SubliStuff - All the stuff about sublimation that's fit to print
12th Feb 14

PD4-IconThose of you who sublimate are most likely familiar with the Sawgrass PowerDriver print and color management solution.   Sawgrass has now announced that a new version of the software,  Version 4,  is now available.    The new software is now available for both the Ricoh SG 3110DN and Ricoh SG 7100DN inkjet printers.

Version 4 of the software was developed after input from resellers and end users.   The new version is designed to improve the end user experience  and offers a higher level of performance.   The goal was to provide a product that supplied desired options and functions while still being easy to use.

PowerDrive Version 4 offers a variety of new functions that will be helpful to the end user.   These include:

 

  • Faster and easier installation
  • A simpler user interface
  • Advanced color controls
  • Pre-sets for common products
  • Pre-sets that can be customized by individual users
  • RGB color palettes for spot color matching
  • Multi-language versions and support

This new version of the software also contains a Resources Tab,  which provides link to helpful portions of the Sawagrass Ink website.   Through this tab you can access Technical Support,  Sawgrass Education,   and the Sawgrass website itself.


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21st Jan 14

We all know that personalization is a trend that never dies.  People like giving their possessions individuality,  and adding names or miphone-5-black-rubber-usa-3onograms or a picture that has special significance is one way to do that.    When it comes to mobile phones  which,  less face it,  are pretty bland and boring right out of the box,  the way to add individuality is with a personalized case.   If you’re a company selling sublimation,   this could be an entirely new market for you,  provided you can get the blank product at the right price.   Fortunately,  EnMart is here to help you with that.

We are proud to offer rubber iPhone 5 cases for sublimation. Instead of being made of hard plastic,  like most cases, these iPhone 5 sublimation cases are made of durable, flexible black rubber that is comfortable to hold.    These cases are also anti-micobial.  They also have pre-applied adhesive with an easy to remove backing paper, and come with one high quality gloss white sublimation metal insert.  Instructions for pressing and a template for creating artwork are available on our website.

The cases are for the iPhone 5,  but may be compatible with other phones as well.   If you would like a test sample,  please contact us.   We would be happy to provide a sample upon request.

 


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15th Jan 14

heartsIt’s already the middle of January and, before you know it,  Valentine’s Day will be staring you in the face.    Roses are traditional,  candy is dandy,   and jewelry or a heartfelt card may do the job,   but a special Valentine’s gift is something more personal.   Something,  if you choose, sublimated with a favorite photo or saying.   Something that’s clearly meant only for the recipient,  not mass produced in a factory.   Something, perhaps,  like the items below.

Call upon your Valentine’s individuality – Phones are the new place to display a little style and individuality,  and a sublimated iPhone case will let your Valentine do just that.   Instructions for personalizing the iPhone cases we sell are included on our website.

Keep memories and valuables close -  If you do plan to give jewelry this Valentine’s Day,  what better way to present it than in a personalized jewelry box?   You should also keep in mind that the boxes don’t have to contain jewelry.   Use a bigger keepsake box and collect favorite photos or mementos of special times together for a unique and special Valentine’s gift.

Give your Valentine the business – Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this,  but I’ve always thought business card holders were kind of classy.   For those with Valentine’s who are starting a new job or a first job,  a personalized business card holder would be a thoughtful gift.

Cook up some romance – Sometime the best Valentine’s gift is one that is both useful and attractive.   Now,  I’m not recommending a vacuum cleaner or something like that,   but a personalized cutting board or a set of plates sublimated with a special design might help turn up the heat a bit.

 Book some time for love – As a lifelong reader and book lover,  I always enjoy gifts that center around my love of reading.   I have a few personalized bookmarks that I use frequently.    I’m always on the lookout for that perfect bag to carry to used bookstores.  If you have a bookworm in your life,  a gift that celebrates their love of the written word may be just the thing.

Don’t forget,  Valentine’s Day can be profitable for sublimation businesses as well.   Keep this list of Valentine’s Day gift ideas handy, and share it with customers when they contact you.    Most people will pay well for a unique, personalized gift,  so don’t be afraid to suggest something unique for your customers’ Valentine’s Day celebrations.

 


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3rd Jan 14

customer service blocksWhen you ask someone why they buy from a particular company,  the answer you get may involve the selection of products a company carries,  or the fact that they offer low prices,  or perhaps the mention of a location that is conveniently close.   Different customers will make purchases for different reasons,  but one reason that many customers may not mention,  but which can do a lot toward making a customer devoted or departed,  is customer service.

If you are looking to improve your company’s customer service in 2014,  I’d like to share some things we’ve learned about good customer service as EnMart has grown.    Our goal is always to provide timely responses,  to make sure that the customer is satisfied and to help our customers learn and expand their own businesses.    Here are some reasons why we have these goals and some explanation of how we strive to meet them.

Tip 1:  Any response is better than no response,  but a timely response is best:  During normal business hours,  most inquiries about EnMart products and services are replied to within a few hours and some are handled within minutes.   On weekends and holidays the responses may take a bit longer, but we still try to make them as prompt as possible.  One comment we consistently get from our customers is “you responded to my question so fast”!  Quick responses allow your customers to get on with their business more quickly and also let them know you care about their questions and want to help. Even if you have to say no or cannot help with their request,  a timely response that says so and allows the customer to move on is better than no response at all.

Tip 2: Sometimes customers just need to vent:  An angry customer is often angry because something wasn’t as they expected and that’s thrown off plans they had for getting a job done and satisfying their customer.    Often,  in these situations,  the best thing you can do is just let the customer blow off a little steam.   This helps you understand what the dilemma is and can also possibly present you with a solution that will satisfy both parties.

Tip 3:  Share what you know:   Some people treat knowledge as a zero sum game,  thinking if they share what they know competitors will seize that knowledge and steal customers and market share.  In reality,  this rarely happens.   Sharing what you know can help build a customer base for your business and also help you form relationships within your community.    Your knowledge and expertise can have great value to someone just starting out or someone who is trying to learn something new.   Taking a moment to share what you know can have huge benefits for both those that learn from you and for you.

 

 


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30th Dec 13

happy new year 3EnMart will be closed Tuesday, December 31 and Wednesday January 1 in honor of the New Year’s Holiday.

We will return to work on Thursday, January 2, 2014. 

All orders placed on Tuesday, December 31 and Wednesday, January 1 will be shipped when we return on Thursday, January 2.

Happy New Year and here’s to a prosperous and creative 2014!


27th Dec 13

sublimation blanks. jpgWhen most of us think of sublimation – we probably think of coffee mugs or t-shirts,  which are great items and which can bring in a nice profit,  but which are kind of limiting if that’s all that you do.   The fun thing about sublimation is that there are a number of products that can be sublimated,  some of which can be made into unique gifts or souvenirs.  If you’ve been stuck in a coffee mug or corporate polo shirt rut,  make 2014 the year that you investigate some additional things you can sublimate.   Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Many people put time and effort into creating the perfect kitchen,  and accent pieces can be the ideal way to complete a decorating scheme.    Sublimated cutting boards offer the option of monograms or scenic views,  as well as protection for counters and other surfaces.     Use sublimated tiles to create a backsplash behind a sink or a border along the edge of a counter.    You could also offer unique sublimated place mats that compliment the decor of the room,  are easy to clean off, and which protect fragile table linens.    These placemats can also double as message boards, so that grocery list is easy to write.

Pets are another area where sublimated items can be big sellers.   All pet owners want their pet identified in case of loss,  so sublimated pet tags can be a great seller.     Personalized pet bowls are also a fun idea,   and can help separate Fido’s food bowl from Fluffy’s.    Another big area of animal related products is patches and decals for service dogs and search and rescue animals.  Blank patches which you sublimate can allow you entry into that market.

You should also remember not to neglect the gift and souvenir market.  Jewelry boxes with scenes from well known landmarks in your area can make great keepsake boxes.    Collaborate with local vendors to create boxes that showcase local food items or crafts for a one of a kind souvenir.    Puzzles are another great option when it comes to preserving a scenic view.  Personalized puzzles are even more fun,  offer to put a favorite vacation photo on a puzzle and preserve a memory forever.

The main thing to remember is that there are a number of items out there which can be sublimated,  your job is to find them and figure out how to sell them to your target market.   Money is out there waiting to be made.  Why shouldn’t it end up in your bank account?


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23rd Dec 13

christmasWe wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.

EnMart will be closed on Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25, 2013 for the Christmas holiday.   We will reopen on Thursday, December 26, 2013.

All orders placed on 12/24 – 12/25 will ship on Thursday, 12/26 when we resume normal operations.


23rd Dec 13

santa2Note:  I first wrote this parody of The Night Before Christmas in 2011.  It amused me,  and some other people, so I thought it was worth making it a Christmas tradition. 

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the shop
All the printers were printing and going non-stop
The pressers were pressing with all of their might
For presents, for Christmas, were needed that night

The t-shirts were folded up neatly and boxed
And dreaming of sublimation transfers that rocked
And mamma in her apron and I in the same
Were printing sports jerseys with numbers and names

When out front of the shop there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my work to see what was the matter
Away to the entrance I stumbled pell-mell
Threw open the door and screamed out “What the … bell?”

I clung to the doorframe, exhausted and drawn
Wondering where all the daylight had gone
A miniature sleigh, and Santa, plus eight
Reminded me quickly that orders were late.

The little old driver, that lively St. Nick
Cried, “Bring me those orders, and move them out quick!”
Bring mousepads, bring mugs and t-shirts galore
Bring bookmarks and puzzles and tote bags and more!

Now Printer, you know this, stop looking so ill
There’s children, world over, with stockings to fill
Bring jerseys; bring car flags, and maybe a plaque
But hurry, please hurry and fill up my sack!

I’d never made claim to being an elf,
But found, by St. Nick, I could not help myself
The printers sprayed color, the heat presses pressed
And presents were finished for Santa’s great quest

The last transfer was printed, the last item dyed
When I turned to find Santa smiling by my side
“Printer you’ve done it!” he said with a grin
And his sack started bulging as the last gift went in

Whether mugs for a latte, plain coffee or tea
A puzzle, a clipboard, a box for jewelry
A key chain or shirt with a logo so bright
There’ll be happy children with gifts made this night

How Santa’s eyes twinkled, his belly it shook
As he gave me the kindest and nicest of looks
His laughter was merry, his praise much desired
My gifts had passed muster and were much admired

As I stood in my shop, all the gifts finally made
The stress of the holidays started to fade
Personalized gifts, sublimated, jolly and fun
Would delight gift recipients, every last one

With a wink and a nod Santa sprang to his sleigh
Gave a flip of the reins and was flying away
His bag bulging with presents, his sleigh loaded down
He set off to being joy to every city and town

I laughed as I saw him, that jolly old elf
Flying off with gifts made by my very own self
With his bag full of pet tags and beer mugs and all
I waved as he flew off and then heard him call

Hey Printer, keep working, there’s always next year
And I’ll be returning now never you fear
Until then, keep printing, with colors so bright
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


10th Dec 13

SantaMoney1-300x199The holidays are the time of year when people are not only looking for unique gift ideas,  they’re also looking for holiday decorations for their home and/or business.   Sublimation is a great option both for gifts and for holiday decorating,  as it offers a wide range of options and allows the creation of personalized items as well.    If you have a sublimation system,  you could end your year profitably by capitalizing on the holiday cash that’s waiting to be captured.   Here are a few ideas about how that can be done.

1.  Show examples -  If you have a brick and mortar store front,  decorate with your own personalized ornaments and other items.   If you sell online,  create a Pinterest board or an ideas page on your website which showcases the many sublimated decorating and gift options available.    Even if you have a brick and mortar store front,  I would recommend using Pinterest as well.   A simple search will show you a lot of people creating holiday decorating boards,  and they have to get the pins they’re saving from somewhere.  It might as well be your board of holiday decorating ideas.

2. Generate some publicity – Although gift guides are usually put together months in advance,  it’s always a good idea to search out any in your area or target market and see how you can get included.   If your market is local,  television stations,  regional magazines and newspapers are fertile ground for free publicity.  Come up with an idea for a short segment on unique decorating ideas for the local morning show,  or create a list of the top ten personalized gifts for the local paper.   Local media tends to like spotlighting local businesses,  and providing a seasonal bit of news will help both them and you.

3.  Push personalization -  When I was a child,  a mug with my name on it,  or a puzzle that showed a favorite photograph would have been a treasured gift.    Personalization doesn’t have to be confined to gifts, however,  it can also extend to home decor.   Who wouldn’t like a ceramic tile mural with a Christmas theme or a personalized plate to celebrate Baby’s First Christmas?   Remind your customers frequently that you can create unique, personalized items for a reasonable cost.

4. Don’t forget pets -  There’s many a Fido or Fluffy that has a gift under the tree on Christmas morning.   If you let people know that you can do items like pet tags and pet bowls,  that gift might well come from your business.


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29th Nov 13

Collage_SwingNote:   It’s very rare that I post the same post on both blogs because the subject matter of the two blogs is so different.  In this case,  however,  I made an exception.  A heat press has so many uses across the spectrum it seemed a shame to not share the content in both places.

Even though it might not seem like it at first glance,  a heat press is a very versatile piece of equipment.  While it’s true that all a heat press can do is heat up and press things,  the variety of  techniques for which it can be used may well make it one of the most valuable instruments in your shop.    Adding a heat press to your set-up can open up a whole host of opportunities for new markets and new sales.    If you’ve never considered adding a heat press to your shop before,  here are some uses for a heat press that may make you think again.

Use 1:  Sublimation – Dye sublimation is a process by which a special ink is printed on a special paper and then the transfer is heat pressed on a polyester garment or a poly coated substrate.  Sublimation offers you the ability to do more complicated designs on garments,  as well as widening the number of items you can offer to your customers.  If you’ve ever wanted to offer mousepads or coffee mugs or jewelry boxes,  then sublimation is the discipline for you.

Use 2:  Screenprint or plastisol transfers – Screenprint is a very popular decorating technique,  but it does have a learning curve,  and setting up a shop can be expensive.    Plastisol transfers allow you to offer screenprinted garments and items to your customers without having to do the screenprinting yourself.  All you need is a transfer,  an item to embellish,  and a heat press and you’re in business.

Use 3:  Vinyl -  This is another popular decoration technique that can be used on garments and other items.  Vinyl is often popular for the names and numbers on sports jerseys and team uniforms.   If you have a lot of school or sports league business available in your area,  vinyl may well be a great addition to your product offerings.

Use 4:  Rhinestones -  If bling is your thing,  then you’ll love rhinestone transfers.   A heat applied rhinestone transfer allows you to add sparkle to garments and other items without having to deal with the hassle of buying rhinestones and placing them yourself.

Use 5:  Decorated patches -  A blank patch,  embroidered or screenprinted by you,  can be heat sealed onto a garment,  backpack or other item.   Sublimated patches are a terrific way to make complicated designs with many colors simple.     If you have a design that won’t translate well into embroidery or screenprint,  put it on a sublimated patch and then heat seal it to the item to be decorated.    Your complicated design is now decorating the item of your choice with one easy press.

Finally,  if all else fails,  and you’re having a busy day at the shop,  you can always make a quick snack on your press.  Now,  we don’t recommend this option,  but it can be done and apparently,  the grilled cheese sandwich turns out quite tasty.

Clearly,  a heat press has many uses,  but some of you may still feel that a heat press isn’t right for your business.   Since it is the season of giving,  and since we are thankful for our customers and those who take an interest in EnMart,   we don’t want you to leave without a little something.    Use this coupon to take 5% off your order of $50 or more.  Happy Holidays!


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