June '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 J U N E G R A P H I C S P R O 9 1 line, but also solidifies your company as a client's go-to for more than one type of product. At first glance, the idea of ex- panding into mugs as a T-shirt business or pens as an awards engraver might invoke anxious thoughts of spending thousands of dollars on new machinery, storage, and process upgrades. However, there are some solid ways to break into the industry and make creative movements to increase your offerings using the equipment and space you already have. Some of you may already offer promo- tional products, but by comparing sim- ilarities in production methods across products while examining your core com- petencies, you may find some lucrative ex- pansion opportunities. There are two main ways to expand your offerings, and they are not mutually ex- clusive. The first option — handling ev- erything in your shop — gives you the added benefit of control. The second op- tion — outsourcing to a few trusted dec- orators elsewhere — leans on their years of expertise and allows you to examine the products before offering them to your customers. OPTION 1: IN-HOUSE If you like to have everything in-house and maintain control over every aspect of the process, it might be simple to add on a few items with just a bit of research on materials and products that will lend themselves well to the equipment you al- ready own. Screen Printing: Most of my personal history is in the apparel industry, and this is where most of my production knowl- edge lies as well. If you operate in the ap- parel decorating world, this section is for you. Much of the apparel industry is the T-shirt industry. If you solely offer screen- printed shirts and not other screen print- ables such as totes or bandanas, you may be missing valuable upsell opportunities. Sometimes, this can even use the same screen and setup if the conditions and de- signs allow for it. Larger automated print shops can ben- efit from adding on these "flat" promo- tional items, but if you run a smaller busi- ness or are screening by hand, you may have even more options, albeit more time- consuming. It is often possible to do sim- ple one-color prints on cylindrical objects such as a bottle or a mug with just a screen and some strategic rolling. If you have a client who often orders simple designs, use the same design for a few simple water bottles — just ensure the ink is appro- priate for the substrate surface you plan to print on. You might also consider adding one- or two-color screen-printed plastisol trans- fers to your repertoire if you have a heat press. While this might seem daunting at first, the process is fairly simple. Transfers can last almost as long as screen prints and allow you to use your current tech- nology to print on hats, jerseys, add siz- ing tags, and anything else that might be better suited to this type of transfer than a traditional screen print. Sublimat ion a nd Heat Tra nsfer : Sublimation technology comes with fab- ric limitations, but there are much fewer limitations than you think. You can subli- mate mousepads, bags, face masks, mugs, and there are a ton of blanks suppliers so you can order them on an as-needed ba- sis for projects. Keeping this process in-house also al- lows you to personally experiment and come up with some more adventurous options that you might not be able to or- der from a larger supplier. You can often get inexpensive add-on jigs for printing on certain hard goods or rounded objects. OPTION 2: COLLABORATION If you want to maintain a lean infrastruc- ture and let those with the good equip- ment solve a problem for you, know that your promotional product offerings can You can sublimate mousepads, bags, face masks, mugs, and there are many blanks suppliers, enabling you to order them on an as-needed basis. (All im- ages courtesy Jeremy Picker) To view the full class schedule, visit: INDIANAPOLIS, IN June 15-17, 2021 (classes start June 14) Attend a class to learn new skills, inspire ideas, and propel your business to the next level! Learn from these industry experts at the expo: pms 285 Black white

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