October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 37 substantial savings when it comes to printing small logos or group- ing like-color jobs together to save on cost. Event printing also presents tremendous potential. Heat-press equipment is very portable and powers on-demand customization of garments at some of the largest events in the world, as well as thousands of tournaments, charity walks, street fairs, and carnivals. The reason pop-up shops choose screen-printed transfers is to miti- gate the risk of committing inventory to garment color and size. With screen-printed transfers and an inventory of blank garments, entrepreneurs can commit the perfect combination based on the customer's actual order rather than a forecast that results in waste after the event has ended. Similarly, screen-printed transfers also make perfect sense for an e-commerce retailer. Whether through Etsy, Amazon, or a personal e-commerce platform, screen-printed transfers allow for the virtual merchandising of hundreds of combinations without committed inventory. Apparel brands that used to order pre- printed apparel have quickly found that an on-demand model keeps their financial assets liquid. This allows them to change direction and launch more styles based on customer response. While each shirt may not be as low-cost as one produced with direct screen printing, the overall profit- ability is often greater due to the reduction of waste in unsold or clearance garments. From an application standpoint, trans- fers also provide great benefit to vinyl cutter owners. While a vinyl cutter is the ultimate cost-effective solution for low- quantity runs and one-offs, screen-printed transfers offer a solution to scale. Con- sider the cost calculation on a 10" X 13" graphic for 50 pieces. The heat transfer film would cost approximately $1.50 per piece in materials while consuming ap- proximately five hours in production time due to weeding. Screen-printed transfers would cost $1.98, but only consume about one and a half hours in application time. When adding in labor, the cost per piece may be negligible, but the opportu- nity costs for a small business is far greater. What could you do with three more hours of marketing or selling time? Screen-printed transfers come in many different varieties, including basic, low-temp, hot split, reflective, glitter, puff, metallic, and more. Typically, distressed effects can be added to any variety of transfer and suppliers often equip decorators with a design tool to help create art for those not experienced with a graphic design software. Additionally, stock transfers are offered in the form of pop culture designs, animals, automobiles, sayings, quotes, and more. Screen-printed transfer names and numbers are also available from some suppliers in a variety of styles and colors. This can relieve a huge burden for many apparel printers, specifically with stocking number screens for the growing demand of font styles and sizes. For these reasons, many apparel decorators with a heat press have an opportunity to benefit with screen-printed transfers. While they won't allow the automation and low cost per print of direct screen printing at quantity, there are many unique advantages that provide value to both small and large businesses alike.

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