April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 81 of 136 • Spring 2017 • THE SUBLIMATION REPORT 11 MAKING THE JUMP Adding a new service to a business's offerings can be a tricky endeavor since there are investments both on the equipment side and education side when it comes to operation of that equip- ment. If the learning curve is steep, a business runs the risk of putting off profitable jobs while grappling with adapting to new technologies or decoration methods. However, decorators familiar with small-format sublimation will find some similarities if they're interested in venturing into all-over sublimation, says Sarah Young, Coastal Business Supplies, although the printing area does differ. "The goal is to have an edge-to-edge transfer, whether it be for a T-shirt or larger towels and sporting goods," says Young. "Most of the time you're going to increase the bleed area with all-over sublimation." Like small-format sublimation, the process also uses an inkjet printer, transfer paper and a heat press to adhere a design to the substrate. The heat press for this process ideally needs to have adjustable pressure settings and an even temperature across the platen. Halley recommends an oversize clamshell-style heat press, and an inkjet printer in the 42–44-inch range. Essentially, all-over sublimation equipment will be larger in comparison to small format, and incidentally more expen- sive. Young estimates startup costs for most equipment ranges between $12,000–$25,000, depending on whether a business chooses to lease or finance. THE PAYOFF In regards to return on investment, all-over sublimation can yield tangible benefits, especially if a business owner qualifies overhead costs and profit margins in relation to the size of their shop. Simply providing clients with more services is always beneficial, but Young points out that the sheer speed at which artwork is printed and ready for approval with all-over sublimation helps speed up the proofing process between clients and designers, which in turn streamlines the entire ordering and production process. "You can print (a design), transfer it, and hand it back to (the client) within about three minutes," Young explains, adding that in comparison to some decoration methods like screen printing, the process is relatively mess-free. Other benefits of all-over sublimation include factors like a higher profit margin, and the capacity to offer a larger run of smaller promotional goods like socks, beanies, leggings, koozies and sport armbands. Depending on the client and niche, these types of promotional products make ideal add-ons. For example, if a shop is printing all-over sublimated T-shirts for local sports teams, event planners, or an area gym, offering smaller apparel and promotional items helps bolster the name of the client. These items also double as low-cost advertising since they showcase what a shop is capable of. "Once you have a large- IMAGE COURTESY SARAH YOUNG The goal with all-over sublimation is to have an edge-to-edge transfer.

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