June '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M J U N E 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 3 7 "Everything looks better with rhine- stones," some may say, but seriously, the added rhinestone feature on a garment really creates a decoration that can wow a client. ey pop, they sparkle, and they turn the simplest image into a statement piece. Take your one-color team's name and outline it in rhinestones and turn your simple $8 tee into a $18-$25 tee with a 30-second press. e cons of using rhinestones is that you may have a rhinestone or two fall off the carrier sheet. It's a bummer, but it happens. Have a handful of rhinestones available to replace any that get lost. Also, if you don't have a rhinestone machine, you'll have to rely on a manufacturer to create them. ey will take time and often have minimums. Pro tips Not all heat presses are equal. Find a press you can trust. Does it hold tem- perature accurately? Does it hold pres- sure accurately? Do I get support from the manufacturer or sales rep? ese are all things that are important when choos- ing the proper heat press for you. Also, investigate what types of acces- sories are available. Particularly with patches, bottom heat is important. If you can add a heated platen to your press, I would highly recommend it. For perfor- mance garments, you can lower the top heat and add the bottom heat to adhere DTF prints while eliminating the scorched heat press square. Extra tip: If you haven't purchased the bottom heat platen yet, pre-press the platen before loading for about 20 sec- onds. at will heat up the bottom. Not ideal, but it will work until you're ready for an upgrade. If you want to heat press hats, whether vinyl, patches, DTFs or anything else, get a good hat press. Bottom heat is essential. Don't be afraid to use the heat tape to keep hat patches or emblems in the right spot. It's there for a reason, so use it. Lastly, use the correct application pads. Using the wrong pad could ruin an emblem of design on a garment. You'd hate to design a beautiful PVC patch only to melt it while trying to adhere the logo to a hat front. Not all materials are equal. Do the research. Test, research, test, and then test again. Everyone says they have the best product on the market. Do your own due diligence. ere are a lot of vendors selling what they call the best DTF prints, the best vinyl, and the best screen-printed transfers. Find out what works for you. Consider the costs of product, shipping, customer service and reliability. Build a playbook for different materials and how to adhere them to particular garments. Finally, don't be afraid of minimums. When working with heat-press materials, you'll typically find that the orders are smaller than your traditional screen-print- ing runs. Don't be afraid to make clients get to the minimums. If a client wants to create a 3D emblem for 15 trucker caps, but your emblem manufacturer has a minimum of 24 pieces, for instance, you can do it one of two ways. Tell the client they must get to the minimum to place the order with you. It's something I don't really like to do. I hate showing clients an amazing product and then pulling the rug out from under them and telling them they have to buy 24 or no deal. Instead, I may not even mention a min- imum and factor the net cost of the ven- dor minimum number for emblems and divide it into the cost of 15 pieces instead of 24. e price for the customer will ulti- mately be higher, but that's what happens with lower quantities. The heat press is riding high right now with some of the coolest decoration options on the market. What can't you do with a heat press? I'll tell you … you can't not make money. GP Build a playbook for different materials and how to adhere them to particular garments.

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