I was looking for blog post ideas on the Internet today and I came across an article on eHow called “How do I Start a Sublimation Business?” For the most part the article was a standard article about starting any sort of business. It gave advice like you need to get a business license, and you need to decide whether you’re going to have a brick and mortar business or sell online. Where it was a bit lacking, in my opinion, was in the advice that was given about what equipment you needed to start a sublimation business. Since we sell sublimation supplies and have helped many people start sublimation businesses, I thought I could clarify a few things.
First, one thing I do agree with, researching your potential market is key. It is never wise to start a new business without knowing who might buy and what they might buy. Spending a few hours figuring out where and who your potential customers are can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Now, as to what you’ll need. I disagree with the article’s recommendation about a heat press. We always recommend purchasing the biggest heat press you think you will ever need. You should also take into account what you might want to do. If you want to do mugs, you should either buy a mug press or a press with a mug attachment. If you think you’re only going to do garments, a flat press may be fill your needs. Spend some time looking at the options for sublimatable items before you buy your press, so you’ll be fully aware of all your options.
I’m also not in agreement with the article’s recommendation of cutters and hole punchers and notchers. Most sublimation blanks are already cut or rounded or punched if that sort of thing is necessary. If you are thinking of purchasing sheets of FRP and cutting your own shapes, then a cutter or a corner rounder may be necessary. If you just plan to use existing sublimation blanks, however, I don’t see that those particular items need to be first on your list to purchase.
Finally when choosing sublimation blanks, make sure the items that you are purchasing are items that are meant for sublimation. For hard goods, that means poly coated items. For soft goods, 100% polyester works best.
Additional Note: It was pointed out to me that if you buy sheets of sublimatable aluminum, you will most likely want a shearer, punch, and corner cutter for those various shapes. Those types of equipment don’t work on FRP material at all though; you need a at minimum a drill and router (or table saw) to cut those sheets into shapes. Best to buy the shapes already cut out with the FRP unless you are doing signage.