April '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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26 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 8 Josh Ellsworth is an industry expert on ap- parel customization and General Manager of Stahls' CAD-CUT Direct. His portfolio includes a YouTube site ( with more than 50 educational videos, a blog ( that is updated regularly and consulting visits that have been made to some of the largest apparel-customization businesses in the U.S. You can reach Josh by email at and you can find him here, on the hot spot, talking about customiza - tion beyond the basics in every issue. Tune in for marketing strategies and sales tips in the heat- applied graphics discipline. Zach Ellsworth has been helping heat printers for the last 15 years. From hopeful startups to seasoned professionals, Zach's advice and insight has helped them all increase productivity and profitability. Zach is currently serving as the general manager of Imprintables Warehouse and is focused on his favorite thing: helping decorators succeed. PRESSING MATTERS B Y J O S H A N D Z A C H E L L S W O R T H The Lowest Common Denominator ration? The more expensive the garment, the more top line rev- enue can run through your heat printing department. There's only so much perceived value that a custom decoration can generate. However, the real differentiator is in the type of item you're apply- ing the decoration. A T-shirt with a two-color graphic could generate anywhere from $5–$20 of top line revenue. Change that T-shirt to a quarter-zip, performance polyester pullover, and potential top line revenues more than double. Now, upgrade your two- color screen print transfer to a glitter or silicone finish, and you can add another 10–15 percent to your sale price on the item. Measuring success by top line rev- enue is important, but you can see how skewed the number can be by the breakdown of the apparel sold and transfer types used. BOTTOM LINE PROFIT Once revenue is generated, we can begin to measure the success of our heat press by bottom line profit. This is the money that's left in your bank account after you've paid for your apparel item, the transfer, the labor to apply the transfer, and any other expenses associated with the H ave you ever been on a job interview where the inter- viewer asks a question that just catches you completely off guard? It happened to me years ago when one inter- viewer asked me the question, "At the end of the day, how do you measure your success?" My young, ambitious self always had a vision of what success looked like. It involved more wealth than I had then, more vaca- tions, and more things. As I started growing up, different things began to define that vision of success. But when that interviewer asked the question, I had never stopped to consider how exactly I would measure success. How much money was enough? How many places would I need to visit? How many things would I need to accumulate to be "successful?" The point is, no matter how you define success, we all must find ways to measure it. Otherwise, you'll never know if you get there. Since this column is all about heat printing, it's time we define the ways that we can measure success at the heat press. TOP LINE REVENUE The initial goal of any heat printing operation is to generate rev- enue. How much top line revenue can we put through one heat press? The answer is dependent on a number of factors. First, what types of garments are you selling to go with your heat print deco- Measuring active and idle time on the heat press can help determine where you're losing money. (All images courtesy STHALS')

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