April '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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5 2 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 9 tial investment in starting a garment decoration business was low. As the business began to grow, new equip- ment was purchased out of necessity. Having a strong business plan and customer base build up, the need to add D2 came naturally. The water has been tested and now is the right time to dive in. 4. High production needs. This last de- cade has made some major changes to how high production print shops work. In the past, screen printing was the only viable option for high pro- duction T-shirt printing. Today's D2 printers are much faster, ink costs are much lower, and maintenance needs are minimal. The combination of multiple machines is now becoming very normal in large print shops as well. Another benefit to using D2 for high production is that one operator can run two machines at a time. The operator also does not need a high amount of training or knowledge to run the printers. Set up and labor time can be shortened drastically. 5. You are moving printing in-house. It is very common these days for T-shirt printing companies to subcontract print jobs. The only issue with doing this is that the profit margins are small. There is a point for many where bringing the work in-house can become much more profitable. With its ease of use and small area re- quirements, D2 can be a very easy addition. Because every- thing can be done on demand, you can essentially print to or- der as needed. One employee can handle most of the opera- tion. IT MIGHT NOT BE FOR YOU IF… 1. You don't have a business and mar- keting plan. This may sound obvious, but it is by far the most important thing. The first time you see a D2 printer in action, it can be a very eye- opening experience. Your brain will explode with ideas of starting your own brand, printing shirts for your yoga class, becoming a T-shirt printer, etc. On top of that, a sales rep is going to want you to buy the machine while the iron is hot. If you do not have a solid business plan, things can start off in the wrong direction. 2. You don't know your numbers. Many people turn to D2 as a side business or way to expand. You may have a busi- ness plan, but you are not quite sure how much business you can acquire in the beginning. Keep in mind that a D2 printer is usually around the same price as a decent car. Along with that, you may also have a monthly pay- ment you will need to cover. If you are not sure of how much business you can generate, this may become a very stressful beginning. 3. You have limited support and train- ing. Having a team behind you is al- ways a winning factor. Although D2 is a simple process, you will require some training on operating the ma- chine. The more training that is of- fered, the better. In most cases, train- ing should take around one day and is usually best done in person, on loca- tion. The first month and moving for- ward, you should also have the ability to call someone for support. No mat- ter what, you are going to have many small questions and "I think I broke it" moments. If minimal to no sup- port is available, you could be heading for disaster. Walk away. 4. You can't keep a maintenance rou- tine. With some of the latest D2 printers, maintenance has become fairly hands-off, but do some research THED2 DECISION W hen shopping for any equipment or major pur- chase, a good warranty is very important. Qualify the quality of the warranty being offered by any given supplier or manufac- turer with questions like: • How long is the warranty? • What does the warranty cover? • If the machine breaks, what happens? Does someone come out and replace the part? • Can I extend the warranty? D2 can be a great fit for a new business as well as an option for those looking to expand their offerings.

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