Vinyl & Craft Store Uses OKI White Toner Printers to Increase Revenue
OKI white toner digital transfer printers can be highly profitable for a small business. Most people consider using an OKI in the traditional way to make a profit: by creating and selling finished custom goods. However, a local reseller of heat transfer vinyl has expanded their business offerings with OKI white toner printers in a unique, profitable way.
Vinyl Fun is a heat transfer vinyl and craft store in the St. Louis, Missouri area. It is owned by crafter Stephanie Gunn and has two locations, one in south St. Louis County and one in O’Fallon, Missouri.
“Ready to Press” Designs with OKI White Toner Printers
Stephanie wanted to grow Vinyl Fun’s business. She had previously offered a wide range of vinyl and other crafting goods. Rather than investing in the cost of blank items to press finished goods, she found another way to make a profit with digital transfer printing with an OKI pro8432WT and two OKI pro9541WT printers. They print full color transfers and sell them in their store and online as “ready to press” digital transfers, or RTPs.
Vinyl Fun creates a wide array of pre-printed RTP designs, including seasonal, sports, and holiday designs, that customers can choose from. In addition, they offer the option for customers to upload their own designs and have them custom printed for pick up in store. Once the customer sends in their design, they upload it into the RIP software to prepare it for printing.
How RTPs Grew Vinyl Fun’s Business
By selling the transfers at an affordable price for customers, they still make a great profit on each individual transfer. While RTPs do tend to sell better during holiday seasons, they still sell quite a bit throughout the whole year. Vinyl Fun is also very resourceful and uses the paper that is trimmed off the transfer to create small transfers. They sell these and customers press them to koozies, hats and other smaller substrates.
At first Stephanie thought “why would I sell preprinted graphics when my customers love to create?” But she believes fully that it has helped her business grow. At the very least, they see one of the fun pre-printed graphics and it gives them an idea to recreate their own. So, if they don’t want to purchase an RTP, they will buy some vinyl to DIY a design inspired by the pre-printed transfers.
The preprinted graphics around the holidays are a major hit with customers. Customers are happy to be offered something they still have a little part in creating (like pressing themselves and choosing shirt color). Custom transfers and pre-printed transfers are always on Vinyl Fun’s top sales list for the day at each location.
She also has customers who are not major crafters who use RTPs to still be able to create custom apparel, even without equipment. Prior to investing in an OKI white toner laser printer, Vinyl Fun had eco solvent and sublimation printers and offered custom prints but the substrate options such as fabric type and color were limited. However, the customer had to weed and mask. The no cut, no weed is huge selling point for her business.
Customer Response to RTP Transfers
Since selling the RTPs, Stephanie has heard some negative feedback but says 90% of her feedback is positive. She says that the negative is only the fact that you can slightly feel the transfer on the shirt, unlike with sublimation on light fabrics where the fabric is dyed. The biggest selling point is the convenience of having them ready to purchase and the simplicity of application without cutting or weeding.
The customer feedback is more often positive with the biggest benefit being the simplicity. Her customers love the fact that they don’t have to cut and weed, and they can still customize it in ways such as choosing what substrate and color to press the design on to.
Customer Success with RTPs
Naturally, your first thought when hearing they sell transfers is: “What is the success rate of customers pressing themselves?” Or even “Do you provide instructions and what happens if a customer doesn’t have a heat press?”
Vinyl fun provides washing and pressing instructions. However, if the customer is hesitant to press the transfer themselves, she allows them to come into the store and she will show them how to properly press the transfer to a garment or hard surface. In doing so, customers always leave more confident in the process and excited to purchase more.
Vinyl Fun’s custom prints are mostly ordered by repeat customers. Many of these people run their own small businesses and use Vinyl Fun’s transfer to help them get orders out faster or allows them to take orders they know they could not create with vinyl.
Implementing an OKI pro8432WT Printer
In an effort to grow their business, offerings and profits, Vinyl Fun initially invested in a single OKI 8432WT printer for both of their locations in September of 2019. Once they learned how to use the printer and RIP software, they were able to add RTPs to their product offerings and it wasn’t long before that portion of their business took off.
Stephanie had a goal to pay the printer off in a year. She calculated what level of sales she would need to pay off the printer in a year. She determined that she would have to sell 9 transfers a day to be able to pay it off in a year. That seemed feasible; however to her surprise, she ended up paying off the OKI pro8432WT in just two months.
In the words of Stephanie, they “ran that printer into the ground.” They were producing too many prints for both locations of their stores with the OKI 8432. With production and sale of RTPs being so high, they determined they needed to invest in another printer to be able to support the level of demand at both of their store locations. Instead of purchasing another 8432, they decided to further upgrade.
Reasons to Upgrade to the OKI pro9541WT
To be able to continue to increase production and sales, Stephanie knew she needed a printer at both store locations. Initially, the OKI 8432WT was located at their O’Fallon store and they were printing for both locations there and transporting the required transfers down to their south St. Louis County store.
This also posed a problem for them. Due to the fact there was no printer at this south location, when they ran out of the pre-made transfers they had to wait until they were able to bring more from the other store and missed many sales because they did not have stock. If they ran out at the O’Fallon store and someone wanted one of the pre-made transfers, they could easily print one of while the customer was in the store.
Addition of Two OKI pro9541WT Printers
Once Vinyl Fun realized the demand for the “ready to press” transfers, they decided to upgrade to the top-of-the-line OKI white toner printer, the 9541. The OKI 9541WT is the only white toner printer with 5 stations, cyan, magenta, yellow, white and black. However, instead of adding a single 9541 to the business, they added two in December of 2020. They now have a 9541 at the south location and the 8432 and 9541 at the O’Fallon location.
With the ability to produce RTPs at both locations, they were able to increase profits and customer service by being able to produce more and provide a more consistent stock of pre-made designs.
ROI on White Toner Printers
As noted previously, Vinyl Fun was able to rapidly pay off their OKI 8432WT printer in only two months. They then invested in two OKI 9541 models. This is due to the level of sales for their RTPs from both stores.
For 2020, Vinyl Fun saw a heavy increase is sales due to the OKI. These sales amount is solely from the 8432 because they didn’t receive the 9541s until December of 2020. Considering their first-year sales, you can understand why they paid off the 8432 so quickly and purchased two 9541 models.
Vinyl Fun makes a great profit from each 100-pack of paper due to selling the pre-printed transfers for an affordable cost and custom-designed transfers for slightly more. They estimate that it would take roughly 21 paper packs to pay off one of the OKI 9541WTs. Currently, Stephanie is buying four 100 packs of transfer paper every one to two weeks. If she keeps up at this rate she will be able to pay off one of OKI 9541 printers in about 3 months. Vinyl Fun estimates that the addition of RTPs increased their business by 10% within the first year alone. They increased revenue with RTPs, but they also increased their sales of substrates, such as t-shirts and koozies.
More Than One Way to Profit with an OKI White Toner Printer
By selling ready to press transfers, customers have the freedom to choose the substrate they transfer onto. Additionally, customers have the ability to purchase custom-created graphics. Most often, these are graphics that could not be created with other apparel decoration methods.
Many other small businesses rely on Vinyl Fun for more complex graphics to provide to their own customers. Most who use OKI white toner printers use it to make and sell printed goods. However, Vinyl Fun found a unique way to profit with OKI white toner printers without selling finished goods.
To learn more about ways to make money with OKI white toner printers, check out our OKI Potential Profit Guide. The profit guide gives multiple examples of profit margins on a range of products from mugs to hoodies and more. To be connected with a local dealer fill out this form or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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