April '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R 5 1 B eing new to the industry, the number of options you have for garment decoration is mas- sive. Even when you simplify the process down to just T-shirt printing, where do you begin? While screen printing has historically been the dominant apparel decoration method, over the last decade or so, D2 (direct-to-garment) printing has become a modern alternative. The simplicity of the process, the fast speeds, and the low ink costs make it very attractive to anyone wanting to start their own garment print- ing business. But, before you decide to take the leap, it is important to ask yourself a question: Is D2 the right choice for your business? WHEN IT'S A GOOD CHOICE 1. Startup business. If you are starting a new business, all you really need to do is justify the addition of D2. Are you going to use it enough to make a profit and a return on your investment? Ba- sically, you are purchasing because the printer fits your business needs. Even if you are starting a new busi- ness, it is crucial to have finalized your game plan. Who are your customers? What is your business statement? Can you start making money right away? The learning curve, set up, and foot- print for direct-to-garment is much smaller than other applications. You will also be able to offer high quality, high color, personal designs with no minimums. Inventory can be done as needed or on demand, so there is no need to stock your shelves with pre- printed designs of different sizes and colors. You can even print to order if you like. 2. You're turning away business. If you are a screen printer, one of the downsides is turning away work. Depending on the image and quan- tity needed, some print jobs are too much set up for small order quanti- ties. Screen printing requires larger runs to become practical. Direct-to- garment helps to fill that gap in many ways. With D2 you can print just one T-shirt if needed in full digital qual- ity with no color limits. Over time you can really begin to fine tune just which print jobs are done with D2 and which will be screened. Losing business is never a good thing, and in many cases, D2 is a great solution. 3. You are expanding your services. As your business grows, the time may come when adding new equipment becomes a necessity. An increase in services and production is essentially going to take you to that next level. Many people start in garment deco- rating offering something like heat transfers. Another popular choice for garments would be sublimation. As your business grows, limitations may start to become a hindrance. Though limited, all these applications have their own purpose. The addition of D2 is the most common solution for a growing gar- ment decorator. Along with increasing productivity, you will also be adding more services, products, and choices. This business progression is one that has a great recipe for success. The ini- To D2 or Not IS DIRECT-TO-GARMENT THE RIGHT CHOICE ? IS DIRECT-TO-GARMENT P A U L G R E E N

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