Stop Worrying About Custom Ink

Business Lessons

Do you have $4.5 million sitting around for a Super Bowl Commercial? 

Do you have software engineers, and developers standing by to build you custom websites?

Can you afford the backstop of an MLB game for ad space on primetime?

Do you have algorithmic fulfillment down from coast to coast with contract printers ready to produce work for you at a minutes notice?

Did you develop a design tool several years ago and were first to market?

If you answered yes to any of those, this blog is not for you. But if you answered no, like many, here is the truth:

You are not Custom Ink

Although David and Goliath is a great story, this might be a tough one. Custom Ink dominates the internet with custom apparel and their designer tool. They have search engines pointing directly to them and spend millions of dollars on marketing. They have invested years into creating the simplest design tool on the web. It is tough to find a design tool as good as theirs.

They got in at the right time

Custom Ink was started in 1999. Think about that for a second! They were pioneers on the internet before e-commerce even boomed, therefore it is going to be hard to compete with a company that truly created the digital design space for custom apparel. 

Give credit where credit is due here. 

Teespring, a custom decorating company with amazing tech raised $55 million dollars to create an amazing e-commerce platform for customers to design and sell online. Custom Ink has a similar solution, and even with so much funding, Teespring is struggling. 

They cater to a different type of customer

Custom Ink is not cheap, it sometimes is not quick, and often times it is not the best quality. That is because Custom Ink is a solution for someone with little industry knowledge or understanding, without regard for price or personal relationships.

Custom Ink is for the customers that are not working on a budget, and quickly needs apparel for an event such as a family reunion, or bachelorette party. Are these the customers you want? 

Anyone that is ordering bulk products for an organization or company would be seeking solutions that eliminate any risks or logistical errors. If you are put in charge of ordering apparel for your team, you are going to go to someone you know, trust, and value. You don't want to be that office admin that messed up the entire company order because you used an online solution!

That space is saturated

Google search Custom Ink or Custom T-shirts and you are going to find other companies that climb to the top of listings such as Uber Prints, Rush Order Tees, and even Vista Print. These are all companies that have created similar solutions and are pouring thousands of marketing dollars to put a dent in Custom Ink. As a local screen printer, you don't want to even try an compete. 

Get over the design studio

While a design studio is great, it will not make you rich. It will not be the end-all solution to your business. We might laugh about it, but you might find customers designing on those designer sites and sending you the link 😉.

There are solutions out there on the web, such as layout lab by Ignition Drawing or WooCommerce Product Designer, but your customers will still want to work with you and your talented team. That is the leverage you have over sites like those. 

Before plunging into a design studio, ask other shop owners how often customers really use a design studio and make sure you know the upfront costs and learning curve associated with them.

These might be the customers that cause you the most headache. It is not as simple as plug and play, especially if artwork and clip art is not vector friendly. 

Your business is special

Customers appreciate you. Customers especially appreciate personal relationships. On top of that customers want to be taken care of.

When you say the words custom in an industry, that denotes a unique, specially made product, precisely made to a customers liking. 

If you are getting custom cabinets for your kitchen renovation, are you going to shop online, or find someone local that can help you from start to finish?

If it is your wedding day, and you are getting a custom-made wedding gown or a tailored suit, you surely will be in working in person with your favorite tailor or seamstress several times making sure everything is perfect. 

If you are getting your haircut or styled, you might find you have a favorite barber or hairdresser that knows exactly how you like your hair done. 

The list can go on and on. You have to understand that your business is going to give a custom experience and product for your customers and will make a long-lasting impression on them depending on the experience. 

Tell your story 

Make sure that while you are interacting with your customers, they know why you are better than Custom Ink. Be sure that your employees know how to explain this properly. 

Let them know that you are going to be a better value and an amazing experience.

Let them know that you are going to be there with them every step of the way. 

Let them know that they can trust you will make their order look good because you have years of experience in printing. 

Let them know you are going to be faster than anyone else, and that they can depend on your business like a family. 

Simple enough? Don't sweat the Custom Ink, your business will do great because of you! 

Next Post: Total Owed on Customer Profiles

About Printavo

Printavo ​​is simple shop management software. Whether your shop works with screen printing, embroidery, signage, digital printing, or awards & engraving–we make your complex workflow simpler to manage and understand. Printavo keeps your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimates, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

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