Direct to Garment printing problems

Direct to Garment printing problems.

I am going to try and summarize some of the problems which  do occur with DTG printing.

Same Day Shirts
Are you in a rush and need shirts by 5pm the same day? Try Same Day Tee’s and you will be impressed. Submt your order by 10 am and pick up by 5 pm. This is offered by Northwest Custom Apparel

Purchasing a DTG Printer

One big problem is purchasing a machine which is designed for hobbyists. I won’t name them but you can figure out who they are by the price. There are distributors and manufacturers who are trying to crash the DTG market by offering a machine which looks competitive because of the low price.

Production

One thing never believe is the amount of production you can get from a lower priced machine. It just isn’t there. When you see the demo the trick is for the sales rep to print a simple left chest design on a white tee. It looks great and you are sucked in by the productivity.

Pre-treatment

Not included in the demo is that fact that there is a pre treatment process which has to be done before printing the garment. The pre-treatment consists of spraying a pre-treatment on the shirt and then heat pressing it to prepare it for printing. Generally the demo will have all the shirts pretreated before to evade the fact that there is a process which takes time before actual printing. you should contact NWCustom Apparel if you have any serious questions.

Curing and finishing

Once the shirt is printed the design has to be cured. You can do this with a heat press machine or a dryer used for curing screen printed tees. This is all a part of the production cycle.

When you are told 50 pieces per hour don’t believe it. It just won’t happen for the lower priced machines.

You must pay for production

If you want production you must consider spending around $500,000.00 for two top of the line DTG printers. (never buy one) This will get you a machine which pre-treats and prints in one cycle.  All that’s left to do is run the shirt through a dryer. Productivity with this machine will give you a 40-60 production for left chest white tees. This is a license to print money.

I will continue to update my thoughts on DTG and this is just a brief summary of my feelings.

Marketing DTG and selling DTG

Marketing DTG printing

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.

Post Cards

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.

Branded apparel increases sales

St. Patrick's Day Irish Pub Shirt Customized with your last name created by NW Custom Apparel. This t-shirt is 100% cotton.

Branded Apparel increases sales.

Direct to Garment printing (DTG) is a new method of decorating apparel. The most common item decorated using DTG is a tee shirt or a hooded sweat shirt. Historically apparel decoration was done by silk screening. This is still a popular method of decorating especially for large volume orders.

There are specific differences when choosing between DTG and Silk Screen printing.

Difference

The main difference is large orders. These would be orders larger than 144 pieces. Especially one color designs. The DTG excels for multicolor orders less than 144 pieces.

One major advantage DTG has over Silk Screen is the set up process. Silk screen requires a separate screen for each color in the design. The more colors the more expensive the set up.

DTG requires only a good piece of art. We prefer EPS, Adobe illustrator or a 300 dpi or better art.  Small multicolor orders are cost prohibitive for screen printers.

Process

The process is very simple with good art work. The process is the art is scanned, ripped and sent to the printer. Ripping is a process to ready the DTG printer for printing on dark colors. The rip part of the design is a white back fill. The white back fill is printed and prepares the DTG printers substrate to accept the colored portion of the design.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has implemented new safety rules which specifically address printed apparel for youth under 12 years of age. What the rules are is that no inks with carcinogenic compounds can be used is the printing of shirts in the youth market. DTG printing is 100% in compliance because the ink is water based and can be cleaned up with water. Screen print inks do not meet these regulations and will soon find themselves under the watchful eye of the CPSC.

Child Safety

Child safety has always been at the end of the pack in the silk screen decorating industry.. This is why the water based inks for Kornit are and always be in compliance with the CPSC regulations.

Choosing DTG is always the best choice if you are selling to the youth market. There are other reasons why DTG is superior to Silk Screen. The most obvious one is chemicals in one and no chemicals in the other.

 

Growing your business

What does it take to grow a business

It takes many things to succeed at owning your own business. You have to know finance, sales, production, marketing and the latest technologies. You can be good at everything but the most important is “the people thing.”

Limited number of things you do right

In certain business you need do only a limited number of things right and you can be successful. Anybody with enough money can buy equipment, advertise and set up a office. But in the apparel graphics industry you must master sales, marketing and customer service. You also need people to close sales, process orders, create art, separate or digitize it, make screens , run jobs and prepare the goods for final delivery.

Your role changes as you hire your first employee. Becoming a “employer” thrusts us into a situation for which we have little training beyond what we learned at our last job. Whatever you have been taught in college fall way short of what skills you need.

Some of us are good at being a boss, working with people comes naturally. Others leave much to be desired. And still others would rather stay out of their employees’ way and hire someone to handle this task.

Employee turnover

A good way to judge an owner is the amount of employee turnover. This applies to managers, top salespeople and higher paid employees.

Companies in our industry that experience high turnover are expected to show low profitability and substandard quality in their products. The root causes of these maladies are generally associated with poor customer service, poor production, and poor quality.

Employee moral

The only time you hear about moral is when it’s bad. This stems from management’s inability to recognize the importance of good human relations.

Few companies regard employees as capital assets. Capital assets require maintenance. This means training, company meetings sending to trade shows. This is never realized until a key employee turns in his or her resignation. Maybe that employee will head for a competitor and even worse become one.

Selling your business

If you ever wanted to sell your business the first thing a potential buyer would look at is employee longevity. They want to be sure that the employees are happy and willing to stay on.

To summarize this article it’s time to address the issues. It’s time to consider taking care of all your employees and not just the key ones. It is important to:

  • Offer advancement
  • Evaluate employee performance
  • Define expectations (a company manual)
  • Company meetings
  • Educational training
  • Performance reviews for raised and performance
  • Develop a employee manual
  • Develop a mission statement

 

 

Screen printers are becoming dinosaures

Contract Screen Printing

Contract screen printing defines a company who will print garments and not require that they be purchased from them. Customers like to purchase their garments at Costco or with on line distribution companies. They then bring them to a screen shop for decorating. This way they are saving money and putting the contractor in a price cutting situation.

Internet is full of distributors

Scan the internet for blank tees and you will be surprised how many1992-picture sellers pop up.  It is upsetting the traditional distribution network. The distribution network used to be manufacturer to distributer to decorator and finally to the end user consumer.

The chain is disruptive

This chain is being disrupted because of the internet. Before the internet the distribution channels were defined. A luxury was a 800 number to get your customers to call you toll free..Free long distance was mandatory. Now with the price of telephone calls.800 numbers are becoming irrelevant.

The genie is out of the bottle and the new era of buying and selling decorated garments is here. Anyone who can build a website can put themselves in business with a limited amount of capital.

Marketing is changing

The marketing format today is search engine optimization and fightingcropped-erik-green-screen-small-for-blog.jpg for eyeballs to visit your website.

No more past dues

Credit cards removes the risk of non-payment and enhances cash flow. Net terms are getting to be a thing of the past. Why not offer lower prices when cash flow is instant using a credit card.

Most cards used today earn miles and are fast becoming the main mode of commerce. At Decosource we purchase everything on credit cards to earn our free trips.

Contract decorators are must start to wake up and realize they have to become a marketing company and not just a company who sells ink. It is so much easier to order apparel for printing and decorate it.

To summarize contract work is fast becoming the dinosaur of the apparel decorating industry. It’s time to become a marketing company and start selling and not waiting for a customer to walk in the front door.

As a further note Amazon is now is the apparel decorating business.