October '20

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 101

1 2 G R A P H I C S P R O O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M W hether you're running a sign shop, a screen-print- ing business, an awards store, or an all-encompass- ing graphics business, choosing the right substrate for a job is a weekly, sometimes daily task. But pairing the right substrate with a discipline is more than knowing the right time and temperature for a heat transfer on a garment, or the best mate- rial for an indoor banner. Part of substrate selection also relies heavily on the customer-facing end of the job. Making sure you're selecting the right substrate that meets the customer's needs is just as important as the actual produc- tion component. THE RIGHT QUESTIONS Before approaching the idea of an upsell, producers must make sure they start with the client's end goals in mind. "I like to get to know the customer, see what mar- ket they are trying to penetrate," says Maradith Schwandner, Coastal Business Supplies. "I will list out the basics and then try and go outside the box to try and determine if some items have a dual purpose that may appeal to the market they are going after." Explaining inven- tory control's ability to clients, which al- lows more variety, can be beneficial, she adds. Kirk Harris, Kaptain Kirk Clothing, suggests that producers keep a shortlist of questions ready to ask each client to help narrow down what substrate to recommend. A few of these foundational questions include: • How do they envision the items being used? • Is the product for an event, situation, position, etc.? • Is it for retail or promotion? • Does the client have a fabric preference (for apparel custom- ers)? • Are they looking for any particular features? • What is the age group of the recipi- ents of the end-product? • Does the client need a particular fit and style (for apparel customers)? • Do they have a particular color in mind? • Do they have a preferred method of decoration? "Asking questions is the key to serving your customers, reducing miscommuni- cation, and increasing efficiency," Harris says. Finding out the customer's application for the product also helps with substrate selection, especially in terms of signage. "Typically, we ask if the sign is going to be used for interior or exte- rior purposes," explains Kurt Kahmke, Payler Wholesale Print Produc- tion. "Then, we ask how the end-user would like the final product to be displayed. Lastly, we ask how long the end-user wants the sign to last." Kerri Eady, Gemini, also notes the im- portance of finding out what kind of look the customer is interested in for their final product. "For example, if the desired look is a brushed or polished metal, the client may be offered an aluminum or stainless steel," she explains. "However, to achieve a similar look, there are paint finishes, faux laminates, and specialty vinyl that could be applied to more economical materials such as acrylics to achieve a similar look." Eady adds that location also factors into Making it Match CHOOSING THE RIGHT SUBSTRATE FOR THE RIGHT JOB B Y M I K E C L A R K Above: Producers can help guide customers to the right substrate for their job by using a good, better, best approach. (Image courtesy Coastal Business Supplies)

Articles in this issue

view archives of GRAPHICS PRO - October '20