Gain Profits: Just Add a Heat Press and Transfers!
Flashlights, keychains, and USBs are just a few of the popular promotional items that Tom Mollung sells at his custom merchandise business, Mollung Associates. Until recently, custom apparel was low on this list. Tom says that this changed significantly when he discovered the benefits of a heat press and customizable transfers.
Tom Mollung got his start in creating his own custom apparel items only a year ago, but has owned his own promotional products business for the last 13 years. Before he owned his own business, he was a buyer for a big corporation. He would help this large company to make money by saving them millions of dollars on what they spent out. He did not enjoy working for the large scale company or the stress related with it and decided that he wanted to be his own boss with a goal of creating cement relationships with his customers and giving smaller businesses a chance against the larger corporations.
Before coming to Transfer Express® for his custom screen printed transfers, Tom would outsource to several different local screen printers and choose whichever one had the best price and quality so that he could provide his customers with great products at lower prices. One of his transfer dealers was an older woman who had owned an older ‘Clam’ style heat press that she could no longer operate. She sold this heat press to Tom who left it in storage for a few years until he would discover the significance of the machine and the impact that it would have on his business.
Tom had seen the Transfer Express® brand name at a few of his transfer dealers’ shops and decided that it might be worth looking into. Since first contacting Transfer Express® and taking that old heat press out of storage, Tom’s custom apparel business has grown significantly. Before creating his own custom apparel items, only 15% of his business consisted of custom apparel sales. Since only a year ago, when he first started creating his own apparel items, his sales have increased 45% in apparel sales alone. This contributes to a $30,000 increase in his sales! Tom says that what makes these numbers even greater is that the number of sales for the other promotional items that he sells have not gone down at all; his apparel sales just continue to rise!
Tom says that the cost of purchasing the transfers and creating the apparel items is significantly cheaper than going to other screen printers to purchase these items. Since it is so much cheaper, he has been given the opportunity to offer his customers more affordable prices for their apparel items. He says that though he now has to take the extra effort to actually make the apparel items, they are saving him hundreds of dollars and are definitely worth the extra effort. Tom even added that the process of creating the custom apparel is very soothing to him and that he actually views the heat pressing process as a time of relaxation.
Tom purchases primarily Goof Proof® transfers to keep his prices low and to keep his customers coming back to him for future sales. He says that they remember who gave them the good price and service and continue to come back for future orders. Besides custom apparel, Tom says that some of his best-selling items include flashlights, keychains, and mugs. One of the oddest items that he sells is recycled toner cartridges, which only contribute to about 1% of sales. Tom says that some of his best customers consist of colleges, non-profits, correctional facilities, and local contractors.
When asked what advice he would give to someone who is new to the heat press industry, Tom responded that the first thing that you will want to do is get a nice heat press. From there, you will want to order practice transfers and try heat pressing onto cheap clothing items. (You can find sample transfers in the Easy Prints® Marketing Kit to practice with.) Once you know how to use your heat press, the next task is to let people know what you can do. Tom suggests cold calling local businesses and organizations as a means to get in touch with potential customers. He says that it is important to tell potential customers, “I can save you a ton of money on screen printing,” and that if you can offer it, to let them know that there are “no set up charges.” Tom says that a lot of the business that he gets over his competitors is because he does not have any set up charges. He says that the key to success in this industry is to offer lower prices than your competition at a price that will still allow you to turn a profit. Heat pressing has allowed him to do this!
Tom has another company, AdMat Advertising, which gives him a great opportunity to advertise for his promotional item company, Mollung Associates. AdMat Advertising creates placemats for restaurants that include several advertisements. Companies pay him to place their advertisements on the mats and he gives the mats to the restaurants for free. Mollung Associates is also a proud affiliate of AIA (Adventures in Advertising Company).
A 30% increase in apparel sales in only a year is something that we love to hear! It’s great to see how much heat pressing has impacted Tom’s business for the better, we hope that his business continues to grow and wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors!