October '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 O ctO b e r Printwear | 63 For a personalized look, sublimate a monogram or favorite photo onto a cutting board or placemat. Sublimated tiles make for a one-of-a-kind backsplash behind a stove or sink, and a sublimated white board is a great place to keep a grocery list. Subli- mated plates and mugs create a unique table setting for a breakfast nook. Pet care and accessories is another big market for sublimated items. A sublimated pet tag easily identifies a pet and provides a unique decoration for the pet's collar. Fido and Fluffy may not know they eat out of a personalized sublimated bowl, but their owners do. And don't forget pet gifts during the holidays. From pet bandanas to sublimated leashes and collars, pet owners spend a lot of dollars on this market niche. Patches and decals for service goods and search-and-rescue animals is also a major market as well as gift shops and souvenir stands. Keepsake boxes and tote bags dec- orated with well-known landmarks make wonderful souvenirs, and puzzles are great for preserving a scenic view or vacation memory. If a local artist or photographer allows you to use his or her work, you can create unique sublimated items that are not only gifts but also art. Decorator knows best Just as important as what you can do with the technology, also consider what can't be sublimated. You can sublimate many prod- ucts, but there are limitations. Knowing those limits helps you offer the best service to your customers. For one, sublimating onto dark fabrics or items isn't possible as there's no white-ink option. Sublimation also only works on items that are 100 per- cent polyester or polyester coated. Ultimately, selling sublimation is like sell- ing anything else. If you're successful selling other decoration techniques or services, you can sell sublimation. Learn what can be sublimated and pick your target markets with care. Once you've determined those factors, you can provide your customers with the information and education they need to make their buying decisions.

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