Note: This post is the start of a 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 who would be a good candidate for taking up sublimation.
Let me start off by saying that sublimation is not for everyone. It would probably be something most people would enjoy and be successful at doing, but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Sublimating an item well requires at least a basic knowledge of a graphics program. It requires a willingness to try something new and an understanding that you will make mistakes and ruin an item or two along the way. There has to be a certain level of precision, the ability to place items properly, to follow instructions on timing and temperature, and a certain amount of critical thinking which will allow you to figure out what to correct when something goes wrong. Sublimation is relatively simple, and a lot of fun, but it does require some thought and some practice.
If you already own a screen-print or embroidery shop, than you understand the discipline that is garment decoration, and would most likely be a perfect candidate for sublimation. Adding sublimated mugs and mousepads and other items to your inventory would also open your business to new markets and provide opportunities for upselling current customers. Sublimation equipment is also, at least in relation to most other decorating equipment, fairly inexpensive, which means you could add a new profit center for a reasonably small investment.
Another group of people who would be suited to sublimation would be those who are looking for a second income or a job they could work on the side. The fact that sublimation ink is considered “green” ink means that it can safely be used in a home or garage. Proper ventilation is, of course, still required, but sublimation ink is generally considered to be less harmful than some other types of decoration ink. Sublimation equipment can also be housed in a relatively small area. The biggest amount of space would be required for the heat press. Sublimation also has relatively low costs of entry. You can purchase a printer package for $399 which is a relatively small investment when it comes to equipment.