There are many print and apparel decorator shows related to direct to garment. Currently there are about 2 a month provided by organizers like NBM, ISS, SGIA, GOA, ASI and many more. If you are looking to buy a direct to garment printer going to a show is a definite must do. You will get to see most of the major players in the industry and get a hands on look at each machine. There are a few things you should look out for and prepare yourself with.

First off this is your time to meet the people involved with each company and get a feel for how they operate. Do they answer all your questions properly and make you feel welcome. First impressions are always very important. Also when you ask comparative questions about other printers do you get a technical and educated answer or a product bashing comment? All sales reps should be educated in the industry and offer a good comparison, anyone can answer with a negative comment.

Take a good quality image with you on a USB stick. Find an image of your own or a high quality image at 300 DPI. Preferably something you have a good idea of what it should look like when printed. Ask each printer company to print it for you. The main thing here is obviously the print and quality but also the reaction. Do they print it no problem, happy to do it? Some people may say no and unless it is because they are swamped with business this is a bad thing in my opinion. Also look and see what is involved in the process, ask and see if you can be walked through what is done. You will get a great idea of the process and ease or lack thereof and once again a good impression of the company. All of us printer companies have designs we print at shows and of course they are all going to be great. In some cases the images are optimized to look good and use limited amount of ink and this will not give you a real world printing idea of ink cost and what was involved to do that. Having your own image to print will give you the chance to see a start to finish demo and a final product to compare and wash. Getting to see the reality is key and you can make sure everything jives at the same time. If they said dark garments take 2 minutes and yours took 8 then that’s reality. Did you get a good answer on why it took 8 minutes?

Shows are also great to see what is new or just on the horizon. I feel the best part is talking to everyone and getting so much info. The guy selling t-shirt graphics may have an opinion on what he thinks about printers. Someone next to you may own the printer you are looking at or another brand. If you hear them mention it ask them what they feel. Trade shows are very important on so many levels and if you can, do yourself a favor and attend one.

Join us at ISS Atlantic City March 17-19. Booth 525. Claim Your Free Passes Now!