Note: This post is the fourth in the series called the 5 Ws of Sublimation. The traditional five Ws are who, what, when, where and why. For the purposes of this series, however, I’m changing the five Ws to who, what, why, which and when. This post deals with which markets or businesses will purchase sublimated products.
Selling sublimated goods is basically about thinking big and thinking outside the box. There are so many blank options available that it really seems like there would be something that would work for almost any application. Selling sublimation generally involves matching the right sublimation blank with the right need, and then remembering to think about unique ways that sublimated goods can be used. Selling mugs and mousepads has a place, and can be quite lucrative, but the thing to remember is that sublimation can be much more than that.
Interior decorators could use sublimation to create personalized fabrics for home decoration. Many clients might be interested in personalized throw pillows for their sofa or a unique fabric for a chair or footstool. Using sublimatable tiles, appropriately coated for protection, you could create a decorative backsplash for a sink, or a dramatically tiled shower stall. Everyone wants their home to be unique and a reflection of the people who live there, and offering easily personalized sublimated options allows that to be done.
Schools are another great market for sublimated goods. From unique trophies for school events, to mugs and shirts for various school clubs to items for the school sports teams, there are lots of opportunities in the school market. In this market there may be restrictions on how logos can be used, and perhaps a submission or bid process for new work that is available, so make sure you check with the school administration to see what needs to be done to be considered as a decorated goods vendor.
Businesses are definitely a good market for sublimated goods, particularly if you’re already selling them garments. Mugs and mousepads are two popular items, but you could also sell license plates for company vehicles, business card holders for employees or to give out as keepsakes to customers, award plaques and much more. With businesses, particularly those who are already bringing you their garment work, the trick is to remember to upsell. Most companies like consolidating their vendors, so if you can be the place that offers garments and promotional items, you might be more likely to make the sale.
Finally, don’t forget that sublimation can be relatively portable. Provided you have proper space and the venue can meet your electricity needs, you could take a combination press and some blanks on the road and sublimate on demand. Obviously, you would need to limit what products you will sublimate and you’ll have to pick your venues carefully, but sublimating on demand at festivals and conventions can be done and can be profitable.