This episode is inspired by an article written on ColDesi.com. It’s all about what you need to start a white toner transfer business. This episode is important if you are going to invest in white toner printer or have recently invested. Overall, though, a lot of this spills into what you need to start a t-shirt business in general too.
A Basic Plan
The article doesn’t dive into this, because it’s more about the printer itself. However, it’s an important part to mention. You should have SOME plan.
- Who do you plan to sell to?
- Nice markets?
- What do you plan to charge them?
- How much money does this make per shirt?
- How many shirts do you have to sell to stay in business?
- Goal: How many shirts would you like to be selling a month in a year?
- Local car / motorcycle clubs, members, organizations, stores
- Average shirt retail $20, Average shirt cost $10
- Sell 50 shirts a month to pay for (machine, basic business costs (email, website, state fees, etc.)
- The goal is to get up to 300 shirts a month
- Sell to local clubs / members
- Sell to referrals through that group for other shirts (events, businesses, etc)
The Right Printer
There is no answer to “what is the best printer?” The question really is “What is the best printer for your business”
- What’s better a Chevy Corvette or a Chevy 2500 diesel truck?
- Well, what are you doing? Cruising the beach, going to meetings, road trips or Hauling a Trailer with 2 tons of construction material?
What are the options?
The systems at Coldesi are DigitalHeat FX. What does it mean to have a DigitalHeat FX System?
- A printer, software, paper and toner that has all been tested and designed to work together.
- These have all been curated by the experts at ColDesi
- Every system has to pass through experts to be sure it will meet standards for support, consistency, quality, etc.
Read the article to see different printers and details.
- Crio 8432
- Crio 9541
It’s very important you have good software to make your printer function at its best. Essentially if you try to buy a printer and just print from Adobe or Corel, you are not going to be happy.
Software like Print Optimizer gives you control over your prints like:
- Control how much white toner you print
- Add rasterizing effects like dots, strips, etc to reduce print cost/feel
- Manage queues for printing on certain papers or materials
- Control colors, saturation and other print effects
- Work with papers like metallic / neon
- Remove colors … like automatically Knock Black Out when printing on a black t-shirt
Heat Press Machines
This is going to be just as important as your printer choice. If you get a ‘cheap’ press or try to use one that isn’t good for the process, you are going to be frustrated. It will hinder your success.
What do you need in a heat press?
- Even temperature
- Cheap or old presses might be hotter in some spots versus others
- Even pressure
- The pressure at the front, back and sides must be even
- Pressure gauge
- It’s great if you have even pressure, but you also have to know what that pressure is
- Temperature gauge
- You need precise temps and it should be easy to adjust
- Optional, but important
- You want to be able to move the heat away from you. Marrying, pressing, etc is under 250-350 degrees. A heat press that will let you move the heat away from you while you work helps a ton
- 16×20 size – any smaller won’t be able to take advantage of larger print sizes like 11×17, 8×19 or 13×19
The pick of ColDesi customers as of Jan 2022 is the Hotronix Fusion heat press. It checks all the above and continues to be reliable.
Good paper for a heat press is just like good tires/gas for a race car, or good chocolate for cake or good food for your body. If you put something good into your printer, you will get something good out.
Also, consider that the DigitalHeat FX system has had the software and paper fine-tuned for each other. So it lays down the right amounts of toner for the best prints/colors.
- Color quality is affected by the paper you use
- Print jams, fuser damage is caused by using the wrong paper
- Your washability of shirts is more than just paper but also the shirt, the software, and the process.
Types of Paper
- Standard EZ Peel Paper – Most universal, Most popular. (This is the one you marry)
- One Step EZ Peel Paper – Prints in a single step but not recommended for dark colors
- Hard Surface EZ Peel Paper – Designed for hard goods like wood, glass, metal, mugs.
Don’t forget the accessories you will / might need like:
- Finishing sheets
- Heat press test probe
- Mug or Hat press
- Heat press platens
- Heat press pillows
We have entire podcasts on shirt quality. If you use poor quality shirts, you are going to get poor results. Repeated, if you use cheap shirts, your end result with look (and act) cheap. If you want to sell shirts that are impressive, use impressive blanks.
- Test a bunch of shirts
- Pick ones you want to sell after testing, washing, wearing
- Tell your customers how to care for shirts
- Include wash instructions, be explicate.
- Cold Wash, tumble dry low (or hang), wait 24 hours after print before washing, skip things like fabric softener.
- The price of a blank shirt often is related to its quality (outside of ‘branded’ apparel like Nike, Adidas, etc… you will pay extra for the brand)
You’ll need to create, buy, have the art created for you or have you provide the art (normally not the best idea btw.
Bad art will frustrate you. Bad art will affect your business. Bad art will make your printer look bad. Bad art will print shirts that don’t wash or wear well.
If you haven’t gotten the point yet. You need to have great art.
- Learn graphic arts – this means get trained and practice a ton. Months of learning, years to perfect.
- Hire a graphic artist – Expensive but it’s great to have a professional at your fingertips and working for your company to learn your equipment and how to make perfect art for it.
- Use a graphics agency – Only pay for what you need. Can charge customers before you order art. ColDesi Graphics!
Education is the key to picking the right white toner printer system for your business. Talk to a pro at ColDesi to match the right system for your business.
Mark Stephenson: Hey everyone, and welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups Podcast. My name is Mark Stephenson.
Marc Vila: And this is Marc Vila. And today we’re here to talk about… Beautiful mug, by the way.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, I’m holding a CAS podcast mug. No, they are not available for sale.
Marc Vila: So today we’re going to talk about what do you need to start a white toner printer business.
Mark Stephenson: Right.
Marc Vila: Okay? Yeah, go ahead.
Mark Stephenson: I know that we did an article on it. One of the reasons that I wanted to do a podcast on this is because I’m one of the people that responds to Facebook comments and Instagram questions. And especially for some reason around the Digital HeatFX System and white toner printers, there’s a lot of questions. And there’s often misunderstandings about what people actually need to get started.
They’ll see an ad for the printer and think that the printer comes, the box comes filled with success and all they have to do is open it, and that’s what happens. So I’m excited for, if you’re interested in getting into the custom t-shirt business, which you are if you’re listening to this or any business really to kind of map out this, what you need to start a white toner printer business. And more than just the hardware, more than just the software.
Marc Vila: Yeah. And as you mentioned this episode, if you’re looking to start a business this episode, especially in white toner, right? White toner printing, and we’ll talk about what that is in a moment. We didn’t write that down, but we should define it for a moment.
Mark Stephenson: We should, yeah.
Marc Vila: But if you’re looking to start a t-shirt business specifically with white toner, this is for you. If you’ve recently invested in equipment or you’ve recently started, this is some good stuff that you should listen to and understand, and just wrap your brain around further. And then overall though, this spills into just the t-shirt business in general.
A lot of this stuff you can generalize, or if you’re looking at a different way to start doing t-shirts like sublimation or something, you could apply a lot of the same rules, the same logic to your sublimation. And if anything, it just gives you questions to ask when you’re making a decision on who you’re going to work with, what equipment you’re going to use, et cetera.
Mark Stephenson: Honestly, we’re going to do this exact. Everything we say from here, we’re just going to copy it and then we’re going to record a different a intro and just say, sublimation business, DTG business. Just because everything is so much the same.
Marc Vila: Yeah, there’s-
Mark Stephenson: There’s so many similarities.
Marc Vila: There’s a lot of similarities-
Mark Stephenson: We’re not going to do that.
Marc Vila: No. And there’s a lot of great things you could do. So let’s just go ahead and start with a definition of white toner right now.
Mark Stephenson: Yes. What is Mark Vila? The world’s leading expert…
Marc Vila: World leading.
Mark Stephenson: … On white toner printing.
Marc Vila: Right. Oh, thanks for saying that.
Mark Stephenson: What is it?
Marc Vila: So what we would define as white toner printing, right? Is obviously if you’ve heard of a toner before, right? A toner printer, it prints with a powder. It’s like crushed up plastic, almost.
Mark Stephenson: Laser printer.
Marc Vila: Yeah, laser printer is how you say LED. None of them are really lasers anymore, unless it’s a big giant commercial machine. It’s probably an LED printer, but everyone just says laser printer still. It’s what it’s called.
If you’ve had a copy machine that you’ve worked in an office where you ever had to take a cartridge out and shake it when it got low, that type of thing. That’s a toner printer. And white toner printing is reasonably recent technology, but pretty seasoned technology as well. And it’s
Mark Stephenson: Three or four years old.
Marc Vila: Three or four. Yeah, I mean, three or four years in our space. And the technology’s probably eight years old. But it’s using white color toner to print on things. And when you can print white, it allows you to print on everything, right? So if you have something with a dark background, right?
Like a black t-shirt and you put red ink on a black shirt, you can’t see it. You spill spaghetti sauce on a black t-shirt, you don’t see it really, right? White t-shirt, it pops off. So it’s the same concept. White helps you create more colors, helps you print on more things. And that’s really why white toner printing blew up.
Mark Stephenson: Right. And that’s because it prints white first, and then it prints the other colors on top of it, right? So when you heat press it to a shirt, the colored toner is actually, the colored image is actually on top of the white. It’s not on top of the shirt.
Marc Vila: Yeah, that’s a great way to put in. And white printing in general has been in DTG printing for a decade, printing white. And you’ve probably picked up some label or product that you’ve had that has white ink on it and it very well, may be white toner on there.
So there’s just a quick definition for anybody who’s not new to… Who doesn’t understand this, is not in the business or is not even shopping for this yet, but you’ve kind of stumbled across starting a t-shirt business and this might be the way to go. So the first thing, the first step and starting a light toner printing business is just having some sort of a basic plan.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, because you’re… I love that. And first of all, when we say white toner printers, and we’re talking about ColDesi products, that’s the Digital HeatFX brand. So all of our white toner printers are branded Digital HeatFX. But what I like about the basic plan is it reminds people that when you buy one of these you’re staring a business, you’re not running a printer, right?
That’s not going to make you money. You have to sell things. So just owning a printer and know how to use it is not going to make you any money. Running a business that’s based on white toner printer will definitely make you money.
Marc Vila: Yeah, it’s simple, right? So if you’re going to start this, one of the challenges that people run into is we had somebody left a review that said something like this recently. I’ve got this printer, it’s costing money. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with it, right?
Mark Stephenson: Right.
Marc Vila: And it’s like, okay, I mean, I understand the frustration and we want to help you with that as company and as all the people that work at ColDesi want to do. We want to help you with that. But some of that frustration is alleviated by having a basic plan. It doesn’t have to be a big, long business plan, multi pages that’s been vetted by numerous people.
You need something simple to start with so you have a direction to go, and then the details will change along the way, right? So a few simple questions you can start with as far as a basic plan to help you get going. If you are brand new, you should have answers to all these questions.
If you just got started, you should have answers to all these questions. If you’ve been in business for a while, I hope you have answers for all these questions.
Mark Stephenson: You better have answers to all these questions.
Marc Vila: Yeah, you better have answers. If not, you’re probably going to hit a wall at some point in time where you’re not hitting all your goals. So who do you plan to sell to, right? So Mark, you’re the master at this, tell us a bit about who do you plan to sell to? How do you answer that question?
Mark Stephenson: So, my favorite thing that you put in the notes here is picking your nice markets.
Marc Vila: Nice.
Mark Stephenson: I know you meant say niche markets, but it says nice markets and I like that too. I very much like that.
Marc Vila: Nice markets are good.
Mark Stephenson: So, who do you plan to sell to? If you want to start an at-home business and you have a family with 5,000 people in it, and you just want to sell to your family, that’s your niche markets. Market is people named Stephenson. If you are into a particular hobby or you have connections with the local school systems, then those could be your niche markets.
It’s basically, what kinds of people, what kinds of businesses are you going to sell to? And are you going to sell that stuff locally? Or are you going to sell it nationally through a website?
Marc Vila: Yeah, and I think that there is something to even be said of a locale being a niche market as well, to a degree. It depends where you live. If you’re saying I’m going to sell to people in New York city, okay, let me go-
Mark Stephenson: That’s not a local market.
Marc Vila: Yeah, right? Even though-
Mark Stephenson: Flat bush.
Marc Vila: … It’s a couple of miles, but you’ve got to get deeper. Now if you’re in a smaller sized town and there’s really not a print shop that can do on-demand printing in your area, well, then you’re filling a need for a local market. And your niche might just be, I’m the only person offering this to this group of people that live in this area.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, Tampa would be a local market. North Tampa would be a local market, Lakeland. If you think you can corner everyone in that area or a good number of people in that area, or especially if you decide to make the area that you live in the topic or the focus of what you sell.
Marc Vila: For sure. So, who do you want to sell to? It’s a niche market of people. It’s a very specific group of people or a specific area or combination of both. The next kind of thing, the next basic thing is, how much can you charge them? What do you plan on charging them? And how much money will you make each time you charge them, right?
And we will go into examples below. Then the next step is, so now that you know what you’re going to charge them and how much you make, how many basic shirts do you need to sell just to kind of stay in business?
Mark Stephenson: Yap. What’s your break even?
Marc Vila: What’s your break even? And then you should have a goal. How many shirts would you like to be selling a month, in a year? In one year from now, I mean, right? Your goal is by the time I get to January of 2023, I’d like to be selling this many shirts a month, which is making me about this much money. And the reason why I want to make this much money is because X, Y, Z, whatever that goal would be.
Mark Stephenson: And after you’re done with this podcast, go back to our other episodes and we’ll put some links in, but everything that Marc just mentioned, we’ve done multiple podcasts about. How to choose a niche market. We just did 20 planning, which is three episodes.
We’ve done ROI and how to make money, things like that. So once you go through the rough outline of this basic plan right here, like Marc just said, then you’ve got plenty of backup material that you can listen to as well.
Marc Vila: Great. No, thanks and great point on that. So we’ll just do an example quick, just a simple one, right? So the example, niche market is local car and motorcycle clubs members, the organizations, retail stores, et cetera. All right, so that’s kind of your local niche market. It’s surrounding the automotive industry and enthusiasts and everything that goes around that, okay.
You are going to sell shirts for about $20. That’s your plan. You’re going to have designs you sell, and you’re going to do some custom designs. And you’re hoping to sell them for 20, and that they’re going to cost you about 10, between all your costs across the board to make this shirt. You do some math and you say, I have to sell 50 shirts a month to pay for some basic stuff, right?
So that’s like, I need to profit about 500 bucks and that’s going to pay for my machine payment and maybe some basic business costs like my Outlook subscription or my Gmail subscription. Take the $120 state fee and divide that by 12, 10 bucks a month is your state fees. Just some little basic things like that.
This is just so I can hover and live without dipping into any saved money or any credit cards or debts or anything like that. I think that’s a nice simple way to do some math, especially when you’re a startup a t-shirt printer and some t-shirts and a smile. And then you should have your goal. Your goal might be to get up to 300 shirts a month, right?
And that means that you’re going to make three grand a month in profit, and you’ve got specific plans on why that’s your goal, right? And then last is just a little bit of that goal of how you’re going to do it. You’re going to sell to the local clubs and their members.
And then you’re also going to hope to catch referrals through that group for maybe their businesses or events or birthday parties or whatever it might be. And so that’s your basic plan, simple.
Mark Stephenson: That’s great. I really like that. I think everybody should do that.
Marc Vila: Yeah, thank you. And I don’t think that… And that plan, I mean, yeah. I mean, there’s a million holes in it, but it’s just a guide. It’s just a direction-
Mark Stephenson: Plus you’re all going to do it out there. It’s simple enough, it’s four things, five things. Everybody listening to the podcast that’s at all serious is going to actually do this as opposed to fill out the lengthy online business planning forms.
Marc Vila: Yeah, which I’ve tried to do. I always just feel that they’re not for your business. They never are. They’re always for something else. There’s always some question there you don’t know an answer to, or doesn’t make sense. And then you get stuck and you’re in a rabbit hole Google searching. Have a basic plan to start.
And then as you write that down, you’ll know what other questions pop up in your head. And then you answer those questions and you let it keep going through and you live and you learn. But if you’ve got a basic plan, you can get going. Number one rule, simple plan at minimum. What next?
Mark Stephenson: And I like that because once you’re done with that, then you move on to the logical next step. Now you’re going to try to find the right printer.
Marc Vila: Yes.
Mark Stephenson: … And equipment accessories and supplies and company to deal with that will feed that plan. So you know what you have to do. You understand that there’s not just a box of success that’s going to show up on a pallet, right? So you’re going to pick what goes in that box to help inform that success that you just mapped out.
Marc Vila: So what you said, actually, just it segues or you’re just… You’ve been practicing segueing?
Mark Stephenson: No. You know what? I’ve been on one of those. I can’t work it. I don’t know, you’ve got to lean forward or backwards. I’m not sure what’s that like.
Marc Vila: Yeah. Did the guy who invented the segue fall off a mountain on his segue or something like that, right?
Mark Stephenson: I don’t know. I do know that the [inaudible] diet guy died of a heart attack.
Marc Vila: Yeah.
Mark Stephenson: So, irony.
Marc Vila: The world’s very interesting. I don’t know if it’s Irony. I’ll have to ask Alanis Morissette if it’s irony or not or one of my professors.
Mark Stephenson: Okay, back to work.
Marc Vila: Anyways, so a good segue is, and I wrote it differently, but you inspired another thought. It would be absolutely silly to go buy a vehicle for my business before I had any idea what my business was.
Mark Stephenson: Right.
Marc Vila: That would be silly, right? Because if you bought a Corvette and then turned out you are doing general contracting like flooring and tiles and drywall, it would be silly to have a Corvette with a tow hitch on it and just try to bring around all your supplies on that.
It’s just not built for that. It’s not designed for that. It’s inconvenient. There’s just a lot of different ways. I mean, do they make a tow hitch? They probably do, but that would look silly.
Mark Stephenson: They shouldn’t. I know they shouldn’t.
Marc Vila: They shouldn’t, right? And it also might be silly to buy a Chevy 2500 diesel truck for like Instacart or grocery delivery.
Mark Stephenson: I was just going to say, delivering small packages.
Marc Vila: Delivering small… That would just seem silly. It’d be very inconvenient and hard and expensive for when you probably should have maybe a little electric car or something, I don’t know. So the question what I originally kind of thought was people ask what’s the best printer? And that’s not the right question. What’s the best printer for your business or for my business? Is-
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, because both the Chevy Corvette and that truck are excellent, amazing vehicles.
Marc Vila: Amazing. They’re both-
Mark Stephenson: And they do great at what they do. It’s just the wrong application. And there are a lot of great printers out there that do a lot of different things, but none of them do, although the white toner printer is close, none of them do everything the way you will want it to do, in the way you want it to do for the price that you want to do it with.
Marc Vila: Yes, and the vehicle example, there’s no such vehicle that can tow anything, is the best in gas looks awesome, is good for fitting in small spaces, and can carry lots of people and things, right? So there’s no vehicle that’s all of that, right? You can maybe make a van go super fast, but the gas mileage might be terrible on it. There’s always speeds and takes in this stuff.
Mark Stephenson: Got it.
Marc Vila: So what are your options for your printer, right? And you mentioned earlier Digital HeatFX.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah.
Marc Vila: Right? So when we talk about printers there’s models of printer, and then there is the complete printing system. And so what does that mean? A complete printing system, like the Digital HeatFX System is a physical printer, software, paper, and toner that’s kind of all put together on purpose designed to work together in conjunction with itself.
That’s your system, right? So what I’m thinking about with this is not only should you be asking what’s the right printer for you, but you want to look at your… Well, we need to look at the entire system, which is kind of what we’ve built.
Mark Stephenson: Right. And I don’t want to leave out, I’m not sure if we’ll get to it later on, but part of that system is also the soft cost of training and technical support.
Marc Vila: Okay. Yeah, great.
Mark Stephenson: Because you can buy just a… Let’s say you never driven a vehicle before. You don’t know anything about them. Someone will sell you a car.
Marc Vila: Yeah, that’s true.
Mark Stephenson: Right? But not tell you how to work it, tell you that you need gas and oil and how often you have to do that and be there when the vehicle breaks down. So you do need that training and support to go with it.
Marc Vila: Yeah. And the truck example, you can buy a truck that can tow something and you can buy a trailer, but they don’t provide the license or the training that you need, because sometimes you need a special license for that.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, [inaudible].
Marc Vila: There’s no special license for t-shirt printing, right?
Mark Stephenson: Maybe we should work on that.
Marc Vila: We should work on one. There isn’t one. And there’s also no law, right? So the car example does break here a little bit, right? Because you’re forced to do that. You can’t drive that on the road without repercussions without that license.
Mark Stephenson: Then we should have started with a boat because you don’t need anything, but a six pack and a cooler to pilot a boat.
Marc Vila: Yeah, you need a good party attitude too.
Mark Stephenson: So I’m going to jump in on the next point that you put.
Marc Vila: Go ahead, yeah.
Mark Stephenson: I think it’s important is that you said that, so these have all been curated by the experts at ColDesi and I want to emphasize that the bundles, the collection of everything that Mark Vila just detailed, the paper, the software, the settings inside the software that comes with it, the procedures on how to use it, the processes on bringing the graphics, the training on how to do everything, the support from people that know what they’re doing and have worked with the material, not just printer technicians.
Curated is really a great word because we’ve gone out into the world and done and found all these things so you don’t have to go through the trial and error that we did. How many different types of paper did we go through when we first started selling white toner printers to get great looking prints that peeled well?
And figured out the amount of white toner that should be applied and made the software maker of Print Optimizer install that as presets. We’ve gone all through this stuff where you would just have a collection of boxes from eight different vendors trying to put it all together.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and further from that is the custom making of these things too, right? So your Adobe comes with a, or Corel come with a print driver that can manage printers. And it’s universal for all printers. You can make adjustments and saturation and positioning and all that stuff. And that kind of just comes with Adobe, you plug the printer in and it works, right?
However, that’s not how this system is built. This system was built where software and engineers went specifically to this printer and did specific things. Then they got the paper and they printed on it. And chemists looked at what happened there, and then the software engineers went and then the paper chemists.
And it’s just this full circle of all the stuff working together. So what’s being created is specifically created for this kind of curated system put together. That it’s not just about, well, let me find paper out there and let me find a printer out there and let me find software out there. You will find different… Yeah, you’ll not find anything that’s curated together unless-
Mark Stephenson: I’m just going to throw heat presses into the mix.
Marc Vila: Yeah, for sure.
Mark Stephenson: Because while it is a separate machine, and we’ll talk about it later, it is required. And it is also curated very specifically for best results.
Marc Vila: So now that we’ve said all that, there’s various models of printers and I think really honestly if we talk about them all it’s boring and it’s a sales pitch. We wrote an article which kind of inspired this. So it’ll be in the show notes. If you go to customapparelstartups.com and you find this episode, what you need to start a white toner printing business, that’s one way to do it, right?
And then if you click on there, we will have a link to this article. That’s one way to find it. Or you can go to digitalheatfx.com, fx.com. And you can read about them too, but there’s models of printers and brands of printers that are all part of the Digital HeatFX System. Do we want to go through any of them or just the heat press?
Mark Stephenson: I think what I’d like to do is just kind of talk about why there are different models and that there are differences.
Marc Vila: Okay, good.
Mark Stephenson: So the reason that we talk about whatever the current price range is when you’re listening to this is white toner printers between four and $15,000 or whatever is. The reason that’s got that big of a range is because there are differences in the physical printers themselves. Some we offer has kind of a prints on eight and a half by 11 inch paper, like your home printer. Some print’s on 11 by 17.
The difference is surprisingly large between those two, even though they’re easy to say. Some are bigger in print on 13 by 19 paper, some have optional toners. So you can switch out for special colors or materials or whatever. And some of them come with black toner as well. So they have white and black toner, not just a white.
So there’s a variety of different sizes and configurations in the white toner printer Digital HeatFX family that is responsible for a range of prices. Which is why if you’ve seen, and a lot of people have seen our Digital HeatFX ads on Facebook or Instagram or read articles or things like that.
When we give a price range, it can be very frustrating for some of you, and maybe why you’re listening to this episode, and I hope you understand it’s because you’re making different decisions and picking a printer based on that short business plan that Mark Vila described earlier. You’re going to pick the printer that fulfills that plan.
And those printers have a huge range between the least expensive and the most. And inside each one of those printers, there are different bundles that you can get. If your business plan calls for being able to do hats, you’re going to spend an extra $700 on a hat press.
If your business plan calls for a variety of other things, there are equally large components that you’re going to need to add or subtract. So without getting into model specifics, because it almost doesn’t matter, you should go to that pages that Marc Vila mentioned, just realize that there is a difference in the printers as far as size and some configuration.
They all do fundamentally the same thing, but it’s different enough that you have to work your plan first before you pick the right one.
Marc Vila: Yes, and the other thing we’re going to do is you may be listening to this episode sometime in the future where there’s a new model or another model’s discontinued, another model they can’t make a chip for it and it’s disappeared off the earth, I don’t know.
I mean, you can’t know, and I would hate to do a disservice by mentioning some things and getting deep into it to turn out it’s something that there’s something brand new out there that’s not even on the list or something old. So this also give this episode some longevity as well, but there’s a lot of information on the different models of printers.
And I really think it’s also important to budget, is a part of the plan. Which we didn’t mention earlier specifically, but it really might just be this is the money I have. This is the money I’m prepared to part with. This is the risk I’m willing to take. This is the money I’m willing to risk. This is what my credit will allow me to borrow, right?
There’s a bubble of limitations for financial too. So, that’s a part of this decision making process too. The best thing you could do is read about them and then talk to somebody who knows about them and-
Mark Stephenson: Which is us.
Marc Vila: Which is us, which is ColDesi. Talk to ColDesi, one of the reps and their job is all day analyzing people’s business needs and what they’re looking for and telling them which printer or printers are good for what they’re doing.
Mark Stephenson: So I’m not going to do a commercial, but I have heard that ColDesi is the number one seller of white toner printers for the apparel marketplace in the world, and has been for years and has put the most people in business. So we have the most experience in matching people with their business idea to the right printer.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and we have a bunch of different models too, which is something to be said versus if somebody has one thing to sell you, they will sell you that one thing, right? And for the most part, they have one thing to sell you, that’s the one thing they will sell you. If they have a bunch of things to sell you, then it becomes a little bit of which one of these things do I match with this customer? And that’s what you-
Mark Stephenson: And we sell everything. So, let’s get back to talking about what you need to start a white toner printer business.
Marc Vila: So now you’ve got a plan and a printer.
Mark Stephenson: Yap.
Marc Vila: Okay? So next is software. Software is extremely important. More important than you would even think, right? Because you can go on the internet and somebody will say, yeah, you can take one of those printers and print directly from Corel.
Mark Stephenson: And you can.
Marc Vila: And you can, and then I’m going to tell you that you’re going to be sad.
Mark Stephenson: Yes.
Marc Vila: You’re going to be sad. Why? I just mentioned a bunch of different things it can do. So this right here is a list of things that the software can do and why you want it. And I think it just sums it all up together.
Mark Stephenson: Okay. And the software that we’re specifically talking about is called Print Optimizer. That is the name and the brand of software. If you care to Google your life away, it’s a RIP software. The generic term, and you can learn more about that because it’s an established kind of software tool that improves the relationship between what you see on your screen to what prints out.
Marc Vila: Yeah, that’s great. Actually, that’s such an intellectual way of describing that.
Mark Stephenson: Oh, thank you. I don’t have a beard to stroke, but I’m doing my best.
Marc Vila: But what’s really important about that is well, there’s two things and I’ll list off some things, but there’s two things that you mentioned that we’ve mentioned before this. And that’s that the software is curated as part of the system, right? So you mentioned it being like a RIP software, which it is. That’s what all of these softwares are that control printers.
They’re image processing softwares, but Print Optimizer specifically was the paper and the printer. And each model printer and each model of paper was all programmed together with Print Optimizer, that if you were to take printer and a different paper and a different software and print, it is going to physically look different than if you add Print Optimizer with the paper and printer that goes with it.
Mark Stephenson: And feel different and wash different and cost a different amount.
Marc Vila: Yes, all of those things. So this is Print Optimizer optimizes your print in the name. It can control how much white toner you put down. So putting down less, cost you less. It’s less lighter weight, right? Putting down more might make it bolder or brighter. Those are all options that you might want to be able to control.
You can add effects like rasterizing effects automatically. So you can put in dots and stripes and remove out certain colors and things like that, which reduces costs and the feel. You can manage your system, right? You have different paper, different materials you’re going to print on. You can preset it all in there. So you click a button and it’s the right way to go.
You can control colors. You can control saturation and all other types of printing effects. You can use specialty papers and then will automatically convert your art to using specialty paper like metallic or neon. And then the last is color removal automatically, right? So you don’t have to go back to art every time you’re switching between a black shirt and a red shirt.
You can knock out the black or knock out the red in the art. Use less toner. The print’s cheaper, feels better, everything. So, I mean, these are all things that Print Optimizer specifically software will do and in a curated environment.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah. And I just want to point out one thing about the control color saturation, and other print effects, because another comment that you hear is about the color of the shirt. The print on the shirt doesn’t match what I see on my computer screen, right?
And if you’re trying to match something on your computer screen, like a company logo that you’ve never seen or something like that, you’re going use the color controls inside of Print Optimizer to try to tweak it. After it’s printed, you can see what it’s actually like. And that’s the kind of adjustments that you’re going to make in each of the categories that Marc Vila just went through.
Marc Vila: Yeah. And all that stuff is incredibly important to have control over. It’s stuff that our support and and technical folks deal with everyday when they’re on the phone with people, because someone is trying to get something very specific on a t-shirt and you’re not printing on a piece of paper, you’re printing on a t-shirt. And t-shirts come in different colors and all this stuff. And generally speaking, it’s not the same as when you print on paper at home.
Mark Stephenson: It’s not.
Marc Vila: When you print on paper at home, you print on white every time. And if you print on pink paper, the image does not look good. I mean, which is why flyers that are in colors are usually just all black ink.
Mark Stephenson: You know what? I think the most important thing for everybody to remember about Print Optimizer though is you don’t create anything in it.
Marc Vila: Okay, yeah, good point.
Mark Stephenson: You bring in an image and then you manipulate it and change it and make it work, make it look beautiful with the printer. You can multiply it so you can gang print small logos on one sheet. A lot of amazing tools, but you don’t type in any text, you don’t draw any lines. You don’t make any pictures. So we’ll talk about what you need to do that in a minute. Print Optimizer is not it.
Marc Vila: So, yeah, that’s a great point. I love that. And this is like your printer management software. It’s business management software, where you can save exact settings how you printed for a customer, including how many you printed on a sheet and have that in a file.
And then you can recreate that in a single step. So it’s really remarkable how important this is and essential this is to the point where sometime ago ColDesi just stopped selling printers without software period. Because it’s that important.
Mark Stephenson: Because people weren’t happy.
Marc Vila: Because people weren’t happy. Everyone who bought it was not happy with-
Mark Stephenson: Like, why doesn’t it work right? It does work right. The printer’s working perfectly fine.
Marc Vila: Yeah, the printers printing exactly what it’s being told to print. That’s the thing. Printers and embroidery machines and all these things, they’re dumb. They do exactly what they’re told very, very well. And if you tell it to do something wrong, it will do it wrong perfectly.
Mark Stephenson: That’s great. [inaudible].
Marc Vila: So what’s next on the list?
Mark Stephenson: Next is heat press, a heat press machine, hot topic. It’s a hot topic when it comes to white toner printing because part of making a t-shirt transfer with white toner is often, not always, it’s often marrying in a heat press a couple of different sheets. Your transfer and then a sheet with the adhesive on it.
And you use that same heat press to adhere the shirt, transfer onto the shirt or other material that you’re going to put it on. And a good heat press matters significantly with this process. So a lot of the other… So you can consider one of the things that you need to start a white toner printing business is an excellent heat press. Not a craft press from Amazon, right? That’s the wrong tool for the job.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and it’s probably not a heat press that you may have had for 10 years.
Mark Stephenson: Right.
Marc Vila: I’m just going to say probably, right?
Mark Stephenson: I’m going to say-
Marc Vila: I’m going to try to not speak in absolutes, but you’re-
Mark Stephenson: I’m going to say it’s not. You can say probably, that’s fine. You’re going to need a new press.
Marc Vila: Yeah. And if the bottom line though really is though, if you get a cheap press or you try to use a heat press that’s not meant for this process, you’re going to be frustrated. It’s going to hinder the success of your business. You’re going to be unhappy and you’re going to be cursing at everyone that you know, and blaming everybody else because it’s not your fault.
Mark Stephenson: And there are reasons. We’re not making this up, right? There are reasons.
Marc Vila: Let’s go through them then.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah.
Marc Vila: Yeah, okay. So first and foremost, even temperature, all right? We’ll go back and forth between the reasons. How’s that sound?
Mark Stephenson: Yeah.
Marc Vila: Okay. So even temperature, right? Cheap heat presses or old heat presses. Specifically, those are just the two categories to consider, can have hotspots. One area is hotter than another. And if you are heating one area of a transfer hotter than another area of your transfer, the probability of that transfer adhering to the shirt and looking the way you want is particularly low. Because a lot of this stuff is exact type of science stuff. So even temperatures is a key.
Mark Stephenson: Right. And the next is… And the reason that the next is having an even pressure for the same reasons, because the way you make a good quality transfer that’s going to last a long time, that’s going to peel properly, et cetera, is that you heat and press consistently them together, the two sheets together and heat and press with consistent temperature and pressure on the garment that you’re adhering it to.
So if it’s not pressing as hard in the bottom right hand corner of the design, then the bottom right hand corner of the design might peel. It might come off when you first make the shirt, it might come off the first time it’s washed. If it comes off the first time it’s washed, then you won’t know. Your customer will tell you.
So the thing with even temperature and even pressure is it’s more expensive to make that. The cheaper heat presses, they have heating elements that are kind of like centered around the middle of the platinum. So the edges are cooler normally. And the pressure is all in the middle as well. So there might be a corner that doesn’t have as much pressure as the rest.
So this can significantly affect the quality of the end garment that you’re making, the custom t-shirt that you’re making. So even temperature, even pressure, vitally important, and what you use for your cricket right now may or may not work.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and another good thing thinking about that is also just the actual manufacturing. How straight is the metal that they cut?
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, there you go.
Marc Vila: If it’s warped and stuff like that, that’s uneven areas. So, it costs, I don’t think it’s any secret that it costs more money to make something perfect in shape than it does to make it imperfect, right? I mean, that’s basic concept. So a pressure gauge while we’re talking about pressure is really important too.
You’ve just got to know what the pressure is. You have to know a specific number and how to measure it. This way you can replicate it next time. And then the same with temperature, right? A temperature gauge too.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah. I mean, if you think about you using an iron there’s a difference in an iron if… An iron you set to number four. You set you set to…
Marc Vila: Woah.
Mark Stephenson: Woah, I like that. There you go. It’s kind of not the same with the complexity in a heat press as a big iron is not only do you have to make sure that the temperature is the same, you have to make sure that you can measure it to make sure it’s the same and the same goes for pressure.
Marc Vila: Yeah. And then there’s one last thing we wrote here which is optional, but I just think it’s really important. You want to be able to… You want the heat from the heat press to be able to move away from you while you’re working. This is 250, 350 degrees. And you’re going to be putting things on shirts, peeling things, you’re going to be working in this area.
If you can take the heat and move it away from you on the heat press, it’s much easier to work there. You’re less likely to burn yourself. You’re not standing in front of an oven and heat presses that swing away or pull out, things like that, get you away from the heat while you’re working.
Mark Stephenson: Right, and that’s as opposed to there’s two different kinds of heat presses. The more typical one and usually the less expensive is called the clamshell. And that opens like a clamshell with the top part is the hot part and moves away from you, past your face when you lift it up. So you’re working, your hands are exposed to the heat of that.
And with a pullout drawer or a swing away, basically the top, the hot part lifts straight up and then moves. And it stays low to the shirt level and you just move it out of the way. So your hands aren’t exposed and frankly, it lends itself to more even pressure and temperature as well.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and you’re just not working under it. In a clamshell you’re working under the heat physically. I mean, the heat is above your head and your arms. Where when you have a swing away or one with a drawer, the heat is now away from you. It’s three, four feet away, whatever it might be. And then the next one is just a size of a 16 by 20 heat press.
I mean, it’s listed as optional because technically you could get a smaller printer with a smaller press and it’s fine. And you have enough but you lose out on efficiency. You can’t print on anything that’s 11 by 17 or 11.8 by 19 or 13 by 19.
Those will all fit into 16 by 20 press. If you get a small heat press you’re going to be limited to smaller print sizes, and you’re also just going to have reduced efficiency in general.
Mark Stephenson: And I would say your business is probably going to grow. So there’s a reason why the most popular t-shirt press that we sell all of them are 16 by 20.
Marc Vila: Yeah, there’s very small percentage-
Mark Stephenson: That’s the optimal size.
Marc Vila: Yeah, very small percentage that are less than that for very specific reasons usually.
Mark Stephenson: So if you think about these reasons and you’re talking to one of us or any expert in white toner printing, you’re going to say thing… You’re going to ask the question, can I use my own heat press? And the person you’re talking to is going to qualify their answer. They’re going to say, sure, you can probably use your own heat press.
We can’t guarantee the results. We can’t guarantee it’s going to be consistent because I’m sure you don’t know whether or not you have even pressure, whether or not the temperature gauge corresponds to what the temperature is actually if the pressure is right. So we support and we do all of our testing on the heat press that we recommend.
Marc Vila: And there’s a list of presses that are approved and such, and there’s most popular. And you may already own that, which is great. Some people call-
Mark Stephenson: Which is fine.
Marc Vila: … Can I use my heat press? Yes, we recommend these options. I have that one. Splendid, right?
Mark Stephenson: But if you decide to buy a Digital HeatFX System or another white toner printer and you have your own heat press that you’ve been using for years, it’s been fine on your vinyl or whatever process that you’re using and you decide to risk it, don’t get mad at us. Because we can guarantee that we educated you.
We even put it in the paperwork when we send quotes into our sales documents, that we have recommended the following heat presses for optimal results. So it’s a serious and important part of what it takes to run and be successful at a white toner printer business.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and the same would be said of if you had a DTG printer, I’d have the same conversation with a different recommendation.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, absolutely.
Marc Vila: So this is common stuff. Yeah, I mean, if you’re doing vinyl, it’s probably going to be the most forgiving on your heat, which is why a cheap heat press might work fine for doing a lot of hobby vinyl stuff. It’s a thick amount of glue and you jam a ton of pressure on it and it’ll stick.
But when you get into different systems, like white toner printing or DTG that I just mentioned, the critical things that we mentioned above or before this are significantly more important. So next we’ve got, you need paper. So let’s go into…
Mark Stephenson: By paper, we don’t mean actual paper.
Marc Vila: Yeah, it’s not real paper, right?
Mark Stephenson: It’s not paper.
Marc Vila: It’s not even paper.
Mark Stephenson: It’s transfer stuff.
Marc Vila: Yeah. It’s paper shaped and it kind of feels like paper.
Mark Stephenson: Right, paper-ish.
Marc Vila: It’s paper-ish.
Mark Stephenson: You use it like paper.
Marc Vila: But you call it paper because to say paper-ish and that whole explanation we just said is just a lot of waste of time when you’re going to order it.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah. I mean, we just wasted like 15, 30 seconds on that.
Marc Vila: So here we go. I mean, if you have a race car, uses really good tires and really good gas, or the car doesn’t work well. They loses a race. If a good chef that’s making chocolate cake is using good chocolate. You’re probably not getting Hershey’s, no offense to Hershey’s, but you’re probably not getting Hershey’s chocolate inside of a fine dining restaurant chocolate cake, right? And good food is good for your body, right? I mean, your doctor probably told you that and then you-
Mark Stephenson: Good chocolate cake.
Marc Vila: Yeah, chocolate cake was on the list. And then you went to McDonald’s right after. So if you put good paper in your printer, you’re going to get good stuff out of it.
Mark Stephenson: Better results.
Marc Vila: Better results, right? And if you use poor quality paper, you’re going to get a poor quality result. And we’re going to talk about specifically for the Digital HeatFX System, EZ Peel paper.
Mark Stephenson: Right, because you’ve got to have the right paper for the right system as well. Now, you’re not going to use that high test race car gas when you make your chocolate cake, right? It’s a great ingredient. It’s just the wrong system, right? So it’s not going to work.
Marc Vila: Even further, you’re not going to use that race gas in Honda Civic. I mean, it’s just-
Mark Stephenson: Not more than once.
Marc Vila: Yeah, not more than once. Yeah, once, right? I mean, those are important examples to mention, but also it’s just about fine tuning, right? because one could say you could put the grade of tires that go on a Corvette on a luxury vehicle. And you could probably put that grade on there and it will drive, but you’re probably going to lose on features that you bought that luxury vehicle, like how quiet it drives or how it handles, how comfortable things, like that.
So the curation of the system, as we’ve mentioned a few times, is with EZ Peel. EZ Peel goes with the printer. EZ Peel goes with the software. It’s all been tested together. I have some facts that I wrote down.
Mark Stephenson: Okay.
Marc Vila: These are facts, I believe, star Astra.
Mark Stephenson: No, they are. I’ll back you.
Marc Vila: They are facts. You read them? Okay. Color quality is affected by the paper you use.
Mark Stephenson: 100%, even on your ancient 1990s home laser printer, black and white. If you put better grade paper in there, you’ll get a better quality print out.
Marc Vila: Yes.
Mark Stephenson: And it’s multiplied with the white toner printer.
Marc Vila: Yeah, absolutely. Just how it reacts with the polymers and how opaque the polymer is, and the degree of that changes all this other sciencey stuff. And then the software knows this because it’s been programmed with that paper to compensate for where it needs compensation.
Wrong or bad or cheap paper will and has, we hear it about every time we go in there, paper jams, fuser damage, physical damage to your printer or slowing down of your production can happen with the wrong paper going in your printer. And I mean, that’s just a fact.
I remember when the support text came just so frustrated because they couldn’t figure out what this person’s problem was. They had paper wrapped up around that was something else that they put in there that didn’t belong in there. I mean, it’s just-
Mark Stephenson: I mean, we’re always doing our own tests of new paper and different formulations and batch testing and things like that. I mean, we’ve damaged printers.
Marc Vila: Yeah.
Mark Stephenson: We’ve had all of these issues by testing some paper and it just turned out to be terrible.
Marc Vila: Yeah. I mean, I didn’t break anything.
Mark Stephenson: Sure.
Marc Vila: I mean, I broke an embroidery machine once.
Mark Stephenson: We’ll go with that.
Marc Vila: And how your shirts wash and feel and look in general with the final product you deliver to your customer is affected by what paper you use and how good it is. And again, it’s not even just the paper, kind of another little asterisk here. It’s the software and the entire process in conjunction with that paper. So just quality paper is really important for a satisfied business owner and happy customers.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah. And when you talk about, like Marc had mentioned earlier, what’s the best printer or even what’s the best white toner printer for my business? We’re not saying that the only good quality white toner printer paper is the EZ Peel brand of paper. There are some other decent papers out there.
They’re just not the ones that we optimize the entire rest of the system before. So when you’re talking to our support people, they have tested everything with EZ Peel paper in this situation and this kind of graphic. And if you send them a file to test because you have questions, they’re going to print it out using Print Optimizer and using EZ Peel paper.
Marc Vila: Yap.
Mark Stephenson: So everyone is on the same page.
Marc Vila: Yap. It’s just kind of part of the whole system. So there’s versions of paper, but I think this is maybe another spot to direct to go to the article that was written and talk to some experts. Because depending on the printer version, you may have different paper options and there’s some things to be discussed about that.
Mark Stephenson: Right, and I’ll just say it real quick. There is regular paper, we call 2-Step. This is referred to as 2-Step. There’s one step paper and there’s hard surface paper. Each one of them are different and you can get all the information in the notes.
Marc Vila: Yeah, that’s great. And as the hard surface does imply you can do more than just t-shirts so-
Mark Stephenson: But it’s first name is all EZ Peel.
Marc Vila: EZ Peel, great. That’s a brand, right?
Mark Stephenson: Yap.
Marc Vila: And there’s some other, while we’re listing things you need…
Mark Stephenson: Yes, please.
Marc Vila: .. There’s a little short list of things you could research and find out why you want them or talk to your rep about them. But you’re going to need things to finish your press, like finishing sheets or silicone sheets, things like that. You’re going to need… You’re probably going to want to invest in something to test your heat press every once in a while. If you can buy heat press strips, and the actual heat that comes out of there.
Mark Stephenson: Take its temperature.
Marc Vila: Temperature, it’s a good accessory to have. You might want a mug or a hat press because you’re going to [inaudible] mugs or hats.
Mark Stephenson: That makes sense.
Marc Vila: You may want also other heat press accessories, like pillows and platins and things like that for printing on different things of different sizes. So it’s a lot easier to put a baby onesie on a platin that fits it really well than to try to print it on a really large platin where maybe buttons or something like that are going to get in the way. So now that we’ve got paper, next on the list, we have two things left on the list. So two things-
Mark Stephenson: So this isn’t a three hour episode. We may have to run through them a little faster.
Marc Vila: Okay, yeah. Two things, 10 minutes and I think we’re good. So what’s next?
Mark Stephenson: Next is shirts. If you’re going to be in the t-shirt business, you need blank shirts and you do not want to go down to your local shirt store like Walmart or Target or anything like that, and source your shirts that way, right? You’re going to get… The quality of the shirt that you print on is just like the quality of the paper, the quality of the toner, the quality of the heat press.
It’s part of the system. You could have everything else is awesome. And if you buy a crappy shirt that is twisted or has terrible material or falls apart by itself in the wash, you’re not going to have a great result.
Marc Vila: Yeah if you use cheap shirts, your end result is going to look and act cheap. Period, that’s it. If you use the cheaper shirt you can buy, you should expect the cheapest outcome and quality that you can get.
Mark Stephenson: Or less, yeah.
Marc Vila: Or less. And this is just in general for the business, okay. If you want to use… If you want to sell shirts that people are impressed by, you should use t-shirts that impress you, then impress them too.
Mark Stephenson: There you go. And a good t-shirt is going to look better. Your design is going to look better.
Marc Vila: Yes.
Mark Stephenson: It’s going to wash better. It’s going to last longer. It’s going to hold up better. You’ll get more referrals and more repeat business with a really good quality shirt and there’s enough profit in there for you to afford to do that, in almost every circumstance. And luckily, we’ve curated a bit of that too so we can recommend the right blanks.
Marc Vila: Yeah, absolutely. And I have a system, here’s a surefire way to make sure you’re using the right blanks.
Mark Stephenson: Okay.
Marc Vila: So simple, not even hard at all.
Mark Stephenson: Okay, go.
Marc Vila: So you go online where you buy your shirts, hopefully you buy some shirts at colmanandcompany.com, because we’ve got blanks there. But you go to a place where you can reliably buy shirts and go back and buy them again. You pick styles that you seem to match a little bit of everything that you’re looking for your niche, for your business.
Pick a bunch of them, buy them. Print some stuff on them. Wash them, wear them. Check them out, hand them out, ask people’s opinion. Then you pick the ones that work best for your business based on all those factors, the price, the way it feels, the way it looks, the style of the shirt, the cut of the shirt, how it fits your customer base.
Does it come in six XL? Because you have customers that are six XL. Does it come in children’s sizes because you have children there? I don’t know, this is you. Then you sell those shirts, and then in the end, you tell your customers how to take care of them. That’s the last bit, right? And that’s how you pick your shirts. You pick the right-
Mark Stephenson: And don’t forget to go back and look at your answer to the, what is it? Who do you plan to sell to?
Marc Vila: Who do you plan to sell to? Yeah.
Mark Stephenson: Who do you plan to sell to? Do you plan to sell to a football team, nothing but football teams? You might want to work out larger sizes.
Marc Vila: Yeah, it’s perfect right?
Mark Stephenson: If you’re selling to daycares, you might look at the tiny ones.
Marc Vila: And it’s got to look and feel right, and wash well. And yeah, we have recommendations, of course. There’s like 10,000 shirts out there. And one guy was upset that we didn’t test all of them. That’s what he had said to me. And I was just like, I don’t even know to how to respond to him.
Mark Stephenson: I don’t know where to get all of them.
Marc Vila: Yeah, exactly. And there’s a new shirt and a new shirt that gets discontinued everyday. So you find the stuff and you move around and you find different options for you and your customers, and that’s it. It’s not hard. If the first thing you do is order 200 of a shirt you’ve never seen before and print on it, that’s a risk. You run a risk that the shirt-
Mark Stephenson: That you took.
Marc Vila: That you took, yeah. So now that we know shirts are really important, it’s just as important as the paper, just as important as the printer and the software. These are all links in the chain, and every link has to be strong. And then there’s one last one.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, this is, I’m going to say garbage in garbage out, just because I feel like I have to whenever you talk about graphics and network, I don’t know. I’m compelled, that’s all I’m going to say. The system that we’ve talked about so far does not have designs built into the printer. So it doesn’t work by telepathy.
And an artwork is not free. So if that answers all of the questions that I’ve seen online, like I bought this whole system and I didn’t realize I would have to do my own artwork. I didn’t realize I would have to create graphics. You do and you can’t use, or it’s illegal to use, let me say that, stuff that you just… You can’t really be a fan of the Giants for obvious reasons, but you also can’t be a fan of the Giants and then print Giants logos on everything and base your business on that.
You can’t be a Disney fan and print Disney stuff and sell it online. They have SWAT teams that will come after you, right? So you have to really either be prepared to learn how to create or already be creating your own great artwork, or only deal in artwork that your customer presents to you or hire it out. Realize that you’re in the t-shirt printing business, you’re not in the graphic arts business and find somebody that does graphic arts to do that.
Marc Vila: Yeah. I mean, that’s great. And I think just the thing to repeat is hopefully the one person that needs to hear this is hearing it and-
Mark Stephenson: I hope so.
Marc Vila: There’s not a specific person by the way. I’m not-
Mark Stephenson: No, there’s several of you.
Marc Vila: But there’s somebody-
Mark Stephenson: There’s many of you.
Marc Vila: There’s many. Bad art is going to frustrate you. Bad art is going to affect your business. Bad art is going to make your printer look bad. Bad art is going to print shirts that don’t look good. That don’t feel good. That don’t wash well, that don’t wear well.
Bad art is going to be everything that drives you insane if you don’t have a solution to it. I mean, yes, you can take anything on the internet and print it on a t-shirt. You can take a picture of an Excel spreadsheet and send it to your printer through Print Optimizer, I would say-
Mark Stephenson: We should try that.
Marc Vila: … And print it on a shirt. It would do it because it’s a picture from a phone. I printed a picture from a phone. However, maybe it was at a park and there’s a dog doing his business background. Does the customer want that on the shirt? Probably not. Maybe, I mean, but probably not because it was the first time they ever kissed and it was being put on a shirt. They don’t want a dog doing business in the background. So you have to cut-
Mark Stephenson: I thought you were still talking about the Excel spreadsheet. I was wondering where the dog is. Are you outside on your laptop?
Marc Vila: So, anyway, yeah. So saying that you’re going to have to maybe cut a background out or blur something or add text or remove text. There’s basic things. So you mentioned some before, but we can wrap up with really just the three solutions for art, right?
All right, you learn graphic arts because you want to, and it’s part of your business plan. This means you’re going to get trained probably more than YouTube videos. You’re going to practice a lot and it’s going to take you months of learning and years to perfect.
Mark Stephenson: Yes, agreed. Think about that, because it is an art and it is graphics art software using Illustrator or CorelDRAW or Photoshop is not simple.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and you have to be just pretty good at seeing that and have an eye for it too.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, true. That helps too.
Marc Vila: Just some natural vision for it. The second thing is you can hire a graphic artist and I mean one for your business and it can be expensive, but for some businesses the cost of one employee is not very expensive because the business can afford it. And ColDesi has graphic artist that does art just for marketing department full time, right?
So you might have an artist that works through your business because your business can afford it, et cetera. So great, perfect. Or you use a graphics agency. You use outsource talent that’s per job. So you pay as the customer needs it. And that has a lot of benefits too. You charge customer 50 bucks, you give a graphic artist, 50 bucks, done.
Mark Stephenson: Worth it.
Marc Vila: Worth it. And at ColDesi we have a graphic arts service called coldesigraphics.com.
Mark Stephenson: And we added that specifically because of all the things that we’ve talked about with graphics already, is there are people that think that part of starting a white toner printer business is learning how to do design and they think it’s probably simpler than it is, or they don’t have a good idea of what that process is like and realize it’s an expertise.
So they get a little upset because they thought it would be easier because we make it look easy. We never create our own artwork. Mark Vila and I are rarely sitting around doing t-shirt business.
Marc Vila: We talk about it all times. Yeah, and we try to talk about it as much as we can too. I don’t claim to be a graphic artist. I can do some things.
Mark Stephenson: Yeah, me too.
Marc Vila: I can do some things that are, I think basic skills, like adding some text and stuff like that, or whatever. Doesn’t matter what they are.
Mark Stephenson: But when we get… And really kind of, this was an answer to our issues as well, when we want graphics done, and that’s for embroidery as well, digitizing, when we want graphics done, we go to ColDesi Graphics, coldesi-graphics.com, because that’s a team of professionals who do nothing but graphics. This is their full-time job. They’re not t-shirt printers, but they know about t-shirt printing and they produce graphics for that.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and those graphics really specifically are for printing onto things in general. That’s what they deal with, embroidery and digital printing and transfer printing.
Mark Stephenson: UV printing and [inaudible] garment.
Marc Vila: UV, sublimation, yeah. That’s what they do, right? Which is different than somebody who might be a pro at web graphics. So there’s also some specificity to that as well, but graphics are going… Graphics is another key thing. I think all of these things are kind of individual keys to making your business successful and happy and thriving and feeling like you made a good choice.
And when we speak with customers who are successful and we ask them about all this stuff, they know, they agree. They will say, yeah, a heat press the pinnacle to my business. I don’t even know why when I first started, I tried to save $200 to get a cheaper one. It’s the pinnacle to my business or yeah, I mean, when I give customers good shirts, they love it.
They love it. And the difference between the good shirt and the bad shirt was like two bucks a shirt. And it’s like, every customer said, I would’ve paid $2 more for the better shirt. Things like that
Mark Stephenson: Hindsight. So you need, to kind of wrap this up, you need a plan, a basic plan. You need the right printer that fulfills the need of that plan, the needs of that plan, like the Corvette versus the F2500 or whatever it is. You need the right printer. You need the software that works the printer properly, that handles the design, that handles the printing process. Controls everything about the print so you get a good image.
You need the right heat press, a very good quality heat press that is suited to the specific job that you are asking it to do. You need the right paper that is part of the system that matches with everything else that you’ve chosen so far. You need a great quality shirt or the right quality and types of shirts for your audience. And then you need to figure graphics out. You need to have good graphics that’s designed the right way for the right use.
Marc Vila: Yeah. I mean, that’s some of the basics right there and there’s a bunch of business basics and some things, and some other podcasts to be talked about like an accountant or things like that. But these are a lot of the core things that we hear about out that frustrate people, which is why we put this episode together, is just, I mean, lack of a plan, lack of graphics, lack of… Just not understanding why none of the customers are happy with the shirt when you bought the cheapest shirt you could buy.
Mark Stephenson: I mean, and the sad part is that these are all stoppers.
Marc Vila: Yeah.
Mark Stephenson: You know what I mean? These stop your business, these stop you selling something, these stop a job going out, stops a customer writing you a check. You know what I mean? These are the things that will make you successful and missing one will keep you from being successful.
Marc Vila: Yeah, and if you you’re in business now and you’re struggling with one of these things, do what you can to fix that problem in a reasonable amount of time, I guess, right? I mean, that’s the truth of it. It doesn’t mean it’s not just like, well, go buy heat press. Because I realized that not always that simple.
But now if you’re realizing what the problem could be, then set a goal and figure out how are you going to do that? How are you going to fix that issue? How are you going to make it better in the future? And then all that stuff’s fixable. Everything in there is great. So I think that about wraps everything up we wanted to cover today.
Mark Stephenson: Yap. The next thing to do, share the podcast. Listen to it again, read the notes, look for the links that we put in there. Not just the products, but the other related podcasts and articles and things like that. And then that’s it.
Marc Vila: Yeah. Well, I hope you enjoyed. I hope this has been educational. I hope-
Mark Stephenson: Yeah. This has been Mark from ColDesi.
Marc Vila: And Marc Vila.
Mark Stephenson: I thought you were going to say Mark from ColDesi too.
Marc Vila: Oh, all right. I’ll say Marc from ColDesi too.
Mark Stephenson: All right, you guys have a great business.
Marc Vila: Bye.