For long, for the urban outfitters who didn’t mind punk and non-subtle appearance in the crowd of traditional fashion staunch, screen printing was indeed a blessing in disguise. Parties, shopping, college, or anywhere social, even when not streamlined with the ambiance of the occasion, just to make a forward statement, the women and men alike, they would slide in the cool print t-shirts, rock an old-school denim, and be ready to win hearts.
Even for the manufacturers and wholesalers, to target those who liked a rather casual and outstanding appearance, screen printing was a go-to. Create a template, use a nylon mesh screen, and then spread the ink on it-the process, for mass production, was easier and, comparatively, cheaper. However, there was one major problem. Or, rather a group of small problems if you’re looking minutely.
The screen-printed apparels simply lacked the right quality. And even for those who wanted such varieties, they had to rethink their purchase decision of compromising on their comfort for style. Ah, good ol’ days. Thankfully, dye sublimation print came to the scene and took things over, becoming an eventual favorite of manufacturers and consumers-although not entirely eliminating screen printing.
What is Dye Sublimation Printing?
Sublimation is a process of turning a solid into a gas and then back into a solid without any liquid stage in between. This process, in many ways, has revolutionized the fashion industry. Dye sublimation print on clothing is basically same.
Heat press is applied on sublimation ink into the material surface, which turns the solid-state ink into gas form. This gas gets absorbed in the pores of the material surface, which then converts into the solid form again through the continuous head application. The end result is that you get a high-quality print on the clothing that’s well-absorbed in the core material, leaving no extra layers over the surface, as is the case with screen printing.
Needless to say, not laying colors as individual dots, this printing method has benefits in plenty.
Benefits of Sublimation Printing
One of the biggest benefits of dye sublimation print is the breathability that the clothing material retains even after the dyeing process. Other printing processes usually leave a layer of the print, of distinct thickness, on the material, which blocks the flow of air through the clothing material. This is quite uncomfortable, of course, even during the winter. To that, given the lack of effective wicking properties in many of such clothes, when you sweat, things become even more unbearable. And oh, not to forget the added weight that such extra surface layers bring. You’re already feeling hot, and the stickiness caused by sweating accrue more heat for you, making the whole experience extremely unwanted.
On the contrary, the dye sublimated clothes have much higher breathing properties. They are light in weight and, if purchased from the right manufacturer, often wick moisture seamlessly. So, winter or summer, they are a complete delight to wear. In fact, sublimation printing, for the same purpose, is even used in athletic and sport wears. They add a flair of style to the clothing item but without distorting its comfort value. This has been the single most important reason why, right after its stride in the clothing scene, sublimated print clothes became so very popular in every niche (fashion, fitness, lifestyle, and sports).
Of course, there are few other benefits of dye sublimation, equally important if not more. Like, they are much more long-lasting. If there aren’t any layer of print on the clothing material, there wouldn’t be any problem of screeching or wearing off any of clothes’ glam. The durability of the wear would strictly be dependent on the quality of the clothing material. The better the material, which usually is the case with top manufacturers, the longer will it last.
Additionally, the customization option that comes with sublimated clothing is highly flexible. Since the color gets imprinted on the material by the application of heat, one doesn’t require to set different colors in different trays of the printer and fear the possible misshaped result. With sublimation, when personalizing, the sky is truly the limit. You can liberally use multiple colors and bring complex designs into beautiful reality.
With all these lined benefits, no wonder there have emerged countless (good) sublimated clothing manufacturers and an ocean of final consumers.
Are you a clothing business owner?
Although sublimated print apparels are pretty much in the mainstream around the world, one big obstacle that it continues to battle is the low adaptation on small business or retailers’ part. Manufacturers are producing more of such clothing. And the customers are looking for the same, with their wallet open. If looked from the perspective of economic theory, hardly does it happen that there are good demand and supply, yet the consumer market lacks the product. It’s definitely not the first, but certainly unique.
The reason, like mentioned, is the poor adaptation of the retailers, and even the intermediary distributors. And a large part of their ignorance towards optimally capitalizing on this growing market demand is the lack of proper information. This is followed by their failure in hunting down the right supplier who really offers a good quality sublimated clothing wholesale.
If you’re a small clothing business, how well have you embraced this emerging market? What does your wholesale collection look like? Do you offer sublimation print apparels? Are those wears even of good quality? Who are you purchasing the bulk from? What’s your pricing strategy? And who you are targeting?
These are few very crucial questions that must be effectively answered were you to optimally bank on the growing popularity of sublimated tops, bottoms and outwears as a small business owner. Let’s address some of these aspects individually:
Should You Sell Sublimated Clothing?
With whatever we have discussed till now, it clearly hints that every big and small business must offer sublimated clothing. And so should you. But it’s not such a straightforward decision. Because even with these chic and much-adored wears in your collection, you might not necessarily sell profitably. There are a lot of things that you must first address—including, the most important one, who are you targeting.
Yes, sublimated clothing does have a mass appeal. But there’s still a section of consumer and fashion forwards, which also includes young individuals, who aren’t exactly sold to it. So, in any case, if you’re selling to these individuals, your wholesale might go unsold.
So, the first step you must take is identifying whether or not your target audience wants such wears. And even if they do, what specific variety are they looking for. Remember, the key to your business success, as is the case with anything in the business world, is extensive research. The more you understand your target audience and the purchasing customers (for retention purpose), higher will be the sustainability of your business.
So, even when stocking sublimated print clothing seems like a fitting idea, it’s best you do a thorough research to follow it up with a proper set of action.
How to customize your bulk?
In sync with the last point, the variety of your sublimated apparels wholesale should and must be aligned to the unique needs and requirements of your target audience. This takes us back to the core idea we discussed earlier—doing research.
But of course, for small businesses, the resources to do such research is often limited. But then even this doesn’t pave way for hit-and-miss instances. If not your target audience, you can invest to know the market. What are the current market trends? What types of wears are selling more? Who is buying what? The web is pooled with such data that can answer all your specific market-related questions.
With the answers with you, you can then make appropriate customization decisions, and use the right color combinations and designs. The better you personalize and align the collection with the distinct requirement of the buyers, higher will be the sales. But aside from the data in hand, a lot of this process also depends on the manufacturer you’re dealing with—does it even offer to personalize your bulk or does its collection adequate enough that leaves no room for customization? This leads us to the next point…
How to choose the right sublimated clothing manufacturer?
Not marketing and pricing, but the success of your clothing business will largely depend on the manufacturer you’re dealing with. The quality and style proposition of your sublimated clothing wholesale depends on the type of manufacturer or distributor you have partnered with. Also, their own pricing can guide your own pricing strategy and profit margin. Get onboard with the wrong partner and you can see your business crashing down.
So, it’s essential, and not just important, that you do quite a bit of research on finding the best possible manufacturing company. This is a whole different topic in itself, but there are few things that you must be careful about.
1.Don’t just get carried away with their portfolio
Some manufacturers display their collection oh-so-proudly. The buyers, in the mix of so many varieties that they are getting, get carried away. The extensiveness of the collection in no way hints the quality and credibility of that company. Maybe the manufacturer is exaggerating; maybe it’s outright lying, maybe it’s just outsourcing the wears and not really producing them in-house, and maybe the quality of these sublimated clothing is poor.
These are all the possibilities. So, whenever you see a manufacturer with a large portfolio, don’t go gaga over it. It’s just one of many parameters—continue your research.
2.Avoid blindly trusting online reviews
Today, the easiest way to find and connect with the manufacturers is Google. Google your requirement and you will possibly find a good partner. Sadly, it’s not very reliable. The top Google search results aren’t necessarily the best. (Maybe they are just good at marketing?) Similarly, the reviews, both good and bad, you read online on different channels, they aren’t necessarily true.
So, avoid trusting everything you find on the internet. The user-generated reviews and ratings you find regarding the clothing manufacturers, even they might be flawed and lies.
3.Don’t gleam your eyes on “cheap wholesale”
Many small businesses actively seek cheap wholesale. That’s how they try to expand their profit margin. This is one of the biggest mistakes they make. No success and sustainable business have ever been made on cheap and poor-quality products. People want high quality, highly comfortable sublimated wears—and that’s exactly what you must offer.
So, the best thing you can do for your business is to avoid manufacturers who claim to offer “cheapest collection”. More often than not, these collections are utter trash.
4. Ready-made is easy—but not good for business
A good manufacturer would usually offer a good collection of sublimated wears of many types and varieties for women and men. At times, it may feel like their ready-made wears would be adequate in delivering your customers. But it isn’t necessarily true all the time. If you want to outstand the crowd of competitors and build yourself a reputation in the market, it’s important that you offer a unique and distinct collection. This means you must only deal with manufacturers who also offer flexible customization option.
A good manufacturer offers a very large collection-a great manufacturer ALSO offer customization option. So, pick a dealer that allows you to personalize your wholesale.
These are few things that you must be very careful about when finding the right manufacturing partner that can pillar your business idea. The key, in this process, is doing thorough research, identifying your own unique requirements and talking to other business owners like you.
Indeed, there’s a lot to the sublimated clothing niche. Such wears are very popular these days and if market pundits are to be believed, this craze will only be going to get dense. For businesses like yours, it’s a great opportunity to deliver on the growing demand and skyrocket your business to success. Take a step today: find the need of your target audience, do market research, learn from your competitors and then find the best sublimated clothing manufacturer.