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Order volume:

Variable/$3,000 per month

Printers:

Two OmniPrint® Freejet 330TX DTG printers
Roland DM20 printer cutter for apparel vinyl
Dye sublimation 8.5 X 14 for poly shirts

Curing:

Two clamshell heat presses
Lawson Digi Drybox for additional curing needs

Pre-treatment:

Lawson Easy Stroke pre-treatment machine for jobs that require white ink
Two Wagner power sprayers (also for pre-treatment)

Other Equipment:

Carts with casters
PC for RIP software

Web:
Web Facebook

Why Invest in Direct to Garment?

Frank and Shelly Candelier head up US Custom Apparels, based in Northport, Florida and serving customers nationwide. The company uses targeted list buys to methodically reach out to golf courses, whitewater rafting and camping groups, landscapers, fire departments, and other types of businesses or organizations with heavy outdoor activities.

They launched their garment decoration business about three years ago when they were living in Vermont. They discovered direct to garment printing while researching a new occupation for their daughter. The Candeliers’ research led them to look at a few DTG printer manufacturers at first. Having narrowed down his choices to one, Frank was convinced to make the leap from a long-term career as a product manager for a large manufacturer of custom communications cables. He was happy to forgo continuous travel for his job and he was no stranger to hard work.

“This is the perfect way to make supplemental income for a 61-year-old,” says Frank. At the same time, Shelly had equal depth of experience in marketing. Also in the duo’s favor was Frank’s decades of working knowledge of Adobe® PhotoShop®, the mainstream graphic design program he had used since it came out in 1989.

US Custom Apparels

The Candeliers purchased their first DTG printer, an mPower mP5, and they found themselves very busy. They chose to focus strictly on digitally printing t-shirts, sweatshirts and polo shirts. With Shelly’s marketing skills and their combined hard work, they built a business big enough to convince Shelly to quit her job, too.

However, when they decided to move their household to Florida, challenges arose with the printer.

 

How Did You Choose OmniPrint?

Before moving to Florida, the company had received several orders and the Candeliers expected to be able to fulfill them in a timely fashion in Florida. But when they arrived, chaos ensued. “It was six weeks of hell,” Frank says. The mPower was found to have clogged heads; repairs would be costly and create setbacks. “We had to replace two heads at more than $1,000 each. In fact, over time I’ve learned how to take apart the mPower with my eyes closed. It’s great when it’s running, but it has to be run daily.” Ultimately they decided to disengage the printer’s white ink channels.

Because of their new proximity to Belquette, another manufacturer of DTG printers, they were on the verge of buying a printer from them to fulfill the threatened contracts. Then they met Ken Hope, OmniPrint® consultant. “Ken’s honesty, integrity and product knowledge sold me on OmniPrint,” says Frank.

They were most attracted to key differences with OmniPrint. First, the fact that OmniPrint Freejets use a unique wet cap/no clog system that keeps the printer always ready to print, because the print heads never dry out or clog. This translated to avoiding costly print head replacements, time-consuming calls to tech support and downtime that could kill orders.

Second, the technical knowledge and dedication of the OmniPrint team, starting with Ken and extending to the rest of the staff based in Costa Mesa, California. Finally, the Candeliers were extremely impressed with the way that the Freejet printer could apply white and CMYK ink in a single pass with high quality results, yet cost half as much as their existing DTG printer.

 

What's Your Shop Look Like?

US Custom Apparels

Before moving to Florida, the company had received several orders and the Candeliers expected to be able to fulfill them in a timely fashion in Florida. But when they arrived, chaos ensued. “It was six weeks of hell,” Frank says. The mPower was found to have clogged heads; repairs would be costly and create setbacks. “We had to replace two heads at more than $1,000 each. In fact, over time I’ve learned how to take apart the mPower with my eyes closed. It’s great when it’s running, but it has to be run daily.” Ultimately they decided to disengage the printer’s white ink channels.

Because of their new proximity to Belquette, another manufacturer of DTG printers, they were on the verge of buying a printer from them to fulfill the threatened contracts. Then they met Ken Hope, OmniPrint® consultant. “Ken’s honesty, integrity and product knowledge sold me on OmniPrint,” says Frank.

They were most attracted to key differences with OmniPrint. First, the fact that OmniPrint Freejets use a unique wet cap/no clog system that keeps the printer always ready to print, because the print heads never dry out or clog. This translated to avoiding costly print head replacements, time-consuming calls to tech support and downtime that could kill orders.

Second, the technical knowledge and dedication of the OmniPrint team, starting with Ken and extending to the rest of the staff based in Costa Mesa, California. Finally, the Candeliers were extremely impressed with the way that the Freejet printer could apply white and CMYK ink in a single pass with high quality results, yet cost half as much as their existing DTG printer. Says Frank, “Ken basically saved our business. We had jobs due on a Monday. We bought the Freejet 330TX and received the printer in a rush situation over the course of a weekend. We completed the orders and met the deadlines.”

 

Can You Share Any Numbers?

In three years’ time, US Custom Apparels has built a regular run rate of approximately $3,000 per week, or about $150,000 in sales per year, and the Candeliers are quite satisfied with the volume and pace of work. The largest single order to date was $12,000 for a private school.
Almost immediately, the Freejet helped them win key orders. One recent example was a 1,000-piece front and back order for a Vermont lake association. Frank had to modify the design several times to satisfy the customer and the graphic called for extreme attention to detail on five distinct species of fish, down to the individual scales.

Despite printing five or six days per week, Frank claims, “We don’t call it work. We absolutely adore what we do!” says Frank. “It takes a large degree of discipline to work from home. We have a schedule, we have daily meetings, and we take lunch at the same time every day. We set daily goals and do not stop until we hit them. Saturdays are about maintenance and catchup.” But they aren’t hemmed in by their own success. “You make the business work for you and we can adjust our schedule as we like. We don’t want to have to hire employees or rent a space. If we grow too big, we’ll subcontract.”

How do you keep customers? The Candeliers have a liberal customer service approach and quality assurance policy. “If you’re not happy, we replace it. No questions asked. Once we’ve got their account, they’re not going anywhere.”

While they do not have plans to rapidly expand, the Candeliers don’t hesitate to share their next major business purchase. Frank says, “We’re going to get another Freejet as soon as we can. It’s almost no maintenance. Ten minutes a day, if that, while we’re having a glass of wine.”

 

About OmniPrint International

Based in Costa Mesa, California, OmniPrint designs, manufactures and markets the highest quality and most versatile range of direct to garment printers on the market. Its unique wet cap/no clog system ensures that the printer is always ready to print, and proprietary Direct Rip software gives decorators the flexibility to prepare images quickly and easily. OmniPrint was founded in 2004 and has an east coast office in New Haven, Connecticut. For more information visit omniprintonline.com.

OmniPrint and Freejet are trademarks of OmniPrint International, Inc. All other brands are trademarks of their respective owners.