Impressions Expo Long Beach is the high watermark for our industry for a few reasons. It kicks off the start of the year, and along with lots of exciting equipment demos and education, it’s often the spot where many industry players make significant announcements. Plus, there’s usually a host of fun after-show events like music and networking near the convention center.
We had a blast this year and will share some content from our time on the show floor in the coming weeks.
Here’s a look at some of the big highlights. Scroll below the video for Bruce’s thoughts!
Bruce’s Takeaways from Impressions Expo Long Beach
What a turnout for Impressions Expo Long Beach 2024!
It is easily the most visited trade show of the year, with all vendors bringing the best of the best to share. If you haven’t made it yet to a tradeshow, put this one on the calendar for next year. After seeing old industry friends, learning about new equipment, and soaking up the industry buzz, I wanted to share a few takeaways from Long Beach.
Direct-to-film continues to be the talk of the town. Questions constantly popping up around are:
“Are you buying equipment? Why?”
“What are you buying?”
“How’s the color matching?”
There still is no manufacturing leader, but we can be sure about is DTG has taken a back seat. Whether you’re ordering transfers or making them in-house, direct-to-film (DTF) is here to help with print-on-demand plus smaller orders.
What’s reinforcing this trend is the use of automatic machines to speed up heat transfer applications. A few big names that come to mind are ROQ Impress, East West Machines, and MEM. They’re pushing the limits on production speed.
What’s next? Robots to place transfers, or maybe a film that doesn’t need garments to pre-press?
To be determined…
Another thing, revenue-wise, 2023 was a tough year for many. For the most part, shop owners didn’t experience the blockbuster year 2022. I’d like to think that that’s okay.
Many shops had a big year in 2021-2022, and with interest rates plus overall economic caution, companies are spending less money. Having a flat/down revenue year is a tough pill to swallow, though.
The executives were out! It was great seeing CEOs walking around, talking to customers, getting feedback, and keeping a pulse on the industry. I saw management from BELLA + CANVAS, M&R, ROQ, AS Colour, US Standard Apparel, Workhorse Products, and a bunch more chatting it up. It’s nice to know our industry wants to continually improve itself.
Lastly, apparel-wise, quality is the name of the game. Every distributor/brand is developing softer, better-fitting, more customizable garments.
Longer cotton fibers, organic fabrics, recycled fabrics, it was all there to meet the market’s needs of wanting decorated apparel that’s not just a throw-away.
Hope you enjoyed the show and see you next year!