The Rhinestone World

Printwear Pauses: 5 Minutes with Philip Troyer and Joe Rist of The Rhinestone World

Alexandria Bruce, Printwear magazine

Alexandria Bruce is the digital content editor for Printwear magazine covering news in the apparel and textile industries. Contact her at

Welcome to Printwear Pauses: Five Minutes with... where one-on-one discussions with industry professionals are featured in a Q&A format. These Q&A's share the practices and insights of some of the industry’s most knowledgeable individuals.

In these conversations, we’ll pause to discuss the industry’s growth, as well as what the future holds, and various ways industry professionals can stay educated. For this installment, we are pleased to interview Philip Troyer and Joe Rist of The Rhinestone World.

Philip Troyer

Q: How has rhinestone decoration changed in the last year? In the last 10 years?

A; Rhinestone decoration has grown more detailed in the last year. This time last year, customers were more interested in having monograms and names placed on their shirts and accessories. Now, people are interested in larger, more complex designs. I think customers have accepted the fact that they can have something simple put on their garments and are looking for more creative ways to stand out from the crowd. Ten years ago, many rhinestone designs were placed by hand and treated more precious, but in this instant society, more and more customers are wanting bigger and more complex designs all the while thinking that they happen at the push of a button.

Q: What does the future of rhinestone decoration look like?

A: The future of rhinestone decoration, I think, lies in placement and complexity. It's not enough anymore to have just a name and number here and there. Customers are looking for something bigger and in unusual places like shoes, handbags and even jeans. Standing out from competitors is the store that can deliver these unique placements to their clients. Instead of using basic heat transfer vinyl colors on an umbrella, try using glitter vinyl for that extra pop. While a number on the sleeve of a shirt looks nice, try adding a scatter or line of stones around the whole sleeve for an added effect.

Q: What rhinestone applications have seen growth in 2017?

A: We've really seen the growth of multi-dec rhinestone applications, especially in the realm of car decals. While plain rhinestones stand out well in the sunlight, the added glitter decal vinyl makes the presentation even better, and our customers are quite voracious over them. Using different types of vinyl with rhinestones on fabric has grown as well. Mixing rhinestones with glitter vinyl, and even rhinestuds, adds different texture and color to a garment.

Joe Rist

Q: How do you market rhinestone decoration to people who haven't thought about it?

A: The best way to push rhinestone apparel to an end user is to focus on five major points.

  • Washability. Many consumers may shy away from a rhinestone shirt from the concern over longevity or how durable the apparel is in the washing machine. Many of the rhinestone shirts that they may have seen previously have been mass produced with low-quality rhinestones. It is important to stress that quality rhinestones will stay on the apparel through countless washes and wears. It is equally important to back that up by using the products that won’t have your customers asking for refunds.
  • Types of rhinestone designs. The wide range of use for rhinestones is important to explain to the customer because people are often driven away by gaudy designs or too much bling. Those full-shirt rhinestone designs will have their demand, but using rhinestones to outline your design or have a scattered effect are alternative ways to reach the subtle customer.
  • Different from the rest. There is a certain draw of attention to rhinestone shirts. In a sea of screen prints, wearing a rhinestone decorated shirt is a sure-fire way to stand out in the crowd, whether you have a full-shirt design or a custom name spelled out in stones. This approach is sure to boost your customer interest and orders for rhinestone apparel.
  • Faux stones. Using a shiny or holographic heat transfer vinyl, or other decorating application, you can allow your customers to dip their toes into “rhinestone decoration.” Do this by creating or utilizing a rhinestone design and cutting a material to replicate the circles. These circles will look like rhinestones on the apparel, especially if they reflect a lot of light. Many people prefer this option for children or people that don’t like the feeling of objects on their shirt.
  • Non-apparel. Always market your decorating ability on products other than shirts. Bags, bows, and other blanks are great options that work well with stones. Why stop there? You can actually use the same rhinestones and process to create a decal that can be applied to any hard surface by using a decal material intended for rhinestones. You can do a typical rhinestone design, or cover the material with stones to create a full sheet of bling. Rhinestones look great on car windows, laptops, furniture, and other unconventional applications.

Q: What are the best ways to incorporate rhinestone decoration into back-to-school apparel trends? 

A: The best way to incorporate rhinestone designs to target back-to-school shoppers is to focus on which activities and themes are most popular in your area. Consider what’s happening in your area, trends you’re seeing people wearing in every-day-life. Kids tend to like bright colors, flashy accents, and popular phrases. Look at the schools in your area and get specific to those mascots and slogans. A lot of these more specific targets will appeal to the niche markets in your region. The easiest way to cover all the bases is to look into collections of designs that are geared towards kid and teen products. Additionally, creating multi-dec designs with rhinestones accenting other elements such as heat transfer vinyl or foil is a great approach to boost your designs.