I was asked a few questions about the sublimation of promotional products. Here are these answers to the questions; What are some “out of the box” substrates to sublimate? How can all-over sublimation be applied to promotional products? What are the biggest challenges to sublimating hard substrates?
To me, there are only two drawbacks to sublimation and with some creativity, you can easily overcome them in your decorating business. Those 2 restrictions are the lack of white ink in the process and the fact that sublimation ink only transfers and bonds to polyester.
Sublimation is still growing in the garment decorating world and I really don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. As I mentioned in a recent Impressions article, the consumers and the retailers are demanding a faster turnaround time and smaller minimum order amounts. With the wider range of polyester fabrics available today, as compared to 30 years ago, the sublimation process has become the favorite process of many fashion labels, sports jersey manufacturers, and even your local softball team. I’m writing this wearing my favorite recreational volleyball team jersey that is a moisture-wicking polyester fabric with an all over sublimation design. Our team name was the Wallbangers, as we didn’t always hit it in the court but yet we demanded a comfortable polyester jersey with no hand (the feel of the ink on the garment) for our weekend fun.
The promotional products industry is estimated by PPAI to be a $21 billion dollar plus industry and growing according to their report from 2016. Many people think of the promotional products industry as a space for trinkets and trash or an occasional single color 50/50 shirt order. The space is so much more and if you have invested in sublimation or have a partnership with a contract sublimator you can be grabbing your piece of that $21 billion dollar pie. Better yet, you will not be fighting for nickels of profit with the overseas suppliers since sublimation can supply a promotional product that has a nice margin as well.
With dye-sublimation, you can turn any image into a vibrant and permanent memento or piece of art! Take a look into the printing and pressing process of one of the most popular items, an award plaque for sports teams.
Over the years, one of the markets that have been most intriguing was the print on demand market. This market is exciting because it overcomes a natural barrier of purchase by changing the perceived value of a product and can take the cost factor nearly out of the equation. This market can be highly profitable, so here are some tips, tricks, and examples for you.
What is the printing on demand market? The print on demand market is when you travel to an event or specific location to be with potential customers and decorate apparel or other items on the spot. This can be as straightforward as having pre-done transfers so you can heat press the customers chosen transfer onto their chosen shirt size and color. It can also be as intricate as having online design tools and templates with the ability to do onsite photography to then digitally create items like photo panels, cell phone cases and again even apparel. Typically, this market is serviced by a heat press and transfers and/or digital decoration, noting occasionally, screen print garments are done.
As a relative newbie in the garment decorating industry (only 16 years so far) I find that sometimes discussing decoration with the veterans (old guys as my friend Terry Combs, who is an old guy, likes to say) can be an interesting conversation. Many are hardcore screen printing or some will even dip their toe … Read more
Ghosting – a term that will send shivers down the back of most sublimators because it typically means that you just ruined a blank that could have cost you $5, $10, $20 or more. With the recent release of the new Ghostbusters movie and my son dressing up as a Ghostbusters for Halloween, I thought … Read more