3 direct to garment printer or screen printer business ideas

Niche Market Ideas for the Screen Printer and DTG Printer

3 UNIQUE Markets for your Custom T Shirt business


Once thing every small business person needs, especially ones going into the custom t-shirt business, is a list of hot niche markets to go after. While the screen printing business is a little different that the direct to garment, the customers are going to be the same. So once you’ve picked the best DTG printer for your business, like we’ve discussed from www.dtgprintermachine.com, or before you’ve even started a screen print shop, jot these down as part of your business plan.

Wedding Businesses

Most new printers start out with sports teams and leave the wedding wear to bling machine or rhinestone machine owners. The obvious markets for weddings are in those sparkly, funny rhinestone tees that the bridal parties wear, after all.

BUT this can be a hot market for you too! You can offer the following:

  • Tees for the bridal party – funny, raunchy or with the bride/grooms photos on them
  • Wedding invitations – people do screen or DTG printing onto wood for unique invitations like this store.
  • Custom chair sashes with sayings or family names
  • Groom tee shirts

Those are just a few ideas! Why not sit down with a local wedding planner or bridal shop and work out a referral exchange deal?

New Businesses

The trend online is to serve up LOCAL information. More and more search engine tools and phone apps are designed to tell you what’s nearby – and you should be doing the same!

tampa bay boat trailer rental

Brand new businesses are the perfect customer for a dtg printer or screen printing business because they usually need everything. Here are a few examples of new brand businesses and what they might need:

  • American Boat Trailer Rental – no question what this company does, they rent boat trailers in Florida. What might they need from you?
    • Company logo tees
    • Promotional t-shirts to give away to customers
    • Javita weight loss coffee tampaFitness and Weight loss companies – even a national online business, like this one called Javita that just started selling weight loss coffee, has ample opportunity for promotional product sales. Company like these have lots of resellers, so each one is a prospect for:
      • Personalized promotional tees – for their local franchise only
      • Coasters, banners and hats for giveaways
      • Restaurants and Coffee Shops – the smaller the better! These companies are great markets for company uniform tees and polos, giveaway items and employee motivational clothing for employee of the month tees, etc.

New businesses are simple to find too. Whenever a company is formed the owners must register the company name with the state and advertise it in the newspaper. There are also several publications, like the Business Journal, see bizjournals.com and find your area, that publish new and growing businesses in a leads section.

Event Venues

You may or may not be able to sell custom tees to the local fair grounds or concert venue, but they can still be an EXCELLENT source of business. After all, are there ANY events that you’ve been to that don’t sell event based custom tees? Or that wouldn’t want special event employee t-shirts?

The salespeople or booking agents that work for event venues can be a gold mine of leads for your business. Just call up your local venue and ask for sales, tell them what you do, bring them a free t-shirt and let them bring you new business every time a group comes to town!

So when you’re thinking about your custom t shirt business, think about these 3 unique markets and go get ’em!


Brother DTG Printer

New DTG Printer Comparison and Review Article

Here’s a new comparison of the best dtg printers on the market.

It compares the Brother DTG Printers that start with GT-3 with the Viper.

The Viper is $20K, and so is the cheapest of the Brother t-shirt printing machines, but they go up to almost $25K


The cheapest Brother doesn’t print on dark t-shirts. No white ink capabilities included, so it’s really out of the picture. The next two models up both do print on darks, but still don’t do the same image sizes or multiple shirts like the Viper will.

Brother DTG Printer

Brother GT-341

The only things that some people may like about the Brother dtg printers is that they use cartridges instead of bottles, which makes them look neater, and that they don’t use a RIP software. There are some pros and cons to a RIP. For Professionals, you have a LOT more control of your image and the amounts of ink you use. For beginners it’s a little more complicated to print. But the results are worth it and you get used to the software quickly.

Both machines require that you know and use a graphics application, like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Corel Draw, just to name the most popular ones. You’ll also still need to get a Heat Press, do pre treatment of darks and maybe even light colored tees for best results.

Both manufacturers have good reputations for technical support and warranty service, though it is much easier to get a hold of someone at ColDesi for questions about their DTG printers – Brother is a huge organization and it’s easy to get lost among the crowd of products.

best t shirt printing machine comparison

The Best T Shirt Printing Machines

What is the best t shirt printing machine?

There are several products on the market today that you can call a T Shirt Printing Machine, or T-Shirt Printer, we’ll take a look at which one is the best t shirt printing machine.

If you want to get into the custom t-shirt business and are serious about it, there’s really only 2 reasonable choices for under $30,000. One is the heat transfer, which just uses a good quality printer (usually about $12K that has white toner) and really limits you to what you can “print”. None of the big online custom t shirt businesses use this because it’s too slow and may wash off the shirt.

The other method, and our favorite, is Direct to Garment Printer – these are ink jet printers that have been adapted to printing directly onto a t shirt. These custom t shirt machines are also called:

  1. DTG Printers
  2. Direct to garment printer
  3. T shirt printing machines
  4. Garment printers
  5. Textile printers

Some of the brands are:

  1. DTG
  2. Anajet
  3. Brother

The particular brand of printer, which we think is the best t shirt printing machine available today. The DTG brand.

DTG has 3 printer models:

  1. The DTG Viper – it’s the cheapest t shirt printing machine from DTG, but still prints great. The big difference with this whole brand is how well they print on black t shirts. They use a white ink management system that makes this easy.
  2. The DTG M2 – more expensive, but we really think this is the best t shirt printing machine or best dtg printer on the market. It’s got 2 platens, so you can print 2 custom t shirts at the same time. And it’s really fast!
  3. The DTG M4 – same thing as the M2, but bigger and with 4 platens, so you can print 4 shirts at a time. It’s an expensive machine, but is probably the best t shirt printing machine if you have a screen printing business and you’re used to high volume printers.
best t shirt printing machine comparison

This is the DTG M2

This is a comparison that company did between the M2, the Brother Grafittee and the Anajet t shirt printing machines.


This company has 2 websites. One is http://www.dtgPrintermachine.com, the other is http://www.coldesi.com

As an alternative, here’s a link to more information on screen printing.


DTG T-Shirt Printer

DTG Printer Quality: 4 Questions to Ask

The choice of a DTG printer for your t-shirt business should not be difficult, you just have to ask the right questions.

This demonstration of the M2 Direct to Garment Printer at a trade show will give you a quick idea of the parts you’ll be asking questions about.

Your DTG printer will be the heart of your direct to garment custom tee shirt printing business. Take your time with selecting the right one and use the guidelines below.

More than anything else, the best DTG printer systems features a design specifically for digital garment printing. At a minimum, printers should include: good white ink management (such as the “DTG” printer brand with the WIMS White Ink Management System), pressurized CMYK ink feed re-circulation system, extended print areas, automated head cleaning, and ink mist removal.

DTG T-Shirt Printer


Direct to garment printers, also called DTG printers must be engineered specifically to print on garments and fully address the shortcomings of first and second generation machines or inkjet printers repurposed for textile printing.

4 Questions about DTG Printer Specifications

When shopping for a DTG printer for your direct to garment business, you will find yourself facing a huge variety of technical specifications. Four essential things you should ask when comparing printers:

  1. Does the DTG printer have a re-purposed inkjet printing system, or is it designed for garment printing from the ground up?
  2. What are per t-shirt printing costs: ink, pretreatment, other supplies and maintenance?
  3. What are reasonable estimates of print times and productivity? If the RIP software of a DTG printer requires constant tweaking to get a customer’s face ready for printing, you must remember that in estimating turnaround times.
  4. Can it do high quality dark garment printing? or Will it print on black tees?

Knowing the Needs of Your Business

Deciding on a DTG printer can be complicated, but asking the right questions can make the process a lot easier. The four questions above are non-negotiable, but your search for a DTG printer should also start by answering a few things about your own business goals:

  • Who are your target customers?
  • What do you want to be your daily amount of prints?
  • Will you be using the printer for “while-you-wait” clients or will you be taking orders for delivery?
  • Which is more urgent, speed or equipment cost?
  • Are you looking for a niche market, such as oversize prints, beach towels, collared or sleeve prints, artwork on canvas, and so on?
  • How often will you be using the DTG printer?

If your feel your direct to garment business will be primarily one-offs or single runs, with the occasional multiple quantity, you may want to consider DTG printers like the DTG Viper or the M-Series DTG Printers which are suitable for fast production of 1-8 garments at a time.

A business model geared toward larger production needs a DTG printer that is engineered exclusively for high volume production.

DTG Printer Features Important To Garment Decorators

Quantity is a significant concern when deciding on a DTG printer, but it is not the only one. There are some features that all garment decorators should look at:

  • Features that are for the specific challenges of printing on garments with textile inks (like white ink management systems, RIP software and flexibility of the platen systems).
  • Support and training provided by the distributor or retailer. Will they remain available to respond to your questions, give advice or troubleshoot if problems occur?
  • Performance of the DTG printer. This is the bottom line for your direct to garment printing business; do the prints that come from the DTG printer look good, wash well and last long.

Welcome to the “Dark” Side of Garment Printing

In a competitive marketplace, direct to garment printers have to meet the needs of today’s customer. To have the best products available means you will be printing on all types of shirts, in a variety of styles and colors. This means your DTG printer should be ready for all garments, including dark t-shirts.

Direct to Garment Printer Black T-shirt

There are certain challenges to dark garment printing, which can limit the products a shop can ultimately provide. Your success on darks rests on white ink; a base coat of white is what makes images stand out on dark garments, without wading.

Many machines (like Brother Brand Printers) have difficulty printing the white ink needed for direct to garment printing on darks. Businesses with the right DTG printer to handle white ink and can master the art of dark garment printing may reach up to three-quarters of their orders on darks. That is a lot of traffic to turn down, just because you don’t have the proper equipment!

DTG Brand printers are designed with WIMS, to deliver the best results on both light and dark garments.

With The Right Help, Your Decision Can Be Easy!

Like any significant business decision, the search for the right DTG printer might take some time. You will also need to budget a period to learn to use the printer you finally get. Not surprisingly, the best DTG printers are often the easiest to master, sometimes only taking a day or two to learn. With the right information and advice, purchasing the right printer can be a decision that you will never regret.

The specific DTG Printers we used as examples, and our favorites, are made by ColDesi Inc. They have everything you need to get a direct to garment printing company started, from DTG printers and accessories and tools like heat presses and pretreatment machines.