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But for some of our clients we are hearing "got my shirts today - feels like a cheap iron on or decal".
Would you not feel the same way if you were the customer?

Not sure what to tell them?!
We are transitioning our business to 50 or less items ALWAYS gets DTF
Offer DTG like everybody else is doing.

You may also want to try hybrid DTG.
That's DTG over screen-printed base.
Same level of detail as regular DTG, but much more durable.
 

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let them know it's a good process and not just some stick on iron on
But that's exactly what it is.

It's this decade's printable vinyl.
Exactly.
In fact, vinyl printed on a HP latex printer is basically the same thing.

It's going to be something we do a lot - so trying to figure out how to talk to the few people that complain about it.
No matter what you say, what feels like a transfer is a transfer.
You may as well just call it printable vinyl, and save yourself the explaining.
 

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First, wow, sales lady at Joann was clueless, pique is a very common type of knit.
I think the OP was looking for textured Teflon, which is surprisingly difficult to find.
The regular fabric cover sheet is something I often suggest as well.
Thin denim fabric will work as well.
 
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