July '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 2 J U L Y G R A P H I C S P R O 4 9 P600 converted desktop printer that cost $3,500. After spending another $1,000 on supplies and a few months learning how the system worked, he purchased additional printers, finally part- nering with DTF2U, a supplier of DTF equipment and supplies, to purchase a commercial-size setup in January 2022. "When it comes to garments and transfers, the quality of the heat press used is essential. If there are quality-control issues, look at the press first to make sure the temperature is correct across the entire platen," Downing explains. "Investing in high- quality equipment may seem like a big investment at first, but it will save you time over the years. It will pay for itself." Heat transfers have many additional advantages over screen printing and HTV options. DTF can be used on most materi- als, and it can be quickly applied. "You are not limited by colors and gradients or by the size of the order," Downing says. "You have a wide color range to print." Alternatively, screen printing is generally limited to large orders to be cost effective. Downing knew DTF was the per- fect solution because order size doesn't matter. "You're not lim- ited by quantity. If someone wants just one, we're able to do it." Adopting DTF allowed Downing to continue to grow his cus- tomer base nationally as he added to his service offerings. He now provides DTF transfers to screen printing companies, focus- ing on small and medium-sized businesses, and some larger printing businesses who don't want to deal with the added has- sle of adding DTF to their own product line. "It provides a good solution for people who don't want to turn away business," Downing says. "ey send a quote to us, and we send them transfers ready to press." Additional market share also comes by way of team sports and fundraising campaigns, where Downing sets up ordering platforms of 10 curated products or less featuring the team's or organization's logo or images. He has offered this service using the e-commerce solution for more than five years. "Cut the check, and we take care of it all," Downing says. "It gives the organization the incentive to push more people to their webstore." FAT DAD'S GROWTH He originally started Fat Dad when he and four of his friends needed decals for their race cars. He had taken graphic design Business stickers for the Crystal Ninja master artisan and rhinestone suppliers at (All images courtesy Fat Dad Custom Designs) Stickers and labels with the company logo.

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