Tell us a little about who you are and what you do:
I work full time for a local Sheriff’s Office where I operate as the Digital Media Manager. I do all of the graphic design, video production, social media management, and other various projects.
I was previously in the Information Technology department when I decided to open my own business in addition to my full-time gig.
I learned vinyl graphics when I was 12 years old and worked for my father until I was 19 and decided to pick it back up a couple of years ago since I loved doing it.
What was your biggest hurdle in getting started?
The most significant hurdle for me was the initial investment (even though I went entry level) and to have the time to run a business in addition to my full-time job.
However, my company snowballed, and equipment upgrades and new purchases were in the works in no time.
How do you decide what Markets to target?
I decided to teach myself all that I could as far as t-shirts were concerned. I knew the vinyl graphics market well, and my skillset was sharp. I watched every, and I mean EVERY possible tutorial there was on printing t-shirts. I decided that I would start with heat transfer vinyl and go from there.
My markets were simple, stick to local businesses and people. I wanted to tap into a market where I worked and lived to offer a better relationship than my customers may have been received from other “larger” operations and kept everything in arms reach for me when producing the work.
What Technologies do you Use?
My first purchase was a start-up “sign shop” kit that included a vinyl plotter and heat press along with enough vinyl to get started. I grew from there.
I quickly upgraded to the Graphtec plotter (offered by Colman & Company). I began to get tired of weeding my designs for countless hours upon hours. So, I researched other means of making shirts.
That’s where I came across the Digital HeatFX package and trained myself before purchasing and coming up with ideas on what I could offer with this new setup.
What did you get from ColDesi and why?
I purchased the Digital HeatFX printer (OKI WT) and a Fusion heat press. After researching quite a few companies to buy the white-toner printer from, Coldesi had the best options as far as packages, supplies, and support that I could find.
During the purchasing process, they answered all of my questions, and I felt comfortable moving forward with a somewhat more substantial purchase (for me anyway).
YOUR NEXT STEP: Learn more about DigitalHeat FX
How do you set your pricing?
I set my pricing based on my cost and time I will spend doing the job. To include design time and revisions, I created a spreadsheet where I can type in the design size (whether it be for heat transfer vinyl or OKI printer) and it will give me my costs.
I figure my time for each piece (preparing the transfer, placing the shirt, pressing time, bagging, etc.) and go from there. The beautiful part about the Digital HeatFX prints is that they are a fixed cost.
No matter what you are printing or how complicated the design is, if it fits on the sheet it will print for one set price.
What products do you sell that other apparel decorators might need?
Utilizing the Digital HeatFX printer for t-shirt printing is great! However, what really turned me on to it, even more, was the option to offer OTHER companies a full-color print solution in the form of the transfer itself.
I sell the transfers on a per-sheet basis to other companies and individuals that already have a heat press but may not have the means or need to purchase the Digital HeatFX package.
Flexibility is where this printer outshines any other printing method. It takes up a relatively small footprint, and you can print on a wide range of materials (not only t-shirts ).
What’s next for your company?
I am continuing to grow the transfer printing portion of my business as well as making contact with local schools in the area to provide spirit wear and other “group” promotional items.
I hope to add an embroidery machine shortly as that seems to be a significant need in my area. Especially, because the larger competitors require a “minimum” and I don’t.
YOUR NEXT STEP: Read more about the Embroidery Business
I have also decided to start a brand (Beck and Bro Clothing Co) and have already set up our launch via Zulily.
What Advice would you give someone just starting out?
My advice is simple, don’t go too broad too soon.
I know it’s exciting, thinking of all the capabilities and opportunities there are to make money with any piece of equipment you decide to buy. However, making sure you understand the market and have the skillset to do your work efficiently while at the highest standards is the MOST IMPORTANT part of running a successful business.
Repeat and referral customers are your best assets, ensuring you can provide them with the best product(s) and service guarantees that they will be coming back again and again.
Also, NEVER STOP LEARNING!
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