I want to start a gym apparel store / website, so I just bought a PowerPress Industrial-Quality Digital 15-by-15-Inch Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press on amazon, it got all 4 and 5 star reviews.My question now is.. where should I go from here? I know that I can get transfers ordered thru companies, but can I used just a standard printer and transfer paper? Also Is there anything else I need to get started besides a heat press, transfers, and blank t shirts?
You mentioned sublimation heat press. Do you intend to use sublimation system? You know sublimation ink requires high content polyester fabric. 100% polyester works the best. Both ink and garments are expensive. The good side is it will transfer ink only and no polymer background. Bad side is it will only work with light garments. Unless there is a sublimateable substrate on top of the shirt which makes the hand of the image heavy and look like a patch. The substrate requires vinyl cutter with registration mark sensor to precisely contour cut complex shape. Another thing to consider is inkjet printer will clog that can cause loss money due to ruined shirt, transfer and downtime. I trashed 4 inkjet printers.
Coastalbusiness.com has good sublimation package. They also sell affordable vinyl cutter, Heat transfer etc. Make sure to check preferred vendors discount for members.
There is no self weeding inkjet transfer. The popular inkjet transfer is JPSS for light garment. Even though it leaves very light polymer window on white shirt it stands out like a sore thumb on pastel. So it has to be trimmed for pastel garments.
There is not self weeding inkjet transfer for dark garment. What is available is opaque transfer. It needs vinyl cutter to contour cut complex shaped image. Some have heavy hand that feels like raincoat. Some cracks after few washes. All opaque look like a patch.
I would recommend using Okidata color laser printer and use 2 step self weeding Imageclip Laser Light for light and pastel garment. It will transfer the image only and no polymer window.
You can also use sublimation laser toner if you prefer sublimation. It is available at ATTTransfer.com. Good thing is no clog to worry about with laser printer.
For dark shirt your best bet is custom screen print transfer if the quantity is large enough to knock down price per piece. There are lots of vendors in forums preferred vendors list. Or use vinyl transfer for 1 or 2 spot colors if layered. I use Thermoflex Plus and Extra. It is durable, looks and feels like screen print. Vinyl also comes in glitter that makes the end product very appealing. Good for name, number, logo etc. However it can't be printed.
Get a license so you can get wholesale apparel and supplies. Apparel vendors require a license. I use ssactivewear.com and Heritagesportswear.com both very good vendors for apparel.graphics.
If you are going to print and cut your own design you need to get software. I use CorelDRAW and Photoshop. They are pricey. Get the older version that are cheaper. Amazon has good price. If your budget is tight you can download free Inkscape, which is CorelDRAW look alike, from Inkscape.org and free Gimp, which is Photoshop look alike, from Gimp.org. Photoshop CS2 is also available free to download from Adobe.com.
Good luck to the system you choose. Make tones of money