8 Things to Know When Placing a Custom Cycling Kit Order
Custom cycling kits are important. They help your team stand out, bring your athletes together, and show off your team style. Being the person in charge of all this can be intimidating. Here are 8 things to know about the process to ensure things go smoothly.
The first question we ask our customers is "When do you need your kit in your hands?" Producing custom apparel takes some time, but if we know a hard delivery date from the get go, we can make sure it arrives when you need it. Be sure to ask where the products are made (the actual factory, not just the headquarters). If it's a USA-Made product, production will be faster and more efficient.
2. Design Ideas
We believe if you are ordering a custom kit, then you want a true custom design, not a paint-by-numbers kit with your logo. Good design takes time so don't rush this part. Collect ideas before you start your order - even if it's just a drawing on a napkin. Make sure to give your designer specific direction. A good graphic design department will communicate with you directly and show you a 3D mock-up before you finalize your order.
3. Decision Maker
Design-by-committee rarely leads to a cohesive design and often ends with multiple people angry that their design didn't get selected. One person should be in charge of making the final decisions. Avoid controversy by making sure this is clear before you start the process
Waiting for sponsor logos can really hold up the design process. If you're going to have sponsors on your jersey, make sure to have high quality logos in hand when you start your order. These should be vector files (.ai or .eps) or high quality (300 dpi) JPEGS. Special note: simply pulling a logo off a web site won't work. You and your sponsors will want sharp, high-quality logos without any pixelation.
All custom fabrics start out white, but each white is a little different (think paint swatches at the hardware store) and will absorb color a little differently during the sublimation process. Make sure you get a color proof on fabric rather than a paper print-out or an approval form online. This is the only way to assure your color will be right.
6. The Right Product
You will likely have several choices when it comes to cycling kits - from the Euro race fit jersey constructed with several fabrics to the basic budget-oriented club fit. Ask lots of questions about the products. You'll be relying on your kit to last, so make sure you know how it is meant to fit and perform. Your customer service rep should be able to thoroughly help you decide what is best for your team.
7. Hidden Fees
Find out if there are additional fees that may not be obvious from the beginning. Many companies charge additional art fees and charge penalties for various reasons. Nothing is more frustrating than getting all the way to the point of delivery and being charged more than you anticipated.
8. Team Ordering Interface
Keeping track of all your athletes' product and size information is a hassle. Collecting money for their orders can be stressful. The company you choose should be a team interface that allows the athletes to go online, make their choices, enter their sizes and pay for their kit themselves. Orders should arrive labeled with athletes' names and a complete inventory of items. Drop-shipping directly to individual athletes should also be an option.