Tshirt Group says it has overcome the 'tough' COVID-19 lockdown period thanks to the combination of a fantastic production team, proactivity in terms of its finances and technical support and advice from Kornit.
The garment printer, dye house and fulfilment company has been using Kornit digital textile printing solutions since moving from London to substantially larger premises in Stoke-on-Trent in 2016. The Kornit Storm platform is an economical, time-efficient direct-to-garment printer that is compatible with multiple fabric types, including light and dark garments. Its water-based inks and eco-friendly processes comply with strict industry standards while meeting customer demands.
"We looked at several industrial Direct to garment printers when we moved to our new facility in Stoke but loved the fact that the Kornit Storm requires no pre-treatment before loading," says Paul Godfrey, Executive Group Director, Tshirt Group. "It's the only wet-on-wet DTG printer available on the market. Removing the manual fixation step saves time and money.
"The quality and colour range are also really high. It has a greater number of colours - six rather than the standard four - which gives us CMYK plus green and red."
Paul says that the Tshirt Group pushes its machines hard and in the winter of 2019-2020 the Kornit Storm suffered inevitable wear and tear. However, thanks to Kornit's engineering service, Tshirt Group ensured the Storm could keep going.
"Christmas 2019 was especially busy and our Kornit machine needed some tender loving care," he says. "We handle most maintenance ourselves but this time there were some things we couldn't put our finger on.
Fortunately, we have a brilliant Empowerment service contract with Kornit and their engineers went through everything. It's a fantastic printer but the support network maximises its potential."
This service from Kornit includes online remote access, which became essential when government guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 were introduced in March. Unlike analogue processes such as screen printing, digital garment printers enable ultimate connectivity with online maintenance systems, seamless workflow software and web-to-print ordering. Paul Godfrey also rates Kornit's response when the effect of coronavirus impacted Tshirt Group's sales.
"It has been tough. We were worried about finances," he says. "But we were extremely proactive. The improvements to the Kornit printer included new printheads and with the help of Kornit we agreed a payment plan. We then negotiated terms with our finance company, landlord and suppliers, to make sure we have no outstanding debt and can pay everyone."
Tshirt Group has not only continued to operate but has also taken on three brand new customers including 'a huge online retailer', says Paul.
"We have also already surpassed 800 prints in one day and, with a few minor tweaks, we are confident that we can hit our target of 1,000 prints in single day," he adds. "We're looking at taking on two new members of staff, moving to a 16-hour day - after having expanded recently from eight to twelve - and potentially investing in a second Kornit. Over the next six months we plan to expand capacity ten-fold."
Brendan Mangan, Regional Business Manager for UK & Africa at Kornit, comments: "These have been tough and testing times for the industry but our relationships with customers including Tshirt Group have just got better. We are trying to help each other the best we can - technically, financially and with business ideas and advice. It's fantastic to see Tshirt Group coming out of this situation stronger."
Paul Godfrey adds: "It's a testament to our team that we've won new business in what will probably be remembered as the toughest trading period in our lifetime. Our management and design office in London and our production team in Stoke have really stepped up, increasing production by 150%. They have been paramount to getting through orders. We're looking forward to the future."
For more information on Tshirt Group, please visit www.tshirt.group