Fabric graphics get serious with the growth of branding and customization in the world of special events.
By the Fabric Graphics Association
The special event industry is currently in the process of change. It had once been an industry of only themed décor, but it is now rapidly changing to include design and art.
Many special-event designers are looking toward modern architecture, interior design and graphic art studios to bring their events to life. Instead of requesting hard props, they are sourcing more textures, lighting effects, soft goods and customization. No longer are guests at these special events surrounded with black carpet, white draped tables and plain chair backs. Because the printing world is evolving at a rapid rate, special-event applications are also evolving.
When a request is made for something unique or something unusual, custom printing is a viable option. Enter the talents and services provided with a custom printing vendor. Their services now include creating a textured backdrop, sofa pillows to match custom carpet, and new shades for old light fixtures.
When planning a special event, event coordinators have a checklist of desired options that will help to enhance the event. If the event is in a tent, designs can be printed on sidewalls, liners and flooring. The accessories of the event also offer printing opportunities. As a vendor to the special event industry, the number-one goal in enhancing any event is informing the planner of the graphic options available.
“Today’s client is demanding a choice in event décor, and what is exciting is suppliers can now provide choices,” says Fred Tracy of Fred’s Tents, Stillwater, N.Y. “Imagination and creativity are only limited by the current printing resources available to the supplier and the budget of the event being planned. Our company can print the inside of a tent to match any event planner’s design. Wedding couples have provided a favorite family photo for reproduction on the tent as a wedding ceremony backdrop.”
Companies want to brand their events with a logo, tag line or specific colors, which opens the door for vendors to become creative and inspirational in the designs they offer to their clients. Event planners are searching for the new and the unusual to present to their clients. The door is open for new products and services from niche markets to enter the special event décor world.
“You never stop offering new products and services to your clients,” says Billy McKee of American Turf and Carpet, New York, who has been involved with the special event industry for more than 35 years and has provided services for major award ceremonies, sporting events and Fashion Week in New York. “Take carpet as an example,” he says. “Events must have flooring. When responding to an RFP, we offer a standard package, but have options available for up-selling.
“We presented options for Fashion Week in New York. Each fashion house wants to brand their own runway show and source unique methods of branding their event. This becomes a niche marketing opportunity for suppliers of custom products to enter a new market.”
Companies that are planning to enter the special-event market have an option of partnering with an existing company to take their ideas to market. “The basic black carpet used in runway-show flooring is a great opportunity for branding with custom logos and carpet designs,” McKee says. “Vendors provide options with graphic applications, such as laser cutting and digital printing.”
Why stop with a printed logo on the entry carpet to an event? Print providers can offer so much more. Consider a client who wants a custom graphic in the entry carpet at a hotel for a wedding reception. Take the initial job, and then upsell a custom-printed aisle runner, monogramming on chair backs, banners and flags.
If fabric-printing providers are interested in reaching out to the event industry, they should research local event planners and explore avenues to promote product offerings. Forming a partnership with a vendor already in the business is a good approach to test the market. Special event coordinators build relationships with their vendors, and it is often challenging for a company with a “niche market” product to gain exposure.
McKee suggests developing a business relationship with a current vendor who has the potential to expand the business with the addition of customizing and branding products provided by a new vendor.
Take advantage of the rapidly evolving print world, and use your business’s specialties to gain access into the growing special-event market.