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Blog / Customer success stories / Gay Pride Apparel: A Journey of Pride and Success

Customer success stories

Gay Pride Apparel: A Journey of Pride and Success

Gay Pride Apparel: A Journey of Pride and Success
Elizabete Fleismane

By Elizabete Fleismane

8 min read

Established in 2019 by Jesus and Sergio, Gay Pride Apparel is a space for LGBTQ+ people to find pieces that truly represent them. The brand was born from a need to keep Pride alive all year round, especially in areas where it wasn’t even present during Pride month. 

“We saw that, as of July 1, Pride would literally get washed off the sidewalks. So we thought there should be a place for people to buy items they’re proud of and show their pride year-round.”

Years later, the brand has reached mainstream recognition. More than just a clothing line, it’s a movement, celebrating diversity and self-expression. Gay Pride Apparel donates 10% of all profits to a variety of charities that promote queer visibility, support LGBTQ+ youth, and fight for LGBTQ+ rights. They also support various organizations with free merchandise, social media partnerships, or by sponsoring events free of charge.

Their Instagram page has amassed 75K+ followers, and it consistently promotes content about acceptance, love, unity, and equality. With such a powerful community, their story is one to celebrate and learn from.

Gay Pride Apparel at Walmart

Source: Gay Pride Apparel

We’ve covered the brand’s success in interviews before, even in its earlier days as a small business. Sergio was also featured in an episode of our podcast, discussing big wins like getting Gay Pride Apparel products sold at Walmart stores during Pride Month 2023.This time, we talked to Jesus to learn about the brand’s growth journey and challenges, especially during last year’s biggest sales periods. Dive in to see why Gay Pride Apparel is the premier LGBTQ+ pride shop for year-round pride.

From local to global

Initially focused on the US, Gay Pride Apparel quickly realized that going global was not only possible but necessary.

“Initially, our focus was the US. We really didn’t think it would be possible to expand further than that, but thanks to Printful, we soon realized that we could.”

By working with a global on-demand supplier, they were able to take advantage of the scalability of print-on-demand to reach the queer community across continents. They managed to expand to Canada and across Europe, gaining popularity in places like Spain, Belgium, and the UK. The brand didn’t just grow geographically but also in the diversity of its audience, resonating with a wide range of customers.

Learn more about the benefits of on-demand fulfillment.

Cost-effective solutions

In the beginning, one of the core advantages of on-demand fulfillment for Gay Pride Apparel was its cost-effectiveness. Traditional bulk orders often carry high upfront costs and the risk of excess inventory. Printful allowed the brand to produce items on demand, minimizing these risks. 

“We thought our margins could be higher if we bought things in bulk, but that’s a big lie. You just never realize how much freight costs, how long it takes, and the other costs associated with things like samples.”

After four successful years, print-on-demand is still a practical solution as it allows Gay Pride Apparel to test new products without large investments. All they need is a design, which then can be immediately put up for sale, letting the community decide what stays based on what sells.

They’re also able to save on inventory and fulfillment costs since global expansion is much more accessible through Printful’s global network of fulfillment centers. 

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Two peak selling seasons

Gay Pride Apparel experiences a unique version of seasonal sales, with two significant peaks every year. The first is during Pride season when demand for their products naturally spikes as customers are eager to celebrate. The second peak comes with the holiday season, a critical period for retail as an industry. 

“We’ve seen $300K+ in sales across the holiday season, with our biggest number on Black Friday reaching around $35K in one day of sales. It’s just Sergio and I; there’s no back-end operation, so it’s Printful supporting us the whole way.”

The two sales peaks are relatively equal in revenue, with the winter holidays sometimes reaching even higher numbers than Pride month. This makes Cyber Week and the holiday season a crucial time for the brand, when meeting shipping deadlines and navigating high volumes are extra important.

“Printful is always consistent, no matter the season. Even during the pandemic, Printful delivered on promises and was very clear and upfront about deadlines.”

Holiday deadlines and forecasting challenges

The holiday season comes with added challenges in retail, particularly in managing order deadlines and forecasting demand. To mitigate the risk of delays, Printful calculates specific holiday order deadlines of the year to help brands manage their customers’ expectations.

Gay Pride Apparel uses this information to the brand’s advantage, integrating the deadlines into marketing strategies and online store announcements. This approach ensures that customers know when to place orders, enhancing customer satisfaction and streamlining operations.

“The minute that deadlines come out every year, we try to build our own landing page to communicate with customers. We try to make it very clear with deadlines for specific products and categories.”

The on-demand model further helps by eliminating the need for extensive forecasting and inventory management.

“I can’t imagine having to forecast. With print-on-demand, we’re just able to work with the orders we get. We don’t have to worry about planning ahead or purchasing inventory. It’s very helpful, especially during peaks.”

Why Printful is the brand’s choice

“We went through several print-on-demand providers, and Printful had the best quality. I think it still has the best embroidery quality in particular, which is one of our biggest product lines.”

Embroidered designs by Gay Pride Apparel

Source: Gay Pride Apparel

When choosing a supplier, Gay Pride Apparel found its ideal match in Printful. The high-quality product range, especially in embroidery, played a significant role in this decision. Products are the main way in which customers get to interact with the brand, even long after they’ve received their order, so maintaining excellent quality is the best way to keep buyers coming back.

“We can rely on the quality based on Printful’s consistent standards, while other providers outsource production to many different suppliers.”

Printful is a vertically integrated company and owns the entire production process—from evaluating products, their quality, and printing tech to fulfilling the product and handing it over to shipping carriers for worldwide deliveries. All orders go through a 3-step quality check, making results consistent across products, categories, and even fulfillment centers.

Additionally, Printful works hard to educate sellers about the print-on-demand model and ecommerce through courses, guides, videos, blog posts, and more.

“Truthfully, when we started, we didn’t even know what print-on-demand meant. Printful’s done a really good job at educating us as a customer about what print-on-demand is and how it works.”

Get the resources you need to maximize your success.

Creating current and trendy designs

After four successful years in business, Gay Pride Apparel still frequently launches new designs that become favorites for its audience. Coming up with design ideas in a niche market can be challenging, but the brand builds new releases on current trends, pop culture references, and what happens in the LGBTQ+ space.

“Design trends come and go, so we just try to stay on top of that, especially with LGBTQ+ design trends because there are amazing creatives in our community.”

New releases don’t necessarily start from design ideas—sometimes, newly available products can spark a creative direction, leading to designs that work particularly well for specific pieces.

“Another thing that helps us a lot is that new product launches at Printful give us new ideas for things to design, like our oversized button-up shirts. We wouldn’t have thought of designing those, but then they came out, and we thought they’d be cute to create for our community.”

Need some inspiration? Check out our list of 56 t-shirt design ideas.

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Advice to other sellers

Jesus also shared some advice based on the brand’s journey with Printful. He emphasizes that while Printful is an essential part of the supply chain, the heart of a business lies in its brand identity. New sellers should focus on building a strong community, which is when your branding and messaging are crucial. 

“Your brand is built by your messaging, community, products, pricing, store setup, in-person events, etc. That’s your brand, and Printful’s there to make the products for you.”

Additionally, he advises new Printful users to explore the platform’s educational resources and community support, which have been instrumental in navigating the ecommerce landscape.

“We were very active users of the Printful Insiders Facebook group when we first started, and we learned a lot from our peers in that community.”

Join the growing community of Printful Insiders.

A story of empowerment and entrepreneurship

Gay Pride Apparel’s journey is a testament to the power of a strong mission and the right partnerships. By leveraging on-demand fulfillment through Printful, they’ve not only expanded their market reach but have also managed to stay open to new trends and ideas. 

Even with high sales peaks twice a year, the brand can keep customers happy and deliver on every promise. The on-demand model eliminates forecasting and inventory management, allowing Gay Pride Apparel to direct time, money, and energy toward continued success.

Their story serves as inspiration for emerging brands looking to explore the vast possibilities of ecommerce and print-on-demand. As Gay Pride Apparel grows, it remains a beacon of hope in the community, proving that, with the right approach, small brands can make a big impact, spreading messages of inclusivity and acceptance worldwide.

author

By Elizabete Fleismane on Jan 11, 2024

Elizabete Fleismane

Blog author

Elizabete is a Content Writer with an affinity for brand building and strategic communication. She's an eager communicator with a mindful approach to adapting content for a diverse range of audiences and platforms.

Elizabete is a Content Writer with an affinity for brand building and strategic communication. She's an eager communicator with a mindful approach to adapting content for a diverse range of audiences and platforms.