Author Topic: A Guide to DTG Printing With Ryonet's Direct to Garment Printer Expert Luke Ryer  (Read 128 times)

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Luke Ryerkerk is Ryonet's direct to garment expert. He helps his wife Elizabeth with Trendy Cactus, her on-demand Etsy-based brand focused on baby clothes and baby shower gifts.

Luke hails from Waco, TX, but is also involved with his family's print shop in Knoxville, TN. He's recently worked on a video series about converting a 2-car garage into a serious custom print shop for Ryonet.

Bruce sat down with Luke for an hour long discussion about direct to garment printing. Luke was candid about the state of DTG printing: it's not for everyone or every shop. But for the right business model and the right customer base, it's an easy win.

When should you lease or buy a DTG printer?

"When I talk to people about getting into DTG, I ask just as many questions about their business and what they're going to use it for as they ask me about the printer – if not more. My key thing is to make sure this printer fits in your shop. If it does, that's great! If it doesn't, that's great too. I'm going to recommend something else. If I can help you succeed, then we're going to do a lot of business together."

There's no single magic number or metric that will tell you when it's right to buy or lease your first DTG printer. But there are some strong signals that indicate your business is ideal for DTG printing.

  • You print a lot of complex artwork. Your shop spends a lot of time setting up screens for jobs that you don't spend very long printing. You're shooting for quick turnaround with the option for photorealistic prints.
  • A lot of your business is from jobs with less than 24 pieces. You take few orders for hundreds of pieces, and are typically tasked with printing low-quantity jobs.
  • Your customer base is right. Your target customers don't need high-quantity production runs, prefer detailed art, or are ordering custom designs from your online store.
  • Your business model makes sense for DTG. You're focused on a high volume of low-quantity jobs.
  • Setup times for screen printing are becoming a bottleneck. Because of the complexity of art you're printing, or the volume of small jobs you're taking on, an overwhelming amount of time is spent separating, burning, and reclaiming your screens.
  • You're focused on selling unique designs that need fast turnaround. Your designs are topical, based on memes, highly personalized, or focused on seasonality. Your business model is based on getting a customer's attention and capturing the impulse to buy a shirt – not the HR rep for a large corporation, or the marketing director for a prominent brand.
  • You're working out of a spare bedroom and don't want ink all over the place. Think about where and who your printing is for. If you're an existing shop, DTG might bolster your existing business and allow you to take jobs you'd normally turn away. If you're looking for a way to print in a small space and prefer a tidy working environment, DTG can be a viable option.

The price for entry into DTG is high – so consider your business carefully. Luke doesn't recommend starting your business with an expensive DTG machine and then reverse-engineering a business plan that fits your new printer. Instead, use DTG as another avenue for serving your customers.

Read the full interview here:

1. When should you AVOID going to DTG?
2. What is the best direct to garment printer?
3. Major lesson: RIP software is vital for getting the most out of your DTG printer
4. DTG vs. screen printing
5. What's the best workflow for direct to garment printing?
6. What orders work best for direct to garment printers?
7. How much does a direct to garment printer cost?
8. Should you buy a used DTG printer?
9. Heat transfers vs. Direct to garment printing
10. Should you use DTG printing for online stores? - Printavo, simple shop management software.