The following collection
is a few of our customer success stories. While each company offers different
main products, their diversification goal was the same for each. They all wanted
a low cost, high profit method of increasing sales and profit, which didnt
require a big investment.
products was the method they chose to get new customers and to profitably sell
more to their existing customers.
Award and sign company
customers nearly always go into a shop with a specific quantity of items that
they want. A shop may be able to suggest what they get, but not how many.
If they need six, then they wont buy seven. An award company decided to
increase sales per person by displaying an "impulse buy" item on their
front counter. The item is a 5x7 plaque with a sublimated motto on a gold plate.
The motto is: "Success is a journey, not a destination, so always keep
moving!" A small sublimated sign beside the plaque says - "A dozen
successful mottos to live by." A list beside the sign has all twelve
mottoes, and they change the display plaque each month. Every sale is obviously
an add-on (to the regular order) gravy sale. They tell customers they sell the
"motto" plaques at about half the price of their regular plaques (gee,
only a 500% profit) because its not custom and is already made up (they
do keep three of each plate sublimated so they can quickly assemble it, without
the customer waiting). They said that in addition to nice monthly single sales,
they also occasionally sell all 12 at one time to sales mangers and others,
who display a different one each month in their office. Clever idea.
After laughing at our
one of our favorite quotes (sometimes opportunity doesnt knock on your
door, but if you look out the window you can catch it before it slips by) a
sign company ordered a sublimation cartridge. They had decided to offer some
sublimated signs as a way to make small quick signs, without tying up their
vinyl cutter. We were surprised when they reordered about four months later
and we remarked that "there must be an awful lot of customers wanting small
quick signs." The owner replied that was only a small part of what they
were doing. Most of the work was regularly supplying desk name sets and badges
to scores of companies in eight large office buildings, as well as interior
signage. To test the market, the owner sublimated a gold plate and inserted
it into a plastic, black JRS architectural frame. Deciding he had a winner,
he went around to area office buildings, to test reactions and the reactions
were excellent. That is why he needed another cartridge. Like most companies,
sublimation didnt replace their regular business. It just gives them profitable
sales in other areas. They are happy.
A specialty T-shirt
shop, realizing that any one customer was only going to buy so many shirts during
a visit, added an "impulse buy," gift line - "Among The Worlds
Greatest." The entire line consists of an 8x10 walnut finish plaque, with
a gold plate. At the top of the plate is a title like "Among The Worlds
Greatest Golfers." Under the title is always a list of 10 names associated
with the title. The third position is always where the recipients name
goes. They have developed "Greatest" lists for every sport, coaches
of the sport, hobby, activity and interest you can think of. They even have
one for "Among The Worlds Greatest Cooks." One of their most
popular is "Among The Worlds Greatest Couples." The list starts
with Romeo & Juliet.
They display three samples
at the cash register, along with a loose-leaf notebook, containing page after
page of lists. With all layouts already in the computer, they can fill orders
while the customer waits. Retail price: $14.95. Materials cost: under $2.00.
They keep about a $100 in inventory, at any one time. They report one sale for
about each 14 T-shirt customers. Thats not bad add-on sales.
A very successful awards
company offering only laser engraved products decided they were missing sales
and profit. They contacted us and we spent about 45 minutes thoroughly discussing
the pros and cons of inkjet vs. laser printing as well as production and marketing
ideas. They decided to "take the plunge" and bought a cartridge and
heat press from us (they already had a computer, Corel Draw and a laser printer).
They reported they made enough profit to pay for the cartridge the first week
and the heat press - the next month. These were all new sales. Customers with
fixed budgets who couldnt afford lasered products had something nice to
fill their needs - and didnt go to a competitor. Many brand new customers
actually preferred the graphic look of a nicely sublimated plaque. He was very
busy, the last time he ordered a cartridge, so we didnt talk much, but
he did comment, "Boy, Im glad we started doing sublimation!"
The owner of a kiosk,
specializing in small, religious orientated gifts, called and asked how she
might use sublimation to increase sales. After offering some suggestions, she
thanked us and said she would get back in touch. A few days later she called
and said she was going to try our "Bible Verse" idea and ordered a
cartridge and press. She displays six 5x7 plaques with a "standard"
Bible verse on them at $5.95 each. A sign beside them states, "Customized
plaques, with your favorite Bible verse only $7.95." She hasnt said
how well she is doing, but we do know one thing for sure. She has bought three
sublimation cartridges in ten months, and thats a lot of little 5x7s.
Working in her spare
time, a small office/home office entrepreneur, has made many thousands of dollars
selling just one item - magnetic note holders! Her biggest seller is a 1.25"
x 3.25" gold-tone aluminum plate attractively bagged in a clear 2x4 poly-bag.
Its magnetic because she sticks a .75 x 1 magnetic strip on the back of
the plate. Her minimum order is 25 and she brings her price down to $1.25 each,
if you buy a 100. The customer can get up to 5 lines of lettering and 1 logo,
with one line change allowed.
She sells them to companies
for trade shows, schools for special events, non-profits as mementos and
even to individuals for family reunions. She also sells to dozens of churches
that use them as "Homecoming" mementos and for special ministries
in their church.
She has so many people
calling her now that she has been able to stop making sales calls herself. Every
one of those thousands of note holders has her little sticker on the back. Marketing
under the name "MagnaNotes," her slogan is, "A message always
seen, is never forgotten."
Just for the fun of
it, when we heard her story, we calculated her material costs. We calculated
the cost of the magnetic strip, the plastic bag, the metal, the toner to print
the metal, and even threw in a penny for the cost of the paper. Her material
costs per note holder - less than a dime. Wow!
"Who Would Have
Thunk Of It?"
One of the most unusual
success stories comes from a customer who designs patterns that embroidery hobbyists
use for their needlework.
When she called to order
a sublimation cartridge, we asked her what she was doing with sublimation. She
explained that she wanted her customers to be able to iron the pattern onto
the cotton and muslin material used in their hobby.
We very quickly pointed
out that sublimation wouldn't work with cotton, because it won't penetrate the
fabric and would just lay on the top. Laughing, she said that was perfect. Her
customers can get a faint image on the cotton by putting the transfer on the
fabric and then "ironing" it for about five seconds.
Any residue that is
not covered by the embroidery can easily be washed out. As an added bonus, her
customer could use each transfer 4 or 5 times. Like we said, "Who would have
thunk of it?"
These success stories
illustrate our two main points. First, the return on investment is quite high
in the sublimation business. Second, the extraordinary diversification of opportunity
made possible by the process is very broad and profitable.
The sublimation business
costs very little to start up. The equipment is simple to use and requires very
page contains a list of the necessary equipment to do the job right.