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NY/NJ Dealers Share Money-Making Ideas

Park described his photo gift system—a sublimation system: a mug press, a heat press, a printer (he uses an Epson inkjet printer modified to accept sublimation inks, which he feels offer the best quality!), and software. He uses Hanes sublimation maker software. The photo gift production itself is done in one of his five locations.

Park's tips: displaying lots of product so customers can see the wide variety of items; and the importance of using a reliable supplier.

After attending PMA 2006, Park decided to add photo art—such as: pop art, cartoon, mosaic, watercolor treatment, oil painting treatment, or pastel—transforming an ordinary photograph into a piece of art. The actual artwork creation is outsourced, with Park receiving a rendered image file to output and mount or frame for final delivery to his customers. For the photo art, Park offers only large, poster sized prints.

Park explained, "We're selling emotions attached to product. [We're] not selling a 24x24 'product,' but the emotions. If my customer comes in to pick up their item and they cry when they see it in the store, I know it's a winner!"

Last summer, Park finally added custom framing to his business' repertoire. The trick, he said, is using visualization software, which builds a mat and frame combination digitally around an image. Once the mat and frame are chosen, the software then prices the job and prints out a work sheet. Color Tek leases a Wizard computerized mat cutter; and chops mouldings and assembles the frames in-house. Just like the photo gifts, the custom framing work is done in one location—though customers can place orders at all of the Color Tek locations.