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Direct to garment printing (DTG), best option for startup business

Young people dream to be an entrepreneur. Direct to garment printing (DTG) is one of the lucrative business ideas for a new entrepreneur to start up a new business. As this business model require relatively low investment, less space. So it is not necessary to wait for the matured age to start any business rather they can sow the seeds of opportunity today.

Direct to garment printing business
Figure 1: Modern technology makes the Direct to garment printing business easy if a new entrepreneur want to boost up his success.

This is the best method of trendy and demanding T-shirt printing with colorful designs for small lots like 100 pieces. Modern technology makes the business easy if they want to boost up their success.

What is ‘Direct to Garment’ printing (DTG)?

In the process of digitization, the old and traditional printing methods are declining in the printing industry gradually. Direct to garment printing (DTG) is a new process of printing on textile materials in an automatic process by a specialized printer.

In other words, the technique is an upgraded model of digital printer of printing paper. The only difference is DTG do print on textile material with specialized aqueous inkjet technology (textile inks- water-based chemistry).

Matthew Rhome invented the technique while he was working at DIS of Bradenton, Florida. DTG printer namely ‘Revolution’ 1st commercially embarked on in 1996. Because of the easy and instant printing process, same to paper print the technique became popular to do T-shirt printing.

Furthermore, DTG is the go-to technique for print when working with complex designs. The artwork can illustrate tiny details and portray an amazing array of colors that can attract young people.

Why DTG can be easier for gathering experience

The inception of a new business sometimes perilous to the young entrepreneurs if they are not experienced enough and fail to choose perfect business model that matches them. Here, investment and gathering experience for the related business can adhere advantage to be a success.

DTG can be the easiest businesses and door opening opportunity. As it is inexpensive to initiate the overall set up. Low cost of the machine and requires less space to start. So, if anyone finds unfit to run the business he can backtrack with little trouble.

The advantages

DTG print technique is more economical, faster and cleaner than that of screenprint methods. This method requires less operating space, with a small initial investment. Designers can create endless masterpieces regardless of the number of colors – without having to create film positives, stretching screens, and using chemicals to reclaim screens.

Since DTG printing is more precise than screen printing, even photographs can be printed with pixel detail. Limitations and design in color are fewer when using a DTG printer.

Furthermore, this set up does not need the additional hand to operate if the person himself is good in design and understand the overall print process.

The business is also suitable, as making a T-shirt is very cheap as Bangladesh has a big market for stock fabric. One can buy the desired fabric and make T-shirts from any local manufacturer and as per demand, size with DTG print.

What is the market size for DTG print?

Young people have a trend to wear a T-shirt where they can write their mind by DTG print. Meaning there is good market size for it. But designs need to be unique and eye-catching for the target market to get a proper entry.

Besides as mentioned before the machine is designed to print a small lot of T-shirts, as there are many occasions, festivals, as well as organizations who need printed T-shirt for their events in a small quantity.

Sometimes NGO’s use T-shirt for campaign purpose and provides an opportunity for business.

direct to garment printing DTG
Figure 2: Trendy and eye-catchy designs with details is the killer recipe for Direct to garment printing to make it a market success.

The process of Direct to garment printing (DTG)

Pre-treatment: Before printing, a pretreatment process is necessary for textile materials. The pre-treatment is heat-pressed into the custom causing the fibers of the shirt to lay down. Before that, a liquid spray is required to properly set the ink on the fabric. This pretreatment process will help –

  • Strengthening the bond between garment fibers and the pigmented inks
  • Pretreatment lays down loose fibers for a smoother substrate
  • To create a best chemical reaction with the inks for drying and curing.

Type of fabric: Designed to print directly onto cotton-based shirts, caps, bags, pillowcases, home furnishings. As DTG is water-based ink and so it works better on natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, hemp, and linen or cotton bended fabric.

Special software to prepare design: The printer needs special software for designing the artwork and to transfer in a compatible file. This artwork must be saved in at least 300 DPI for better result. When printing on fabric colors other than white, a white underlayer should include in the artwork to allow the colors to pop more.

Setting up garment flat: Before printing the garment most important to lay it completely flat in the printer. This will help to avoid white spaces after printing because a single wrinkle in the wrong place can ruin the entire process.

Start printing: If everything is set and done properly then the process is ready to print a T-shirt. Remember, the printing process should not be done in a hurry otherwise desired print quality may not be achieved.

Curing after print: As soon print is complete, remove the printed T-shirt from the DTG printer gently and load it onto the heat press platen.

Before the heat-press, a reusable Teflon protective cover sheet has to use on top of the printed garment so that the wet ink will not transfer on the heat press machine and damage the print quality. When the setting is done properly on the pressing specifications then it requires to pull the heat press clamp closed until it’s locked.

After the pressing completes on a garment, for a careful measure, a soft finger tap on the printed design is needed to check that the ink has cured completely.

Operational Environment: Temperature has to be 20 to 30” C (78-86” F), humidity: 40-70% (recommended), electrical: single phase 220V 10% (50/6(Hz. AC); 7 twos maximum. I KM.

Wash care: The inks used for DTG are water-based, they can fade a bit after a few washes. Usually, this technique is used to create vintage look T-shirts. So, wash care has to put on each of the printed garment.

Lastly, it can be said once someone completed all the process to start-up business activities for T-shirt printing, he should keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight. But using the plan and experience anyone can create a consistent business, and definitely, it will increase chances of success.

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