Scalable Press: The First AI-Powered Garment Decorating Company
Automation and AI can cut costs, reduce copyright infringements.
Success in the garment-decorating business of the future won’t depend solely on the cost of inks and T-shirts. The leaders of Scalable Press believe automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a vital role in reducing labor and overhead costs. AI will also help decrease the risk of lawsuits due to T-shirt designs that infringe on the copyrights of artists and brands.
Founded in 2012 as an e-commerce company in San Francisco, Scalable Press describes itself as “the world’s first AI-powered tech company disrupting the printing industry. It is a platform for independent designers who sell print-on-demand products through their own websites or Shopify and WooCommerce e-commerce sites.” Scalable Press primarily sells printed and embroidered apparel, but they are also equipped to print posters and dye sublimated smartphone cases.
At first, they outsourced garment-decorating jobs that required screen printing. But today, they operate four facilities throughout the US. The company has more than 100,000 square feet of production space and is equipped with more than 40 screen-printing presses and 36 DTG printers. They promise customers they can deliver custom T-shirts in three to five days and dye sublimated phone cases within 72 hours.
The company not only uses cutting-edge automation to keep production quick and overhead low, but also to protect the rights and profits of artists. They believe artist copyright infringement is rampant today and want to establish apparel as a global leader for artist rights. Scalable Press uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help detect stolen art for apparel designs. It doesn’t just detect infringements of the copyrights of well-known license holders, but also for new, unknown artists who are just starting to build income from their work.
Eric Zhang, Scalable Press VP of engineering, believes apparel brands shouldn’t underestimate how much financial damage a lawsuit for copyright infringement might cause. He points out that YouTube prevailed over other startup online video platforms because Google succeeded in using AI technology to minimize the amount of copyrighted content that was illegally being uploaded to YouTube.
Read more from the August/September 2018 issue.