5 Tips on Preparing for Spring Rush as an Apparel Chair

Wait, what? Spring Rush is almost here!?

Rush is the biggest Greek Life event that chapters prepare for throughout the school year. For outgoing fraternity or sorority apparel chairs whose terms end in December, Spring Rush is the last event they handle before the new one steps in for Bid Day. 

Because this is the event to prepare for, there’s a lot of pressure to get everything right. The best chapters even order their Spring Rush shirts from our Campus Managers as early as November. The speed, y’all.

Whether you’re the outgoing or the newly elected apparel chair of your sorority or fraternity, this is your chance to impress everyone. Not just with the exec team or the members of your chapter, but also the PNMs through Spring Rush merch that’s super cute and hits the vibe!

Before you get on Pinterest and start searching for Spring Rush shirt ideas, read these tips for you on how to prepare for Spring Rush as an apparel chair!

1. Talk To Your Exec Team

You need the execs’ input on what you should do for Spring Rush because all the plans need to align. The most important exec to talk to is the recruitment chair of your sorority or fraternity, though there might also be other people you need to contact, like the VP of PR or VP of Events depending on how your exec team is structured.

For example, our CM Sofi Melgarejo (the apparel chair of Zeta Tau Alpha) is coordinating with her chapter’s Apparel CO chair, the recruitment director, and the decorations committee. Another CM, Jordan Ostrowski (the merchandising chair of Pi Beta Phi), is collabing with the Vice President of Recruitment, and the Director of Recruitment Events for her chapter.

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts

So, step 1: Figure out all the exec members who you’ll need to get the rush apparel order through.

Start a group chat with them to decide things like colors, what Spring Rush themes you guys might do, and potential budget limits. This is also a great time to plan when you need the merch done and delivered so you can start organizing your schedule.

2. Plan Your Sched Ahead

Our resident apparel chair experts, Sofi and Jordan, both said that you need to stay on top of your timelines. It’ll be easier for you mentally, emotionally, and physically if you plan your deadlines properly. Damaging your skin because of stress is not something you need, want, or deserve!

To plan your timeline, ask yourself these two questions first:

  • Note the dates of the week that Spring Rush is happening on your campus.
  • Check how long it will take for you to get your merch after ordering it. (Fun fact: we can deliver in less than 2 weeks!)
Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts

Let’s say, Spring Rush is scheduled for January 22-26, 2024. If you’re working with Fresh Prints, you’ll get your shirts within 2 weeks. So, you have until January 6, 2024 to finalize the orders.

Since you have a clear deadline now, you can start thinking about how much time you need for your sorority to pick products and designs, ask for revisions and mockups, and get everyone to order their Spring Rush shirts. 

With how busy you guys are, plus with winter break coming up, the safest time you can start planning things out is as soon as December starts. You can work on the design and other details until the 16th. All days leading up to winter break can be for any emergencies with your order!

Here’s a tip from Jordan: plot everything in your Google Calendar. If you’re not a Google fan, maybe use Notion or just your phone’s calendar! Google Calendar can alert you if you have something up for the day or hour, so you don’t forget what you should do!

3. Coordinate With Your Apparel Company Or Campus Manager

After working out the basic details for your chapter’s Spring Rush plans, start contacting apparel company reps in your school. 

Whether you’re coming back to the same vendor or you’re changing companies, discuss these details with them:

  • The exact date you need your Spring Rush shirts to be finished and if they can meet your deadlines. If you don’t trust the vendor yet, subtract 2-3 days and give them an earlier date.
  • If they can work on the Spring Rush shirt ideas for you or if you need to come up with it yourself
    • If you’re confident with your skills, you can also ask if they allow clients to submit original designs or request to be a 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 that they offer in case you want something different
  • All details that will affect the budget you’re working with: material choice you’re thinking of, the look and feel of the design, the number of items you need, and the rough sizes you’re looking at
  • 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

Whew, that looks overwhelming already. You still with us?

Don’t worry about getting all of those done in just one meeting, though! Our Campus Manager’s entire job is to stay on top of your orders with you! You’ll be speaking to them a lot, especially for stuff that you need to check with the other execs. 

4. Don’t Miss Emails Or Texts!

Don’t you hate it when someone replies so slowly when you need them to get work done??

Well, don’t be that person!

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts

You don’t want to mess up your own timelines by missing messages sent by your vendor or CM. Delayed responses mean it’ll take longer to get proofs approved, orders to get through, and your Spring Rush merch to be produced.

Now, we get it; finals are around the corner, plus you also have to plan what you’ll do for winter break, and the cute guy you told your friends about is acting super weird. Who has the time to check emails with all that chaos? 

(We’re also guilty of this at work. Don’t tell my manager pls.)

If you keep forgetting to check your email or texts, set up a daily alarm so you’re compelled to look at your phone at a specific time. Since you’re already on your phone, might as well check your messages while you’re at it! 

If alarms don’t sound fun, pick breaks between your classes and assign those as the times you do apparel work. You can do many things, but make sure whatever you do works for you to get things done! 

5. Nag Everyone

Since Spring Rush is the biggest event for your chapter. You have to make sure that everyone’s in on it.

But we don’t just mean the members. 

No, you also have to keep contacting the execs you’re working with before orders even begin until they’re onboard. If you’re having problems with getting the recruitment chair to see the latest proof you got from your vendor or the CM, call them or make sure you catch them in person!

Then regularly message everyone else once orders are available. Bring a laptop with the form open all around the chapter house, if you have to! (We’re serious.)

“But why do I have to nag them so early? I still have time before we have to order.”

Yeah, but why leave it at the last second and stress yourself out before finals and winter break, right? You deserve a fun vacation without thinking about whether your chapter’s Spring Rush shirts are going to make it by January (or even before that). Self-care is finishing all your work so your vacation is as peaceful as it can be!

Fraternity and sorority custom t-shirts

With these tips, you’ll slay your biggest project as apparel chair, impress the PNMs, give your chapter the best Spring Rush shirts they’ve ever had, and finish it with grace! Good luck!!

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