How can shops build decorated apparel clientele?

One way to create clientele in this industry is to begin with a premade base. This is a group that surrounds you regularly, such as co-workers, an organization you belong to, family, etc. Access to a regular group of people can be grounds for a great foundation and learning environment.

Working with people you see regularly can be a great way to learn how to build a clientele in a comfortable environment. As you learn to shape your conversation, discover needs, collect payments, meet deadlines, locate niche markets, and get referrals, among many other things. They can help you get started, refine your skills, and define your business. This is how I began, and this experience showed me many things, including the benefits of treating clients like friends, what I could accomplish speaking with them directly, and caring about their needs and goals.

Approaching clients in this manner can help create relationships, not just transactions. Having a legitimate interest can help you bond on levels and in ways that can help you carve out a business, retain clients, and acquire more opportunities through repeat customers and referrals.

These approaches can also afford you indirect vantage points like motivation and energy. By treating clients as friends, you will have more motivation to go the extra mile, whether that means researching an alternative decorating method, testing theories, or bothering suppliers until you find an answer.

It can entice you to stay later, work harder, and offer straightforward sage advice because you want to see the best for them. Treating my clients as if they’re my close friends encourages me to read everything I can, such as these Printwear editorials, watch videos from experts, and attend seminars whenever possible. These resources help me to discover ideas and answers and give me the incentive to keep going, become more efficient, acquire other resources, and meet people that can help me assist my friends.

This approach also energizes me to do my best and produce the best results I possibly can. We want customers to come back and tell everybody they know. If you work for the smiles, accolades, high fives, bragging rights, and profits, you will build a clientele.

To me, these are some of the secrets for building a clientele. Learn everything you can-the more answers you have, the more respected and sought after you will be. Put your best effort into your service, so your work is brag-worthy. Treat everyone as a friend, to develop relationships that keep growing, and tell everyone you know what you do.

Here’s to endless clients!

—Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co.

Kirk Harris

Kirk Harris

Kirk Harris currently serves as president of Atlanta-based Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co. Harris' love of apparel began with retail in the late '90s and in 2006 he founded his first clothing line. In 2012 his journey led him to apparel decoration and in 2014 he settled into his current position. He's reachable at, 404-396-7171, or

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