Many people get the notion that they can start a printed tee shirt business using only a heat press with computer printed heat transfers. This is a common question I get asked on my website and I finally decided to address this topic with a closer look.
There are ways of making money with heat transfer processes. It is just a matter of either finding your niche or using the right transfer process. It is very risky and difficult to start a garment business with computer generated heat transfers. They are just not capable of producing the high quality results that demanding consumers are looking for. The computer printed, heat transfer style garment is best suited for novelty and point of sale situations. In these instances the customer is willing to settle for less of a product for the convenience of immediate satisfaction and/or memorabilia.
And in that very sector the direct to garment digital printer is becoming the latest standard with cutting edge technology that allows the computer to print the image directly onto the garment. Referred to as DTG or Direct To Garment Printing, this process is advancing fast and is capable of printing dark colored garments as well as the light colored shirts that ordinary computer printed heat transfers are limited to.
You may be able to find certain niches with computer printed heat transfers in which you can actually make some decent money. Some people do sublimation mugs and make a great side income for themselves. Your product line may include but is not limited to tiles, “dog tags”, license plates, ceramic mugs, light switch covers, clipboards, hardboard tiles, tote bags, plaques, neckties, travel mugs, ornaments, pet tags, business card holders, name badges, coasters, clocks and of course mouse pads.
For tee shirts the easiest way to achieve the best results with the least expense and without having to screen print yourself is to have plastisol transfers printed of the designs you wish to sell. All you have to do is stock the plastisol transfers and the blank shirts. Then press them as you get orders. You will be able to do whites, blacks or any color garment as well as most any style of garment. You can even have them made for baseball caps if you have a cap heat press. The plastisol heat transfer is the next best thing to screen printing without all of the costs and labor. I know of no other heat transfer process which can achieve the same results as screen printing except for plastisol heat transfers.
The only drawback is that you have to have your designs printed and stocked ahead of time. You would also have to stock all the various garments you wish to offer. Then you can press the plastisol heat transfers with a standard heat press at the time of sale. But I think this option is the best and least expensive method of breaking into the printed apparel industry without the risk of ruining your name and reputation using inferior computer generated heat transfers.
It is always best to do your research. Don’t let start up heat transfer business companies persuade you into a process that they will promise you it can do what screen printing can do. Sadly, that is most often not the case. There is a lot of good information on the internet about heat transfers, but there is also a lot of bad information. Just take the time to learn all about your options when considering starting a custom printed garment business.