The PPAI Expo is the largest show of the year for the promotional products industry, with over 1200 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees. Stahls’ has been one of those exhibitors over the past decade or so and this year we were honored with a Supplier of the Year award. It wasn’t always this way. When we first started introducing our heat printing products and services in the promotional products industry, a lot of education was required to explain the benefits of heat printing. In the world of promo products–which has always counted on decorated apparel as one of its top segments– screen printing and embroidery used to be the most accepted methods of decoration. Today, with the explosion of fabrics, shirts and thousands of items that are just not amenable to screen printing or embroidery, heat printing is in higher demand than ever. And with consumers expecting custom printing on demand, the days of mass production and six-week wait times are no longer acceptable for almost anything. Heat printing is becoming the norm and it is taking the world by storm. Here’s what else we learned and experienced at the recent PPAI which took place from Jan. 14-16 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center:
- Full Color logos—they were everywhere, in every booth. Stretch Litho Matte was the star of the Stahls’ booth for transfers—people loved it.
- FLOCK! Yes, there is demand for flock since it is an excellent alternative to embroidery and works really well on Sherpa fabrics which are huge right now (also great on polos where embroidery totally fails) Thanks to J America and other garment distributors for showcasing our CAD-CUT FLOCK II.
- Glitter, Metallic, Specialty finishes—there is a huge demand for specialty finishes—especially decorating finishes that work on today’s thinner polos, outerwear and of course stretch fabrics
- Dimensional patches and emblems—caps finished with 3-D or textured patches are huge—we have both the service to provide FlexStyle as well as the 360 Hotronix Cap Press that’s need to apply them.
- Integrated services, integrated programs from start to finish—companies offering complete decoration programs and easy ordering
- Sustainability was highlighted in many booths—water bottles were everywhere and the show itself offered water refilling stations. Reusable straws are a top giveaway product.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this show a success. The Stahls’ booth was small but crowded with visitors from open to close. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, we will bring more order forms with us next year. We actually ran out! You can learn more about the promotional products industry by visiting PPAI.