Wearables Business

Apparel learning curve gets sharp: Education day at PPAI Expo has increased locus on wearables

Apparel learning curve gets sharp: Education day at PPAI Expo has increased locus on wearables – Brief Article

Brian Anderson

There is more to learn about the intricacies of apparel than any other product category in the promotional products industry.

Not knowing the answers to questions from buyers about things like fabric types, quality features, decorating possibilities and color trends can make you look bad. The more you know about apparel, the easier it is to sell.

And while the education programs at major industry trade shows in recent years have been fairly indifferent to offering anything more than the occasional “Wearables 101” seminar, the tide appears to be turning in 2002. The evidence is in the Education Day program at January’s PPM Expo in Dallas.

“Absolutely,” PPM Director of Education & Certification Rick Merrill replies when asked if the program has a newfound, emphasis on the industry’s far-and-away leading product category. “I think we have something related to apparel in every time frame.”

Among the apparel-related seminar topics scheduled for the PPM Expo are Apparel Trends 2002, Business of Apparel, Headwear 2002, Apparel Presentations: A How-To Guide, and, How To Educate Customers and Demonstrate Designs for Embroidery. The Apparel Trends 2002 and Business of Apparel classes will also be repeated.

The bulking up of the apparel part of the education program comes in part, Merrill says, as a result of recommendations from the Promotional Apparel Advisory Council. The 19-member council, which includes Wearables Business Editor Jeff Rundles, held its inaugural meeting in July during the Promotions Midwest show in Chicago.

The council immediately identified a need for more apparel education opportunities for promotional products distributors, and has gone so far as to propose the idea of creating a new type of CAS or MAS certification for industry professionals specializing in wearables.

“We have been talking with the new advisory council,” Merrill says. “We might do an entire track on apparel issues. That’s something we’re considering at this time.”

Merrill says the trend toward more classes on apparel will extend to the next PPM Business Academy, scheduled for July 12-13 in New Orleans. The “special edition” of the Academy will take place during the last two days of the PPM Business Forum & Marketplace. The Academy will feature advanced sessions and will not be driven by CAS/MAS requirements.

Merrill termed the recent PPM Academy West, held in Seattle Oct. 11-13, an unconditional success. “I think the quality of the program there was the highest yet,” Mernil says.

It was also well-attended despite the events of Sept. 11. More than 120 attended, with 25 attendees registering after Sept. 11 and few cancellations. The networking, the education, and what distributors learn from each other at Academy programs are “priceless,” Merrill says.

Classroom crowding

Promotional products distributors are taking an active interest in attending classes of late. Merrill says last year’s high turnout for Education Day at the PPAI Expo has prompted a dramatic, increase in the number of classes offered. Last year there were 60 sessions; 90 are set for the 2002 Expo. Merrill says about two-thirds of those classes are either new or revised with a different instructor or different program.

The schedule of classes has also been revised to make it more attendee-friendly. Last year. the, schedule was set, up where there was just 15 minutes between sessions. This year, the breaks between sessions have been extended to a half-hour, plus a 90-minute lunch break.

So there you have it: A fine-tuned schedule with more classes, and more apparel classes in particular. They’ve gone to all this trouble to help you out. If you’re going to the Expo, the least you can do is attend a class or two!

Brian Anderson is the Senior Managing Editor of Wearables Business.


Education Day at the 2002 PPAI Expo in Dallas will pack a powerful 1-2 punch with its headliners.

World-famous boxer Sugar Ray Leonard leads off the free Opening General Session from 8-9:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, and the Keynote Luncheon from 12-1:30 p.m. will feature popular motivational speaker Amanda Gore.

Leonard will speak of his tremendous success inside and outside the ring, including how he “Dreamed the Dream” and how determination turned it into Olympic Gold and six world champion boxing titles.

“He apparently does an exceptional program,” Rick Merrill, PPAI Director of Education & Certification, says of Leonard.

Gore is two-time PPAI Academy speaker who will appear at the Expo by popular demand. The Australian will challenge the way people think about all aspects of their lives and recognize the critical link between productivity and the balance between personal and professional lives.

“People who have heard Amanda absolutely love her,” Merrill says. “She’s going to get that place roused and hopping. She’s that good.”

The cost for the Keynote Luncheon is $30 for PPAI members an $40 for nonmembers.

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