FESPA speaks to German entrepreneur X-Print to find out more about how the firm built a unique textile-on-demand business through crowdfunding.
For many small textile design businesses, crowdfunding is a great way to get your designs seen by a wider audience. Easy to set up online, crowdfunding requires a small level of investment into a project or venture from a number of people, all contributing a set amount to get the project off the ground.
Those who contribute each receive the goods they invested towards it when the item goes into production. Seems simple enough, except there is one snag. If the minimum level of funding is not met, the project will not be put into action, meaning months of hard work may go to waste and those who made investment pledges will not receive the goods.
Philipp Beutel from X-Print recognised that there was a gap in the custom textile printing market and was inspired by a significant player in the crowdfunding arena who had encountered similar issues.
“Here in Germany, there have been crowdfunding platforms for graphic designers or online marketers which give people the opportunity to distribute their designs on textile through social media channels”, he explains.
“The designer must first estimate how many textiles they believe they can sell to work out a suitable purchase price. Consumers can then pledge to invest this amount on receipt of the goods. However, the quantity threshold required in order for production to go ahead needs to be met too."
"If this threshold is not achieved, the consumer will not be charged and importantly, will not receive their goods since production won’t go ahead. That’s where the crowdfunding model fell down for us.”
Beutel continues: “We now live in a world however where 24-hour express delivery is possible, not just from independent companies but also the likes of major players, like Amazon. Considering this, we wanted to take the crowdfunding model to the next level, to deliver a ‘print on demand’ platform that would fit in with the modern consumer expectations,” explains Philipp.
At this point Philipp Beutel decided to look at the printing technologies available to turn this concept into a reality, focusing on machines that could produce high quality individual pieces and work both quickly and economically. The chosen solution came from direct to garment technology specialist Kornit Digital.
“From our perspective, developing a partnership with Kornit was essential. With a very good understanding of the demands that a web-to-print service can offer, they were on hand to make sure we had the appropriate solution in place to help us expand our offering and grow the ‘Shirtee’ print-on-demand side of our business,” says Philipp.
At FESPA 2017, Kornit Digital presented its wide product portfolio including the Vulcan and Storm Duo.
The production process is incredibly simple and means that we can start producing individual textile pieces as soon as the order is received” he adds. “This gives us the edge from an order fulfilment perspective, turning around high quality printed garments with a very short lead time. To that end we are now using multiple Kornit systems, including two Storm Hexas which allow us to process up to 1800 textiles daily, in a shift system."
"We are handling the entire transaction for the designer and will also collect the revenues so the designer will just be wired their profits. “As far as Germany is concerned, we have been able to secure a significant market share since we put the Shirtee business into practice and will be looking to expand across the European market soon too,” Philipp concludes.
Kornit marketing director Oliver Luedtke comments: “We’re delighted to see how well the model is working for X-Print and how this has enabled them to expand and branch out. Crowdfunding is a promising business concept, but minimum order quantities have been a hindrance. The web-to-print service that X-Print is offering is unique and means one-off textiles can be printed in no time at all.”
“The garment decoration industry is one of the most diverse when it comes to the size of the business. It can range from an after-hours single person microbusiness to a global operation with thousands of employees. Some know garments and fabrics really well and need to expand their knowledge of workflow and digital pre-press topics."
"Others know digital printing very well and need to learn about garments, which can be a very challenging substrate. But at all times, more than 70% of businesses are looking at trends and are willing to invest, particularly into digital technologies,” Luedtke adds.
Kornit Digital showcased its range of garment printers at FESPA 2017 providing visitors with the insight and products required to diversify into new areas, just as X-Print has.
Oliver continues: “At FESPA 2017 we presented our product portfolio including the Vulcan and Storm Duo, which we launched at the show and the Avalanche R-Series. We were on hand to educate and inspire our visitors with a set of presentations exploring market trends and best practices."
"FESPA 2017 was another great show for us, we met with digital printers, garment decorators and entrepreneurs and invited them to have a look at our latest technology to help them reap the benefits of digital textile printing. We are confident that visitors to our stand took away all they needed to know to explore profitable business opportunities…and to print different too.”
Register to attend FESPA Mexico 2017 and discover the latest digital textile solutions
Industry members that are keen to learn more about the latest digital textile printing solutions, should not miss a visit to FESPA Mexico 2017.
Taking place from September 21-23 at the Citibanamex Centre, in Mexico City, the exhibition will play host to many major brands from across the global digital textile print market.
To learn more about the companies that will exhibit at the show, as well as the conference programme and many other exciting in-show features, visit the official website: www.fespamexico.com
Delegates can get FREE entry by registering via the website and quoting reference code: MEXH718. Discover how a visit to FESPA Mexico can benefit your business and register today.
by FESPA Staff