Awards & Engraving

2016 Custom Gift Annual

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64 • A&E MID-JUNE 2016 make excellent sentimental gifts for anyone that wants to show off their spouse, chil- dren or pets: • Personalized cuff bracelets • Bezel pendants • Charms • Dog tags • Ceramic and travel mugs (a coffee mug will cost less than $2 to produce and generally sells for $20 or more) • Keepsake boxes • Drink coasters • Keychains • Holiday ornaments • Tabletop photo panels WHERE'S THE MONEY? Jesse James was once asked why he robbed banks. He answered in complete astonishment, "Because that's where the money's at!" • Sell your personalized products at a pet grooming shop by setting up an at- tractive display of products and having the pet grooming staff take the orders for you. Cut them some of the profits and everyone wins. • Get a copy of your community calen- dar for a list of celebrations and events that will allow you to create products on-site. • It's easy to create a photo booth us- ing a smartphone, green screen with app, and a selection of awesome back- grounds. WHAT'S NEXT? I hope this article has been helpful to point you to just a few of the excellent op- portunities with sublimation decorating both for smartphones and using smart- phone technology. David Gross is president of Condé Systems Inc. For the past 24 years, he has been devoted to advancing sublimation technology. He can be reached by email at CHOOSING MATERIAL When choosing which heat-applied product to use, the bag's material will deter- mine which one is needed. Heat sensitivity is a huge consideration as you don't want the bag to melt in the heat press. There are low-temp heat transfers specifically for this purpose. By choosing the right product for the job, you make sure the adhesive will stick to the fabric. Otherwise, you may find it falls off in the wash. If the bag has a coating, such as waterproofing, that also may require special handling. Some decorators use ac- etone to remove waterproofing in the print area on some nylons. Whenever you use an unfamiliar bag for the first time, do a test print before produc- tion. It can also save time and frustration to steer customers into choosing bags you know work well with your heat-applied products. How a bag is constructed also impacts production in terms of the graphic place- ment, application and the design itself. For example, the thermal linings often used in soft-sided coolers can melt during pressing. If you're personalizing a thermal-lined lunch bag, one workaround is to choose a style with an outside pocket to isolate the print area so the rest of the bag does not have to be subjected to heat. You have to ensure your print area is flat. When there are pockets, seams or zippers, you will need to use a smaller platen, pad or pillow to ensure you have the needed pressure to get a good bond. About 90 per- cent of personalization is monograms or first names, and another consideration is making sure the name fits within the print- ing area. Courtney Kubitza is a sales and business develop- ment manager for Stahls'. She has been educating customers on heat print- ing within the apparel decorating industry since 2010. She can be reached at ers about the wonderful products you have available. Just like with your brick and mortar store, the amount of effort you put into marketing will determine your success with your e-commerce site. A couple slight differences with e-com- merce are that you need keywords to help your customers find you. Keywords are the words and phrases that internet users type into a search box or search engine, such as Google or Etsy, to find what websites or stores match what they are looking for. To find good keywords, put yourself into the minds of your customer and brainstorm keywords they might use to find your product. Remember, your customers may be coming into the search without infor- mation or experience that you as the cre- ator of the products might have. Steer clear of industry terms that may not be famil- iar to your customers because they would never know to search for those terms. A second difference is that instead of your customer coming into the brick and mortar store to gaze upon your wares and being able to pick up and touch the prod- ucts, they will rely solely upon the pictures and the descriptions you post to fill all that in. Be creative and take the time to do it well. You should have a good selection of products at multiple price points for your customers to select from. DON'T DISMISS E-COMMERCE, TAKE A TEST DRIVE TODAY There is a big wide web world out there, full of potential customers all over the country and for that matter, the world. Don't dismiss that potential because you are scared. Take a test drive on Etsy today and take a look at all the tools that they have to help you be successful. Kevin Lumberg is a Sub- limation Sales Specialist at Johnson Plastics. For further information, Kevin can be reached at 800- 869-7800 ext. 5737 or by email at A&E Profiting from SMARTPHONES Personalizing BAGS An Introduction to E-COMMERCE continued from page 40 continued from page 45 continued from page 62 A&E A&E

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