Hope everyone is getting off on the right foot in 2010. It’s going to be an exciting year and I have more predictions, marketing ideas and trends to share with you from GroupeSTAHL folks. Thanks for all your positive feedback on my recent posting on predictions for the heat printing industry for 2010. I have been hearing more and more good things from around the industry that make me feel more optimistic than I have in a long while. With the steep rise in demand for short runs and other marketplace conditions, I believe there’s an explosion about to happen for anyone involved with heat printing, especially in the use of transfers, CAD-CUT materials and digital transfers. Toward that end, I would like to introduce my next guest blogger, Josh Ellsworth. Many of you may already be familiar with Josh, since he is a well known figure in the apparel decoration world. Known throughout the industry as a cad materials specialist, with over 1,000 forum postings on T-Shirt Forums, author of Heat Press Yourself blog and star and producer of many heat printing related YouTube videos, Josh is now the general Manager for Stahls’ CAD-CUT(R) Direct. He will continue developing how-to videos, writing articles for industry trade publications and much more. Here are some of his predictions:
Contributed by Josh Ellsworth:
Sales & Marketing
- Decorated Apparel Businesses with websites will have to render a preview of decorating options to get more orders. Larger decorators will continue to leverage t-shirt generators, while mid to small size decorators can compete by utilizing videos on product pages.
- Savvy business owners will start a Facebook page and use tools such as photos, slideshows and video to mass merchandise to customers.
- Some decorators will jump into social media marketing and become engulfed to the point where it is negatively impacting their productivity. Smart decorators will select one or two outlets and maximize them.
- Some of the unemployed workforce in the US market will start their own business and need to order decorated apparel. Given that not many small companies start with over 40 employees – screen printing will start to become passé for decorating corporate apparel. Embroidery continues to thrive with heat transfer technologies growing much stronger.
- Performance apparel continues to grow and pose new challenges. More manufacturers will source or make lots of fabrics abroad making dye migration challenges the norm. Decorators who can combat these issues will be in demand.
- With the emergence of full color options across all imaging platforms, some schools will begin to understand that they do not have to be limited to a 1-3 color logo/mascot. Logo redesigns will begin to take place across the country and the power of digital printing will be harnessed for imaging on signage, apparel, books and promotional products.
- Decoration of footwear, braces, gloves and protective equipment will catch on. Decorators who can accommodate these items will make great profit margins and differentiate from competitors, opening doors to new opportunities.
- Screen Printers will reinvent themselves to be very inclusive of customization technologies. This trend has started to happen with the buzz of DTG, however wise printers will realize there are other customization technologies such as cad-cut and print and cut that are better suited for certain jobs.
- White Ink will develop across all customization platforms. Direct to garment printing, sublimation and print/cut technology for apparel.
- The availability of vinyl cutters and start up heat transfer businesses in the under $1000 price point will create a BOOM in the availability of customization technologies. Now when a team, business or individual needs decoration they find customization to be available locally and to be faster than screen printing.
Thank you Josh. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have planned for us in 2010!
My husband I and I heat press shirts for local schools and we also use our cad cutter for names and athletic uniforms. We really don’t want to get into the screen printing part of the business. We are thinking about adding an embroidery machine or the versacamm to our hobby business. Which do you think would be the better choice for expansion? If I go versacamm then I wouldn’t be limited to a mascot with only 2 colors, correct? Do you have any specials on the versacamms?
Great question and in my opinion you are correct to be concerned about adding screen printing to your production capabilities. There are so many environmental concerns that play a role for screen printers, as well as a hefty learning curve when it comes to multi-color designs and printing on difficult fabrics such as nylon or caps. Embroidery is another option that has a learning curve as well as limitations when it comes to doing certain types of artwork or on certain items. There also seems to be a trend, especially in sports, away from embroidery since it can be heavy and irritating to the wearer. A VersaCamm is a great option and you would not be limited to 2 colors, the VersaCamm is a full color digital printer/cutter that can not only print full color digital transfers that can be applied on any substrate when the correct materials are used, it can also be used to print everything from full color banners and signs and many other things that could help grow your business. I recommend you visit the website printcutpress.com and you will probably have all your questions answered regarding how a VersaCamm can help your business. If you have any more questions, please let me know. thanks for reading!
Josh is now working with Stahls’ CADCUT Direct, a division of Stahls’ ID Direct, which sells CADCUT materials, heat presses, cutters, everything related to garment decoration. So the answer is yes, the products are similar.
I’m not sure if Josh will see this message or not…I am curious if you have any information about t-shirt generators that were mentioned in the sales and marketing section of the predictions? We purchased a Versacamm in ’09, and I’ve been debating how to add customized shirts to the site. A shirt generator app would be an awesome addition!
I will forward to Josh and let him know about your comment. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment.
I am also interested in tshirt generators for our website. Any suggestions?
Thank you for this site which I just found. It is very useful and informative.