Reflections at the End of the Trade Show Season – Part III

Here is my third post, some final refections as the busy trade show season is mostly over.

The biggest trends of the past ten years have been related to digital printing and to concerns about the effects of printing and garments on the environment. Developments in the environmental realm seem to have slowed down, but still do continue and I assure you they will not stop. We have to find increasingly safe and sustainable ways to do our work. Digital printing continues to innovate and to grow.

The next round of developments in our industry are going to be in the area of systems. You may be able to print one shirt at a time quickly, however you will eventually find a bottleneck not in the time it takes to print, but rather in the time it takes to transfer information. What print, what garment, and where is it going? How are those payments going to be processed? The rise of companies like Jakprints that process thousands of orders accurately is the future and the future is here now. Much of that happens on the back end, which is not a particularly photogenic area, so I don’t have many photos in what follows.

With that commentary, I’ll now get into what I do have photos of. Thanks to Ashley Marie Myers and Pam Ikegami who took quite a few of these photos.

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Here’s my fellow know-it-all and Ink Kitchen partner Tom Davenport. You can get work done, you can learn, and hey, you can still have a good time doing it.

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Brett Bowden of Printed Threads in Texas. He’s one of a few great buddies we have that make this all fun and worth doing.

 

Grey Robinson of Hanes/Champion on the bull horn giving away cool shirts.

Grey Robinson of Hanes/Champion on the bull horn giving away cool shirts. I’m all for innovation but don’t ever forget how many things in this industry you can count on as solid. Hanes and Champion are solid companies making solid products. One of the most solid, in fact forty years solid, is the Beefy T.

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We helped celebrate forty years of the Hanes Beefy-Twith some fun promotions including a cool commemorative shirt and these very clever box openers.

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Wise-asses that we are, we gave away box openers and put them in a box that was hard to open without the clever box opener.

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A satisfied customer, at least somebody thinks we are funny.

Besides Solid products like the Beefy T and fashionable lines like the Nano line, they also have a high tech product line called X-Temp. It is pretty cool (pun intended) as it has cotton as well as poly but still has great wicking properties and cooling properties. I think their neon heathers are pretty cool colors as well.

Besides Solid products like the Beefy T and fashionable lines like the Nano line, they also have a high tech product line called X-Temp. It is pretty cool (pun intended) as it has cotton as well as poly but still has great wicking properties and cooling properties. I think their neon heathers are pretty cool colors as well.

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A new Ink Kitchen sponsor is Ink Cups. They make kick-ass pad printing machines. If you are serious about re-labeling shirts you need one of their pad printers.

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Rutland showed off some great new products for stopping dye migration and they displayed some cool shirt prints. However, my reason for working with a company is not what is new as much as what is consistent and foundational. Jay DeMarco is one of many many folks at Rutland that I can trust and that trumps all the innovation in the world. Not that I don’t want to hear about what’s new, but I am more interested that my discharge ink works right every time and that my plastisol mixes to the right color and doesn’t build up on the back of my screens.

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Dov Charney may not be the head of American Apparel, but he was only one of thousands of great employees that have working right here in the US of A. One of my favorite guys is Ray their national sales manager. American Apparel started the fashion t-shirt revolution and the anti-sweatshop movement and they are the real deal.

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Every show I go to the Hirsch booth and take a photo of the Tajima single head embroidery machine with the Seit Laser. Hey, I’m always impressed.

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Kriya Stevens of econscious. Econscious sells organic shirts, hats and great hoodies. Kriya believes in what she sells and econscious delivers. A rarity in this world, she actually knows what she is talking about and lives it.

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Our pal Ray Ferriola of Donray Printing. I know a great deal about screenprinting. I don’t know much about sublimation and I don’t have to because I know Ray.

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John Lynch owner of Lynka which is one of Europe’s premier decorating shops, located in Poland. He is giving the Ink Kitchen the thumbs up for our recommendations of great vendors, companies you can truly treat as partners. Our guides to the shows and our list of vendors on this site are the best in the business, check them out.

 

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