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Updated – First Impressions: Here’s to a Truly Happy 2023!

By Adam Cort, Content Director


Image by AdobeStock/Pcess609

December 18, 2023

Famed movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn was once quoted as saying, “Forecasts are difficult to make—particularly those about the future.” Nonetheless, I’ve decided to go on record and say 2023 is going to be a banner year for the decorated apparel industry.

Yes, I know, the business press can’t stop spouting gloom and doom about things like inflation. But while challenges remain, a funny thing seems to be happening in the world of decorated apparel—decorators just keep decorating! As I write this, all I hear is how busy everyone is. This includes not just decorators filling orders in time for the 2022 holiday season, but equipment suppliers who say they are already running as fast as they can as orders continue rolling in.

Then there’s the buzz surrounding the upcoming 2023 Impressions Expo Long Beach trade show. Following up on a strong Impressions Expo this past fall in Fort Worth, Texas, booth space has been flying off the shelves, so to speak, promising a return to pre-Covid levels and then some.

The reason, I think, is decorators, especially those running smaller shops, are in direct contact with their fellow human beings, i.e., customers, in a way the supposed “experts” on Wall Street can’t imagine. They are also motivated by a very different set of incentives. They decorate not just to beat, say, the “spread” vis-à-vis inflation, but because decorating is in their blood.

Same thing with their customers. The public buys fun, funny, personalized shirts, hats and bags, because it represents who they are, and they’re not going to stop being who they are just because it costs them a bit more. As things continue returning to “normal,” people are going to continue expressing themselves because that’s what people do. For this reason alone, I say 2023 is not only going to be a great year, but a fun one as well!

Article updated Dec. 18, 2023