It’s not the value or nature of the gesture that matters, it’s the thought behind it. And remember that people like doing business with people they like. Show some generosity of spirit toward your customers and employees and you’ll be well on your way to being likable. It just makes business sense. Here’s a link to a case in point.
As local authorities become increasingly sensitive about what goes down the drain and into the municipal water processing system, you may want to consider alternatives to your open-sink screen recovery process. Stanley’s can tell you about dip tanks, closed loop filtering systems, and holding tanks. Do this before you’re forced to or, worse still, incur a fine.
It’s true! Textile screen printers are rigid, stubborn, and sometimes hostile when it involves discussions about switching products, even when it involves the whole shop’s health. I bet you’re still using spray adhesive even though you know that there are perfectly good water-based, non-spray pallet adhesives available! Roni Henning was right when she wrote that: “Printers are a rigid breed and once they have developed a system of printing that works well, they are reluctant to change. I myself had felt this reluctance. I didn’t realize that if something is poisoning you and the environment it can hardly be working well, even though the product looks good.” She’s a print maker, but she could just as easily have been writing about textile screen printers. Is your reluctance to change products harming the health of your shop?
Not just de-clutterers and cleaners, but productivity tools.
Many books have been written about improving one’s life by tidying up (also sometimes called de-cluttering). The NY Times best seller by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, is one example. It applies to textile screen printing shops as well. The tidier and less cluttered your shop, the more likely it is to maximize productivity. Think about it . . . never tripping over stuff, finding things quickly, space to put work in progress, and never contaminating product or materials. Then there’s also the impression a clean, uncluttered shop has on existing and potential customers. It just makes good business sense on so many levels.
Featured in March edition of Images . . . They Should Have Behaved Better — families in business.
There are a number of good reasons to log onto Europe’s premier magazine for the textile decorating industry. First, it’s crammed with a lot of useful technical and industry information and, second, for each month in 2019 it’s featuring excerpts from your editor’s book, Characters Who Can Make Or Break Your Small Business. Take a look, you’ll like it: https://images-magazine.com/
So Don Cherry doesn’t like the way the Hurricanes celebrate victories at home; he called them “jerks.” The Hurricanes immediately printed a T-shirt with a “bunch of jerks” design and have it available for U.S.$32. That’s $42 Canadian dollars for a gimmick Tee. And the fans don’t seem to mind being gouged—they’re paying it! Way to turn a sour cherry into a sweet Tee!
Here’s more from that Stockholm University study we’ve mentioned in two recent posts. Again, this is not to suggest that there is a quick and easy answer or that we should stop handling garments, but we should be aware of these issues as they affect our industry. An excerpt from Jasmin Malik Chua’s article: “. . . researchers measured chemical levels after running the clothes through a washing machine. ‘Quick release’ compounds are discharged into household wastewater and then the environment. ‘Slow release’ ones cling to clothes, where, depending on type, they are either metabolized by skin bacteria or absorbed by the body, where they can pose local or systemic effects.”
This could be a good tip, especially if you’re relatively new to the industry . . . Don’t throw away your films once the screens have been burned. Save them because if you’re running your business well and have return customers they may want the same designs re-printed. If you’ve saved and indexed them, you’ll be able to retrieve them quickly and not have to produce new films.
As technologies such as direct-to-garment slowly improve and expand, you hear people predicting, at worst, the demise of textile screen printing or, at best, drastic changes in the technique. Printsome in the U.K. has an interesting perspective on this: “Like crocodiles or sharks that have barely evolved over millions of years, textile screen printing hasn’t changed very much throughout its long history because it doesn’t have to—it already works.”
So you tell your customers (maybe you even attach tags to their printed tees) to care for their T-shirts by: turning them inside out before putting them in the washing machine; washing in cold water; not putting them in the tumble dryer; drying them in the shade; and not ironing them.
Come on, let’s not kid ourselves and everyone else. Tees are not delicate high fashion. We throw them in the regular warm water wash, dry them in the dryer, and some of us (much to the amusement of others) even iron them (but not on the plastisol print of course).
It might be refreshing to see a printer actually attach an honest tag to their t-shirts. It could be a great marketing ploy.
In January we posted an item about toxicity in cotton garments. That same report has some serious information on Polyester garments . . . “found that Polyester harboured the highest concentrations of quinolines, a potential human carcinogen that has been linked to liver damage and aromatic amines, which are found in tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust.” What can you do about it as a screen printer handling these garments if you want to stay in business? Realistically, probably not much, but at the same time we should know as much as we can about our industry.
Stop battling and trying to innovate . . . You can get pallets to accommodate special needs such as hoodie zippers and small sleeves. The Stanley’s staff at all four branches can help you. And if they don’t know the answer to your precise challenge, they’ll find the answer and get back to you. Just give them a call with your specialty pallet challenge.
Here is plenty of advanced notice of the the Western Canada Imprint show in Calgary on Friday September 20th and Saturday September 21st, 2019. It’s time to book your exhibit booth or, if you’re not going exhibit but just attend, mark your calendar.
As posted earlier, Roland (of graphics and digital printer fame) has entered your textile world with a new “desktop” D2G printer. You should check it out by logging on to their webinar tomorrow (Wednesday, 30th January). The times are: 10.00 am to 10.30 am Pacific; 11.00 am to 11.30 am Mountain; 1.00 pm to 1.30 pm Eastern; and 2.00 pm to 2.30 pm Atlantic. Check on Roland’s website for the logon details.
It seems that some garment manufacturers and investors are actually taking action in light of the reports of worker abuse in garment factories around the world, particularly in low-cost off-shore jurisdictions. Recent examples are North Carolina-based, Badger Sportswear, who have reportedly severed ties with Hetian Taida Apparel Co. of China due to alleged forced labour. The Norwegian investor, Norway Pension Fund Global, stopped investing in Texwinca Holdings of Hong Kong because of alleged human rights abuses at Vietnamese apparel factories. Who’s next?
No? Well some of your Canadian competitors were! They saw a new water based ink at the Wilflex booth and Roland’s new digital-to-garment “desk top” machine. But that was just scratching the surface. They also picked up tips and ideas from the hundreds of displays. And, the break from the Canadian winter didn’t hurt either. Make a note now to attend next year from the 17th to the 19th of January.
The Guardian recently revealed that the Spice Girls pop group had shirts made to support a female empowerment-focused charity initiative. Here’s where the sad irony comes in . . . The garments were produced by women factory workers in Bangladesh labouring in abusive conditions for an unlivable wage. Another black eye for our industry. The take away lesson? Source smartly!
Sometimes it takes an incident like a hacker trying to get into the admin section of your online store to make you revisit your online security. If, like many screen printers, you have your online store hosted by Shopify, not only will they let you know that an unusual source has tried to get into your site, but they can offer you a two-step authentication process to vastly increase your security. If you’re not using the free two-step authentication on your Shopify store, you should be!
Big business Chairmen and CEOs say things that appear to make sense and are taken to be great business wisdom. But “wisdom” doled out by big business doesn’t necessarily always apply to small business. For instance, take this attributed to Sam Walton: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” For a small business owner on the front lines, like many Canadian screen printers, encouraging a difficult customer to go spend their money at a competitor, can be a great idea. You don’t have to allow a customer to make your life miserable just because some big business guy has forgotten what it’s like on the front line with some customers.
Do you know that a few years ago already in 2015, Jasmin Malik Chua wrote an article about the levels of toxicity found in garments textile screen printers handle every day? Even organic cotton garments tested positive for benzothiazoles—substances that can cause respiratory and skin issues. Some “eco-label”-branded organic garments contained 7 to 30 times more benzothiazoles than so-called “conventional” cotton garments.
Bill Gates is quoted as having said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” He has a point, but only to a point. Don’t you think that there are always going to be those customers you’ll be pleased to dump because they’ll never be happy? So dump them!
In June Stanley’s announced Wilflex’s Epic Single LC White. Have you tried it yet? It’s a non-phthalate white good for multiple fabrics from polyester to cotton. It’s low-cure, non-ghosting, soft-hand, fast-flashing, and has great stretch. And obviously with one white for almost all applications, your inventory carrying costs are reduced and your ink management simplified. Call Stanley’s and ask to try this white.
Have you considered that if yours is one of those screen shops that slow down in January it’s an ideal time to spruce things up? Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, roller some concrete floor paint on the shop floor, replace the cracked sink in the washroom, tidy the ink room, clean up the equipment, clean the carpet in the reception area, and so on and so on. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to make good use of downtime and it will boost staff morale and impress customers.
If you’re ever offered an equipment “bundle” deal here’s something spotted in Image Magazine in an article about buying embroidery equipment that applies to all equipment purchases: “Ask about breaking the bundle apart and assess the “deal” before you sign on the dotted line.” Something to keep in mind.
Have you ever had a serious accident in your shop? Here’s one that happened in a Calgary shop a number of years ago but it can so easily happen in any shop. All it needs is for a printer to use the arm of the dryer to rest an aerosol can of spray adhesive between applications and then accidentally knock it onto the belt without realizing it. The predictable explosion occurred in the dryer and an exhaust duct fire followed. Firefighters turned up to put out it out. The shop was closed for quite a while. Production and revenue was lost. Can this happen in your shop?
What have you done to ensure that your shop can provide basic first aid until first responders arrive? Accidents happen and people get sick and as the shop owner it’s your job to make sure that you’ve done what is reasonably possible to make first aid available. It could be a matter of life and death. Why not provide basic first aid training for every staff member?
If you have a customer referral program (and you should) are you promoting it through your marketing emails and other marketing materials? Furthermore, referrals are proof that your customers love your products and which shop among us doesn’t need affirmation that what we’re producing is highly regarded?
How seriously should we take trends developing in the U.K.? Images Magazine’s November issue reports on the Schoolwear Show, October 2018: “The topic that dominated this year’s event was sustainability and its close siblings, ethics and the environment. It seemed as though every conversation touched, if not centred on the growing customer demand for products that can be shown to have been produced in an ethical and sustainable manner—one that respects both people and the planet.”
Pick the right-sized dryer but make sure you have trade-in or trade-up options later.
What is one of your challenges in buying a new dryer? Outgrowing it. This is why you need to make sure that the manufacturer has a trade-in or trade-up program. With this assurance you’ll be relieved of the up-front challenge of guessing at future production demands and either over- or under-buying with no recourse.