It’s About You, Not Us

iStock_000006951680LargeEarlier today I got a call from a customer who had a question about buying a mug press.   We sold this customer her sublimation system,  the blanks she uses, and got her started using an oven and mug wraps.   She’s doing a nice business selling her original artwork which she puts on the mugs,  and was very happy with this method of sublimation until the oven she was using broke.   She purchased a replacement oven,  but it didn’t seem to work as well,  and she called us asking about purchasing a mug press.

Now we sell a high end mug press from Geo. Knight,  and it’s a press I’d recommend to anyone.   Our parent company has used Geo. Knight presses for years,  and we know they’re well made,  and well supported.   I have no problem advising a customer that a Geo. Knight press is a great buy,  except when I can tell  from what the customer is saying to me  that the Knight press,  while a great purchase, isn’t really what the customer wants and needs.

In this case,  the customer wasn’t sure she wanted a press at all,  and certainly wasn’t sure she wanted to spend what it would cost to buy the Knight.   I explained why the Knight press was worth the price,  but she was still hesitant,  so I recommended a few other places,  friendly competitors of ours,  where she might find presses that were less expensive.   I told her if we couldn’t have the sale,  I’d rather that it went to a company I knew would treat her right.

She was still unsure,  so we talked a bit more.   As it turned out,  she liked working with an oven,  had the process down pat,  and found the results were great.   The only reason she was considering a mug press was because her current oven wasn’t giving her the results she wanted,   her previous,  more expensive oven that had worked beautifully had died,  and she was under the gun to finish orders.   As we talked,  she realized she really didn’t want a mug press at all,  that she was just stressed about making her order deadlines and grasping for solutions.   By the time we’d hung up,  she had decided to go out and get another higher end oven and proceed with the sublimation method that she liked and knew to be successful.

If there is a moral to my little story,  and I think there is,  it is this:  our interactions aren’t about us,  they’re about you.    At EnMart,  we believe that our job is to listen to what you need and help you find the best way to meet those needs.   If meeting your needs involves selling you products we carry,  that’s great,  we are a business after all.  If meeting your needs means directing you elsewhere and recommending a solution that may not put any money in our pockets at all,  we’ll do that.   Our goal is always, if we can,  to create a happy customer and one who comes back to shop with us again and again.

Sublimation Demonstration

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter,  you’ve probably seen that I’ve been making a bit of a fuss over the 2012 version of our trade show booth.   One of the fun things about doing shows is how our booth has evolved over time,  and how each evolution brings new ways to interact with trade show attendees.   We always try to do something new with the booth every trade show season,  and we also listen to suggestions from the people who visit our booth and try to incorporate those suggestions when we can.

One of the fun things we’re doing this year is bringing a George Knight DC 16 Combo Press to the show.   Before, in the booth, we’ve only been able to demonstrate sublimating flat goods.  This year,  with the addition of the DC 16 and the mug attachment,  we’ll be able to demonstrate sublimating mugs as well.    The mug attachment is actually virtually identical to the Geo. Knight DK3 Mug Press,  except the mug attachments uses the temperature controls from the DC16, instead of having individual controls as the DK3 does.

The press and the mug attachment will also be for sale as a demo model at a reduced price.  A savvy shopper could pick up the press and the mug attachment at a trade show and then add the other attachments for the press later.   Our trade show presses are transported safely and gently used,   so there is very little risk in buying a demo model.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the trade shows in March.  To keep tabs on where we’ll be and when,  you can always check the front page of our website for the latest information.

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.

A Heat Press Primer

Anyone who works in garment decoration will probably acknowledge that a heat press is generally a vital piece of equipment in any garment decoration or ad specialty shop.   Heat presses can be used for sublimation,  direct to garment printing,  inkjet transfers,  screenprint transfers and, in a pinch, simply for getting the wrinkles out of a garment, or the moisture out of transfer paper.   A good heat press, which is the right size and type for your shop, can be a huge asset.  A heat press, on the other hand,  that is the wrong size and type, or which doesn’t function properly can be anything but an asset.   If you’re just starting your business, or are looking to purchase a new heat press,  here are some basic tips to help you make the right decision for your business.

One of the first things to decide is the type of heat press you need.   EnMart sells two types of heat presses – clamshell and swinger or swingaway.    A clamshell heat press is a hinged press where the top platen lifts straight up.  These presses generally require a bit less space,  but they also are a bit more limiting.    If you are going to be doing thicker garments or want to sublimate items other than garments,  this type of press may not be for you.

A swinger or swingaway heat press, by contrast, is one where the top platen lifts up and then swings to the side.   This sort of press requires more space,  as the platen needs to be free to swing.   It also is a bit more forgiving when it comes to the thickness of the items you will be pressing.   Swingaway presses also move the top platen completely out of the way, which allows for easier loading and unloading of your press.

Another thing to consider when looking at presses is the size of the items that you will be pressing.  A 9″ x 12″ heat press may seem like a great way to start because it doesn’t take up much space and it’s less expensive, and for some people it will be the ideal press.    If you are looking at doing a wide variety of garment sizes,  however,  this press may be too small and too limiting for your needs. When choosing the size of heat press you think will work for your business, always take into account the size of the largest thing you think you could ever possibly press and buy a press that will accommodate that size.

You should also take into account your physical abilities when considering the press you will purchase.  You can find heat press which are air operated,  heat presses with auto pop-up functions,  and presses that will need to opened and closed with good old muscle power.   If you believe your press will be used quite frequently, or if you’re a smaller person,  you may want to consider a press which opens more easily and doesn’t rely on brute force.

Finally, when you purchase your press,  you may also want to consider purchasing a digital pyrometer and surface probe kit.  The temperature gauge on your heat press may not always accurately reflect the true temperature of the press.   A digital pyrometer will allow you to spot the differences between the temperature reading on the gauge and the actual temperature of the press.