2014 Resource Directory

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 M i d - M a rc h Printwear | 41 40 | Printwear M i d - M a rc h 20 1 4 How To... diversify wiTH sublimaTion produce. Print time averages less than one minute, and the heat press time usually clocks in around one minute. So, the full production process for most items is less than three minutes. Startup costs for a desktop system range from $550 (entry-level printer and inks only) to about $2,700 (larger printer, inks and heat press). It should be noted that, while sublimation printing can be done with specific models of well-known brands of desktop printers such as Ricoh and Epson, you can't simply choose any printer. In reality, sublimation inks are only compatible with certain models, so you need to research before you buy. A key aspect of the sublimation process is that it only works with polymer-based materials. Thus, you can't just sublimate anything that comes in the door. The item must be composed of polymer or polyester materials or have a polymerized surface in order for the sublimation dye to bond properly. Though it might sound like a limiting factor, there are literally hundreds of blank products that have been created for sublimation, so you have a tremendous amount of diverse and unique items to work with. Sublimation puts users in a position to offer a lot more to each and every customer. But, having the ability and making the sale are two different things. You will need to do some creative marketing to fully utilize your newfound technology. Market Potential Let's say that a new hotel is coming to town. As an apparel decorator, you have the opportunity to pitch them on garments for their staff. If it's a relaxed environment, the front staff might wear polos, as well as the maintenance and housekeeping personnel—alone, this makes it a decent order. On the other hand, most hotels put their key staff in more formal business attire, so the chances for embroidery can be quite slim. But those that are able to offer sublimation have more opportunities to work with. Let's look at the possibilities starting with a hotel room. Here is a list of sublimatable items that are available in the blanks market that could be utilized: • Oval signs (for room numbers) • Door hangers (for do not disturb signs) • Towels • Toothbrush holder • Soap dispenser • Coffee mugs • Serving ray That's seven possible items multiplied by the number of guest rooms onsite. But we aren't done yet. Think of the lobby area—signs, c l o c k s , name badges for staff, photo panels, plaques, and more. And if they have a restaurant onsite, then it opens the doors to placemats, cloth napkins, plates, mugs, serving trays, etc., multiplied by the capacity of the dining room. Another possibility to consider with this particular establishment is decorative panels or pictures for the walls in the lobby, hallways, common areas and rooms. Sublimation is used extensively for reproduction of high definition images in the professional photography world. If you or the client has a legitimate source of photography, sublimation will give you the means to reproduce it—think local landscapes and skylines. The same concept can be applied to other markets as well. Suppose you are working with a high school athletic director to produce some team apparel, now you can pitch awards, spirit products, sponsor gifts and more. Take it even further by offering up a fundraiser program that revolves around spirit merchandise. In the world of sublimation, there are all kinds of neat spirit products such as stadium seat cushions, flags, pennants, cell phone covers, dog tags, b e a n i e s , a p p a re l , water bottles, flip flops, mugs, bag Sublimation isn't limited to certain industries; it can be used to generate products for virtually any market. PW_MidMarch14.indd 40 2/28/14 1:27 PM

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