Growing Your Sublimation Business Part one: Partnerships that Work
One way to grow your sublimation business is to partner with professionals and organizations that can use a source (like you) that offers personalized items. From photographers to schools to boutique shops, there’s no shortage of groups and businesses you can approach to offer your sublimated items.
Photographers: A Picture-Perfect Pairing
If you know a photographer, particularly one who does family portraits and senior photos, then they’re probably offering their customers personalized items with their photos on them to display in the home or give as gifts. And, chances are, they’re ordering those items from an online retailer somewhere.
This is where you come in.
With sublimation, you can reproduce those photos on high-quality aluminum panels for unique display pieces, create custom picture frames, or sublimate to any number of shirts, blankets, or other soft goods. The photographer can offer those products to his or her customer with a faster turnaround than they can get online. Plus, you could offer to provide the photographer samples for their showroom or studio and keep them up-to-date on new items that become available.
Partnering with a photographer brings another, often overlooked benefit. You’ll be gaining new business and sales for a variety of sublimatable items, but you’ve only had to go find ONE new customer: the photographer. They’re acting as a de facto salesperson for you by offering YOUR products to their customers. And they get to offer their customers unique items without investing in equipment or additional inventory. It’s a classic win-win!
Local Schools: We’ve Got Spirit
Schools across the country are facing never-ending budget issues and are always looking for ways to save money and fundraise, all at the same time. With your sublimation printer, you can help local schools with both those issues and build your presence in the community at the same time.
Local school districts often contract with outside organizations for professional fundraising. While these organizations make it easy for schools to set up fundraisers, they often give the school a small percentage of the overall sales, sometimes as low as 20%. And because those outside groups are running fundraisers for schools all over the country, they don’t have the ability to offer any customization.
This is where you come in.
You can contact local schools to offer them personalized products they can sell as fundraisers. From tumblers to keychains and notebooks, there are dozens of products you can offer schools to sell. And, as a local supplier with sublimation, you can offer the on-demand customization that will set you apart from the national fundraising operations. And finally, you can still make a profit and offer schools a slightly larger percentage of sales than the national fundraiser.
There’s also the opportunity to build goodwill within the community and get your name out to those who might not be familiar with your business. The marketing and publicity alone is worth any potential margin you might sacrifice for the schools fundraising efforts.
Boutiques and Shops: Retail Space, Unique Items
Just because you have a small sublimation business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at getting your products in to a retail space. Small, boutique-style retailers offer you a great opportunity to partner with a local business while increasing your potential customer base and revenue stream.
As you know, sublimation offers you the ability to decorate and personalize thousands of different items, and many of those would be right at home in any number of small retail shops and boutique stores.
For example, consider approaching a local bridal store about offering custom products for bridal parties. You could create a small display showcasing items, such as personalized jewelry and mugs and tumblers for bridal parties, and the store could have order forms on-hand. The store can offer an entirely new line of products and gets a cut of any sales they generate, and you have a new customer stream that has the potential to grow over time.
Sublimation is a fantastic way to show off full-color images, and it’s one that can best be experienced in-person. Partnering with a shop or boutique is a great way for you to help customers see and feel the quality that sublimation offers, all while helping you and the boutique grow your respective businesses.