Snow and Sublimation

As I sit here and watch the snowflakes drift past my window,  it occurs to me there are a lot of products that can be sublimated and are also suitable for winter.    There are, of course,  mugs for hot cocoa, coffee, tea or maybe a toddy of some sort to warm up after a session of snowblowing or a snowball fight.  There are specially shaped ornaments for holiday sublimation (a heart for Valentine’s Day perhaps).   If you have a really big blizzard and get snowed in,  there’s always a jigsaw puzzle to keep you entertained.   Those are some standard products,  but there are also some more unique things that can be sublimated and added to your inventory of winter fun.

If keeping everyone snug and cozy is on your winter agenda,  then you should check out the fleece scarf and fleece ear wrap from Vapor Apparel.    They also offer fleece blankets or large panel throws which would be perfect for cold winter nights or for keeping warm at a sporting event.  All these items are performance apparel and suitable for sublimation.   While EnMart does not carry these items in our standard stock,  we can get them should anyone wish to place an order.

It’s also good to think outside the box when considering winter items that could be sublimated.   Some snowmobile covers are made out of 100% polyester, so that might be a good product if you live in an area where snowmobiling is popular.    Many snow tubes are also covered in polyester, and would be a great sell for any resorts or parks that deal with winter sports.    There are also things like boots that may have polyester components.  You may have to do some searching,  but most winter related clothing items probably have a poly option available.

The main thing to remember is that while each season has its own unique clothing and accessories which might be suitable for sublimation, there’s one place that’s always suitable for purchasing sublimation supplies and that’s EnMart.   We offer a unique combination of good prices, product knowledge and sublimation experience,  which means that not only will you get a great bargain on your purchases,  you’ll also have support available to you.

5 Tips for Speedy Holiday Ordering

While, for some people,  it has been the holiday season for quite some time already,  the official countdown to Christmas starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving.   If you’ve been making your gift lists and checking them twice,  you may have already purchased the supplies you need.   If not,  here are a few tips for planning your sublimation supply orders from EnMart.  These tips will help ensure that your supplies arrive on time and you can have your gifts completed, wrapped and under the tree long before Christmas morning.

Tip # 1:  All sublimation supplies currently come from Michigan –  Although we do have four locations across the United States,   all sublimation papers, inks, printers and blanks are currently shipped from Michigan.  Please factor shipping time from Michigan to your location into estimated delivery time when you place your order.

Tip 2:  Most orders turn same day if placed early enough – At EnMart we pride ourselves on same day shipment of almost all orders.  The only exceptions are orders for which items need to be created i.e. blank patches,  or orders which come in too late to make our shipment pick-up.    To ensure your order ships the same day you place it,  make sure it is placed early enough in the day to be pulled, packaged and picked-up.

Tip 3:  Sublimation blanks can be bought by the piece –  If you just need one piece of one of our sublimation blanks for a gift,  you can buy just one.   The only requirement is that your order meets the $25 minimum purchase requirement.   As long as your order is $25 or more,  you can buy one of any of the sublimation blanks we offer.

Tip 4:  Combo packages make great gifts – If you know someone who might want to get started with sublimation, one of EnMart’s sublimation combo packages makes a great gift.    We’ll even box everything up and ship it to the intended recipient’s address.    Please do keep in mind that combo packages supply everything needed to print a sublimation transfer.  If you want to sublimate an item,  you’ll need an item suitable for sublimation and a heat press as well.

Tip 5:   Ink prices will rise in 2012, so stock up on ink now – Ink prices are scheduled to rise in 2012,  so now is the time to stock up on sublimation ink.  As always,  EnMart offers free Ground shipping on all sublimation ink,  so now is the time to replenish your supply at 2011 prices and get free shipping.

Sublimation and Sports Memorabilia

Since I live in the state from which both the Tigers and the Lions hail,   and since both are having good seasons,  I thought it might be a nice day to write about sublimation and sports memorabilia.   We all know that sports fans love their shirts and flags and other items,  and sublimation is a great way to create those items.    Before you start sublimating anything, however,  you need to make sure you have the proper permissions.  The logos and names of the various teams are owned by the teams or the league, and as such may not be used without permission.  This means you need to purchase your logos from a licensed seller who authorizes resale,  or you need to approach the league directly.   Here are some links where you can find more information about obtaining licenses.

NFL Licensing Information

MLB Licensing Information

NBA Licensing Information

NHL Licensing Information

NASCAR Licensing Information

Collegiate Licensing Company (college sports)

Once you’ve obtained the proper permissions and licenses,  it’s time to start creating your products.    We all know t-shirts are one great way to show support for your favorite team.    Mugs would be another common item of sports memorabilia,  and certainly everyone has seen a car flag or two flying in tribute to a favorite team.   While all these items are common, there are other items that can also be sold to sports fans.

First, let’s not forget women,  who make up an increasing percentage of sports fans.   Shirts fitted for women’s bodies would be a great way to sell sports themed apparel to women.    Jewelry boxes with a logo from a favorite team would also be a great gift for a female fan.    There are also things like sublimatable earrings or pendants which might well be good sellers with the female fan base.

Second, of course,  are novelty items.   Maybe a jigsaw puzzle of a favorite team logo.    Perhaps a heart shaped coaster or ornament to help symbolize the sincere love a fan has for a favorite team.   A bag decorated with a team logo would be a great gift for the fan still in school.

Almost any item that can be sublimated could also make a great gift for a sports fan.   The main thing to remember is that team logos and slogans are all copyrighted and you should make sure you have the proper permissions before creating anything sports related.

Printers Vs. Packages

If you’ve ever shopped for sublimation supplies on our website (and if you haven’t, why not?), you may have noticed that we sell printers for sublimation separately,  and also as part of a combo package.    Unfortunately,  this seems to be a source of confusion for some people.    I thought I’d try and clear some of that confusion up by explaining why we sell printers separately, and what extra value a combo package can bring to the table.

First, why we sell printers separately.   Sawgrass only sells sublimation and ChromaBlast ink for certain makes and models of printers.     These printers aren’t necessarily special printers,  you could probably find most, if not all of them, at your local office supply store.   The reason we sell them here, separately, is because we sell everything related to sublimation,  and it wouldn’t make sense to have all the rest of the necessary items and not have printers.   Besides, printers do, on occasion need to be replaced,  or upgraded,  and having them readily available makes us a one stop shop for sublimation or ChromaBlast customers.

While I’m on this subject,  I do want to remind everyone that printers purchased separately do not come with sublimation ink.   The only ink that accompanies these printers is the OEM ink that was put in the box in the factory where the printer was made.  Please keep in mind that purchasing a printer separately with the intent of using it for sublimation or ChromaBlast will also require that you buy the proper ink cartridges.

Second,  why we offer a limited number of combo packages for sublimation and ChromaBlast.

When we first started creating the sublimation section, our intent was to have everything be “build your own”.  We would offer discounts and allow our customers to create the packages which suited them best.  Over time, however,  we realized that some printer models seemed to lend themselves to a package deal,  and creating a combo package made it easier for our customers to be sure they were purchasing everything that was needed.   We now have a limited number of combo packages available,  and still retain the build your own package discounts as well.  This allows our customers complete freedom in finding and purchasing the package that best suits their needs.

As always,  if you have any questions about which printer is right for you,  or about the perfect package for your needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’ll be happy to help you find the solution that works best for you.

Sublimation for the Holidays

I know it’s hard to start thinking about Christmas when some parts of the country are still dealing with record high temperatures,  but now is the time to start thinking about what to offer your customers for the holidays.   Customers who are looking for new decorations or a unique Christmas gift may already have started early.   You need to have your stock in place now so you can fill those holiday orders when they come.

One perennial favorite for Christmas is, of course, ornaments.    EnMart carries round ornamentsoval ornaments and heart ornaments.   All are ceramic and suitable for sublimation.   They would be a great product to offer a customer who wants a personalized ornament,  or for someone creating a theme tree,  who may need ornaments all relating to a single theme.

Personalized mugs or steins can also be a great addition to the yearly holiday gathering.    Whether it’s a brunch with hot chocolate,  in which case personalized 11 oz. mugs would be a hit,   or a carol singing party,  with steins of hot cider at the end,   personalization can add that extra decorative touch.

There are also lots of great ideas for personalized gifts for business people.   A personalized business card holder is a classy way to carry cards without them getting smudged, wrinkled or lost.    Those who have a longer commute might appreciate a personalized travel mug.   A personalized message board could take pride of place in someone’s office.    Someone who is abandoning the briefcase might appreciate a personalized canvas bag.

Whatever sublimated items you decide to offer,  the trick is to remember that holiday gift giving and decorating is being planned now.  If you wait until Thanksgiving or the beginning of December you may miss out on potential holiday sales.  If you plan ahead and have a list of holiday gift ideas waiting for your customers,  you may find that your sales figures make it a very happy holiday season for your business.

T-Shirts for Sublimation

When it comes to garments and sublimation,  many people still think of polyester they way they wore it back in the 60’s and 70’s.   Bright colored leisure suits,  shiny shirts with garish prints,  chemical clothes that almost looked like they could stand up on their own.   I grew up in the 70’s and my parents dressed me in some polyester nightmares,  so I know both how those clothes can look and feel.   They’re not very attractive and they’re not very comfortable.

Luckily for those people who sublimate today,  there are companies that have worked to make better, more comfortable polyester clothing.   Vapor Apparel is one such company.    They have worked to develop performance wear that is comfortable and durable, with trademarked moisture wicking technology.  Whether you’re simply wearing a sublimated shirt to be stylish,  or you want a shirt that will stand up to dirt, sweat and weather,  Vapor Apparel shirts combine both style and strength in one garment.

EnMart is proud to be a Vapor Apparel distributor.   We currently carry a selection of Vapor Apparel t-shirts, polo shirts and lady’s shirts.   New styles and colors are added on a regular basis.    EnMart has access to the entire Vapor Apparel catalog of products,  so if you find something on their site  that you don’t see on ours,  ask us about adding the item to our stock.   Our inventory of Vapor Apparel products is constantly expanding.


Summer Sublimation

It’s Summer in Northern Michigan which means it’s beach weather,  and picnic weather,  and hiking, biking and kite flying weather.  It is also perfect weather for summer sublimation,  or for sublimating items that people can use while they’re hiking, biking, swimming and all the rest.    If you’re thinking about how you can capitalize on the summer sublimation market,  here are a few ideas that might help.

Sublimated shirts –  We talk about it so often,  but a lot of people forget that sublimation ink dyes the fibers,  it doesn’t sit on top of the fabric like a screen-printed design would.    If the temperature is high, a performance apparel shirt that breathes and has a comfortable feel against the skin would be a great choice for wearing to the beach, on a hike or just around the house.   The light colors suitable for sublimation are also great colors for summer shirts.

Tags – Summer time is also travel time,  and whether that travel is for a vacation or for an away game,  everyone needs to have their baggage identified.   Luggage tags and sports bag tags are great ways to make sure the baggage for every summer excursion is clearly marked and ready to arrive safely at its destination.

Keeping Hydrated – Around here we have people hiking the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and around the lakeshore,  and inevitably someone forgets to take water and ends up in trouble.   If they had a monogrammed water bottle,  there wouldn’t be any problem,  and all the hikers and bikers could have their favorite beverages with them on every trip.

Car Flags –  Summer is the time for driving with the windows down,  the music pounding and all your flags flying.   Car flags are a great way to show  allegiance to a particular team or cause,  and summer is the time to fly those flags!

Clipboards – For some reason,  every memory I have of summer camp features someone with a clipboard.  Whether it’s keeping track of bunk assignments or setting up the line-up for the big end of the week softball game,  every camp needs a clipboard or two.

Canvas bags –  Beach bags,  a bag to carry your produce home from the Farmer’s Market or the farm stand,  or a bag to carry your water and snacks while you watch a parade,  a sublimated canvas bag can come in very handy.   Corporations that sponsor events might also want to use these bags as giveaways to attendees.

If people having summer fun are part of your target market for your sublimated goods,  remember that your customers may not know what they need until you show them.  Remember also to think outside the box,  offering a unique keepsake for a festival,  or a fun item for a road race may be what gets you the sale.


Sublimation Accessories

When you’re considering purchasing a sublimation system,  you probably concentrate on the big things,  printerspaper and ink,  and perhaps forget the small things that can make sublimating an item so much easier.   Since it’s easy to forget you might need heat tape,  or a mug wrap,  I thought today would be a good time to remind you that EnMart carries a variety of accessories for sublimation, and to discuss which accessories might be useful for which disciplines.

Wraps – Wraps are used for items that are oddly shaped or too large or small to fit comfortably in a heat press.  They are also useful if a large quantity of an item needs to be produced.  Many people, for instance,  use mug wraps and a large oven to produce large quantities of mugs.   Shot glasses are too small and fragile to go in a press,  so they are sublimated using a shot glass wrap.    There are also wraps for bowls and other items that can’t be sublimated with a press.

Name badge attachments –  EnMart sells a variety of name badges,  but those badges won’t do you any good if they can’t be attached.    We offer magnetic attachments and safety pin attachments.

Bulk Ink (CISS) Kits – If you prefer to work with bulk ink, CISS kits are your answer.   These kits contain hardware only,  and can be used with the Sawgrass bulk ink bags.   CISS kits are available for the Workforce 1100 and the Epson 1400.

Waste Ink Collectors – Over time the waste ink collector that came with your Ricoh printer will be full.  When you need to change out your waste ink collection unit,  EnMart has them for the Ricoh GX e3300N and the Ricoh GX 7000.

Sublimation Heat Tape – Holding transfers in place so they don’t slip or slide is important and heat tape is often a necessity for hard goods like mugs or tiles.    If you use the handy heat tape dispenser EnMart sells,  you’ll always be able to find your tape easily.

Heat press options – Don’t forget that you need to protect your heat press as well.  EnMart offers a variety of options for protection as well as items to enhance the usefulness of your heat press.

George Knight Heat Presses

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter (and if you don’t, you should), you may have seen that I’ve been talking about the new revamp of the heat press section on our website.   We’ve separated out the different types of heat presses to help you be able to better find what you need.  We’ve added some presses and accessories that weren’t previously on the site.   We’ve also added some videos that will tell you more about individual presses,  as well as more about how the presses are built.    If you haven’t had a chance to preview the new set-up,  here’s a little tour.

First of all,  instead of listing all the presses under one category,  they are now divided into types.   We have clamshell presses,  which work well for flat goods,  and swing-away presses which offer room for goods with more shape to them.    Combo presses may be the perfect choice for the sublimator who wants to do a little bit of everything,  and mug, cap and label presses are a great choice for those who want to concentrate on decorating one particular item.

In the options and accessories category,  we spotlight things like pyrometers,  additional platens,  stands, auto release pop-up options and other items that can help you customize your heat press.   We also increased the  variety of materials,  like Teflon,  we offer to help you protect the platens of your heat press and the items that you are pressing.

We do sometimes get asked why we only sell one brand of heat presses,  and the answer to that is pretty simple,  we sell the brand we use.   Our parent company, Ensign Emblem,  has worked with other press manufacturers and used other presses,  and we’ve found George Knight to be the most reliable when it comes to customer service and to the quality of the products they sell.    We use Knight presses in our plants, and they have been workhorses that function well for us.  We’re confident they will do the same for you, and that’s why we sell them.

We also want to remind everyone that heat presses don’t necessarily have to be for sublimation or ChromaBlast printing.  You can use them to press Ntrans transfers to anything that needs decoration.    A heat press is also the perfect tool for heat sealing blank patches or sublimated patches to a garment.   A sturdy, well made press has a variety of uses,  and is a good investment for any shop.

Free Ink for Ricoh Printers

Many EnMart customers are already familiar with our QuickStartR package,  featuring the Ricoh GX e3300N printer,  or with the Ricoh GX 7000 which is a production grade printer.    These printers are great options for sublimation shops,  with reasonable price points and smooth operation.

This summer,  EnMart is going to make the Ricoh platform even more attractive with a special offer on ink.  Between 6/1/2011 and 7/31/2011,  EnMart is offering one FREE ink cartridge with a first re-order of CMYK Sublijet-R or ChromaBlast-R sublimation ink.    To qualify, customers must purchase a Ricoh GX e3300N or GX7000 Printer with either a full set of SubliJet-R ink cartridges or a full set of ChromaBlast-R ink cartridges.   Once your initial order has been placed,  you will receive a coupon for one Free ink cartridge with your first reorder of a set of CMYK ink.   The coupon must be redeemed by 12/31/11. Offer is available only in the United States and Canada.

The Ricoh platforms are now available for both Windows and Mac operating systems,  so there’s never been a better time to get started with sublimation.    The Free ink offer expires on 7/31/2011,  so get your system ordered today!