We were able to catch up with Melissa Lay, Sandilake Clothing owner, and get a quick run down of how she uses her AnaJet mPower Direct to Garment (DTG) printer for her silk screening business and also find out a little more about her action with ABC's hit show Shark Tank.
1. When did you decide to go into DTG printing and why?
About a year after owning SandiLake and solely screen-printing, I wanted to expand in the design realm of what I can print. Using more color, and less manual labor. The DTG was a great solution to that problem, some of my most colorful designs have been the most popular!
2. You are already an established silkscreener, how does having a DTG printer add to your business?
It allows me to customize my designs very easily, and print one shirt at a time for my customers. When you screen-print, the process to make a new design can take up to 24 hours. I have a lot of customers who need a custom party shirt, or design the same day. What I can offer is nearly limitless.
3. What percentage of your sales are DTG?
My DTG sales have always been seasonal. In the winter I like to use my DTG more because it's warm inside, and it stays in a comfortable atmosphere. While in the summer, I would rather be out in the factory screen-printing. Either way, I use both means of printing year-round.
4. Quickly explain the Target story and the final outcome.
A friend found my #Merica design that we had been selling for over a year in Target. I quickly tried to get a hold of them and was told to write a letter... so I took to social media. From there, our customers rallied, and we had gone viral. Target heard our cry and took the shirts out of their stores, and the company that made the shirts admitted to copying it from a Pinterest photo they found. They offered me a design job, but I wasn't interested. I wanted to grow Sandilake and keep working hard. Plus, our support with purchases of that shirt were HUGE. It was incredible how many people rallied behind us!
Any tips to help protect intellectual property?
yes. copyright.org - It's easy, cheap, and your design is yours.
5. Explain your upcoming Shark Tank story.
How did it come about?
I applied online and was lucky enough to get a call 6 months later. It's hard work getting through the application process, and we didn't think we had a chance, but we made it through!
When is the episode coming out?
The episode airs, Friday October 21 at 9PM on ABC's Shark Tank.
Drop a hint about the final outcome ;)
No hints allowed. :) But I can say that my two girls went with me and totally stole the show! :)
6. Any future plans utilizing your mPower?
We plan on continually using it to grow our custom order department!