedingly lengthy yellow brick road, and all in heels! Those had to be some magical, but still very comfortable heels.

Dorothy will succumb to the superiority of the super stilettos, and agree to represent the company as its fictional brand ambassador. Dorothy could swap the bright red heels for the stilettos, then run off to Emerald City where she comfortably round-house kicks all the flying monkeys and the witch without breaking a sweat.

Hermione Granger

Harry had the bravery, Ron was the comic relief, but Hermione was the only one that was always prepared for anything. Whether it was potion class, or a Death Eater attack, it was next to impossible to catch her off her guard. If she had a personal slogan, it’d be “Be prepared”.

A fictional character with this much readiness for the unexpected would perfectly embody Lloyd’s Register of London. Fidentia is Latin for confidence. It’s the insurance firm’s motto, and any other character that buoys the confidence of those around them better than this young witch.

Mary Poppins

Everyone knows the magical nanny who swoops into the Cherry Tree Lane home to teach the children life lessons before departing once more under her umbrella.

She had some strange and magical powers, and even took the children on adventures. Her bag was a bottomless pit that stored innumerable objects. Although that’s not unheard of these days, and my girlfriend’s purse can back me up on that.

Creative Advertising: Then-and-Now’s of some of the world’s most famous brands

We’ll be exploring the topic by analysing campaigns of some memorable brands like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, etc. These companies have stayed a float in this ever-changing market for many years, but nobody does that without applying some changes here and there. Looking at how advertising has evolved over the years has made me think about how much the world has evolved and our priorities changed. 50 years ago, it was very straight forward, all that mattered was the product and its features. Nowadays, however, we have countless choices and it all comes to branding.

Here are some then-and-now’s of some of the world’s most famous brands:


We are sure that most of you didn’t know the rough beginnings of the brand. Not only was Ronald McDonald creepy as hell, but it was also very unappetising. Would you eat a hamburger after that? Nowadays, McDonald’s is more than just fast food, it’s a concept. This is exactly what they’re saying in their 2015 campaing: bringing people together. A much better way to sell burgers.


They are another example of a brand that hasn’t changed their advertising strategy. They’re still promoting the same product characteristics: Kellogg’s transforms a little boy into a superhero. However, the commercials nowadays are much more appealing. Tempting you to go and buy cereals, now.

coca-colaCoca Cola

Coca Cola, they just keep amazing us with their creativity. They are the perfect example of how our behaviour towards products has evolved over the years. The very first commercial from Coca Cola talks only about the features of the product and what makes it unique, while in 2015, the brand advertises a feeling. Incredible right? After 65 years, Coca Cola still manages to get to our hearts.


Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is one of the very few brands that stuck to the original concept, adapting only the design. From the outside, it looks like a huge evolution, but if you look closely, the concept is still the same: Share and enjoy the delicious taste of Pizza Hut.



This example is similar to Coca Cola: basic product vs branded product. What do Pringles and Coca Cola have in common? They were the first in the market to come up with a unique formula for their type of product. Back in the days, when the characteristics of the product were the only focus, that type of advertising worked great. Now, Pringles just wants to inspire you a certain feeling that will make you choose their brand. Impressive change again.

Mindset Segmentation And How to Use It

mindset 2What is Mindset Segmentation?

The term “mindset segmentation” was first used by marketer Kellie Cummings. She noted that:

“Mindset segmentation identifies people based on their emotional desires and expectations. Simply put, there’s more to customers than their willingness to purchase products. When employees see the human side of customers, they can develop communications that sustain customers’ trust.”

But mindset segmentation goes far beyond simply reaching out and building relationships with customers. It’s about getting to know your customers as people rather than just purchasers of your products or services.

Mindset segmentation can be broken down into the following attributes:

mindset 3Beliefs

A customer’s beliefs can be boiled down to one simple question — what are the principles that drive them? Are they more independent or introverted? Do they tend to feel that life is an adventure, or are they happiest when surrounded by a large circle of friends?

Hopes, Dreams, Fears

Much like understanding their beliefs, understanding people’s hopes and dreams can help you more closely align your business and marketing objectives toward helping them meet them. By the same token, knowing their fears can help you avoid disappointing them. If something goes wrong, possibly the worst thing a brand can do is bury their head in the sand and hope the customer firestorm passes.


What do customers expect from you and how do you live up to that standard? When understanding a customer’s expectations overall, it’s important to look closer at their beliefs and their hopes, dreams and fears. What will they absolutely NOT stand for? What values does your company represent that they feel comfortable in aligning themselves with?

Emotional Needs

One may not instantly correlate a brand with a customer’s emotional needs not being met – but it affects their decisions more than you might think. Many financial decisions are affected by a customer’s self-esteem and their need for security and love. They have a direct, open need to be admired and liked, or to feel beautiful or be seen as hip or smart.

Brand Perception

How do customers see your brand? Beyond that, how would they describe your company to their family and friends? If you think your brand doesn’t have a perception, then you haven’t been monitoring the conversation. You’ll know if you’re doing mindset segmentation right, because you’ll go from a company that the customer recognizes, to one that they want to integrate with and use to reflect who they are.

Getting Started with Mindset Segmentation

The great thing about mindset segmentation is that it’s easy to work with. But it’s also worth understanding that not every customer will fit into these neatly packaged imaginary boxes or categories you’ve created — and that’s fine. Those are where mindset segmentation ends and persona creation begins.

Start by interviewing your most loyal customers. Touch on all the points mentioned above in a way that isn’t intrusive or annoying. Do more listening than speaking, and you’ll be amazed at what you hear. Take time to collect all the meaningful data you can about these people in a way that’s open and communicative. These people are going to be the linchpins of your mindset segmentation initiative. They’re going to be the people who drive the creation of your marketing personas and help shape your brand.

Put simply, mindset segmentation is another facet of data that you can explore to give your customers a truly customized, personalized and influential experience with your company — and that’s the kind of interaction that every brand strives for.