Why would a screen printer add direct to garment printing to his business? There are a number of reasons – but they all focus on one main premise – to “STOP TELLING YOUR CUSTOMERS NO”.
Example 1 – a customer comes in and wants a dozen shirts, full color, for a cancer walk in three days. The first thing that the screen printer does is to start counting screens and figuring out how he is going to convince his client how to reduce the artwork down to two or three colors and make the job manageable. Ultimately he simply decides to tell the client that he can’t do the job – in essence telling them “No, sorry, I cant help you”. Add a direct to garment printer to your business and now you can offer your customer a choice. Print the shirts digitally for a given price per shirt (probably higher than he usually pays for screen printing), screen print the shirts as they are (with numerous screen charges & lower per shirt pricing), or reduce the artwork to a couple colors (lower screen charges and lower per shirt pricing). Now the customer has the opportunity to make a decision on how he wants them printed – the screen printer did not tell him “No”.
Example 2 – a customer comes in and places a large order that is perfect for screen printing – large number of shirts, moderate number of colors. When the customer comes in to pick up the order (or it is delivered to them) – show them a digitally printed version of the same garment with a per shirt price for additional small quantity orders, at the same time let him know the costs associated with setting the job up again to screen print and the minimum order. Again, this gives the customer a choice, don’t say “No”. Same scenario of a large screen print order – when the order is picked up, hand the client a different type garment or item, maybe a golf towel with the same artwork digitally printed on it and offer to digitally print the logo on other items or garments without minimums or setup charges. That’s right – ADD ON TO THE SALE!
Example 3 – how powerful would it be to be able to produce a real sample to help win a potential client? DTG allows you to do exactly that. Samples sell over two dimensional mock-ups on paper nine times out of ten.
As the decorated apparel marketplace has matured – more and more decorators are expanding their in-house decorating abilities. Fewer and fewer businesses are labeling themselves as being solely “embroidery” or “screen printers”. Instead they are adopting the a broader apparel decorator or promotional products moniker. Effectively they are becoming a ‘one stop shop” which in a fast paces society is exactly what the customers demand, one destination for all their decorating needs.
Why would a traditional embroiderer want to add direct to garment printing to their business? First we must make some basic assumptions about the typical embroiderer – first off – they are getting requests for printed garments – secondly – they are either simply telling their customers “No” and referring them to a screen printer or leaving it up to the customer to find their own printer, or they say “Yes” and then outsource the job out to a screen printer fulfillment source.
In either case you are leaving your customer at the mercy of another company – whether you are a buffer in between or not. The core reason for most embroiderers to add DTG machines to their business is to control the customer, the sale and the processing of the order. It’s not just about how much money you make on each job so much as knowing the job will be done when it needs to be done and with the same care you always provide when doing other jobs for your customer. A customer who goes to another apparel decorator is likely to inquire with them about other methods of decoration – potentially moving his embroidery business to the more diversified decorator.
Most embroiderers find direct to garment printing easy to implement into the workflow of their business. Much like embroidery, DTG requires work upfront to get the artwork optimized for output and then simply sending the design to the output device and going about your business. The DTG machine does the embellishment for you – just like an embroidery machine! A direct to garment printer can become like a single head embroidery machine – load it, start it decorating the garment and head on to the next piece of equipment to get it decorating and so on.
Another upside to offering direct to garment printing in your embroidery business is that you can offer the service to other shops who have not yet realized the benefits of the DTG process – allowing you to now become the fulfillment house for other apparel decorators. Essentially reversing the situation you began with when you were the one saying “No” and outsourcing orders.
Print Shop Or Sign Business
As an existing print shop or sign business you are dealing on a daily basis with customers who are trying to get a message across. That message may be merely informational, but the majority of the time it is advertorial. T-shirts and other apparel are a natural extension of your business. In many cases your customers are taking the same artwork that you printed for them to an apparel decorator to have garments printed. By the addition of a DTG printer to your business you can capitalize on a large portion of the business that walks out your door every day.
The most important aspect of any graphics based business is the mastery of the graphics themselves. As a proven professional in this realm you have already won the trust of your customer base – making the addition of garments to your line almost academic. Besides, it is always easier to sell new products to existing, satisfied customers than it is to find new customers for your existing products.
Marketing the DTG process is easier if you have an existing business as well. When your customer picks up, or you deliver an order, include a sample t-shirt that includes their logo, your logo and some info on the new service you are now offering. With a little creativity you can craft a design that is attractive enough that your client will not only be led to consider purchasing garments from you – they might even give you some free advertising by wearing the shirt in public!