About two years ago, customers at Image Solutions began inquiring about heat transfer logos for their uniforms, but the Torrance, California-based distributor only offered embroidery at the time. Since there seemed to be demand, Image Solutions opted to expand its decoration offerings.
Image Solutions has been in business since 1997 as a uniform provider to small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, like AT&T, Albertsons and Walgreens. It has evolved to offer decoration, e-commerce, internal inventory (with distribution centers at its headquarters and, as of eight years ago, in Fairfield, Ohio) and more. While embroidery remains its top decoration method, adding heat transfer has further developed the business, says Alana Owens, the company's director of operations.
“I think what it has done for our business is expanded our customization options and being able to turn around a customized product quicker,” she said. “Our embroidery items, depending on the volume, can take up to 10 to 12 days versus heat press, depending on the volume, we can turn around 80 pieces an hour. You can do a whole shift. You can turn around almost 1,000 pieces a day.”
The ease is part of the appeal, and makes it a great place to start for distributors that want to branch out with decoration capabilities.
“It’s easy. It’s fast. There’s not a lot of cost in buying the equipment,” she said. “... Overall, I think our customers have been very, very happy with it.”
While Image Solutions does apply all transfers in-house (unless orders and turn time exceeds capacity), the distributor has chosen to purchase precut vinyl transfers from Stahls’ to heat press shirts, aprons and even jackets.
“It works for us now insofar as we order several thousand at a time,” Owens said. “So, we don’t have to worry about having to cut every single one and making it ourselves.”