October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 59 available screen printed, vinyl, and rhine- stones, and in some cases, are sublimation options as well. While it's true that many transfers are stock, and it may be more cost- ly to get custom versions made, having a heat press and purchasing transfers can give you a wide variety of decoration options without actually producing any decoration of your own. It's basically press and profit; you press the transfer on to the substrate, and then collect your price for the finished product from your customer. GET YOUR GOODS After you've taken a look at your decora- tion possibilities and made a decision about what techniques you want to offer, there are a few more things to do. One is to purchase the equipment or supplies needed for any new techniques you want to offer. This can include specialty platens, hoops, inks, or transfers that will allow you to print on irregular or specific promotional items. The step after that is to decide what you want to decorate. Some businesses do well just offering shirts, hats, and tote bags. Other decorators have created very profitable busi- nesses by offering products for a particular market—maybe bathing suits, beach bags, and flip-flops for the beach crowd, or mit- tens, scarves, and ear warmers for those who live in colder weather. There are companies that have become successful focusing on corporate wear—sometimes even for a sin- gle corporation—or on logowear for chari- ties. There is no law that says a business has to focus on one market or business type, and many businesses do well simply work- and rhinestone transfers, sublimation, and direct-to-garment printing. This will open up the door for shoes and chairs, on top of standard items. Screen printing is yet an- other option with a number of decoration options. Keep in mind that the more deco- ration options you offer, the more products you can create and the more markets you can serve. Diversification will allow you to set up multiple profit streams, which should help keep a steadier and more reliable flow of dollars into your shop. When surveying your equipment, it's always best to keep in mind the value of machines that can be used in many differ- ent decoration techniques. The main item that comes to mind is a heat press. As not- ed above, you can do transfers with a heat press, which means you can offer a variety of decoration techniques. Transfers are Easily upsell clients with bundled promotional of- ferings. (Image courtesy Choice Custom Apparel LLC, Appleton, Wis.)

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