Every time we do a trade show, the question in the title of this post pops up at some point. People are quick to see the potential of sublimation, and to appreciate the wide array of things that can be sublimated, the stumbling block seems to be knowing how to find people who will buy. Finding customers for sublimated products is, in some respects like finding buyers for any product or service your business sells. You have to network. You have to provide good customer service. You have to have good price and good products. There are, however, a few details that can make selling sublimated products unique.
The first is the fact that not everyone is familiar with sublimation or understands what it is. So, in order to sell sublimated items, some education may be involved. Most people probably see sublimated items every day, but they may not know that the mug from which they drink their morning coffee or the key chain that holds their house keys was created with sublimation. Given this fact, when your company announces it now offers sublimated products, it might be smart to go into a bit of detail about what you can do. Tell people you can put their personal photos on a wide variety of objects. Give them some idea of all the objects that can be sublimated. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or lengthy, just provide enough information to get someone in the door.
The second item may involve dispelling some of the myths about sublimation. The biggest, of course, is that sublimation only works on polyester garments, which is fact, but that those garments are like the polyester leisure suits of the 70s and will be very uncomfortable. With the advent of manufacturers like Vapor Apparel, polyester garments and performance apparel have becoming an appealing and comfortable clothing option. Sublimation also offers a great alternative for decorating performance apparel, which is often difficult to embroider as it is stretchy and hard to hoop.
The third step on the path to selling sublimation is realizing what can’t be sublimated. If you are looking to put designs on dark fabrics, sublimation is not your answer. If you want to put images on items that are not 100% polyester or are not poly coated, sublimation is not your answer. Sublimated goods come in a wide variety, and new items are appearing all the time, but there are limitations. Knowing those limits will help you offer the best service to your customers.
Finally, the last thing to remember is that selling sublimation is ultimately like selling anything else. If you’ve been selling embroidery or screen printing or any other kind of product or service, you can sell sublimation. The trick is to learn what sublimation can and can’t do, so you can provide your customers with the information and education they need to make their buying decisions.