You're thinking of moving into textile: now what?
You should move into textile printing, they say. Consider the potential additional revenue, they say. Well, we would say that you shouldn't expect these things to happen overnight.
Our adoption of fabric printing has evolved slowly – the company was originally set up to provide covers and tarps for the coal industry, and we first started printing textiles back in the mid-eighties after we moved from our initial business activities into finishing items such as blank banners.
If you have a mind to move into this area, then there are a few key considerations that you and your team need to bear in mind before taking the plunge. Firstly, what is the strategy? If you are moving into textile, you must have a clear business and marketing strategy. What is your final goal? Who are you potential clients? What resources and technology will we need? As we're all well aware, the print industry is incredibly competitive – so finding a niche can be the key.
Develop your staff
As was discussed in a recent #talkprint chat, people and their skills are as vital to a business as any technology. There needs to be a smooth flow from the first call to the sales office right through to graphics, print and finally despatch, completing the puzzle.
Having been in the industry for some time we are fortunate to have some wonderfully knowledgeable and dedicated members of the team. This certainly doesn't come easily – I'd say we're still learning!
Support your studio
It is vital that you ensure your studio has all of the tools it needs to successfully get artwork print-ready, including giving them the tools to redraw the initial design if the files received are poor quality.
At Banner Box we use the Pantone system, which is key when working with textile. Fabrics have a tendency to behave slightly differently depending upon their weight and denier; to resolve this we match colours to Pantone for each fabric (read [our earlier article] for more on this). The result of that we achieve the perfect colour for the customer, even if they have printed the same design on different materials.
Accommodating shrink and stretch in the fabric is vital in ensuring your perfect print is the correct size at the end of the process. A prime example of this is our fabric tension system whereby we need to be perfect to the nearest milimetre. Too big and there is too little tension in the fabric when pushed into the frame; too small and you'll have an even bigger problem.
Finally, we'd say that you should not let that all put you off totally! Textile as an industry is changing and developing all the time – and who knows who might spot and develop the solution for the next big trend!