July '22

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5 0 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M classes in high school and that experience led him to learn about the versatility of HTV and the purchase of his first heat press, which he still has at his shop. e name for his business came from his son, who was six at the time and told him he was "fat" and his "dad," so Downing took on the name. "It's great because I don't have to lose weight. It's part of the brand- ing," Downing adds. He started working part-time to earn fun and vacation money. His full-time Business swag for a customer consisting of T-shirts with designs using direct-to-film transfers. Fundraiser T-shirts with screen-printed transfers, HTV, and printed HTV transfers. job involved managing the service depart- ment for an HVAC company. rough word of mouth, he started creating fin- ished apparel for local sports teams and other customers and soon had a full-time apparel decoration business. In 2017, Downing grew his business and moved into a 400-square-foot retail space, then moved to a 3,500-square-foot store- front a year later in a mall location. e location didn't get a lot of foot traffic, so a year later he moved to an even larger 8,500-square-foot space in the main cor- ridor of the mall. By 2020, Downing wasn't sure if he needed to continue operating out of a retail space. Then the pandemic hap- pened. By moving out of retail, he could focus less on customer traffic and more on production. He also found he didn't have to be tied to a location and could focus on why he entered the business in the first place, which is creating his products. "Not being at a storefront really increased my level of happiness. at was worth more than anything else," Downing says. Pr ior to t he pa ndem ic , most of Downing's business was in retail sales from individual customers coming through his store. During the pandemic, he began selling banners for retailers wanting to let their customers know they were open and to provide guidance on social distanc- ing with floor decals and other signage. His retail business dropped significantly Soft Edges and DTF: How to Make Them Work for You

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