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I need the Pros advice

3468 Views 17 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  raise
I am a graphic designer, I decided to open my own business
And a kiosk in a mall is the perfect business to put bread on my table.
I live in Dubai and malls here is the culture.
I just want ideas on how should my kiosk should look like, what is the best possible way to attract customer. In that particular mall, there is a big indoor amusement center (like what we call a fair in north America) mainly for kids, my kiosk is situated right in the middle of that center . The size is 20' by 15'.
I am searching on the web for images of T-Shirt printing kiosk in malls to take some ideas, but can't find any.
And also confused, which printer I should get the Anajet or the DTG HM1 Kiosk, both these salesmen they tell me theirs is better.

Your help will be really appreciated.
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do you just want to do just tshirts ? if you do i heard good reviews about a brother machine but then you stuck with only printing a shirt at a time. i got a good peice of advice that made me switch my process to going to a roland versa cam for about the same price but then you can so much more like the signs for your booth in the mall cut out the middle man granted it's bigger then the regular size printer but think ahead you might beable to get some light sign work from other stores in the mall. you booth might be a little bigger like a cellphone retailer but you will also have more room to work and a bigger display area . i hope this helps a little if anything read the reviews about the dtg printers you will find all the information there .
i hope this helps some
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I don't necessarily have pictures for you, but here are somethings to consider. To cure a dtg print, you need a heat press. If you are in the mall with a bunch of kids, you are going to want to make sure that you prevent them from touching the heat press as it will burn them reall good. You might also want to put up warning signs stating it is hot!

Because of your size, you probably want to make sure that you have a small printer. Running some of the printers that can print over 20" long will probably be overkill for a one off shirt type of business and will take up too much space. I am not sure if you are going to have to set this up every day or every weekend or if you can leave it up all the time. Some of the printers will be much easier to move around.

My personal recommendation is to go with either a CMYK or Dual CMYK printer - not a CMYK+White ink printer. The reason being is that you are going to want to turn customer's order out fast so you can go to the next one. Printing white ink will definitely slow your production down and it also adds a lot more maintenance challenges - besides the fact you have to pretreat the shirts (which you should not try to do in your Kiosk booth). By printing just CMYK, it is also easier for you to teach someone else how to run the printer so you don't have to be in the Kiosk every hour of every day the mall is open.

One example that you might want to use is what vendors at street fairs, bike rallys and similar type events use. The put up a bunch of sample prints with designs already on them and number the designs. These shirts are not sold. The customer can come up and tell you they want Design #11, on a white tee, Medium size and want it personalized with their name. Then, you pull the appropriate tee shirt out from under the table or from a drawer in the Kiosk and print that design on the shirt for them. If you personalize it, then you might want an extra monitor hooked up to your desktop that will allow the customer to look at the screen to confirm everything is correct (especially spelling) before you print it. This way the customer is not having to look over your shoulder and you can have your computer hidden a little bit.

Just some things to consider. Best wishes,

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thank, you
the kiosk is permanent and there is a door to my shop, so the printer will stay there. but I think the dark colored T-shirt is really essential for me, and the company that will sell me the printer will do a three days training for my employee and I will be there too. but you made me worried about the treatment thing why do you think it will be a hard thing to in mall, please advise.
I think what they were saying is a kiosk space is too small to do the pretreatment. It doesn't matter how you apply the pretreatment liquid...there will be overspray...and what ever the over spray touches becomes "sticky". Not to mention having children possibly breathing in the stuff...would definitely not be good for someone with asthma to breathe this in...
I would do the pretreatment at home, box up the shirts and bring them to the mall. when someone wants a dark shirt you hit it with the heatpress and you are ready to print.

Here is what I would recommend. Before you make the purchase, go to the distributor and have them walk you through everything you have to do to print white ink on 10 shirts. Offer to pay them for their time and consumable costs to do this because it is well worth the learning lesson. This includes the following steps:

1. Take a graphic or photo that you are likely to get from someone walking around the mall. This is not going to be a professional created graphic. It will either be straight from a camera or will be something that they created in a very basic program (i.e. Paint, Word,) and is usually a flatten file without a transparent background.

2. Make sure you see what you have to do to get the file ready to print (i.e. make adjustments to colors, delete any background, add text to personalize the file per the customer's desire,...).

3. Then have them show you the process of pretreating shirts from start to finish. Then you actually do the pretreating on shirts. Time how long it takes to pretreat 10 shirts. This includes the spraying time, spreading the pretreatment with a brush / roller / squeegee and curing the pretreatment. Find out what paper(s) they recommend you use to cure the pretreatment. Calculate the cost of the pretreatment, other supplies and labor. You might want to also have your employee try pretreating some shirts as well. This will show how the difference between two people doing the pretreating will affect the quality of the shirts. This is why some of us refer to it as the Art of Pretreating and why the automatic pretreating machines are becoming more popular.
- Note: Pretreating can be a messy process. Thus, you are not going to do this in your Kiosk. You will need to do this somewhere else and then store the shirts in the kiosk. But this will require you to make sure you pretreat the proper brand, style, color and size of the shirts that the customer wants. Plus, you have to make sure that you pretreat the area where the design is going to go (i.e. front center, front left chest, back, sleeve,...). This is a ton of variables.

4. Then have them show you how to send the job to the printer. Calculate how long this process takes before you can even print the graphic (the processing or ripping time).

5. Calculate how long it takes the file to print. Please note if you are required to hit the print button between passes. When dealing with onsite production, you are bound to get questions asked or have to do something that will prevent you from standing over the printer so you can hit the load button as soon as it is available. So plan on there be some extra time in a real sales environment.
- Make sure that you print all 10 shirts so you can see if there is any issue of ink stravation. It is really easy to print 1 shirt and make it look good. Much harder to print all day and not have any issues.

6. Make sure that they give you actual figures on the cost of ink to do a job either from the RIP or weigh the cartridges / waste tank after running a series of 10 prints to calculate the average cost per print. This will help to show you how much more ink is used when printing white ink on shirts. It is more than double.
- Note that all Epson printers will do periodic spitting of ink into the maintenance tank. Add in the cost to doing nozzle checks and head cleanings, you will see on average that you will want to add 15% - 20% additional for ink lost to the cost per a print.

7. Have them walk you through the process of curing all ten test shirts. Notice what the time, temperature and pressure is for the heat press. You will need this information when you go to do your production.

8. Then have them show you how to properly clean your machine (daily, weekly,...). Keeping the printer properly maintained is a key to printing white ink! Failure to do this could cause the entire printer to be shut down - which means loss sales in a retail environment.

9. Then, go home and wash all 10 shirts. The odds are that for most people... some shirts look good and others will not be as good. That is because laying the pretreatment down must be the same or you will get different results. This is why I recommend doing 10 shirts so you can see how the results can differ.

After going through this process, you will have an accurate idea of the amount of time and expense you will go through printing dark shirts. You still will probably not have a clue as to the true amount of maintenance and tech support the white ink will cause... but this is a good start. There are plenty of posts from users that state they started off with white ink because they thought they needed it, but later decided that they don't want or can't deal with the problems associated with white ink.

In a mall environment, you want to be able to provide the customer with a shirt in a matter of a couple of minutes so you can move on to the next customer. Turnover is much more important in this setting because you are going to be doing lower runs (probably one-offs) and will need to start working on the next sale as soon as possible. Since the process of printing white has too many variables that cause you delay or a misprint, I don't think it is as profitable as printing CMYK in a retail / mall environment. It will not look good when you are in your kiosk and you are removing and flushing the print head / damper right in front of your customer.

These are just some of the reasons why I believe CMYK is cheaper, faster, easier and is less likely to cause problems for your business model. Please ask others that do dtg printing as well to get their opinions and compare them to the sales person that wants you to buy the printer.

I am not against white ink printing. I think with the right business model and the right operator(s), it can be very successful and profitable. But based on what you described as your business model and that you don't have any existing dtg printing experience, it is not in your best interest to start printing white ink. Once you add white ink to a printer, it becomes more of a craft or art to printing rather the method.

Hope this helps.

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Well said Mark...I TOTALLY agree, the learning curve is so steep...and there is a lot of wasted time, energy, ink, pretreatment fluid and money doing this process. I wouldn't dream of printing white ink anytime where speed is a factor...as in a kiosk.
DAGuide's advice is very sound.

White ink will eat away at your time and profits if not managed perfectly. If this is your first experience with a DTG or even an on demand kiosk, it would be wise to stay away from printing with white ink. There are just too many factors that go into making your white ink print successful that take time and experience to learn. Learning those lessons while customers are standing in front of you or waving products for return is just not a pleasant thought.

Try pushing CMYK prints on white, light grey and other light colors. If that takes off and you feel comfortable with the costs and processes of DTG, then add white ink. Look at it as a way to hold a "grand opening" all over again and give your customers a reason to revisit your shop to see what's new.
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Another reason you would not want to pretreat right there, is that the overspray will get into your machine and can ruin your printhead. You do not want pretreatment anywhere near your machine. I too agree that unless you can pretreat your shirts elsewhere I would stick with printing on light color shirts. If you can pretreat them at home and then bring them with you, it shouldnt be a problem. I would just make sure you are well trained in printing white ink and using a rip software if you choose to go the white ink printer route. It is not something that someone will just be able to walk in and learn in a few minutes how to do.

I would totally take Mark's advice up above and go see how the shirts are printed, and how much work goes into it before you make your decision. I myself print white ink and love it, but I do not pretreat in the same room as my machine and have a really great system down for how to do it. Maybe you could even get a machine that is white ink capable, but start off with dual cmyk, until you learn the machine really well, and then switch over to using white ink in it once you have it down to a science. Hope this helps.
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MArk has made some very valid points there. There art work that people provide you will need some work doing to it and soem will need alot. This all must be taken into account. As most have stated I too would be starting with CMYK and then go for white ink at a later date. When you do decide to do dark shirts stick to a small colour range as you will have reptreted shirts everywhere. With the room you have storage may be a problem. I hold over 10'000 T shirts here and could hold another 30k more to be able to satisfy all customer needs and know I have all colours in all sizes in stock, as you will need around 10 of each size and each colour. and in L and XL around 20 -30 of each. Black and white double that again. It has taken me 12 months to get my stock levels stable and to where I very rarley have to put in a urgent order for more. Larger orders in odd colours I have to order in as I cannot hold everything here and it is alot of money sitting around not collecting inerest. I wish you all the best for your business and hope it all goes as planned for you. Please let us know how everything pans out for you and your venture.
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Yes, Yes, Yes, I agree with everything posted. If you are doing a kiosk in the mall you MUST pretreat in advance. My experience is that white, ash, navy and black are most common...but that is for MY business model...yours may be different! Stock would be key to your sucess and I agree L and XL sell A LOT, but I have never been to YOUR mall.

Do your customers want front prints, back prints, or left chest and back prints? Confusing I know but it may be easier to offer alternative solutions to dark garment printing other than DTG.
Well this is the problem. Some customer will want front small middle prints, Others will want large rear prints or large front prints and some a pocket sized print and this is where it all become confusing with what pre treated stock you have and need. You times that indivdually with each size and each colour etc and it will be alot of each shirt and size arpound 60 of each color and size just for a start so thats around 300 of colour and this will only cover you for say 1 order of 5 pocket prints and maybe a order of 10 back prints. and then some one will want a pocket and large rear print on the same shirt or 2 large prints or a sleeve print and away it all goes. The customers realy are all different and I think you will also need a good sales person to be able to push on what you have and cahnge there minds in a kind of way. I hope this all makes sense to you. Dont let it scare you but you might have to offer certian things and anything else will have to be done as a order over 1 day or two with the option to pick up or post out. The basic good sellers have as a instant type pritn and others maybe on a order basis.
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We have a customer buying one of our SpeedTreater automatic pretreatment systems for his mall location because he can keep the machine, and pretreat shirts with it, right beside his printer. That is one other available option if you have a store or kiosk in a mall.

I would say it would be a very good option. Around about how much does a speedy trat cost?? and how many spray nozzels do they have in them?? I have had a quick look but myself would like to know a bit more about them. Do they brush the fibres or just spary the treat down only?? Also I noticed that it has 3 bottles 1 fstp, 1prt, 1 H20. what is the set up as in nozzels is the a seperate for each or do the lines need a flush before switching??
I am confused a little bit. doest that mean I have to scrap the plan of buying Dtg printer with white ink or I just can buy it but don't use the white until I become an expert in Black printing.
Or I really have tobuy a cmyk printer only.
I would be getting hold of DON at SWF east and see what he can do for you. He will point you in the right direction I am sure. I would say that he has done these set ups before and will know more than alot of us end users.
I am confused a little bit. doest that mean I have to scrap the plan of buying Dtg printer with white ink or I just can buy it but don't use the white until I become an expert in Black printing.
Or I really have tobuy a cmyk printer only.
All of the DTG's I know of that print white ink do so as an option.

You can run the machine as a dual CMYK until you decide to flush out half of the lines and install white ink. How you do this will be determined by your DTG manufacturer but from personal experience with my Anajet, I don't think it will be a big issue.

The option to purchase SpeedTreater or other pretreatment machine would simplify the application of the pretreatment solutions to your shirts. The application of the pretreatment solution though is just one of aspect of white printing. There is also added maintainence and how the white ink is affected by your environment (dry environments will have a harder time avoiding head clogs).
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