Author: adamyukish

Value of Personalization

In his book How To Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie states, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.  We LOVE our name on things.

You see personalization everywhere.  Even the advertising we see daily is personalized.  If you search for a certain topic, the ads you see on Facebook, Google, and other websites are catered just to you!  Don’t be surprised when you search for “new Dad” books when ads for cribs, baby toys, jewelry for your lovely wife, etc. start popping up as you’re trying to research your upcoming fantasy football match up.

If you’re offering screen printing or some other type of decoration now, and you don’t have a heat press to offer the one off, customized item, you are really missing out!  I hear all the time about how screen printers “don’t have the time” to offer a one off.  You don’t have the time to make 60 – 80% margin by offering one item?  What value did you add to that customer?  Are they not likely to come back to you to get that 100 shirt order?  I hear from Sign Makers that already have a cutter that they don’t want to add a heat press for the same reason.  That’s even more surprising to me.  You’re already cutting one off signs, why not just add the press, throw a roll of material in the same cutter, and make them a custom shirt.  Easy money!

I get the value of offering only what you offer, not wanting to confuse your workers with a different method or confuse production.  Looking at personalization as nothing more than a way to satisfy your customer, or to over satisfy your customer, is an easy way to justify doing things just a little differently.

Advertisements

Heat Press vs. Hand Iron

Heat Transfer Vinyl has become very popular among t-shirt decorators.  The introduction of lower cost and “craft” vinyl cutters in to the market has made cutting vinyl much more affordable.

Most heat transfer vinyls can be applied using a hand iron.  It is recommended that you set your iron to the “Linen” setting, and apply as even of pressure as possible to each section of your design for anywhere between 20-30 seconds.  This will usually provide good results, but it’s tough to be sure that you were able to apply adequate and even pressure to each section of your design.

For more professional results, it’s good to invest in a heat press.  A quality heat press will provide even heat and pressure across the entire platen for the time specified by your heat transfer vinyl supplier.

Heat Transfer Vinyl will last the longest, and look the best, if the time, temperature, and pressure applied are all accurate and even.  If you are using your Heat Transfer Vinyl to produce garments for sale, it’s best to use a heat press to make sure the transfer will look great when your customer receives it, and years down the road.

Heat Pressing Performance Apparel

Decorating Performance apparel can pose a few challenges.  The low scorching point, stretchability of the fabrics, and complex fabric composition has challenged decorators and their suppliers to come up with new techniques and products.

Heat pressing Performance apparel using the incorrect products and methods can lead to scorch marks and poor quality transfers.  However, two products recently introduced can be applied at a low temp and a short dwell time, making them the ideal materials to use.

Spectra Perform Cut is a “Cut-only” Heat Transfer Vinyl that applies at only 280 degrees.  For full color, Spectra Perform is a Solvent or Eco-Solvent printable line of products that can also be applied at 280 degrees.  Both products have a unique adhesive that will adhere to Polyester, Nylon, Lycra and many synthetic blends.  Both also offer tremendous Stretch and Rebound, which will keep the decoration looking great, even after they’ve been stretched out.

If you’ve tried decorating Performance apparel before, but didn’t like the “heat press box” that accompanied your transfer, give one of these new products a try!

 

Understanding Heat Press Accessories

There are a lot of accessories available for your heat press.  Understanding the available accessories, how and when they’re used can have a big impact on your business!

Cover sheets 

Cover sheets are used with almost every heat transfer.  Their purpose is to protect the transfer, material being applied to, and the platen of your press.  Commonly used cover sheets are Reusable Cover Sheets (“Teflon” Sheets), Kraft Paper, and Silicone Cover Sheets.  You can achieve a different effect on some transfers using the different cover sheets.  Reusable cover sheets can add a bit of Gloss, while Kraft Paper and Silicone sheets usually provide a Matte effect.  Reusable cover sheets are the most durable.  If you take care of them, they should last dozens, if not hundreds of presses.  Kraft Paper will usually last 25 – 50 presses and Silicone cover sheets will normally last only a few presses.

Pad Protectors

“Quick Slip” Pad Protectors are made of the same material as Reusable cover sheets.  Their purpose is to protect your lower platen from damage due to an accidental press, reduce wear of the pad on the lower platen, and make it easier to slide your garments on and off the press.  A Quick Slip is a “must” for any heat press owner!

Heat Printing Pillows

Heat Printing Pillows are used to absorb thick seams and neck lines, pockets, and other obstructions.  Pillows are made of very similar materials to the Reusable Cover Sheets, stuffed, and sewn.

Print Perfect Pads

If you have a “hard” obstruction that cannot just be absorbed by the Heat Printing Pillows, or if you need to raise the application area, you’ll want to use a Print Perfect Pad.  Zippers and Buttons are common examples of obstructions that make a nice flat surface area difficult to achieve.  The Print Perfect Pad targets your application area and allows the obstruction to fall to the side and out of your way.

Interchangeable Platens

Hotronix Heat Presses are outfitted with a “quick change” platen, giving you the ability to quickly and easily change out the lower platen that is on your press.  Available Platen sizes are 6″ x 10″, 8″ x 10″, 7″ round, 11″ x 15″, as well as some “specialty” platens, like the Hat Bill Platen, Can Cooler Platen, and Shoe Platen.  Custom made Platens are also available.   The 6″ x 10″ and 8″ x 10″ platens are ideal for smaller application areas, like a left chest application, new born and toddler apparel, or labels.  The 7″ round platen is ideal for the ends of Tote bags and other “hard to get to” areas.  11″ x 15″ is my preferred platen for decorating women’s apparel and any simple “front” applications.  Changing out the platen will make the application process much more production friendly, as well as help to eliminate any ruined garments because of uneven pressure!

All of these (and more!) accessories are available from Imprintables Warehouse.  Click or call today!

Solving Dye-Migration

Dye-Migration has become even more of a nuisance now that performance fabrics have become more popular. Our latest material – Spectra Perform has a Sub Block that will perform even better than the options available when I first published this post. The Spectra Perform Sub Block features a charcoal adhesive that aids the dye blocking and four-way stretch capability. It is also a lighter weight material with a silky smooth hand.

Heat Press Ed. 101

Dye-Migration is dye from a sublimated fabric bleeding through and dyeing a heat transferred design. Since Polyester is the only fabric that is gets its color from the sublimation process, it’s the only fabric that you’ll see migrate. Dye-Migration should not be confused with opacity. In the world of garment decoration, opacity refers to a heat transfer blocking out the color of the dark garment where as migration is the dye of the fabric coming through and becoming a part of the transfer.

So how do you solve Dye-Migration? Simply by using the right product. Standard heat transfers may not block migration. If you run in to an angry polyester that doesn’t like being transferred on to, you can use the Solutions Sub-Block for a full color printable fabric or Spectra Sub-Stop for single color vinyl cut transfer. Both products are available from Imprintables Warehouse and from me by requesting…

View original post 148 more words

How to Create a Custom T-shirt Business

I’m fortunate to work in an industry with very little barrier to entry.  I’m also fortunate to work for a company that has taken the time and devoted the resources to making it as easy as possible to make those barriers even more insignificant.  Many entrepreneurs are drawn to our industry because the start-up costs can be under 1k.

Here’s what you need:

The steps are simple.  After you purchase your vinyl cutter and heat press, you can register a FREE account on CadWorx Live.  Login to CadWorx and find a design.  You have thousands of pieces of Clip art to choose from and hundreds of different templates!  Customize the design with your own text and send the design to your Clipper vinyl cutter.  The Clipper will cut out your design in the Heat Transfer Material of your choice.  Once it’s done cutting and you’ve weeded away the excess material, take the design to your Heat Press and heat apply to your T-shirt!

What makes my industry great is that it is as much fun to make custom shirts for yourself, friends, and family as it is to sell them to your customers!  For under 1k, you can either have a fun hobby (and probably less expensive than my wife’s hobby of shoe collecting) or a legit, profitable business!

How to Price Your Heat Transfer and Sign Jobs

Fair pricing is very tough in our industry.  Competition is fierce!  Shops range from a spare bedroom, to a brick and mortar storefront to a tens of thousands of square foot production facility.  Obviously not everyone will be able to offer the same prices.

Pricing your jobs should be done on a regional basis, not national.  However, people from all over the US and beyond will be reading this article, so it’s difficult for me to be able to recommend pricing and have it be applicable to everyone.  As that is the case, the best i can do is give baseline recommendations.  You will have to work to establish pricing that your local market is willing to pay!  That price may be higher or lower than the pricing I have below.

The recommended pricing I will provide is for a Single Color Shirt (Cadcut), a Digital Shirt (Solvent / Eco-Solvent Print/Cut, DTG), Banner and general Decal.  Single color and Digital Shirt pricing is based on a 4×4 left chest and a full back print.  I’m also included a $3 base garment cost.  Banner is priced per square foot and is fully finished, including Grommets and Hem Tape.  Decal pricing is also priced per square foot and is unlaminated.

Single Color – $12.80

Digital Shirt – $14.73

Banner – $6.30 / sq ft

Decal – $9.27 / sq ft

This recommended pricing is from a national survey we did for our Ultimate Pricing Calculator.  Our Pricing Calculator is a free tool we created to help our customer determine their actual costs and to help calculate profitability of various jobs.

How does this pricing look to you??