Become proficient operating the machine. Allow plenty of practice time, as with any new equipment or technology. Far too often customers tell me they have a huge order to produce the day the new machine arrives. Unless you’ve operated a direct-to-garment printer before, this is an unreasonable expectation, and will likely cause much more frustration than well printed garments.
A direct-to-garment printer is a sophisticated piece of equipment, capable of reproducing exactly what you send from your computer. That means either perfect reproduction of a high resolution well-built art file, or perfectly reproducing a low resolution, bad image. The printer gives you back exactly what you send it, whether good or bad.
Learn the basics of an art program like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, CorelDraw, or a similar program. The higher your proficiency, the easier it will be to prepare your artwork for printing. There are plenty of professional graphic designers in this industry who would love to do contract work for you. In the end, what always separates one direct-to-garment company from the next is the quality of their graphics.
Learn to market your product to your target audience. Customers for this type of high resolution printing on short run garments are everywhere! Your potential niche markets are limited only by your own effort and imagination. Find your own niche, and own it!
Your best business card is a printed t-shirt. Pass shirts out freely. Have customers in mind right now? Make the investment in creating a graphic for each of these potential customers and print sample shirts. You’ll be surprised how many of those customers will place orders with you.
Get training! Go to your machine dealer or have a technician come to you. You’ve made a large financial investment. Cutting corners on crucial training is a huge mistake. Without proper training, you risk tripping and stumbling through the early stages of your business startup.