October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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can be printed and cured, then loaded on a screen print press and printed in "loose registration." Jig fixtures or laser guides can be used to help load the garment in the correct location in relationship to the screens. This is an excellent way to save money on digital inks when designs call for big block lettering around an image. It is also a great way to add special effects to a digital design. James Ortolani, Stahls' Besides T-shirts, what else can I print with my digital direct printer? It is common to see a variety of items beyond T-shirts in a digital direct-to-garment dealer's booth at a trade show, such as tote bags and stone soaker coasters. But it's important to offer only products that are profitable based on how long it takes to print and what customers are willing to pay for. Consider also that the time factor is more than just the actual printing time on the printer but also includes the time it takes to get the product ready for printing, load it on the printer, and position the artwork correctly. Let's take digital-printed footwear for example. To prepare footwear for printing, it is necessary to mask off the areas of the footwear that should not be printed. In most cases, this means taping off the rubber soles of the footwear, but some apply round stickers over the eyelets of the footwear or apply a liquid masking agent that prevents the ink from building up. The time this takes increases the labor cost for printing shoes, and this should be factored into the selling price. Some printers have specialty platens that can minimize this amount of overall time, though. Here, take into consideration what the cost of these specialty platens are and how long it will take for you to get achieve ROI (return on investment). It's important to understand that not all products result in a 2013 October Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 99 | 99 9/18/13 1:00 PM

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