4 Things You Need to Do Immediately As Your Chapter’s New Apparel Chair

Congratulations on winning the elections, incoming apparel chair!

After hours and hours spent Googling how to be an apparel chair in a sorority or fraternity, you’ve proven that the outgoing apparel chair, the other execs, and all chapter members can trust you. Tell everyone the news because you deserve all the praise!

But keep the party short because, before you know it, you’ll be working on your first Greek life event merch, and getting ahead will be key! 

Nervous? We’d be surprised if you weren’t! Being a fraternity or sorority apparel chair is not an easy feat.

Here are former Apparel Chairs’ tips on how to take on the job of an apparel chair that’ll set you up for success for rush merch and beyond. 

1. Meet With The Outgoing Apparel Chair

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts.

Even if you’re already elected as the new apparel chair for your sorority or fraternity, you’re likely not starting immediately. There’s still one last event the outgoing apparel chair is handling before you officially take over, so that’s the best time to learn before they’re gone!

Some outgoing apparel chairs set up meetings with the incoming ones before their term ends, but you can be proactive and ask to schedule it yourself. That’s a good way to show that you’re eager to learn and do well in your role.

If you don’t know what to talk about with your predecessor, you can start with these:

  • Contact info of the Campus Manager(s) they’re working with
  • Info on any ongoing orders that you might need to take over
  • Info on how they planned merch orders around the org’s event calendar
  • Details of the first 3 orders you should start working on soon and how best to go about it
  • Any Nationals rules or struggles they went through and what they did that helped
  • What tools to used to get info on sizes and addresses
  • Which execs you need to work with depending on the event
  • Merch designs that were a hit in their era
  • How they dealt with criticism for their fraternity or sorority shirt designs, stress over meeting deadlines, and getting everyone to order, etc. – general pressures of the role
  • End the meeting with anything they think you should know that your questions didn’t answer.

You won’t get all of them done in just one hour-long meeting, for sure. Ask the outgoing apparel chair for multiple calls or meet-ups or even a transition memo doc from them! Establish that you’ll be in touch a bit in the beginning so they expect it and are fully onboard with helping. 

Pro-tip: If you’re going for a Zoom call with the outgoing apparel chair, record the call with a program like ScreenRec so you can focus on the conversation. If you want to go back to something that your predecessor said or take notes later, you can play the recording anytime.

2. Establish How You’ll Work As An Apparel Chair

Who says you have to be 100% similar to the previous apparel chair to nail this position?

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts.

If the outgoing apparel chair followed our advice on transitioning responsibilities, they’d know to compile all their files for you. If they haven’t read our article on it, send them the link so they know how to best help you! We’re sure the outgoing apparel chair will appreciate getting reminded about giving you all those files!

Once you have those files and tools, review them one at a time, then see how you can adjust them to how you want to work as the new apparel chair of your sorority or fraternity. Make your job easier for youbecause you’re the one doing it. Self-care is dealing with the complicated stuff about your role in ways that work for you!

For example, you can try out the current tool that the former apparel chair used to keep and update everyone’s details. See if you’re fine learning how to make it work or if there’s something else out there that you know would make things smoother. 

You’re the new apparel chair now, so you’re free to work according to your flow!

3. Meet Your Apparel Company’s Rep Or The Campus Manager

Your term as apparel chair of your sorority or fraternity will involve tons of texts, emails, and calls with Greek life apparel companies and/or our Campus Managers. Before that happens, meet them in person/on call so you know who you’re working with and what each vendor’s merch ordering process is. It’s also important that they know that you’re the new apparel chair and main contact so you don’t lose them.

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts.

Of course, you can always wait until you need to place your first order to talk to them, but that’s just added stress at that point! You’ll be a lot more relaxed if you already know how each company works, who’s great at what, who offers the designs you like, the print types you want, what they charge for, what’s free, etc.

For example, we do free samples, mockups, and revisions. But some companies charge for both and it’s important you know which before you order.

If the outgoing apparel chair sets up an intro meeting with you and the apparel company or CM, that’s great! You’ll meet the person whose job it is to stay on top of your orders with you. If they don’t do it ASAP, it’s worth requesting it to save time.  

Campus Managers are like your apparel 911: they’re just one call, text, or email away for all your fraternity or sorority event merch needs! 

Like meeting with your ongoing apparel chair, prepare a list of things you can ask the apparel company rep or our CM. Here’s a list you can start with:

  • How long they usually take to produce fraternity or sorority shirts and other merch
  • How they make designs for your chapter and if they allow you to be part of the creative process
  • How long proofs will take to finish and how many free revisions you can get. We do them all for free but that’s not true with every vendor. Make sure to clarify!
  • If they will help you comply with Nationals rules, or if you have to figure that out yourself
  • What brands they can get for you (Gildan, Comfort Colors, North Face, etc.)
  • All printing types they offer 
  • If they can show you free samples so you can see what the final shirts might look like
  • Any other stuff that might come up while you guys are talking

Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible! Our CMs love meeting and helping people. They’re like a bunch of golden retrievers honestly.

4. Collab On PR Merch!

Time to get working, new apparel chair! Before your predecessor finishes their term, don’t miss the chance to work on PR merch with them! 

Why PR merch? Because it’s less stressful than your first order ever being for a huge event and it’s an easy way to get used to the role without the pressure.

You’ll also get to see first-hand how the previous apparel chair and the ordering process work. Things like the tricks they use to close orders successfully, how they deal with problems throughout the entire thing, etc. will teach you better than any transition call ever can. Think of it as the outgoing apparel chair of your sorority or fraternity’s last gift to you!

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts.

With these tips, you’re gonna nail your term as apparel chair of your fraternity or sorority! Good luck!!

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