Machine: Epson SureColor SC-F2000
Tell us a bit about your business
We’ve been wedding photographers for 19 years. We had a large format department and a fine art department, and now we have a garment printing department.
Why did you decide to start printing garments?
The printing started about four years ago – we were fed up with getting it done by other printers. We started printing the HD Chromaluxe brand, making canvases for wedding clients. We invested in a heat press and an Epson sublimation printer, and then realised we could do garments as well. We bought a smaller heat press and it worked well.
Then we realised, ‘Hang on, we can only print on white garments, we can’t do black garments.’ We were getting more clients coming and saying they had black T-shirts and they needed this print done. We were ‘umming and aahing’ for ages: what should we do, should we get an Oki, do we get a direct-to-garment Epson. Through that process we were given a contract with Epson to print some work for them and they put us on their vendor list. By being on their vendor list I was able to take advantage of this; I got the F2000 printer at cost price. It was installed in April.
What do you like best about it?
I just love the brand, I love working with Epson. Also, space was an issue. A two-bed or three-bed so we could do two or three shirts in one go would have been brilliant, but it was challenging in terms of space, and they worked out more expensive.
How are you finding the machine?
It’s a great printer. If you’re looking to do a thousand T-shirt run, you will struggle, but that’s not what we’re looking for, we’re not looking at thousands of T-shirts. We’ve done orders of 50 T-shirts no problem at all, and we’ve just got an order for about 120, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem either.
It’s like any other machine – when you get it, it’s very daunting. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get to know it and you’re going to find ways to make it work for you.
We’re now getting to know more about what its capability is. We had George [from Xpres] here yesterday and he was saying ‘Think about doing tea-towels’ – he gave us a few ideas. That would work out really well, because we work with lots of schools, and a lot of schools – especially the nurseries – they make tea towels with all the children’s pictures on them. We’re not saying we’re only going to do T-shirts – it’s a saturated market so you have to find ways to make the machine work for you.
Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of it?
You maintain it, it works for you. If you’re not going to maintain it then you’re going to have issues. It’s got to be running constantly – running and being cleaned – to get the best out of it.
What would be your advice to others thinking of buying a DTG printer?
First of all, look at the space you’ve got to work in and make sure there is room for the printer and your stock. Also, definitely get a pre-treatment machine.