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  • The/Studio’s Guide to Lapel Pins
    January 16, 2017

    The/Studio’s Guide to Lapel Pins

    Do’s and Don’ts of Custom Lapel Pins

    If you haven’t noticed, lapel pins have hopped off your grandad’s tweed jacket and onto baseball caps, backpacks and more. Once the territory of members-only clubs and politicians, lapel pins are making a resurgence. They’re easily made (with The/Studio, anyway), inexpensive and incredibly versatile.

    As one of the premier makers of lapel pins, though, we need to lay out a few ground rules for those looking to add lapel pins to their suit game.

    Rule #1: DO wear your lapel pins on your jacket’s left lapel.

    We’re asked lots of times which side of the jacket a pin goes on, and so was the U.S. government apparently. The United States flag code specifies that any U.S. flag pins ought to go on the left lapel as it’s closer to the heart. A lapel pin should always represent something important to you, even if it’s not the flag — show you care by observing this simple rule.

    Rule #2: DON’T underdress with an informal lapel pin on formal clothing.

    Lapel pins are a lot like ties; wearing one is not necessarily suave. If you’re going to a classy event, avoid a kitsch or humorous lapel pins for the same reason you avoid (we hope) that Donald Duck tie lurking in your closet. If you’re going to a networking event, use the lapel pin as a tool — advertise your Greek affiliation, alma mater, armed forces shield or business.

    Rule #3: DO opt for simplicity.

    Avoid lapel pins that take more than a second to take in visually. Lapel pins are there to start conversations, not put them on pause while your new acquaintance attempts to figure out what the writing around the edge — oh, I see now, it’s … What was I saying?

    Rule #4: DON’T wear more than one lapel pin.

    We know you’ve accomplished a lot, but don’t think of a lapel as your personal billboard. A lapel pin is a conscious decision to highlight one specific affiliation without even opening your mouth. Wearing more than one waters down the effect of both and is worse than no lapel pins at all.

    Rule #5: DO have a story for your lapel pin.

    When that magical moment happens and someone asks about your lapel pin, have a short story in mind that makes them glad they asked. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for — so don’t let the air out of your mystique by saying “Oh, this? I got it at the mall.” Lapel pins can be about your business, your art, your past, your family — your story. And the best stories get turned into lapel pins right here at The/Studio. Order yours today.

     

     

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  • Favorite Designs of the Season
    December 20, 2016

    Favorite Designs of the Season

    ‘Tis the Design Season

    Rolling into our lives with its own cuisine, music, movies and books, Christmas also brings some of the best — if not tackiest — clothing of the year. At The/Studio, we’ve had the chance to make some Yuletide apparel that could deck the halls of any top-ten list:

     

    10) Snide Santa Lapel Pin
    Something about this guy resonates with us. To us, it’s a sign that even Saint Nick himself gets tired of hearing Wham’s “Last Christmas” for the 785th time and makes up alternate lyrics.
    9) Noël Neckwear
    Ties that would be despicable any other time of year become high fashion come December. Maybe just for your uncle. He’d wear any of these.

    8) Merry Mugs
    Whether they’re for nog or coffee, Christmas mugs need to be oversized and festooned with Christmas décor. Bonus points if the handle is a) reindeer antlers or b) the end of Santa’s cap.
     
    7) Reindeer Prancers
    Socks serve as a Yuletide dating ritual designed to indicate how fun a potential partner is. Someone wearing these is a strong possibility — and the socks are pulled over pant legs, it’s time to find the mistletoe.
     
    6) Gosh-darned Cute Snowman 
    Making up for Snide Santas are cute snowmen in any number of activities including physical impossibilities, like drinking hot chocolate. Make sure not to look down at your cute lapel pin and say “aw!” in public, though.
     
    5) Holiday Hangtags
    Who said they were just for clothes? Ordering up a batch of your own private gift labels to hang from bows means you’ve won Christmas before it even starts.

    Christmas decoration with fur and baubles on old wood.

    4) Photo Props
    These recent inventions from the age of Snapchat seem to always involve facial hair. But they’re useful in covering up real eggnog-moustaches during the family photo.

    Couple with funny christmas masks

     
    3) Reindeer Pins
    A classy, minimalistic touch on the usual overly-colorful Christmas lapel pin, a classiness lost when you insist on pinning nine of them on your lapel alongside a Santa-in-a-sleigh pin.
    reindeer_lapel_pins
     
    2) Old Saint Nick Umbrella
    If you’re living south of Canada, a white Christmas is just as likely as a wet Christmas. Saint Nick’s got you covered with a one-of-a-kind umbrella.

    Snow falling on woman under umbrella

    1) Super-sized Sweaters
    The grandaddy of all holiday dress. Thick-knit, oversized, a whole diorama of Christmas right on your stuffed belly.  Jingle-bell buttons? Extra points. If you’ve got a beauty, we’d love to see it — friend us on Facebook and post your picture. You might win up to $300 and The/Studio credit and be ready make your own Christmas gear for next year. Our contest ends tomorrow!

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  • December 13, 2016

    Ugly Christmas Sweater

    What Constitutes an Ugly Christmas Sweater?

    We all have one lurking in our closets.  Surprisingly, many are unaware of the distinct differences that make an ugly sweater a Christmas sweater worth passing down for generations. Please note that The/Studio would be more than willing to add any of these features to your next batch of custom clothing.

    ugly christmas sweater

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  • December 9, 2016

    What makes The/Studio different from Zazzle, Alibaba and Cafepress?

    Custom manufacturing is a crowded field. If you’re still deciding between us and some of our neighbors in the industry, here’s a helpful breakdown to show where we — and you — come out on top with three of the most important factors in any custom manufacturing experience: degree of customization, minimum order quantities (MOQs) and design.

    Degree of Customization

    All four of us bill ourselves as a place where you can get exactly what you want. So for our competitor’s sake, don’t want too much:

    Zazzle offers a vast degree of customization within certain confines. If it can be printed or painted, Zazzle can accommodate your design and do it pretty quickly, too. The tricky part is when you begin thinking outside the box. Want a specific felt or patch appliqué? Thinking of a custom neck tag or personalized hangtag? Thinking of embroidery? You won’t find it here.

    CafePress suffers similar shortcomings and often proves even more limited than Zazzle. If you’re looking for more than screen-printing, you might need to move on…

    Alibaba, who seems to put you in touch with real factories that can make just about anything. Try a search for “embroidered polos” and you’ll get 14,901 factories who seem ready for your order — and have fun searching through them all, deciding which one can actually do your job well and at meet your budget. Have even more fun working with them and orchestrating your project — Alibaba is a match-maker only. While theoretically anything is possible with the site, you won’t know exactly what you’re getting until you open the box. Good luck trying to ship it back if your polos are navy, not black.

    Then there’s us. We offer the same wealth of options available on Alibaba — and you don’t have sort through 14,000 factories to find what you want. We’re fully custom, satisfying the exacting demands of real clothing companies like Hugo Boss and Timberland. And we vet and work with the factories on your behalf. You sit back and relax, knowing it’ll be exactly right or we’ll take it back.

    Minimum Order Quantities

    Until recently factories would laugh in your face if you tried to get them to do an order of fifty items. It happened to our CEO once, and it made him mad enough to start The/Studio.

    Zazzle and CafePress won’t force a minimum order quantity on their customers either, per se.  They can do this because their lack of material customization — things like different threads, fabrics, embellishments — means they have a lot of blanks ready to go. For most items, you can get away with only having one customer order a product. You read that right — you can’t actually directly order custom goods from Zazzle or CafePress. You’d have to pretend to be a customer and buy your own wares. Hope you have two email addresses.

    Alibaba is infamous for minimum order quantities often in the thousands. f you’re searching for twenty-five polos for your employees, you’ll have to order 300 or 500 before an Alibaba member will take on your project. At least you’ll be ready to expand your company.

    The/Studio doesn’t believe in minimum order quantities. If you need twenty-five polos, you need twenty-five polos. Because we make it worth their while, our factories will handle whatever quantity we send their way, from one to one million. Of course, we’ll always let you know if you can save money by ordering a few items more.

    Product Design

    Ordering a custom product run is half the job; the first half is designing the product itself. All you need is some advanced software, a lot of spare time and some extra patience. Or…

    Zazzle and CafePress both offer intuitive online creators that make placing text, simple graphics and uploaded images a five-minute job. Unfortunately, those editors are limited and simple because your freedom to customize doesn’t go beyond a screen printer’s capabilities. And if you’re wanting professional graphics featured on your gear, you’ll need to hire an online designer or maybe give ten dollars to that kid down the street who’s good with colored pencils. Either way, rounds of revision will be hard to negotiate.

    Alibaba opens up the doors of customization but leaves all the design work to you. They’ll make exactly what you send them, no questions asked — even if they had to make a few “changes” without asking, or it doesn’t quite work with your item. And you’ll still have to find a professional designer to create the graphics in the first place, plus a professional clothes designer to “translate” your thoughts into something factories can work with (they don’t take JPEG files, unfortunately). It’s a headache.

    At The/Studio, one of the first things we do is put you in touch with your personal designer, who will take whatever you have — notes, ideas, coffee-stained napkins with drawings — and turn into a solid graphical draft of your logo or design. We call this the “design mockup” and it tells you almost exactly what your particular design is going to look like. We say “almost” because there’s a second mock-up that follows, called the “technical mockup.” This shows your design in the context of your product and reflects any other customization you wanted, like cloth color, thread color or tags. If any changes need made, we let you know and advise what would be the best route for your design. No extra charge, no extra work.

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    Have any more questions about what makes us different from the other guys? Head on over to our homepage, submit a quote and ask your sales representative when they reach out a few moments later. That’s another unique thing with us — you have a staff member assigned directly to you at all times.  All these things make The/Studio different— and once you get used to it, you just can’t go back.

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  • Happy Veterans Day
    November 11, 2016

    Happy Veterans Day

    This Week’s Other Big Day

     With all the noise of a presidential election two years in the making, Veteran’s Day might feel like a bit of an afterthought. Not so for us. We’ve changed a great deal in the last decade but one common thread has always been our special relationship with the United States armed forces.
    Though we don’t make tactical gear, we like to think we’re providing something equally important with our military patches and gear. Alongside the United States flag, we’ve emblazoned caps, bottle openers, challenge coins and more with thousands of group logos, squadron insignias and battalion shields. There’s something quite American about crafting fiercely individual representations that band together under the stars and stripes — and that’s a part of The/Studio identity that will never change.
     If you’re on the fence about investing in group gear from The/Studio, we’d like to make the decision a little easier. Today is the final day of our Veteran’s Day sale, offering 35% custom military patches and 15% off the rest of site. It’d be our pleasure to add your group to military heroes whom we proudly support.
    vets

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