Awards & Engraving

Start Here October '18

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S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 F or sign and digital graphics and screen printing shops, it makes perfect sense to branch out into direct-to-garment printing. Ryan Kurek, director of marketing for North America for Kornit Digital North America, says that the industry is constantly changing and with that comes the need to branch out into newer technologies. He calls it the necessity and the opportunity. "Business models, if you don't shift, become eliminated, like the pager or the Blackberry," he says. "We were all used to the Blackberry because of the touchpad. We thought it was a necessity." Then the iPhone came out with a digital keyboard and that became the new normal, he says. There will always be a market for screen printing, he says, but screen printers don't want to lose out on the opportunity to do smaller print runs and are therefore moving slowly into the digital printing and direct-to-garment printing market. Any run over 500 shirts, for instance, will want to stick with screen printing. It is more economical, but with direct-to-garment printing, it just makes sense to use that for smaller print jobs, Kurek says. Matthew Rhome, marketing manager for Epson America, advises individuals wanting to get into direct-to-garment printing to attend an industry show and take a look at direct-to-garment printers in action. "While you're there you can soak up as much knowledge as possible from vendors and customers alike. Many of the shows offer educational seminars. Take advantage if you can," Rhome says. He adds that first-time direct-to-garment business owners should "research the market to understand the potential customer base, identify existing businesses that could offer competition, and Direct-to-Garment PRINTING The Logical Move into Requirements for making a profit in this growing field By Paula Aven Gladych FACT BOX Estimated cost of entry: $15,000-$20,000 Basic equipment needs: Printer, heat press or tunnel dryer, pre-treatment system Shop space required: 10' x 10' Time needed to become proficient: "Minutes" Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver. Image courtesy of Direct Color Systems. 12

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