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Promotional Merchandise for Stand Out Brands

Sustainable Apparel and branded converse

Posted By: Andy Thorne
Sustainable Apparel and branded converse

OBTV interviewed our clothing specialist supplier, Dorian Tranter from Essential Embroidery, and found out about some game-changing sustainable products as well as personalized footwear.

You can watch the interview here, or read a transcript below.  We recommend watching the video to see a large man trying to get into a small ladies jacket!


Andy: Welcome back to OB TV Live from at Merchandise World, we’re back this afternoon with DT. We’ve seen DT before on our first OB TV Live.  DT then was the man about gadgets, now he’s the man about apparel.   Welcome back DT.

DT: Thank you Andy, thank you for having me again.

Andy: If you would just tell the people at home a little bit about yourself, and also Essential , our preferred supplier for clothing.

DT: Essential are the leaders in branding techniques, embroidery, print, direct to garment, laser engraving. Established 20 years, it’s our 20th anniversary this year.

Andy: Oh, Happy Birthday

DT: Thank you very much. We work with some of the bigger brands in the industry, very much a service driven business. I like to think that we provide possibly the best service.

 Andy: How different to you is apparel to gadgets?

DT: Its completely different, although the customer base is the same, you still get to deal with lovely customers like yourself, but it’s a completely different role. On the gadget side its very much this is what we do, do you like it? Do you want it? This is what we do with it.  On the apparel side we very much start with it in its infancy. We deal with customers that have a certain requirement, a lot of customers don’t almost know what that requirement is, they know that they want something. They know they want to have something with their logo on. So, we get involved in it at a much earlier stage, dedicate your sales team to it internally, then pick products. We do visuals, we do swatches, that kind of thing. So, it’s a much longer process then actually just “this is a power bank, how many do you want” type of thing.

Andy: Obviously we’re at merchandise world, the premiere trade show in the promotional merchandise industry.

DT: it’s the only trade show, isn’t it?

Andy: It’s the only trade show, and there are imitations out there but we don’t talk about those. 2018, obviously start of the year there’s a real buzz about the place, obviously because of new products. What have you got for us?

DT: I think one of the biggest focuses this year is about sustainable products, everyone is growing an ethical conscience. Especially some of the brands we deal with, like yourself, not only want to know where their clothing is coming from but actually where the cotton or fabric is made, grown or harvested. Kind of back in the day sort of gave us a bit of a problem but there’s now far more ethical suppliers in the market place. We like to think we deal with those in a respectful way.

Andy: From the product point of view, people talk about sustainability, CSR, etc. In the past we’ve had things like bamboo and stuff like that. Where’s it gone, and how’s product evolved?

DT: I think more along the lines of actually knowing where a product is coming from. So you take a standard black t-shirt, you can buy a standard black t-shirt for maybe seven, eight, nine ten/twelve different suppliers. The difference with this is, it’s fully certified. We know what field this cotton was grown in, when it was harvested, when it was produced, it has a complete traceability.   For your customers they know its sourced ethically and they have a full life span of the product really. It ticks a lot of boxes for the ethical policies that a lot of your customers have.

Andy: Brilliant, Brilliant. And is it just t-shirts that are made like this?

DT: Absolutely not, within all the categories you got polo shirts, I won’t go through them all but hoodies. We’ve talked about bamboo, this is actually made from recycled PET bottles

Andy: Oh, that’s nice, its soft.

DT: Nice jacket, you wouldn’t be able to tell but again fully traceable, fully sustainable and its looks really really good for your client’s ethical policy.

Andy: Ok hold that, something we obviously always do when there’s always clothing about is I love to try things on. So, hold on a minute

DT: I think this is the ladies Andy

Andy: That’s alright, doesn’t matter. I was in New York, in our US office if you can hear me. Great. Hold on, this is what makes OB TV quite special the fact that I am a bit of a big lad and this is a relatively small garment.

DT: Should I try it on? Fits like a glove.

Andy: Now wouldn’t you want to be seen in this?

DT: Yea

Andy: So, it’s a lovely lovely product and obviously the bamboo, joking aside is so soft

DT: Yea the PET bottles it makes it, you can’t tell, can you?  You can’t tell it’s a recycled product.

Andy: Is everything on here…

DT: Yes fully ethically, sustainable

Andy: Even the zips as well, wow. And suppose that’s what I mean one of our largest clients, they have a target by 2020 that every single product they buy is sustainable. That’s recyclable, reusable, or sustainable.  And some of the biggest challenges is with certain products, I didn’t even realize there was fully recycles product.

DT: Actually, this has already gone to one of your customers already, along with the t-shirts and the polo shirts. We’re constantly working to develop that side of our business as well as sustainability, and the eco side , so it’s really important to us. Because it’s become more and more a requirement for your customers. I would like to show you one more thing if I got a bit of time.

Andy: Yea, of course we have.

DT: One latest thing that we are doing is (Andy says oh look at these bad boys) printed converse.

Andy: Wow

DT: So, if you can see that, its digitally printed with your logo on, actually these have our logo on. Very much converse style, it comes in a high top and a low top. We can also embroider that as well as print, we can also put a transfer on there as well.

Andy: And how many pieces? Most people at home are probably thinking huge quantities.

DT: Yea, there is obviously a set-up cost involved but we can do from sort of one piece really

Andy: Wow, that’s phenomenal

DT: And we’re one of the only three decorators who can do that in the U.K. at the minute

Andy: Lastly, thank you very much DT that’s brilliant, and I know CSR and sustainability, we talk about continually and it’s not going away.   Where do you see one, apparel in the U.K. going in the next twelve months? And two, the promo industry?

DT: I think, if I could start with the promo industry, promo industry is moving away from your standard generic t-shirt, polo, they want something that’s going to be a bit more fashion driven. Something that they actually want to wear, they would be prepared to wear as a fashion item and we’ve seen a massive increase on that in the last twelve months. With regards to everything else, sustainable, eco and what we’ve touched on today is really, I think the way forward.

Andy: Thank you very much for your time

DT: Thank you for having me again

Andy: Always, always a pleasure. DT - thank you so much for tuning in OB TV Live from Merchandise World, this is Essential embroidery. We’ll see you next time, Thank you very much.


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