Jaspal Bumrah tells Images about the vision and strategy behind Vinylise Printing’s success in helping influencers and fashion start-ups turn their brands and ideas into personalised garments
The walls of Vinylise Printing’s studio are decorated with striking graffiti art, reflecting its focus on creating garments for urban fashion brands and influencers. The company’s name itself is emblazoned across one side of the room, created by street artist Oust. But this is only the beginning: some of Vinylise’s customers have started adding their signatures to the walls.
“I thought it would add that extra touch if people saw all the names when they came down,” explains founder Jaspal Bumrah. “It’s also good for posting on social media. Having a place like this resonates with the audience I’m targeting.”
Instagram has been core to Jaspal’s business since he set it up in his bedroom in Edmonton in north London six years ago, opening a channel for him to work with social media stars looking for merchandise and fashion to promote and monetise their brand. Like many, he started out with just a Silhouette Cameo cutter and a heat press, but his background and talent for design have helped him carve out his own niche. Before Vinylise, he set up his own clothing brand, initially working with other decorators to produce his garments.
“I noticed that there weren’t a lot of printers who saw my vision and understood what I wanted to do with the brand,” he says.
He promoted Vinylise Printing through Instagram and found there were many others who shared his frustration at being unable to find suitable print partners for turning their ideas into fashion. “Vinylise grew more than my clothing brand so I thought I’d focus on working with other people and helping them with their vision.”
As the company’s name suggests, Jaspal started out with just vinyl printing but, after a year, sales had provided enough income for him to invest first in an Oki Pro7411WT A4 white toner printer, from MDP Supplies, and then a single-head Brother embroidery machine from Stocks Sewing Machines. “As I built my followers on social media, I noticed a demand for embroidery so I reached out to a few suppliers to buy one.” Early last year, he expanded into direct-to-garment (DTG) printing with a Polyprint TexJet Echo2, bought through Amaya Sales UK.
“It’s a great machine,” he says. “I decided DTG was less messy and more straightforward than screen printing.” Buying from suppliers rather than secondhand also provided him with support and training. He now has four heat presses, including one for caps and bags and another smaller one for pockets and sleeves.
Vinylise has grown steadily and moved at the end of last year into its current home – a stylish Redbox business centre made out of shipping containers in Tower Hamlets in east London. But Jaspal has faced numerous challenges to get to this point. Shortly after setting the business up, his dad died. Then, just as he was grappling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, he lost his mum too. “It was a whirlwind of so much to deal with. When I look back, it was such a blur. I don’t know how I got through it. But I didn’t give up. Through the grief, I distracted myself by putting everything into my business. I knew there was potential in it. I left my job and threw myself into it.”
Although Jaspal promotes Vinylise through Google and Facebook ads as well as TikTok, his main platform is Instagram. “The clients that I have are mainly young adults that want to break free and start their own brand – get out of their neighbourhood and build something for themselves.”
Many have taken inspiration from Trapstar, the streetwear brand that catapulted its three young founders from west London to global success. Although Vinylise does work in other areas such as workwear, start-up brands account for about 80% to 90% of its work, with an even but varying mix of vinyl, embroidery and DTG. His customers now come from all over the UK as well as Ireland, mainland Europe and Australia.
One of the first signatures on the wall of his studio is from by UFC fighter Ian ‘The Future’ Garry, who turns to Vinylise each time he needs a set of branded merchandise for a bout, from hoodies to long-sleeved tops. He is one of a growing number of customers taking advantage of the company’s dropshipping service, directing orders from The Future’s fans for Vinylise to process. Another is award-winning actor and rapper Ashley Walters.
“I created a design for him and sent him a free sample to show what I could do,” Jaspal explains. “We supplied some T-shirts with his brand, ‘Always Winning’.” Other clients have included influencers Ryan Taylor, Goubtube and Raheem Khalid with The CEOCast Show on YouTube.
Jaspal started by reaching out to influencers on Instagram, offering them a collaboration, although more are now coming to him after seeing his work for others. “If influencers haven’t got a brand but have a large audience, I would suggest it could be something they may want to offer. If they already have a brand, I’ll express my interest in sending them some samples to see what they think of my work and the quality.”
Vinylise’s website has an online ‘E-Book’ for clothing brands on how to successfully collaborate with influencers at little cost, with a simple guide to help them boost sales. “I offer something that suppliers that I came across weren’t able to offer. They could not envision how I could take my brand to the next level.”
He sources garments from wholesaler Ralawise and eco-friendly brand Stanley/Stella as well as smaller companies he has found through research. While T-shirts, polo shirts and hoodies remain popular, he has tracked down more specialist garments – at the moment, windbreakers with bottoms are proving particularly on trend.
“As a lot of my clients are upcoming clothing brands, I want to be able to offer something that isn’t available in the market. Some do their own research sometimes and will reach out to me asking for a particular product and I go and find it.”
A new trend
Ultimately, Jaspal would like Vinylise to be able to go as far as offering unique customised garments and he is in early talks over manufacturing in Pakistan. “Customers can forward a mock-up design and material samples for us to help create their bespoke garment made from scratch. You can get the basic tracksuits, hoodies and polos, but I’d like to start something new – start a new trend. I have recently built a relationship with a cut-and-sew manufacturer in Pakistan who is likely to help make the bespoke products that my clients are looking for.”
In the meantime, Vinylise went live with new ecommerce personalisation functionality on its website in May, developed with agency BlueWing Digital, allowing people to choose garments and submit designs online.
Despite this element of automation, Jaspal is determined not to let his business become “like a robot”, saying: “I want to be able to add something personal to it. You can go to anyone and print a T-shirt for a cheap price, but my ultimate goal is to resonate with our clients and envision their ideas. A lot of what keeps me going is seeing their smile when they see their vision in an actual product. It gives me the reassurance that I’m doing something right.”