Awards & Engraving

April '18

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6 THE SUBLIMATION REPORT • Spring 2018 • more profits. "Because your startup costs are low and the products you sell have a high-perceived value, your profit mar- gins are large," she notes. "That results in fast ROI." Outside of budget-based benefits, sublimation offers an outlet for shops to transform themselves into a one-stop shop for all products and services their existing customers need. Rather than contract out one part of an order or refer that client to another business down the street, explains Lisa Ellston, JDS Indus- t r i e s , s h o p s c a n streamline the process. "For instance, a tradi- tional sporting goods retailer that offers apparel can now produce items found in souvenir shops, award and trophy shops, photography product fulfillment, custom office supplies, and custom promotional products," Ellston elaborates. "In addition, that sporting goods store now has the ability to do full-color short runs on apparel with sublimation." IMAGE COURTESY HOTRONIX IMAGE COURTESY JOHNSON PLASTICS PLUS One of the biggest benefits of adding sublimation to your business is the variety of items available for decoration. Clamshell heat presses provide a smaller footprint and work well in smaller shops. Sublimation Basics A SUBLIMATOR'S TOOLBOX To get set up for sublimation, Ellston outlines a few basic tools shops should either have or be prepared to purchase: • Sublimation printer. These generally come in large- and small-format designs. Depending on what kind of products a shop wants to offer largely dictates which size to purchase. Smaller printers accom- modate promotional products and per- sonalized goods well, while larger printers sit well in shops offering items like all- over printed apparel, beach towels, and large signage. Volume of orders will also help a business owner narrow down which type of printer to purchase, since higher order volume typically coincides with a large-format printer. • Heat press. Similar to the printer, a heat press generally lines up with what a shop's intended product offering will be. For thicker substrates, swing-away presses are ideal, while clamshell designs provide a smaller footprint and work well in smaller shops. A press with an accurate digital readout of time, temperature, and, if pos- sible, selectable pressure settings all help the production process run smoother. Regardless of bells and whistles, shops should ultimately look for a reliable, high- quality press from a trusted manufacturer that offers end-user support, even if it means spending more money. "A good heat press is key, and it's one of the last things people think about investing in," says Jeffrey-Andersen. • Ink. Seeking out reliable, trusted pro- viders of sublimation ink is also crucial. Ellston notes that there are a few common choices to consider when shopping for ink: "Small-format printers will likely have a four-cartridge configuration — CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). Some small-format printers use smaller carts that can be paired with a bulk ink delivery system, making them more cost effective." Other smaller printers, she adds, operate with gel ink technology, which combines the use of a cart with a high-capacity bulk ink system, also making them cost-efficient. With large-format printers, choices

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