Cheltenham's Fatree5 installed two Roland printing systems three years ago after seeing an exciting niche market and has seen its business snowball ever since.
When Paul Butler sets out to do something, he goes for it. A veteran in the motocross circuit, he was disappointed by the quality of the riders' clothing so decided to do something about it, founding Fatree5 to design and manufacture durable, functional and clearly branded garments.
"I've always been at the forefront of motocross. I go to all the events and know what the kids like – my own children are involved now," says Paul. "I thought the quality of the clothing could be better so I tried making my own. It's just snowballed from there."
The key to this success has been the investment in two Roland printing systems at the outset: a Texart RT-640 dye-sublimation printer customised for Fatree5 with fluorescent inks and a TrueVIS SG-300
combination printer/cutter. In addition to the motocross clothing, the printers are used for a multitude of products including graphics, signage, stickers, flags, banners and parasols. Fatree5 has also broken into the equestrian, extreme cycling and leisure clothing markets.
Commenting on the Texart, Paul says: "We looked at other machines, but the quality just wasn't as good. Roland seemed years ahead. The inks are fantastic, producing good, clear print – nothing is blurred – and the machine itself is absolutely fantastic, bulletproof."
The printers were recommended by Roland distributor Xpres. Paul comments: "When you talk to Roland they don't push any machine at you, it's not a sales pitch. And Xpres had all the information we needed too."
Thanks to the quality and efficiency of its workflow, Fatree5 can produce tailor-made, uniquely customised sports clothing at incredibly fast turnaround speeds – a real boon in a market that previously relied on long runs of apparel ordered from abroad. Plus, the versatility of Texart dye-sub technology means the business can produce a whole range of coordinated items: "Anything we can sublimate we do sublimate, all in house", says Paul.
Fatree5 is now producing work for a leading British motorcycle manufacturer destined for the USA, where the brand's British heritage is well regarded, while also fielding enquiries from electric bike manufacturers looking for worldwide distribution.
The business's work was part of the display at Roland DG's booth at Sign and Digital UK in Birmingham this spring. "We are always busy," says Paul.
For more information on Fatree5, please visit www.fatree5.com.