Direct to garment printing is not exactly new to the decorated apparel industry. However it is starting to get recognized as a decoration of choice. The benefits for DTG need to be incorporated into any marketing program a decorator choosing.
The best way if you are a newbie is to start printing sample shirts. Taking advantage of easy production should let you do at least two shirts a day and present Saleto your client.
At Northwest Custom Apparel we have a program called the WOW program. We print sample shirts on the fly and send them to our customer data base. The results are really good. We let our customer know it is easier for us to send a free sample and stay away from a time consuming sales call.
Sales calls are expensive
Our customers who are business owners see our logic. They agree that the days of making sales calls are expensive and time consuming. In the Seattle area we are rated number 5 in bad traffic. Going to Seattle is a half day event for us. Why should we go when we can get UPS to do the driving?
Another marketing tool we like to use is direct mail. There are so many companies offering printing and mailing services that it would be crazy not to take advantage of this bargain.
We like to design a nice post card and then send to our targeted customer data base. On average a 1,000 piece print and mailing will run about $800.00. This is a bargain when you can stay in front of your customers on a regular basis.
E Mail marketing
E-mail marketing will work if you have a strong customer base who will open your e mails. One thing to be aware of is the fact that you might get a lot of spam bounces. This can hinder your whole direct mail program if start getting a lot of rejection.
In summary we recommend first actual samples, the direct mail and finally e-mail.
The new Consumer Protection Safety Information Act might say you are violating the law whey you are selling printed tee to the youth market. This sounds unfair but someone in Washington DC has come up with a new regulation that is horrible for screen printers.
A brief summary of the regulation applies to children’s apparel
All Screen Printers must comply with all children’s safety rules
All products have to be lab tested by a CPSC laboratory
You must have written proof that your product is in compliance
Have permanent tracking information for all orders you print
One rule is that plastisol ink is not approved for printing on apparel being sold to youth market 12 years and under. It’s claimed that plastisol inks have carcinogenic cancer causing compounds.
All products have to be lab tested
This is a killer. The added cost of getting your product tested for sale is expensive and time consuming. You have to use a CPSC approved lab for your testing.
Have proof that you are in compliance
The only way to do this is to get proof from an authorized lab. This regulation will kill all your rush orders and drive your costs up.
Permanent Tracking Information
The objective is to track every order back to the original manufacturer. Screen Printers under this regulation are considered manufacturers. The way to do this is to have all product information attached to the apparel. You cannot use a hang tag or sticker. You have to print on the garment date of manufacture, order number, batch number and your company’s name.
This is a brief summary and I encourage you to read up on the regulations. The regulations are very impractical for a small printer. If you sell to the youth market you are subject to a citation and fine. Wasting time to get compliant on each order is foolish and not cost effective.
This opens a clear path to the retail market by companies who have the resources to legally print and sell to the major retailers. No retailer can knowingly purchase shirts for sale unless they are compliant with the regulations.