This is excerpted from The Weekly, Printavo’s screen printing industry newsletter.
2021 was a mind-blowing year. For better or for worse.
Everyone was put through the ringer this year. It doesn’t matter how well they did or who they are. The number of overlapping crises and challenges and puzzles? Astonishing.
But there’s a bright side here. The same shops are also overwhelmingly reporting increases in revenue and profit.
And there’s a lot of evidence that retail sales for apparel are up 50% or more.
Of course, any savvy consumer will understand that year-over-year data is badly broken. Comparing 2021’s economic data to 2020 is comparing apples and oranges. But we’re still above 2019 trends.
As we’ve noted, this is a remarkable recovery no matter your perspective.
Let’s take a look back at some of our favorite videos, shop tours, and podcasts from 2021.
His advice is as relevant and useful now as it was then: know your location and know what you’re really getting yourself into. Can’t find a tech near you? You might be in trouble. Super helpful.
In February, we released automations. We talked to Alive Print Shop in Las Vegas in an interview that will get you fired up to push ahead. “There’s 300 million wallets out there, and someone wants to give you their money,” owner Austin Boyd told us.
The team devotes time to learning how to connect with people and that’s paid off. They’ve raised prices without customers blinking an eye, and that’s made a huge difference for their business during a challenging period.
In March, Bruce toured Family Industries in Los Angeles. They invested into a brand new building after years of hustling in the live print game. With an eye toward the future, Max and the Family crew have built something truly special.
We’ve been huge fans of Family Industries from the beginning. They spoke at our 2019 conference, dropping free game about live printing (and dropped by for PrintHustlers Conf 2021 in October).
Spending nearly $15k on Facebook ads every month might spook some people, but John approached this problem with a rigorous strategy. He also dropped an in-depth SEO for screen printing analysis on our blog.
In May, Bruce traveled to Texas to visit Printed Threads in their new digs. We’ve talked about the transition from owner management to a production manager with Printed Threads before.
Seeing their new facility was eye-opening. You’ll love how clean, thoughtful, and efficient the entire building is.
In June, Matt Marcotte came back to drop 6 simple shop hacks. They’re so juicy that I don’t to spoil for them you. Take a look.
In July we asked Rafael Perez how retail brands that sell millions upon millions of units think about digital vs. screen printing. This one’s a gem – an insider conversation that spins off into many different threads. Is the US behind on water based inks? Rafael thinks so.
In August, we talked to world-record holder Tom Rauen about his mission to be Superman. Okay, maybe that’s not quite accurate, but from the outside it can seem that way.
From running hundreds of miles to selling millions of t-shirts to keeping a thoughtful tribe of entrepreneurs, Tom’s a dynamo.
So we think you’ll want to spend a little time listening to how he purchased 6 different screen printing businesses – and what that means for valuing your own business.
September was busy and brought us a shop tour at Screen Printing Select that stood out: they have a laser-to-screen system. If you have seen our computer to screen calculator, then you know that these systems save a ton of money – but the laser-to-screen system has that “awe” factor that’s just hard to explain.
October brought us to Ace Screen Graphics in San Antonio, a shop that made the most of it by downsizing their operations.
And of course, we generated a surprising amount of controversy with our podcast about DTF printing.
November led to a look inside Rum Walia’s high-volume warehouse in California where Supacolor (and Deco Press) happens. There’s a ton to learn from this look inside a truly booming business like this. Rum and the Supacolor team have pulled off a true marketing miracle – there’s a lot to love.
We also nabbed Steven from Nor Cal Print Supply to discuss how different the game is as a supplier.
In December, we got to discuss how Black Rifle Cofffee Company brought its print division in-house.
By selling hundreds of designs, they’re able to push out thousands of units without ever needing to enlist outside help. For brands that have a strong following, this setup – an online brand backed by a print and fulfillment operation – could be everywhere soon.
There were so many more great moments this year. I could only skim the surface. What a ride!
Here’s to 2022. Can’t wait to see what it brings. Have a safe and healthy New Year.