Top 5 Mistakes Made by Sublimation Decorators

How to avoid common errors that can hold back success.

1. Underpricing Products

Perhaps the biggest mistake that digital decorators make is underestimating the value of what they’re selling. Often, this is because they use some type of volume/mark-up formula to set their prices. Don’t use these antiquated pricing sheets with sublimation. Instead, set your prices based on the value you deliver, comparable with pricing in your market.

2. Not Learning from Mistakes

Many years ago, a client of ours told me that she had a great way of learning from her mistakes: Whenever she made one, like pressing something upside down, she would hang the misprint on her “wall of shame” located next to her heat press. The goal was to remind her not to make the same mistake again. This advice has turned out to be a game changer for many of our clients. It only works, of course, if you know what caused the mistake. Investigate the failure and then document it so you and your employees won’t make the same error again.

3. Not Following Instructions

Sublimation is a lot like cooking: Starting with the right ingredients and heating at the time and temperature listed in the recipe should produce consistent results. Guessing at the proper technique simply won’t work. Consult your product literature, online educational videos, and other instructional materials. When you have your technique dialed in, be sure to document what works for you. And when you do have issues, call your supplier sooner rather than later. 

4. Not Including Referral Info

Every product you sell should have your company information on it so that the ultimate end user will know where to buy more of your great merchandise. For shirts, you can sublimate your information on the bottom tail of the garment. For other products, sublimate the backside or place a label in an inconspicuous spot. This method can also include a job code to expedite reorders. 

5. Letting Opinions Get in the Way of Making Money

You personally may not like a product, but that has nothing to do with what your clients want. Show your customers new products. Sell complementary items. If you are selling shirts, sell socks and sleeves. For drinkware, sell coasters. Expand into new markets such as weddings. Remember, once you have your client’s artwork, it’s easy to put it on a different product. Follow the money!

Read more about sublimation in the February/March 2019 issue.

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