10 Worst Decisions for Your Rhinestone Business

Bling Machine Business

Common decisions that will hurt your business

#10 – Choosing the wrong rhinestone machine or method. You really need to give which kind of system you’re going to use and how much you have to spend. Buying a Brush n Bake style template system might be ideal for you start your business because you can eventually upgrade to a CAMS machine and use the same software, but if you get a bigger order, you’ll really regret not choosing an automatic machine. But pick an automatic rhinestone machine like the Ioline and you may end up paying for something that’s ½ the speed of production of the CAMS.

Cheap heat press#9 – Buying a Cheap Heat Press. You can get a heat press for under $200, but not one that will perform well enough to run a real business on. Cheaper heat presses don’t have consistent temperature across the platen, so you can end up with some rhinestones firmly applied to a shirt and some not. The cheaper the heat press, also the more common technical issue become.

#8 – Getting Wholesale Rhinestone Transfers from Alibaba. It’s really tempting to just order wholesale rhinestone transfers online from ebay or a Chinese supplier like you’ll find all over the internet. Don’t do it! You may end up with one good batch, but you’ll never get the kind of consistently high quality you need unless you find a supplier closer to home, or do it yourself.

#7 – Using SS4 Rhinestones. SS4, or SS04 sized stones are less than 1.5mm in diameter. That’s too small! If you’re using a template system, someone will sneeze and blow $20 worth of stones around the room, and many rhinestone machines can handle them, but the error rate goes up.

#6 – Not testing your t-shirts. Rhinestone transfers will go on almost any textile, but not all textiles like to get heat presses. Don’t wait until your order is due to figure out if that rayon shirt melts under the heat press.

Marketing Plan#5 – Not sending a proof to a customer. This is a huge problem. Let’s say you get an order for 25 shirts, do the design, heat press them all and wrap up everything for delivery and your customer says “that’s not the color blue I was looking for!”

#4 – Skipping Machine Maintenance. Whether it’s a bling machine or a plotter, every piece of equipment needs regular maintenance. Remember, equipment only breaks when you need to use it.

#3 – Extending Terms. Even if it’s a big customer, first time order and they triple swear they will pay on time, don’t do it. The LEAST you should do is get enough up front to cover the costs of your materials. That way if they cancel you are only out labor, not cash.

#2 – Ignore Sales and Marketing. Many custom t-shirt businesses fail because the owner fell in love with the product but made no plans on how to find customers. You’ve got to do something; have a website, Facebook Page, business cards, sales plan or just set aside time to tell people what you do!

#1 – Buy Cheap Supplies. Finding a good deal on rhinestone supplies is one thing, but getting the cheapest thing you can find because it’s cheap is another. The biggest mistake in this area is buying acrylic or other cheap Hotfix rhinestones. You will lose customers when the rhinestones come off in the wash because of inferior glue. You will lose customers because the colors of the rhinestones are not consistent, so your designs look different every time. You will lose your business when an entire shipment of rhinestones, or transfer tape for that matter, doesn’t arrive, or arrives with no glue on the stones.


You can avoid many of these bad decisions by working with the right vendors. Colman and Company only sells high quality Hotfix rhinestones and transfer paper. ColDesi’s CAMS Rhinestone Machines probably power more wholesale rhinestone transfer companies that any other system. Both companies stand behind their products and have people qualified to help you make the RIGHT decisions!

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