Owning a Small Business Using Technology

It certainly is wonderful to be an entrepreneur in the year 2015 with all the tremendous advantages that are available. Technology has made it possible to accomplish things now like tapping into new markets that are halfway across the country and having information be able to travel completely around the earth within seconds. Let’s look back at what it used to be like when I was just a young kid fresh out of high school trying to figure out what I want to do for a living and how am I going to make that happen with the limited resources that I have to work with? This was 1978 and most of my friends were heading off to their freshman year of college. I, on the other hand, did not have the money to do that nor did I have anybody giving me any good direction. I have always been of the opinion that knowledge is power and whoever coined the phrase experience is always the best teacher was a complete imbecile.

When it comes to business, as well as most other areas of life, I would rather learn from someone else’s mistakes than make my own. I became a student of people and I started to look at other individuals who were in business for themselves. There’s an old saying that goes like this – keep your friends close and your enemies closer. By this I mean, study your competitors as you can learn a lot from them.

After getting married three days after I turned 21 years old, and having a baby by the time I was 23 years, I was under a lot of pressure to meet the responsibilities of caring for a family. In the passing years, I did a lot of different things such as owning a painting company and transitioning into the asphalt business for about 12 years. Back then nobody had cell phones and I can remember how difficult it was trying to keep track of my crews that were out doing the work. Unless I was actually on a job site, I couldn’t tell where they were or what they had accomplished. Keep in mind that the paving industry is at the mercy of the weather and often the day would start out nice and then five hours later, rain was coming into the vicinity. It sure would have been nice to be able to just pick up the phone and call my lead man so that I could warn him and see where they were at. Although the asphalt business was a hard way to make a living, I was young enough to be able to endure it. I eventually transitioned into the St. Louis T-shirt printing industry. I went out and got some fancy business cards printed up that had my company name as well as the back of the card saying St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery. Now that we are in the digital age I am able to take advantage of all the latest and greatest communication tools that are available. I would have to say that life has gotten a lot easier. I can literally run my business from anywhere in the world as long as I have Internet and a cell phone. It’s great to live in a digital society.

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Search Engine Optimization and Social Media

When it comes to marketing your St. Louis screen printing company via Social Media, you have a whole lot of options to consider. Also keep in mind that you have to put in your time. An effective campaign can often take up to 12 hours per week.

There are a lot of different options now when it comes to reaching people besides Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few tips in order use minimal effort with maximum efficiency. Keep in mind that all of them are geared towards reaching your potential customers but they are all unique unto themselves.

A new player has come on the scene that enables you to send posts over multiple accounts simultaneously thus saving time and effort. It has two versions in one and is free which enables you to test the waters with zero risk. Let’s face it. There are no guarantees when it comes to marketing anything and everything you do is going to be a calculated risk. That being said, some ways are a lot lower risk than others. In other words, free is good!

Instagram is another great option to consider. It is really helpful for natural messaging. It allows you to create a network as well as show off some of your talents. For example, let’s just say you had a custom embroidery job that you are very proud of. It allows you to take a picture of that particular T-shirt and display it for everyone to see.

Facebook is my personal favorite because it helps you to establish a following quicker than any other marketing vehicle that I’ve ever seen. It also allows you to engage your potential T-shirt printing customer in a very informal way inside a chat room. I would highly recommend that you set up a business page. You can also go the route of paid advertising, but this would be considered high risk with low reward.

As always, if you happen to be looking for a St. Louis Screen printing or St. Louis embroidery company, you should do yourself a favor and give us a call. We also cater to digital T-shirt printing.

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Getting The Correct Exposure Time

The most commonly asked question in the St. Louis screen printing industry is how to acquire sufficient exposure when generating films. Unfortunately, it appears to be a big problem with t-shirt printing companies everywhere. We would strongly recommend that you go out and get an exposure calculator. There’s really no better way to be certain you’re getting the correct exposure time without that tool. It seems that nobody is able to clearly define what the perfect exposure time is. That time is made obvious with the exposure calculator. There has always been an argument in the screen printing industry on what that perfect development time is. Keep in mind that the thicker you put it on, the more time that it’s going to take to dry.

Another variable to consider is what type of mesh count are you using. The finer the mesh the more detail you are going to hold because it is letting less ink flow through. The smaller holes in the fabric tend to be more conducive to printing fine gradients. Many St. Louis digital T-shirt printing companies are getting away from the conventional old-school way of doing things. They’re taking advantage of modern technology and seeing the value in laying out the cash for state-of-the-art equipment. They understand that they’re paying a bit more upfront for that great equipment, but they are more than making up for it by cutting back on their employee wages. The equipment shows up for work every day, it never gets sick it never complains, and it never gets hurt. Modern day advances in technology have helped to take the human element out of the workplace.

We would love to hear from you if you are in the market for any custom screen printing, digital printing, or custom embroidery if you are in the St. Louis metro area.

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Autumn – What A Glorious Season

Well, it’s officially Autumn here in the Midwest. What a beautiful time of the year!! It is my most favorite season of the year. Here in Missouri, the Autumn welcomes warm days and cooler evenings. The summers can be very brutal here with temperatures in the ninety’s with the awful humidity. The cooler temperatures are not the only thing that is welcomed, but the low humidity also. Along with the wonderful temperatures, is the wonderful landscape change. The tree leaves turn various marvelous colors of red, orange, and yellow.

Along with the changing of the leaves, is the changing of our wardrobes. Shorts are replaced by long pants and jeans. Short sleeve tees and replaced with long sleeve t-shirts. Also, you don’t go out of the house, especially in the evenings, without a jacket or coat.

Unfortunately, after a couple of months or so, the weather changes again to much colder weather. The beautiful tree leaves have fallen off of the trees. Then, you are definitely covering up with coats and jackets.

Do you or your company or organization have a need for custom screen printing or embroidery? Possibly you will need some hooded sweat shirts, jackets, or fleece garments as the cooler weather comes in. We have an experienced staff that is ready to handle the most basic one color silkscreen image to a very complicated multi-color screen print job. We also do embroidery for caps, jackets, shirts, or virtually any type of garment.

Give us a call if you are in the St. Louis area. We will give you a fair, competitive bid.

Happy Fall!!!

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Direct To Garment Printing

Direct to garment printing, also known as DTG printing, digital direct to garment printing, digital apparel printing, and inkjet to garment printing, is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology. The two key requirements of a DTG printer are a transport mechanism for the garment and specialty inks (inkjet textile inks) that are applied to the textile directly and are absorbed by the fibers.

Some digital printers have been built using lower-resolution industrial inkjet print heads like those found in large-format printers used to print signs and banners. Some inkjet technology manufacturers offer products designed for direct textile printing, providing heads, printers ,and inks. The resolution and speed of direct-to-garment inkjet printers have been increased greatly over the last 8 years.

Direct to garment (DTG) printing is most commonly implemented on garments that are made of 100% cotton. Digital printing on dark garments requires a pretreatment or underbase on the fabric in order to achieve opacity on dark garments.

The majority of DTG printers are driven from a computer by the use of software known as a RIP (Raster Image Processor). The RIP software allows the printer to print with larger volumes of ink, generate white ink underbases for dark shirts and also provides for more precision color management through color profiles.

DTG was seen as a viable solution for low-quantity orders previously not possible because of the expensive setup process of screen printing. This opened a new market for the consumer who only needs a quantity of one or small runs of 12 or less, for example.

These large fulfillment centers dominated the market until 2007 when ‘design your own’ online designer solutions entered the market and allowed smaller fulfillment centers to afford similar technology for their own websites.

Give us a call for your digital printing needs or any screen printing or embroidery needs if you’re in the St. Louis metropolitan area. We would love to hear from you.

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Benefits and Advantages of Bags and Accessories

Nothing ties together an outfit or uniform more than a bag or accessory. If a decorator is selling or promoting bags and accessories, they are short-changing themselves. There is much business to be had with these products. In our business, we will often times quote our potential customers for exactly what they asked for, usually t-shirts, but add something else to the table. Often those things are matching custom bags or caps. We will also offer those things at a discount. Yes, it might be offered at a lower profit margin. However, we just gained a sale if they take advantage of the extra promotion. It is a win-win for both the vendor and the customer.

There are many different types of bags and accessories, such as caps. If appropriate to the customer, camouflage is very popular for bags and hats. Today there are many different styles, even within the camo category. For the male sector, there are the standard camouflage colors, such as olive drab or white camo. For the female sector, there are now camo options such as pink camouflage. The important thing to remember is to target your customer and anticipate what they may want in addition to what they asked for.

For example, a typical customer may want 100 custom screenprinted white tee shirts with a one or two color logo on the front. We will give them quote on the tshirts, but also 100 caps or visors. Sometimes we will quote on a custom screenprinted cap, or sometimes on blank apparel. Regardless, we will make more money on the sale if they agree to get the special one time offer. Sometimes they take it and sometimes they don’t.

If you are in St. Louis and interested in anything with custom screenprinting or custom embroidery, please give us a call for a free quote or fill out the Free Quote Request on our web site. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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The Evolution of Corporate Women’s Wear

Within the last 50 years, more and more women have joined the corporate world. It is not unusual to find women business owners and corporate executives. Women want to look the part of an executive also. Manufacturers and retailers have come to realize this and have offered such variety of styles, specifically for women.

With a combination of fit and design, a garment’s overall style complements and meets the needs of the female consumer. There are now different features that add to the functionality and comfort of the garment. Some of these details include back pleats on a twill shirt for added range of movement, vent designs to assist with the jacket’s breathability, storm cuffs with thumbholes to prevent drafts through the sleeves, and moisture wicking materials on a jacket lining or shirt.

Here’s the bottom line, whether you are a male or female, you want to be as comfortable as possible in every situation. That could mean comfort in the work environment, social environment, and physical activity. Along with comfort, you want to look good.

For all your custom screen printing and embroidery needs, please give us a call for a free quote. We have well over 20 years in this business so we are confident that we can offer good advise and feedback to all of your challenges. Whether you are looking for custom t-shirts, polos, jackets, or fleece, we would love to hear from you.

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Golf Shirt Trends

There are new trends as far as the golf shirt or plackets are concerned. New trends in the wholesale garment industry in response to what customers are wanting. You and I want not only comfort, but quality at an affordable price. There are new materials on the market now that were not before.

Today’s polo trends are largely influenced by the expansion of 100 percent polyester and polyester blends. Lycra and spandex are now added to the polyester blends and are becoming more popular. With the addition of Lycra and spandex, it brings another level of comfort with stretch and flexibility. Shirts with Lycra will be more expensive because Lycra is an expensive material.

There are some cheaper alternatives. At the lower end, we are seeing value cotton of 60/40 cotton/polyester blends. Although the marketplace is heading further into 100% polyester and polyester blends, there will always be the consumer who wants the cotton and cotton blends, along with their cost advantages.

If you or your company or organization in the St. Louis area are looking for custom screen printing or custom embroidery with your logo, we would love to give you a fair, competitive quote. We offer all sorts of styles of shirts, jackets, caps, virtually any wearable textile. Give us a call any time. We actually answer our phones.

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The Advantages of Technology

Technology has had a tremendous impact on almost every sector in our economy and custom T-shirt printing is no exception to that rule. Because of new artwork programs such as Photoshop and llustrator, people are rendering intricate artwork like never before. The St. Louis custom screen printing industry has been challenged with the most complex graphics. The common everyday person is now able to access these particular software programs and incorporate them into their apparel requirements. This would have presented a problem for the old-school shops of 10 to 15 years ago. I remember back in the day when the amount of colors that the image was composed of was the biggest part of the equation regarding how complicated the image was going to be to screen print as well as the quantities that the job required. It used to take the same amount of time and effort to set up a job, whether it was for one piece or whether it was for 500 pieces and would also involve the same amount of time to break the press down and clean up after yourself. We used to have to start with color separations which meant all the colors had to be pulled out from one another in order to generate individual films. For example, if an image was made up of five different colors it would require five different screens. Nowadays an up-to-date state-of-the-art shop is capable of digital T-shirt printing which does not require any color separations or films at all. It significantly cuts down on the time as well as labor involved for setting up a job. A typical screen is composed of nylon mesh surrounded by a wooden frame. The size of the mesh will determine how much ink will pass through. The smaller opening the finer detail you were able to hold. Digital T-shirt printing does away with all that. Think of a typical ink jet printer. But instead of feeding it paper, you feed it textiles and of course it uses a different type of ink. It is capable of replicating the most complicated graphics within a matter of minutes. Quantity does not play as significant of a role either, so that customers who were not looking for high volumes can still be able to acquire a small run reasonably.

Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that we would be where we’re at today when it comes to efficiency. It makes me scratch my head and wonder where we will be at 15 years down the line? Remember the old cliché it’s a small world? Well with the advances in technology that the internet provides it truly is. Artwork can travel halfway around the world in seconds. We outsource our graphics to a company in Thailand and it is usually produced within a 24-hour turnaround. People would rather get on a major search engine and perform a relevant search such as St. Louis screen printing company then get in their car and drive 5 miles down the road and back home. The whole process from start to finish can be performed via website including payment. The finished product can then be shipped anywhere in the country. My point is that someone in California can find someone in St. Louis to process the order and still be working from their kitchen table and never have to leave the house.

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The Custom Headwear Industry

What is popular in the headwear industry nowadays? Knit caps and beanies have been and still are popular. Accents of reflective or safety are important add-ons for the knit category. These are a trending category, especially when added to color. Cap fabric also follows retail trends, such as dark denims.

Trucker caps continue to show growth in the industry. These caps are used for outdoor use, different lifestyles, and of course, athletic. Baseball style caps are always in style and popular.

Who is the typical headwear customer? This question can most accurately be answered with a question. That question is “Who isn’t?”. There are so many reasons for a cap. Many employers have their employees wear a cap that has custom embroidery on it as a part of the employees’ uniform. The custom embroidery or custom screen printing on a cap identifies that person with a company, organization, or team. The logo usually has the name of the organization and their logo.

Another reason for a custom embroidered or custom screen printed cap would be for warmth. A knit cap or beanie would supply warmth to the person wearing it. Many employees work outdoors so they need a head covering to keep them warm.

Are you looking for a great looking hat with your company’s logo on it? We have been in business for almost 20 years and we can make that happen. Give us a call if you are in the St. Louis area, then we can discuss the many options to supply you with custom embroidery or custom screen printing on your caps and hats.

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