Powered by Smartsupp

Step 1. Research: Learn the Decoration Industry & Processes

View all blog articles

The first step when starting any new business should be to research your prospective industry and market.  Without a complete understanding of both, you run the risk of joining a fully saturated market or competing with businesses that you just cannot beat.  Also, without the requisite knowledge necessary to operate a business in any industry, you are far more likely to fail. This is especially true in the product decoration industry.  Industry and market research will oftentimes dictate exactly how you run your business.  

Within the decoration industry, there are countless different business models and strategies.  This is because there are six different primary decoration methods on top of the many business models available.  Those six decoration methods are: Direct-to-Garment Printing, Screen Printing, Embroidery, Sublimation Printing, Wide Format Printing, and Heat Transfer Pressing.  Each of those decoration processes offer something different to potential customers, so it is important to understand your customers’ needs in order to determine exactly what processes you will offer.  Here is a basic breakdown of the capabilities of each process:


+Screen Printing- minimum 12 piece orders, one to six color prints, the largest product range (almost any garment can be screen printed).  When screen printing, a printer drags ink across a screen, which has a design burned into it, over top of a shirt. This forces ink onto the garment in the shape of whatever design was burned into the screen.


+Direct-to-Garment Printing- no minimum orders, full color, only >50% cotton garments.  DTG printers operate much like an inkjet printer, except they print onto garments instead of paper.


+Sublimation Printing- no minimum orders, full color, photo gifts and white 100% polyester garments.  A dye-sublimation printer is used to print a mirrored image of the final print onto special paper with dye-sublimation ink, which will sublimate when pressed onto the product at a high temperature.


+Wide Format Printing- no minimum orders, full color, can print vinyl banners, stickers, canvas, wall clings and more.  Wide format printers are essentially inkjet printers for large media. 


+Embroidery- no minimum orders, up to 15 colors, can sew polos, hats, bags, and jackets.  Embroidery involves a machine stitching designs into fabric with a needle and thread.


+Heat Transfer Pressing- no minimum orders, spot or full-color prints, and the second largest product range.  The screenprint transfer process is similar to direct screen-printing. However, instead of printing directly onto a garment, special ink is printed onto a release paper, which can then be heat-applied onto various products at a later time. 


In addition to dictating exactly what processes you will offer, demand will naturally dictate what kinds of decoration equipment you need to purchase.  So it is wise to take a deeper look into each decoration process not only so that you can provide the desired products to your customers, but also so that you understand what each process requires of the decorator.  Offering multiple decoration processes is common in the product decoration industry, but new businesses should only offer processes that they have a complete understanding of, and are confident in their ability to execute.  


Researching your prospective industry can be helpful in other ways as well.  It is wise to research to plan your supply chain management. In your research, you should learn who the major suppliers are and how they operate.  Information on shipping, product quality, product variety, customer service, and more is available to help you decide what suppliers will best fit your needs.  You can also use your research to learn about your competition. Find out what your competition does best, what their weak points may be, and other practical information, like their price points.  You can do this by using a SWOT analysis, which analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a competitor. This will help you to better understand and plan where you see your business competing in the industry and the market you have chosen to pursue. 


Performing research is an essential step in forming a new business.  In an industry as large and diverse as the product decoration industry, research is critical.  By researching your market, you can more easily determine what decoration processes to offer. By researching the rest of the decoration industry, you can learn about the various decoration processes, suppliers, and the strengths and weaknesses of competitors.  As difficult as starting a business can be, it will be even more difficult if you do not do the necessary research beforehand.  

View all blog articles
Your cart is empty