September '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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ular shop setup, some equipment providers feature an ROI calculator on their website. With this, business owners can calculate what the actual numbers might look like before going window shopping. Doing some area recon is also useful, suggests Leelachat. Consider reaching out to local D2 shops and ask about pricing and costs. She adds that they can discuss possible contracting options to gauge customer demand and determine pricing strate- gies before investing in the equipment. "A shop that's established already has the cus- tomer base, and it's just a matter of determining how many short-run jobs they've turned down a month," says Hill. "Then you factor in what pricing you need to be at [to be profitable]." Hill also suggests that a shop owner calculate ink costs and spoil- age amounts, factoring in roughly two percent spoilage. IN ACTION After sorting out the numbers, all parties recommend getting a closer look at the D2 process; both in production and output. Rhome suggests taking some time to watch the process from start to finish. "I tell any potential cus- tomer that before you buy a printer, you should take one of your art files, have it printed on a D2 printer, and watch it so you understand that process completely through," Rhome explains. He adds that printers can do this either at a show- room or trade show or even have an equipment provider send the potential buyer a video of the entire print process. Leelachat adds to this, encouraging shop owners to get a few dif- ferent prints of artwork before investing so that the business owner can determine if D2 will truly meet their needs. Once printers have a chance to witness the process, they can start looking around for equipment. Aside from the printer, decorators will need to invest in a couple of other pieces of equipment to offer up D2 services. For the entry- level printer, a heat press, and a pretreatment system are essential to SCREEN PRINTING WITH D2 Businesses taking on D2 need to be aware of ink costs be- fore diving into the service. (Image courtesy BelQuette) Finding an existing direct-to-garment printer in the area is a great way to research costs and pricing for the decoration method. (Image courtesy AnaJet) 60 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 Left: Operating a D2 printer in a controlled environment with sufficient humidity is crucial. (Image courtesy Kornit) Above: For an entry-level printer, a shop owner can set up D2 in their shop with a minimal footprint and little to no ad- ditional electrical maintenance. (Image courtesy Brother)

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