September '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 66 of 70

6 2 P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9 DIGITAL PRINTING TECH. continued from page 53 • Short runs: D2 opens shops up to those small-quantity orders they may not have previously been interested in because of the downtime it requires to set up an embroidery machine or screen-printing press for a few shirts or hats. "Because D2 allows you to quickly and easily print a single image in virtually unlimited color, the technology makes it cost-efficient and profitable to fulfill small orders and even one-offs," says Casing. • Inventory minimization: thanks to the one-off nature of D2, stockpiling boxes of shirts is not as much of a necessity. "Essentially any company that would like to produce high-qual- ity, short- to medium-size orders with lots of colors and without keeping any pre-printed inventory is a candidate for digital printing," notes Baxter. • Perceived value: If a shop highlights all the benefits of D2 like full-color and photorealis- tic prints, fast turnarounds, and no minimums, Casing suggests decorators can charge a premium for this service. "There is a perceived higher value for personalized items that are created very quickly, or even immediately," she adds. OUR POWERS COMBINED One of the most powerful parts of using direct-to-garment and digital printing technologies is that decorators can apply the disciplines they're already skilled at with these elements to offer their customers a whole other set of designs and product options. "An emerging trend that we're seeing with our users is multimedia designs that combine more than one decorating method," explains Casing. "Incorporating D2 printing with em- broidery or vinyl transfers can create some really beautiful effects." The result, she points out, is retail-worthy apparel that is on-point with growing fashion trends. In addition to multimedia effects, producers can employ digital technology to grow the promotional products arm of their business instead of outsourcing that element. "Some digi- tal machines provide seamless graphics on drinkware and cylinders and offer unique design techniques such as mirror printing," says Makrinos. "If a company is constantly printing dif- ferent artwork, they can easily changeover artwork or their product without having to create another screen." Alongside drinkware, digital printing also opens the door to substrates like wood and glass, allowing a producer to expand their offerings into markets like signage and awards and recognition. On the hard goods side, Makrinos suggests that there are endless possibilities. "We'd en- courage shops to extend their reach into markets that could benefit from digital printing technologies, such as toys, sporting goods, industrial tubing and packaging, edible items, retail, cosmetics, home décor (e.g., candles), and more," she suggests. Because of the timely nature of D2, Baxter also suggests that decorators can further im- merse themselves in event-based printing for everything from family reunions to youth sports. "Youth organizations, like clubs and sports teams, is a great market for apparel and accessories," he explains. "You're not only getting larger orders because you're printing for a whole team of kids, but you also can sell T-shirts to kids' families and friends." Digital technology works well as an add-on to existing disciplines too, says Check. A customer with an order of embroidered fleece jackets is the perfect candidate for a set of personalized water bottles or digitally printed tote bags, he notes. "Direct-to-garment and dye-sublimation are excellent complements to existing equipment a shop may already have," Check contends. Ultimately, digital technology will help a shop meet the needs of a growing customer base looking for goods at the click of a button. And despite methods like direct-to-garment bring- ing more digitally based techniques front and center, decorators will still have the chance to add their own personal flair to ensure clients keep coming back. After all, a decorator who's already skilled at bringing in new business and listening to customer's needs will be further improved by having another tool in their arsenal. PW Sometimes there are just difficult loca- tions to reach with a heat press. With other traditional decorating methods, you just say these locations can't be printed. With a heat press, there's a hack to make it happen. Most difficult-to-print locations are so be- cause the item won't fit on your heat press. Interchangeable lower platens, pads, and pillows make almost any item and location heat printable. But, sometimes, once your item is loaded, it's just difficult to keep the item on the heat press without an extra set of hands. Here's a hack! Get some side tables to place the majority of your garment on while the small area or extremity that you are printing sits on the heat press. Seems simple, right? Well, it took us forever to figure this one out. Add some raised table space or even a cardboard box to the right and left of your heat press when dealing with hard to handle items and give yourself an extra set of hands to hold items at the right height. With a little ingenuity, you can hack your way to profitable jobs that your competi- tors shy away from. And if you have more hacks of your own, please share them with us! Email us at or PW Josh Ellsworth is the VP of sales, dealer channel for Stahls'. He deals in the sales and implementation of heat applied, apparel decorating systems with a core focus on customization. He has experience in mass customization for apparel; production, sales, market - ing and business development with a background in social media marketing including videos, blog development, and social networking. He also delivers educational seminars at trade shows around the world and regularly contributes articles to trade publications, like Printwear magazine. Zach Ellsworth is the strategic product manager for Stahls'. In this role, Zach develops channels and partners for CADCUT (heat transfer vinyl) sales. Zach also deals with business development for the company, catalyz- ing the adoption of heat printing technology through education, consultation, and connecting the proverbial dots. HEAT PRESS Pressing Matters continued from page 29

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