Start Here October '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 FACT BOX: Estimated Cost of Entry: $500 and $2,500 - which includes a small printer and good-quality heat press. The next step up is about $1,700 and $3,500, again, including a heat press. Basic Equipment Needs: sub- limation printer; heat press; ink; paper; software; various ancillary tools such as heat tape, spray adhesive, protective gloves, protective paper, a protective cover for the bottom platen of the heat press, and jigs Shop Space Required: Beginners with a desktop printer and heat press can operate with a space that runs between 6-by-6 and 4-by-9 feet; Regarding elec- tricity, standard 16-by-20-inch heat presses usually use 120V power; low humidity Time Needed to Become Proficient: If you're printing and pressing on a regular basis, in a few weeks you should have the hang of it. But the caveat is that you will continue to refine your technique as time goes on. Robin Kavanagh, Sawgrass Technologies, echoes this sentiment, pointing out that the low overhead also translates to more profits. "Because your startup costs are low and the products you sell have a high-perceived value, your profit margins are large," she notes. "That results in fast ROI." Outside of budget-based benefits, sublima- tion offers an outlet for shops to transform them- selves into a one-stop shop for all products and services their existing customers need. Rather than contract out one part of an order or refer that client to another business down the street, explains Lisa Ellston, JDS Industries, shops can streamline the process. "For instance, a traditional sporting goods retailer that offers apparel can now produce items found in souvenir shops, award and tro- phy shops, photography product fulfillment, custom office supplies, and custom promotional products," Roti says. "In addition, that sporting goods store now has the ability to do full-color short runs on apparel with sublimation." Sublimatable license plate frames. (Image courtesy of Marco Awards Group) Clamshell heat presses provide a smaller foot- print and work well in smaller shops. (Image courtesy Hotronix) 47

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