There never seems to be a better time to reflect back on the past than over the holidays and especially today, the last day of 2010! This recent photo of my mother Rikki symbolizes that reflection as she looks onto a portrait of herself painted by a famous local artist when she was 19 years old. Looking back on things from a business perspective this year, I am extremely thankful to be active in an industry that keeps moving ahead and even growing in what is universally considered to be a bad economic climate. There is no denying that 2010 was a tough year for many businesses. However while attending large industry trade shows here in the US and around the world, I noticed many postive trends that will carry over into 2011. This past year we saw a tremendous increase in demand for transfers, CAD-CUT materials and CADPrintz full color digital transfers. The unprecedented growth in these three areas of our business as well as the increasing use of heat printing technologies by major garment manufacturers, at professional sports arenas and in other retail locations to meet the needs of on-demand personalization, lead me to believe that 2011 will see heat printing become even more popular in 2011. From the side of the consumer, I see them continuing to ask for more colors, more speed, more special effects as they become more aware of the capabilities of retailers both online and in stores, to provide on-the-spot customization. And this is why heat printing and Direct To Garment are two of the fastest growing categories in the decoration world. In the past, it was easy to build a business when the rest of the world was prospering, banks lent money fast and furiously and discretionary spending was at an all time high. Nowadays people are making much more careful buying decisions and focusing more on what is necessary. Luckily, many people still consider personalized garments to be necessary but only the suppliers that provide exactly what they want, when they want it, will get their business. Only the businesses keenly aware of the needs of consumers will get their more closely guarded spending money. So as we all head into 2011 together, lets be thankful that we are prepared to provide our customers with the faster, easier and better looking garment graphics they are demanding. Whether they want just one custom shirt or 3 dozen. Whether their logo has one color or all the shades of the rainbow. Whether they want it printed on super stretch performance wear, a burn-out fashion t-shirt or on the back of a nylon jacket. If you offer heat printing you know you can meet these demands. Tomorrow I will feature some predictions from Josh Ellsworth of our CAD-CUT Direct division. Like myself, he knows first hand of the increased demand for heat printing technologies and he will share his thoughts on what is coming in 2011. In the meanwhile, I wish you all a safe and joyous New Year’s Eve. If you are out celebrating, splurge on that taxi when you drive home tonight, it will be worth every penny!
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