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PENCARRIE: 0800 252248 | PRESTIGE LEISURE: 0800 6521234 RALAWISE: 0800 212180 | RALAWISE IRELAND: 1 800 599599 @ecologiebyawdis | www. RECYCLEDFABRICS EA042 Crater Recycled Hoodie XS-XXL EA070 Crater Recycled Jogpants XS-XXL HEATHER GREY BLACK NAVY 70% Recycled Cotton / 30% Recycled Polyester Fabric Weight: 280gsm 02 images FEBRUARY 2023 SHOP TALK 04 Editorial 08 Print Shop Pooches #87 Matilda, Bumi and Norman from Old Eltons Supply Co 14 Decorated product of the month 20 Readers’ choice 80 Up close & personal Graeme Richardson-Locke of Fespa NEWS HUB 06 Industry news TheMagicTouch launches printable dye-sub film, M&R unveils new high-speed Cobra auto, and Stedman is acquired by Next Level Apparel KNOWLEDGE BASE 28 The Business Clinic A guide to VAT, and why you should be asking for help to run your business 30 Digital helpdesk Irida Gogolou of Polyprint explains how to wash test digitally printed garments 32 Anatomy of an embroidery and print Hitomi Morita reveals how this striking mixed media piece was created using Coloreel’s instant thread-colouring unit 34 Printwear & Promotion Live! 2023: Preview Event director Tony Gardner highlights the must-see exhibits at this year’s Printwear & Promotion Live! event 36 P&P Live! 2023: Exhibitor spotlight Start planning your visit to P&P Live! with our showfloor highlights tour 52 Ask Tony This month, Matt Bond of Kustom Clothing asks Tony: “Where do you see screen print – small, medium, and large scale – going in the coming years with the development of direct-to-film machinery? 54 Screen time is quality time For great prints, you need to get the basics right. Paul Zingone of Vastex International guides you through the essential steps to making the perfect screen 69 Sewing up new markets Erich Campbell highlights the different embroidery business models and how to make the most of them 72 Don’t be a jerk If your staff keep underperforming or even leaving your company altogether, you may be the problem. Marshall Atkinson doles out some straighttalking advice 74 The art of stitching Can you turn drawings into embroidery designs? Yes – and it’s easy, says Dominic Bunce of David Sharp PRODUCT FOCUS 48 What a placket! For sports, leisure, work or school, the classic polo shirt is a go-to option for custom apparel. We review the latest decorator-friendly styles from the industry’s leading brands 56 Get screening With carousels, dryers, inks and more, it’s time to press on with our annual review of the latest screen printing machinery and equipment from the industry’s leading suppliers 62 Telling it like it is: automatic screen printing presses Four garment decorators tell us how their new automatics are working out in their print shops 75 Team players Bold, branded, coordinated kit is the style hat-trick for many sports clubs and teams — check out our line-up of first-choice sporty styles INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT 44 Helping hands Printed By Us in Sheffield has developed a successful screen printing business that is helping people who are building new lives after being homeless CONTENTS 980 Adult T-shirt with EZ Print Finish™ 46 38 48 6 30 14 32 44

ection. NEWFOR 2023 PU Coll Matte BG330 Matte PU Accessory Pouch B AGB A S E . COM PENCARRIE 0800 252 248 | RALAWISE 0800 212 180 BTC ACTIVEWEAR 0800 012 4542 | PRESTIGE LEISURE UK 0800 652 1234 © 2023 – Beechfield Brands Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 04 images FEBRUARY 2023 Published by: 360 Communications Ltd images magazine, 360 Communications Ltd, 58a Livingstone Road, Hove, BN3 3WL, UK 01273 748482 | Advertising: Editorial: Subscriptions: | Images is available free of charge to UK subscribers Subscribe online: | Update your subscription/contact details online: Publisher/advertising: Jonathan Vince | Features editor: Rachael Glazier | News editor: Mark Ludmon | Publishing assistant: Gaby Bowring | Design/Production: ATG Media | Printing: Stephens & George Ltd | Goat Mill Road,Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 3TD (issn 0966 7512) Opinions expressed by contributors in this magazine are not necessarily shared by the Publisher. Editorial contributions are invited, on the understanding that the Publisher has the right to alter or abridge all such material as he sees fit. While the greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the Publisher accepts no liability for either errors or omissions. FEBRUARY 2023 | VOL.32 NO.2 EDITORIAL This time of year is generally considered to be one of reflection and planning. For many garment and textile decoration businesses, it’s also a time for investing in new equipment and services ahead of the end of the current tax year – capital expenditure that will help you to deliver those plans that you are busy crafting over the coming months and beyond. So, what shiny new things do you have your eye on? What new piece of kit or technology is tempting you to loosen those purse strings? If you’re considering investing in screen printing equipment, then you’ll want to read our Screen Printing Showcase (page 56). For those of you who are in the market for a new auto, then this issue’s Telling It Like It Is... case studies (page 62) will make for essential reading. Hear what Innovation Schoolwear, Phantom Screenprint, UKM Print & Embroidery and Ouroboros Screen Printing have to say about their latest Adelco, M&R (the first Cobra press to be installed in the UK), MHM and Roq presses – what they like, what they don’t like and what they would choose to change (if anything). With DTF continuing to write the headlines in 2023, should you even be considering new investment in analogue printing technology? Tony Palmer shares his opinions and advice on precisely this question in his monthly Ask Tony column (page 52). It’s a good read. It’s showtime! Perhaps you are fully kitted out with equipment already and it is software or services that would make the biggest difference to your success this coming year? Maybe upgrading to the latest Wilcom digitising software package is the route to greater efficiency and profitability? Or what about Brickweb’s automation solution for print-on-demand businesses – it works for the likes of Snuggle and GoCustom Clothing; could it be the missing piece that unlocks the full potential of online sales for your company too? And speaking of Snuggle, is it time to investigate how you could grow your sales by using the expertise and resources of third-party fulfilment services while avoiding further capital expenditure altogether? Now there’s a thought. This time of year also marks the start of trade show season, giving you the opportunity to investigate first hand whichever new equipment, technology or services you are considering adding to or buying for your business in 2023. Printwear & Promotion Live! gets the ball rolling at the end of February (see our interview with event organiser Tony Gardner on page 34 and our show floor highlights tour on page 36). March sees The Big Promotional Trade Show along with the new co-located The Big Wearables Show hit the road in Glasgow, followed by the bi-annual (and mustvisit) TV TecStyle Visions in Stuttgart, Germany. That’s followed by Sign & Digital and the first of the expanded-for-2023 Print & Stitch roadshows of the year in April. The ever-popular Promotion & Branding roadshow (now visiting 11 locations throughout the UK) kicks off in May, with this year’s two major international events – Fespa 2023 and ITMA 2023 – following hard on its heels. Phew! We will be visiting as many of the events as we can and would love to spend some time talking with you about your plans, priorities and perhaps even your ‘to buy list’ for 2023. So, if you’re going to be visiting any of the events and fancy taking time out for a quick coffee and a chat, then give us a call or drop us an email or direct message us on our social media channels. See you soon. Jonathan Vince Get set for trade show season SUBSCRIBE Register now to receive your own free monthly copy of Images: UPDATE CONTACT DETAILS Moved to new premises? Update your details online:

INDUSTRY NEWS 06 images FEBRUARY 2023 Follow the links to the news stories online Kingly expands range of custom-made sustainable garments Kingly has announced the launch of fully customisable garments made with eco-friendly fabrics after the success of its sustainable socks. The manufacturer will start producing custom-made T-shirts, polo shirts, boxer shorts, sweatshirts and other wearable products from 15 February. They will all be produced within Europe using sustainable organic cotton, certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (Gots), and recycled polyester according to the Global Recycled Standard (GRS). Kingly, which launched its Gots-certified socks in 2022, has pledged that all its eco-friendly garments are 100% traceable with sustainability reports and transaction certificates. In response to the waste created by the clothing industry, Kingly has announced that it will also start upcycling old clothes, which will be repurposed and designed into limited-edition collections. At the end of last year, the company won an award from Bulgaria’s Ministry of Labour and Social Policy for its efforts to improve sustainability and corporate social responsibility in the manufacture of socks and clothing. TheMagicTouch launches printable film for dye sublimation TheMagicTouch has introduced a new film that can be printed through dye sublimation and used for transferring vibrant full-colour images onto fabrics including cotton and nylon. The newly developed Liberty SubliPrint printable sublimation transfer media is available in both A4 and A3 for using on a dye sublimation printer with dye sublimation inks. Traditionally, the sublimation transfer process has been restricted to applications onto garments with a high polyester content or a special polyester coating, which also had to be either white or pastel in colour. The new thin-coated film promises a soft touch with good stretch properties and can be used for heat transfers onto cotton, nylon and mixed fibres of any colour, as well as polyester. Liberty SubliPrint is certified to Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1 and is eco-friendly, water-based, free of solvents and PVC, and veganfriendly. It is available in packs of 50 sheets. M&R unveils new high-speed Cobra TSE screen print press M&R Printing Equipment has unveiled the Cobra TSE – the latest addition to its Cobra range of automatic carousel screen printing presses. The high-performance Cobra TSE, which features up to 20 stations and 18 colours, was showcased for the first time at the Impressions Expo in Long Beach in California in January. It is the latest version of the Cobra series, which was launched internationally in August 2020 and is distributed in the UK through Screen Print World. The new Cobra TSE series includes three new presses offering an expanded 50cm by 50cm maximum image size. It is available in three formats: 16 stations and 14 colours, 18 stations and 16 colours, and 20 stations and 18 colours. All Cobra TSE presses come equipped with M&R’s Tri-Sync precision screen preregistration system for fast screen set-up as well as full system integration with M&R’s DS-4000 digital squeegee hybrid screen printing/DTG printing systems. Liberty SubliPrint transfer media from TheMagicTouch Kingly’s socks made with organic cotton The new 18-colour/20-station Cobra TSE auto

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INDUSTRY NEWS 08 images FEBRUARY 2023 PRINT SHOP POOCHES # 87 Matilda, Bumi and Norman Whether it’s pedigree pups or mangy mutts, decorators’ dogs are valued members of staff at embroidery and print shops from Barking to Furness. This month we have Matilda, Bumi and Norman from Old Eltons Supply Co in Tenby, Wales Full names: Matilda (aka Tilly), Bumi, and Norman Swanson. Norman is the only one with a surname; he is also Matilda’s uncle. Breeds: Welsh Bulldog (Matilda), New English Bulldog (Bumi), Welsh Bulldog (Norman) Ages: Matilda is three years old, Bumi is one and Norman is five. Time at company: Three years for Matilda, one year for Bumi and five years for Norman. Job titles: Matilda – top dog, Bumi – warehouse manager, Norman – retired Job descriptions: Matilda keeps everyone in check. Bumi is in charge of receiving deliveries, but never seems to check them off. He’s on his last warning. Norman is basically retired. He just sits and sleeps and occasionally sniffs. Special skills: Matilda can jump real high. Bumi will lie down for treats. Norman can sit really good... Favourite colours: Matilda, Black 6 C because she always seems to get it on her. Bumi, Green 7482 C. Norman doesn’t care and is colour deaf. Follow us on Twitter @imagesmaguk T King Associates invests in DTF printing for garments T King Associates, a specialist in branding clothing and other merchandise, has expanded its services for customers by investing in direct-to-film (DTF) printing. The Buckingham-based business, which already offered screen printing, transfer printing and dye sublimation, has now added two R-Jet Pro DTF V4 machines from Resolute. This wide-format printer creates water-based heat seal film transfers, combining direct-to-garment (DTG), print and cut, screen printing and white toner in one. John King, managing director of T King Associates, said: “We decided to invest in DTF initially to replace the labour-intensive transfer side. We had considered DTG, and we wanted to buy into the tech, but could never get it to fit our processes or expectations over the years. “DTF is a new process: it’s not been all plain sailing, but we now have a lot of knowledge under our belts with the first machine, and it will certainly be a huge part of our business moving forward.” Quality Print Services moves to bigger premises Quality Print Services (QPS), which specialises in supplying inks, printers and other products for the wide-format market, has moved to bigger premises. The new purpose-built facility in Seafire Business Park in Burscough Industrial Estate in Burscough, Lancashire is “significantly larger” than its previous home on the same industrial estate. It features a fully air-conditioned warehouse for the storage of products including DuPont Artistri textile inks and Nazdar digital inkjet inks, as well as a full demonstration suite for print hardware such as Roland DG wide-format print machines. The larger space will also allow QPS to store more spare parts on site, meaning it can respond faster to customers’ requests. Resolute’s R-Jet Pro DTF V4 [L-R] Matilda, Bumi and Norman Swanson Quality Print Services’ new address in Seafire Business Park in Burscough

Q D 6 5 5 H e r i t a g e W a x e d C a n v a s B a c k p a c k q d 6 5 0 H e r i t a g e W a x e d C a n v a s H o l d a l l q u a d r a b a g s . C O M THE HERITAGE COLLECTION PENCARRIE 0800 252 248 | RALAWISE 0800 212 180 BTC ACTIVEWEAR 0800 012 4542 | PRESTIGE LEISURE UK 0800 652 1234 © 2023 – Beechfield Brands Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

INDUSTRY NEWS 10 images FEBRUARY 2023 No minimum order and faster turnaround for Target Transfers Target Transfers has introduced new layouts, no minimum order quantity and shorter turnaround times for its UtraColour Max directto-film (DTF) heat transfers. Customers can now order just one customised UltraColour Max sheet through its online Easyview portal. Also for the first time, if an order is placed by midnight, Target Transfers will despatch it – or have it ready for collection at its base in Braintree in Essex – the next day. Previously, it offered a two-day turnaround service. Originally available as a 55x55cm jumbo sheet, it now comes in a choice of nine layouts, providing customers with greater flexibility. The heat-applied transfers come in sizes from A3 down to A8 plus 10x10cm and 6x6cm. New wearables show added as part of Big trade events The organisers of The Big Promotional Trade Show have announced a programme of events for 2023, including the new Big Wearables Trade Show, which allows visitors to meet suppliers of promotional merchandise, garments and other services from the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. Starting in March, the 2023 programme will see The Big Promotional Trade Show, The Big New Products Trade Show and The Big Wearables Trade Show come to cities including Glasgow, Dublin, Manchester and London. The Big Wearables Trade Show will focus on the printwear and wearables sector, co-located with The Big Promotional Trade Show and The Big New Products Trade Show. New exhibitors include Fruit of the Loom, Russell Europe, Result, Regatta, Neutral, NotJust Clothing, Impression Europe and Oldeani, who will join previous ones such as PF Concept, United Brands of Scandinavia, DTB and Stormtech. Visitor registration is now open at Read our full-length Decorator Reports online: Vastex launches EconoRed Series VI conveyor dryers Vastex International has launched a new range of EconoRed Series VI conveyor dryers for high-volume curing. The three new models, including one capable of curing 2,700 plastisolprinted garments per hour, are equipped with infrared heaters and can be used with plastisols, waterbased inks, discharge and direct-tofabric (DTF) adhesives. Mark Vasilantone, president of Vastex International, said: “This addition to the EconoRed series offers greater power and high-production speeds for screen printers and DTF printers, and the flexibility to print on oversized garments or flat goods.” The new EconoRed Series VI conveyor dryers come in widths of 76cm, 137cm and 198cm and are equipped with six infrared heaters in a single chamber to allow for highvolume curing. The modular design allows users to easily add one or more independently controlled heating chambers and extend the conveyor belt, increasing capacity in direct proportion to each heating chamber added. One of last year’s Big trade events in Manchester Stootz Printing This fantastic logo was embroidered onto hoodies by Stootz Printing in Cardiff for Spire Diggers metal-detecting club. DECORATOR REPORT Vastex International’s new EconoRed VI-54 conveyor dryer UltraColour Max DTF transfers for garment printing

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INDUSTRY NEWS 14 images FEBRUARY 2023 Follow us on Facebook: @imagesmaguk Embroiderer David Morrish hit our screens last month in the new BBC One TV series, Make It at Market. David, who has been producing bespoke embroidered garments and artwork for some years through his Kingfly brand, as well as producing articles for Images [see his step-bystep pieces in the November and December 2022 issues], featured in episode 11 of the show. Make It at Market is presented by The Repair Shop’s Dom Chinea and helps craftspeople to turn their passions into a profitable business. He was given a mentor, textile designer Piyush Suri, the creative director and founder of Handmade in Britain, who helped David explore ideas for making money out of his labour-intensive work while undertaking three challenges: to make a volume piece, a high-end garment and his “favourite” piece. The fabulous hoodie shown here was created for the high-volume piece – a product that could be made in four hours, excluding the digitising. “’Big Flex’ is inspired by tattoo, graffiti and street art,” explains David. “I chose a hoodie and a skull as I wanted to see if I could take an obvious piece of clothing and common tattoo subject matter and give a recognisable Kingfly appearance. The term ‘Big Flex’ means to be proud of something you have achieved, no matter how big or small – it was a term my son used when he won a battle on his computer game: he turned and said ‘Daddy, Big Flex!’ I just loved it so much I had to use it.” As a result of what he calls “the premium hoodie selection” (after testing, David settled on the unisex Stanley/Stella Cruiser), and also taking into account postage and packaging, the £150 price David estimated on the show increased to £250. “Initially, I never planned to produce these hoodies, however I got many requests from followers on social media who asked where they could get one that this prompted me to look at producing a limited amount,” he explains. The top is available to buy until 14 February. The design used 11 colours and contains 71,000 stitches. It was digitised using Wilcom e4.5 software and featured “a feast of texture fills” as well as stitch effects to give a contoured 3D feel. It took three and three-quarter hours to embroider, using Gunold and Madeira threads, and measures 28.5cm by 14.5cm. Since filming at the National Trust’s Arts & Craft property Stoneywell in Leicestershire last summer, David has received more commissions, including one from musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and has been mainly focusing on bespoke upcycling of worn garments such as jackets. David said: “This opportunity’s helped me get over an obstacle which was really my self-doubt. Now I’m at a point where I know where I’m going to go business-wise. I know what I want to achieve. I can see a pathway forward and I’ve got that confidence to take those next steps.” Make It at Market is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. DECORATED PRODUCT OF THE MONTH David wearing the Big Flex hoodie, which he created for the TV show Make It at Market

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INDUSTRY NEWS 16 images FEBRUARY 2023 Garment brand Stedman acquired by Next Level Apparel Blank garment manufacturer Stedman has been acquired by USbased group Next Level Apparel to support expansion of both brands internationally. Next Level Apparel, which is also a designer, manufacturer and supplier of premium blank apparel, bought the German-based company to help it achieve its ambitions for “strategic geographic expansion in Europe”. Next Level Apparel CEO Randy Hales said: “The Stedman team has built a strong brand and a culture of excellence, and we’re excited to have them join Next Level Apparel. This partnership presents a great opportunity to expand and diversify both organisations’ footprints across Europe and the US.” Based in Aachen in Germany and dating back to 1953, Stedman provides premium casual and sportswear blank garments in 40 countries, with its own distribution centre in Ghent in Belgium. Next Level Apparel, which was founded in 2003, was bought in 2018 by privateequity firm Blue Point Capital Partners, which backed the latest deal. Gildan pledges transparency in fighting climate change Clothing manufacturer Gildan Activewear has re-affirmed its commitment to tackling climate change through a new report providing transparency on how it is achieving that goal. Its first Climate Change Disclosure Report sets out to demonstrate how the company is assessing and integrating climate-related matters, such as reducing carbon emissions, into its business practices. It can be downloaded at Its publication follows new environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets set out in its Next Generation ESG strategy, including investment in low-carbon and lowwater processes and textile recycling. View daily news updates at: Prism Inks flags garment uses with new website Manufacturer Prism Inks is launching a new website to reflect its wider portfolio and provide a dedicated section for garment decorators. The new site, at, features the company’s ink and fluid products along with information about sustainability and its contract manufacturing and OEM (original equipment manufacturing) services. The site will also feature a new Product and Application Hub on its home page, which will include a section on its inks for dye sublimation, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing and direct-to-film (DTF) printing. The new-look website from Prism Inks Cover of Gildan’s 2022 Climate Change Disclosure Report, which is available now Stedman’s new products for 2023 include Clive and Claire polos Print. These brilliant T-shirts were created by Print. in Cannock for independent brand Outta This Town. DECORATOR REPORT 18 images FEBRUARY 2023 INDUSTRY NEWS Stay in the picture with our Instagram feed: @imagesmaguk Roland DGA Corporation, which supplies digital printers and cutters, has promoted its vice president of sales, Amado Lara, to the role of president. The move follows the decision to split the work of previous president and CEO, Andrew Oransky, who will now continue as just CEO. Amado has held various management and executive positions at Roland DGA since joining the Californiabased company in 1992. Amado said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to serve as president of this truly incredible company. I hope to build upon the tremendous work that Andrew has done as president over the last six years and help lead Roland DGA to the next level.” Ricoh has announced a new president for its Graphic Communications business unit, which looks after its garment printing solutions. Koji Miyao has succeeded Sergio Kato after 22 years’ experience with Ricoh, most recently as general manager for the business management division of Ricoh Graphic Communications. Previously, he was chairman and president of Ricoh China. Ricoh’s Graphic Communications unit encompasses hardware and software solutions for corporate printing including direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. Epson UK has created a new direct sales channel with a team working directly with print companies to help them to expand their services through investing in the latest technology. To lead the new approach to selling direct to customers, it has appointed Russell Lambert and Chris Smith as account managers for commercial and industrial print. Together, they will be the key contacts for Epson’s industrial label and textile systems: the Epson SC-F10000H dye-sublimation printer, the Monna Lisa directto-fabric printer and the Epson Surepress digital label press. Russell has joined Epson UK from print technology group Konica Minolta where he was commercial print account manager. He has also worked for Canon, Xerox, HP, Kodak and PrintSpeak. Chris joined from letterpress and flexo plates distributor Dantex where he was most recently UK and Ireland sales manager for flexo/digital inkjet solutions. Before that, he held roles at Eastman Kodak and a number of printing companies including St Ives. Russell will look after southern England and south Wales, while Chris will look after northern England. Papergraphics has appointed Dominic Bowen as hardware sales manager for the north, bringing a wealth of industry experience to the company. Previously general manager at digital print technology specialist Adapt, Dominic will be based in Nottingham in his new role. He said: “I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work for such a highly respected customer-focused company. “I’m especially excited to show customers the Papergraphics Experience Centre as it really shows off the printers the company has available and is surely one of the best facilities in Europe.” CHANGING FACES Amado Lara Koji Miyao Dominic Bowen Russell Lambert Chris Smith Recognition Express rebrands after 44 years Recognition Express, a nationwide supplier of branded clothing and other merchandise, has unveiled a new corporate identity for 2023. It replaces the original logo, featuring shaking hands on a gold star, which dates back to the company’s formation in 1979 when it was set up to provide personalised name badges. The new branding has a “more contemporary and vibrant palette” but retains the blue and orange colours of the original. It also has a new strapline and a new website. Young entrepreneur relaunches equestrian garment decorator A North Yorkshire business specialising in workwear and other decorated garments for the equestrian sector has been relaunched after being taken over. Issey Gill, who is an experienced rider with a background in workwear, has taken on Northallerton-based Equithread and relaunched it in January with a new website and marketing campaign. The business was started in 2019, but was put on hold after the Covid-19 pandemic started. It specialises in high-quality workwear and uniforms for stables, riders and other equestrian businesses, personalised using direct-to-film (DTF) printing and Tajima embroidery machines. Issey said: “We’re a brand focused on building partnerships and providing a bespoke personalised service, and I am astounded at the response we have had since the relaunch. “Our state-of-the-art in-house production facilities, highly skilled artwork and production team and strong relationships with suppliers means we can offer a reliable, allround service.” Issey Gill from Equithread

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INDUSTRY NEWS 20 images FEBRUARY 2023 Want to know what your industry colleagues really think of the garments and accessories they decorate? Each issue, one reader tells us why they rate a particular product Neil Crockley, owner of Blend Screen Printing in Middlesbrough, says his favourite product to decorate is the Unisex Creator Iconic T-Shirt (SX001) from Stanley/Stella. The tee offers excellent printability due to its soft hand-feel, explains Neil. “Being made from 100% premium organic cotton, it’s the perfect match for the eco-conscious when screen printed with an ecofriendly, water-based ink!” The Creator comes in a fashion fit in a wide range of colours and is a T-shirt that holds its shape really well after washing, adds Neil. “They’re popular with streetwear and fashion brands looking for a more premium product to offer their customers. “Another great feature for screen printers is the ease of tag removal – the Creator includes a little tear-away size tab, which can be quickly removed and then it can be rebranded with inner neck labels.” READERS’ CHOICE Stanley/Stella’s Unisex Creator Iconic T-Shirt is perfect for the ecoconscious, says Neil Find our digital editions online: Workwear specialist boosts EcoVadis sustainability rating Efforts to improve environmental and ethical credentials have helped workwear and safety specialist Arco gain a gold medal from international sustainability ratings specialist EcoVadis. After several years with a silver rating, the Hull-based company has now achieved gold after improving its scores in areas such as the environment by improving energy performance reporting and the setting of carbon reduction targets. It also improved its scores in labour and human rights and in sustainable procurement. The gold rating puts Arco in the top 5% of more than 100,000 companies that are assessed by EcoVadis. In addition, Arco was also recognised as an industry leader, overall, by making it into the top 2% of companies rated by EcoVadis in its industry sector as well as in the areas of sustainable procurement, where it was in the top 1%. Arco moved to more energy-efficient headquarters in Hull in 2021 BPMA reveals best garments in product awards Garments from The Outdoors Company and United Brands of Scandinavia are among winners announced in the 2022/23 BPMA Product Awards in January. The awards, run by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA), covered the whole promotional merchandise industry, encompassing categories such as clothing and bags as well as innovation and sustainability. The Outdoors Company was platinum winner in the Apparel Product of the Year category with its Rab Downpour Eco Waterproof Promotional Jacket which is made of Pertex Revolve – a recycled polyester fabric that is designed to be easy to recycle. In the same category, United Brands of Scandinavia won gold with its Hiker Jacket, a functional shell jacket with taped seams, waterproof zippers and adjustable sleeves with Velcro. In the Innovative Product of the Year category, the platinum award was won by TranSmart for its DTP (direct-to-paper) transfers. The Outdoors Company’s winning Rab Men’s Downpour Eco Jacket

EMBROIDERY•PRINT•WORKWEAR BAGS•GARMENTS•HEADWEAR For further information visit: or contact GS UK Limited, 5 Crocus Street, Nottingham, NG2 3DE Tel: 0115 8448000 E-mail: A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO SEE CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION AND TALK TO INDUSTRY EXPERTS HINCKLEY•26th September BARNSLEY•28th September BELFAST•11th October NEWCASTLE•24th October GLASGOW•26th October BASINGSTOKE•16th May BRISTOL• 18th May PORTSMOUTH•6th June PETERBOROUGH•8th June SOLIHULL•20th June MANCHESTER• 22nd June HOSTED BY

INDUSTRY NEWS 22 images FEBRUARY 2023 Energy costs set to rise for businesses from April Garment decorators and manufacturers face higher energy bills from April after the government announced it would reduce compensation for soaring gas and electricity prices. The Treasury confirmed in January that it would follow up the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) with only “transitional support” for businesses over the 12 months from 1 April 2023, totalling about £5.5 billion. This new scheme will mean nondomestic energy customers including businesses will receive a discount of up to £6.97 a megawatt hour for gas and up to £19.61 a MWh for electricity. The transitional Energy Bills Discount Scheme was described as a “huge disappointment” by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Its national chair Martin McTague said: “The current EBRS scheme provides certainty for a small business owner over their rates, and has made a material difference to the survival of many small businesses. The replacement scheme will do neither.” Target Transfers adds print pads as alternative to pillows Target Transfers now offers Print Perfect Pads to make it easier to decorate near pockets, seams and zippers. Made from a thick silicone rubber, the new pads are designed to elevate the press area away from any obstructions, providing a solid surface for even and accurate pressure. While they have a similar purpose to heat printing pillows, the pads are thicker and firmer and work differently: pillows allow the zippers and seams to depress into the pillow whereas Print Perfect Pads raise the printing area to work around these elements. The Print Perfect Pads are ideal for when fusing a heat-sensitive garment that requires a fuse area smaller than Target Transfers’ smallest 10cm by 10cm platen, reports the company. They are also suitable when transfers are a unique shape or size, or need placing in a difficult area. The pads come in three sizes: 9cm by 40cm, 13cm by 15cm and 20cm by 25cm. Stitched Equestrian This stunning logo was embroidered by Stitched Equestrian in Gloucestershire for Canadian Colours Equestrian. DECORATOR REPORT Survey reveals Brexit still causes ‘major problems’ for business Most businesses report higher costs, lower sales margins and goods shortages because of Brexit, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). A high proportion have reported they are still having “major problems” trying to use the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) since it was introduced two years ago despite its objective to allow tariff-free trade with the EU. The BCC surveyed more than 1,168 businesses, of which 92% were small and medium-sized firms, as part of a new report on the TCA. It can be downloaded at It found that four in five (80%) firms had seen the cost of importing increase, more than half (53%) had seen their sales margins decrease and almost threequarters (70%) of manufacturers had experienced shortages of goods and services. The BCC’s TCA Two Years On report sets out 24 recommendations to increase UK-EU trade. Check out our Instagram Stories for the latest industry news @imagesmaguk The British Chambers of Commerce’s new report on the impact of Brexit on UK businesses The new Print Perfect Pads from Target Transfers Gas and electricity costs are to rise in April. Photo: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

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INDUSTRY NEWS 24 images FEBRUARY 2023 European textile print and embroidery show returns TecStyle Visions, the European trade show for textile printing and embroidery technology, is returning in 2023, the first time it has taken place since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking place in Stuttgart in Germany from 30 March to 1 April 2023, it features exhibitors such as direct-to-garment (DTG) machine manufacturers Aeoon and Kornit, garment decorator Lynka, embroidery machine maker Melco, screen print machine manufacturer MHM, heat press supplier Stahls’, digital technology specialist Ricoh Europe, Trotec Laser, and Pigment.Inc with its DTG and hybrid DTG/ direct-to-film (DTF) machines. Garment suppliers exhibiting include AWDis Brands, Beechfield Brands, Gustav Daiber, Henbury Brands, Kustom Kit, Mantis World, Neutral, Regatta Professional, Result Clothing, Stanley/ Stella, Stedman, Stormtech and Tee Jays. Sara Sanders-Smith, director of Result Clothing, said: “Besides new products, at TecStyle Visions 2023 we are also focusing on products from our Recycled collection. We look forward to a busy show with a focus on sustainability and quality business leads from all over Europe.” New guide to help businesses get more digital Garment decorators are being urged to start planning for next Christmas already with a new guide about how to adopt digital technology. The free downloadable guide highlights how digital technology can be used to help businesses during the busiest times, whether that’s the run-up to Christmas or during the ‘back to school’ season. It has been produced by Made Smarter, a collaboration between the UK government and industry to support the adoption of digital technologies, and is available at With the title of “Is digital technology the key to success during busy periods such as Christmas?”, the guide aims to demystify digitalisation and drive technology adoption. It includes topics such as how digital tools can help plan production and capacity, oversee and manage the workforce, forecast demand and inventory needs, manage stock levels and optimise picking, and automate the packaging process. Find us on social media: @imagesmaguk The last TecStyle Visions was in 2020 Garment decorators are being urged to explore digital technology Clothes2order acquires Fabryx web store technology Brilliant Tech and its Fabryx club merchandise retail technology have been sold to Clothes2order to make the online solution available to more potential customers. The acquisition follows 18 months of building and testing for Fabryx’s online platform, which enables clubs and teams to sell their own branded merchandise to their members and fans. Clothes2order, which supplies printed and embroidered clothing, is integrating Brilliant Tech’s sales, fulfilment and marketing into its Manchester operation. Website operations will continue to be run from Brilliant Tech’s London office. Fabryx customers already include numerous independent sports clubs, charities and international sports events. Plans are now in place to expand the number of clubs and organisations tenfold over the next 12 months. An example of a Fabryx web shop

20 APR GLASGOW Doubletree by Hilton Strathclyde 23 MAY NEWCASTLE Delta by Marriott Newcastle Gateshead 25 MAY 13 JUN NEWPORT ICC Wales 15 JUN 11 JUL LEICESTER Marriott Leicester 19 SEP NORWICH Sprowston Manor Hotel & Spa 21 SEP HAYDOCK Haydock Racecourse 17 OCT 19 OCT WATFORD Hilton Watford 07 NOV 09 NOV PLYMOUTH Boringdon Park Golf Club THE UK’S PREMIER Print & Embroidery ROADSHOW BARNSLEY Holiday Inn Barnsley SOUTHAMPTON Hilton at Ageas Bowl MORE SHOWS | MORE EXHIBITORS | BIGGER VENUES CROYDON Hilton Croydon BRISTOL Village Hotel Bristol Print & Stitch roadshows are organised by Stocks Sewing Machines Ltd. For more information, visit or contact Stocks on 0113 242 9378 | Register free to attend your local show Open 9am - 4pm Free parking & refreshments

INDUSTRY NEWS 26 images FEBRUARY 2023 Check out our videos on Vimeo: @imagesmaguk Survey reveals worsening mental health for business owners Owners of small businesses have reported a worsening in mental health after two years of lockdowns, rising costs and uncertainty, according to new research. The survey of more than 600 respondents by small business insurance provider Simply Business found that 22% rated their mental health as “bad” (18%), or “very bad” (4%), with 20% of them reporting that they were battling depression. Alongside this, 51% reported feeling stressed, 39% had been experiencing anxiety and 22% had insomnia. Rising costs were seen as the biggest challenge for their businesses, while just over a quarter were worried they would not be able to pay their bills in 2023. Three in five of them said their profit margins were down. Simply Business published the results of its survey to tie in with the launch of the Better for Business Wellbeing Hub for owners of SMEs, working with a range of experts to provide free resources and wellbeing tips. Alexandra renews support for nurses’ award scheme Workwear supplier Alexandra is building on its long-time links with the healthcare sector by continuing its sponsorship of the Cavell Star Awards. The company is an established supporter of the awards, which recognise nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who provide exceptional care to colleagues, patients and their families. The awards are run by the Cavell Nurses’ Trust, which helps both working and retired UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants when they experience personal or financial hardship. Speakers announced for P&P Live! 2023 seminars The full line-up of experts has been revealed for sessions offering information and advice to garment decorators at this year’s Printwear & Promotion Live! show. They are taking part in a seminar programme running across The Decoration Advice Suite and The Knowledge Centre at the exhibition, which is at NEC Birmingham from 26 to 28 February. Karen Burrows, MD of thread specialist Madeira UK, will again host her popular session on sustainable solutions for embroidery, while Colin Marsh, founder and managing director of direct-tofilm (DTF) and direct-to-garment (DTG) specialist Resolute, will explain all there is to know about the increasingly popular process of DTF, covering both the pitfalls and the benefits. For a complete list of the speakers, visit the Printwear & Promotion Live! website. For more information on the show, turn to page 34 of this issue, and for an overview of the exhibitors, turn to page 36. Watteva These vibrant hoodies were embroidered by Watteva in Exeter for local coffee shop Teign Bean. DECORATOR REPORT Visitors at a seminar at Printwear & Promotion Live! 2022 Alexandra is sponsoring the Cavell Star Awards Free wellbeing tips are available now on the Better for Business Wellbeing Hub. Picture:

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 28 images FEBRUARY 2023 What is VAT, and when and how do I register for it? Value added tax, or VAT, is a tax based on the value of goods or services. As a self-assessed tax, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer – the business owner – to ensure they are accounting for VAT correctly on all relevant transactions. A transaction is within the scope of UK VAT if it concerns a supply of goods or services made in the course or furtherance of business that takes place in the UK and is made by a taxable person, ie an individual or company who is registered for VAT. Mistakes can cost time and money to correct so ensuring you are acting in accordance with your obligations from the outset is crucial. If errors are made, these may be subject to a VAT penalty regime, which runs from 0% to 100% depending on the nature of the error. When should I register my business for VAT? If the value of a business’s taxable supplies exceed £85,000 in a rolling 12-month period, or in the next 30 days alone, the business will be required to register for VAT. There are currently three VAT rates in effect in the UK: the standard rate of VAT (20%); the reduced rate (5%), and the zero-rate (0%). Supplies can also be classified as exempt from VAT – the value of exempt goods/services are excluded when calculating whether a business has exceeded the VAT registration threshold. If a supply cannot be defined as being liable to the reduced or zero rate, or being exempt, it is by default a standard-rated supply. Zerorated supplies are still considered a taxable supply and should the value of zero-rated supplies made exceed the relevant threshold, VAT registration will be required. To register for VAT, you need to print out and complete a VAT1 form, which can be found on the website. VAT registration can also be applied for online: you’ll need a government gateway account (for more information, go to how-register-for-vat), or you can use a consultancy such as The VAT People to apply on your behalf. The VAT due on a business’s supply of goods or services is known as its output tax, while the VAT incurred on purchases is classified as input tax and is recoverable to the extent that it is incurred in the course of making onward taxable supplies. As such, input tax relating to the provision of exempt supplies is irrecoverable, as this is not considered a taxable supply for VAT purposes. How do I submit my business’s VAT returns? VAT-registered businesses are required to submit quarterly VAT returns to report the output VAT charged during the relevant period. This is offset against input tax incurred within the same period and in instances where input tax exceeds output tax, the difference is paid to the taxpayer by HMRC. If a VAT return or payment is late, the trader may be liable to a default surcharge. In terms of record keeping, a registered person must provide their customer with a VAT invoice within 30 days of the tax point of the supply (this is the date a supply is made for VAT purposes) and should contain the invoice number; date of supply; date invoice issued; supplier’s name, address and registration number; recipient’s name and address; description and quantity of goods/ services; amount being charged; rate of VAT applicable; total amount being charged; and rate of discount, if offered. Copies of sales invoices issued by the business should be held within their records. Purchase invoices (showing the above information) should be kept, particularly where a claim for input tax is being made via a VAT return as otherwise the business will not be able to claim this. My clients are based overseas, does this matter? The sale of goods/services to customers located outside the UK is subject to a different VAT treatment depending on the location of the customer, the type of supply and its value. This can be a complex area to navigate and therefore further advice should be sought to ensure VAT is accounted for correctly. Expert advice on the business of running a garment decoration company Q&A RobMcCann is a director at The VAT People, a VAT consultancy firm that provides comprehensive advice on thorny VAT issues for a wide range of businesses across all sectors, helping them to remain VAT compliant and strategising ways to optimise their VAT processes. FEBRUARY 2023 images 29 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 4 Expand your SERP real estate If there are terms, phrases or questions that you’d like your website to rank for in 2023, it’s not too late to make a plan of action. Do some research to see what kind of content already ranks for those all-important terms, and start coming up with ideas that are even more useful and engaging than what’s already out there! Highlighting opportunities to grow your website and gain more exposure in Google will help you attract a wider audience. In addition, have a think about the features that exist in Google’s search results that you aren’t already taking advantage of. This could be local SEO, featured snippets, or the ‘People also ask’ section. Try to optimise your website so that you’re making better use of these features and gaining valuable real estate in the SERP. 1 Write for people, not for search engines When you’re constantly checking and reviewing rankings for valuable keywords, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of writing for Google – not the user! If you’re looking to improve the conversion rate of your website in 2023, we highly recommend shifting your focus back to the customer when you’re writing copy. Content that is engaging with a clear call to action is far more likely to drive a sale than a page that’s stuffed with keywords. So, make sure you know who your target customers are, and write for them. 2 Publish consistent social media content Nowadays, people spend more time on apps like TikTok and Instagram than they do browsing the internet, so it’s important that your business follows a clear and consistent social media schedule. Search engine rankings are often influenced by social signals such as likes, tweets, pins and other interactions – so this isn’t an area that you want to neglect. 3 Refine your website’s organisation When someone lands on your website, you want them to be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible, otherwise they’ll bounce straight off and find a comparable product/service elsewhere. Your website’s architecture should be clear, logical, and easy for users to navigate. This will also give Google’s bots a better structure to crawl, so that the most relevant products and information are displayed in the Google search results. Four SEO tips to boost your website performance Last month I suggested an overwhelming amount of information and stuff to put on your ‘to do’ list. I bet you thought that even just going for one or two of the suggestions would be impossible due to that same old killer of ideas and progress: time! I get it: you have the vision and the passion, but you’re busy. What I have discovered over the years is that it doesn’t really matter if you are a two-person team or have 200 staff, the challenges are the same. All businesses, whether they like it or not, are in some form of transition. Nothing ever stands still for long, however much we might at times want it to. The first lesson is to get some help. After years of always doing things my way, the pandemic made me stop and assess how I was running the business. All business leaders need an outside perspective. The basics of what you do is unique, but the way to successfully deliver is less so. You need to step outside of yourself and seek help and advice – check yourself before proceeding with your next step. A great plan delivered poorly will either fail or take too long to embed and deliver the results you desire. The good news is there is plenty of help out there. For your first task, I would advise actively seeking out and enquiring about both paid and unpaid help. Engage with your local chamber of commerce, local government bodies, Local Enterprise Partnerships (business-led partnerships between local authorities and local private sector businesses, which include Growth Hubs that offer business funding, Help needed support and guidance), Innovate UK Edge (a publicly-funded service that supports people building scalable businesses to achieve their goals), business coaches, peer networks... These organisations and individuals can either support you directly and/or signpost you towards helpful people and events, whether they be webinars, training programmes, grants or specialist consultants. I found the advice and support from the consultancy Business DR and Innovate UK Edge particularly helpful. Beware though, they won’t do it all for you. But they will challenge you and your thoughts. How often do the people around you do that? Ian Ault is the MD of DTB, which supplies and decorates textile products. With a £20 million turnover and 150 staff, DTB embraces ESG through DTB Connected. Joel Dear is from ETrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.