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Getting Started in the Sublimation Industry

Posted by Mary Yaeger on 6/15/2017

Posted by Mary Yaeger - 6/15/2017

Also seen on Printwear 

How many of you have walked the streets of your downtown area, coffee in hand, and stepped into one of the really fascinating boutiques? I’m guessing all of you. I know I have! One of the great things about downtown areas is that they thrive because of small shops that specialize in unique products and apparel. With the rise of entrepreneurial communities and desire for economic efficiency, we are right in the middle of a great opportunity to strut our creative stuff.

If you spend any time on the internet (I’m looking at you Pinterest), what you will find is that a big trend happening is sublimation. Sublimation is the printing of an image (or images) onto specialty items – like keychains you can get at the zoo or quirky coffee mugs at coffee shops. This versatile printing method opens a whole world of opportunities that may not have been available before.

The Benefits

From personalized gifts to home décor to promotional products and everything in between, there is an endless possibility of items waiting to be sublimated. A big difference that you will notice with sublimation verses any other printing method, is that the process is simpler and in some ways, more effective. Not only can you print full color images on a variety of surfaces, the prints are infused with a special coating that protects and preserves so when you wash the item, you don’t have any worry about what it will look like when it’s done. When set up properly, sublimation can save you time and money. Even more important than that is the customer satisfaction that will come of it.

  • You can do full color images, even for smaller print jobs, that won’t cost your customers an arm and leg.
  • You also don’t have to worry about a great deal of setup for the process. 
  • You don’t have to worry about losing a customer because of a minimum order number
  •  Sublimation can accommodate any print job that you are willing to take on.
  •  The prints are not thick and provide a soft hand feel. Your customers will love the natural feel    of the garments. 
  •  Sublimated products are durable. You don’t have to worry about cracking or peeling.

Getting Started

As with any process or business it is going to take money to make money so you will need to consider your startup costs. Here are a few items that you will need to get started:

  •  Sublimation Printer  
  • Ink 
  • Sublimation Paper 
  • Design Software 
  • Blank items (to practice on and have for print jobs) 
  • Heat Press

It is also important to note that if you are going to sublimate apparel, the process only works on polyester materials. Sublimation can be a great place to start in the printing industry. It is also a great addition to any existing print shop! The print industry is diverse – the customer demand even more so. Sublimation may just be the answer you need to keep the revenue flowing. The most important thing you can do is assess your needs and come up with a plan that fits.

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