Grow your business with sports sublimation

Examples of what can be created using dye sublimation

It’s time for the summer sports season, which means there are lots of opportunities to sell sublimated products. Ingrid Van Loocke, brand channel manager for Sawgrass, explains further.

From team shirts, hats and socks to water bottles, bags, tags and more, the types of products you can make and sell in this market are as many as they are varied.

The onset of seasonal sports is the perfect time to improve your sublimation business. Sublimation is such a versatile technology that delivers fantastic colour and photo quality, it naturally lends itself to producing sport related products. With a little planning and investment, one could easily grow into serving this pervasive market.

 Desktop-sized strategies

Desktop-sized systems such as Sawgrass’ Virtuoso Desktop HD Product Decorating Systems are perfectly designed for a wide range of sublimation applications. The SG800 (Tabloid, A3) printers is ideal for customised T shirts, sport towels and socks, while the SG400 (Letter, A4) can create anything and everything from hats and mobile phone cases to keyrings, mugs and bottles.

Parents, coaches, fans, sponsors and other sport lovers will line up to get products with their favourite teams’ colours and logos or even pictures of players. Colours are bright and vibrant, while photos come out detailed and true-to-life. Socks featuring player photos, logos and colours in particular are trending worldwide. With one complete sublimation system added to your existing business or as part of your start-up strategy, you, too, can cash in on this action.

Bigger is better

The digital nature of sublimation makes it a great fit for easily incorporating club and sponsor names or logos into any design, eliminating the need for embroidered logos. What’s more, colours remain vibrant in outdoor lighting and after extensive washing, which is perfect for team and premiership shirts and school apparel.

The Virtuoso 25in/ 630 mm 8 Colour HD Product Decorating System, featuring the VJ 628 printer, is one system out there that can be used to create custom designed cycling jerseys, netball bodysuits, banners, signage and team branded accessories, as well as larger runs of personalised and promotional gifts. Delivering brighter, higher-definition images, with unsurpassed efficiency, this printer is designed for efficient production and is compatible with a variety of specialty ink sets just right for any application you may have.

For example, the SubliJet-HD FLEX eight-colour ink set offers both expanded gamut and fluorescent spot colour capabilities, in addition to traditional CMYK. With one inclusive ink set, you can produce hard-to-match colours like reds, blues, purples and Pantones critical, as well as true fluorescents that pop on fabrics and hard substrates. These inks are a perfect fit accurately reproducing college and professional sports logos, school colours, flags and banners, high-visibility accents and full-fluorescent prints.

How to get business

There is already lots of opportunity to drum up spring and summer sports business all around you. First, look at the schools and sports clubs in your area. Make contact with the coaches and administrators to find out who is providing their promotional and team products. From there, you can determine if it makes sense to move forward in adding your sublimated products into the mix and get a sense of what’s missing in the market that you can provide.

Fans are also a great target. They love wearing their team’s colours and logos, or showing them off on phone cases, mugs, keychains, etc. You may have to investigate as to whether you would need a license to reproduce team logos, but some internet research and a few phone calls can usually sort that out. If it makes economic sense to license, you could make a lot of money selling logoed team products at games, team stores and online.

Parents of kids on sport teams love to have pictures of their children playing and in uniform. You could form partnerships with local sport photographers to offer sublimated photo products to their customers, or go directly to the parents with products that you can imprint with their own treasured shots.

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