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HOW TO PRICE MOST ANY PRODUCT .

December 13th, 2012

by Steve

People often say that pricing is the most difficult part of sublimation and they are right! You don’t want to overprice or you won’t sell them but if you underprice, the setup time, shipping, etc., just may mean you actually lose money and you sure don’t want that.

 

I use two methods of pricing for my products and for the pricing blogs that appear on www.conde.com.  One I call the “subjective pricing method” and the other is a “mathematical pricing method”. Neither one is perfect and usually has to be adjusted a bit but they give me a good “ballpark” and if nothing else, keep me from working for free or even losing money.

 

Before I show you what they are, let me remind you that there is more to pricing a product than just the cost of the product with a little labor thrown in.  There is the cost of electricity for the heat press, shipping charges, the time spent behind the computer setting up the job, the waste of products that didn’t turn out right, and the general overhead of your business such as rent, labor, insurance, etc.  It is because of the complexity of these factors that I use one of these two methods (mathematical or subjective).  They tend to add in a reasonable amount for all those behind the scenes expenses.

 

MATHEMATICAL:  I always try this one first. It is pretty clear cut and simple. Take the cost of the product and multiply the cost by 6. That’s a 600% markup.  Now, that may sound extreme but trust me it isn’t.  In fact, in a great many industries, 600% is the normal markup of any manufactured product. It isn’t important to understand all the reasons why, it just is.  So, if we take a coffee cup that costs $3 to buy and ship to your location and multiply that by 6, we get $18 and that’s in the ball park of what a single cup should cost.  I might adjust that to $19.95 for a single cup and offer two cups with the same artwork for $29.95 ($15 each).  This pricing covers the occasional mishap, the time behind the computer (if you don’t get carried away) and basic overhead.

 

SUBJECTIVE: If the mathematical method gives me a ridiculous number, I switch to the subjective system.  Here are a couple of examples where the mathematical system doesn’t work:  Take a name badge: The cost is less than $1 including finding, etc. Multiply that by 6 = $6. Now, $6 might seem reasonable for a name badge but I beg to differ. It is a fair price if you are doing a bunch of badges, but not just one.  Why? How long does it take to setup a badge, get approval, fax proofs, heat the press, make the badge and then deliver it to the customer.  You just lost a lot of time and money!!! A single badge should sell for $15.95 to $19.95 in color. Anything less and you are going to go out of business!

 

Here is another example that goes the other way. Let’s take a ChromaLuxe™ photo panel that costs you $18.95 plus shipping; A 600% markup takes it to $113.  Now, truth is, there are photographers all over the country selling those for that price and more!  But, can you?  Probably not.  So, because it is a high end product, there is room for us to fudge the price to make the sale and still make excellent money.  For that, we look at the subjective pricing method.

 

With the subjective method, I take a look at the product and what it cost me to make it.  Then I ask myself, “What will the market bear?”.  Then I ask, given the cost, what is the least I am willing to make that product for given the cost of the product, labor, time behind the computer, etc.  Very often, the price will come out very close in both questions.

 

Let’s try one: The ChromaLuxe™ photo panel.  I know it cost about $19 to buy and about $3 in ink and since it usually only requires importing a picture, not much computer time.  I also happen to know that photo websites that sell this product to professional photographers charge about $80 for it,  then mark it up to as much as $160 or more.  Can I get that much for it? I doubt it very seriously so what might I get?

 

Remember, this is totally subjective (fancy work for guessing game).  If the wholesalers are getting $80,  I’ll put that at the top.  Now, let’s ask what is the least I would take for making one and I would say about $40.  So now I have my spread.  Now, I have to ask myself if these numbers are reasonable. Actually, the bottom number is okay but the $80 seems a bit high so I’m going to price the product this way: A single unit: $60. Buy two and save $10 ($5 each).  Buy five and save $50 ($10 each).  Buy 10 and save $15 each.  What I want to do is encourage them to buy two or more at the same time which kicks my profit way up and does little to increase the cost of production.  Remember, their option is to buy from one of those websites that sells ONLY to professional photographers which they can’t buy from anyway and wouldn’t want to because their prices are much, much higher (granted, their quality may be superior to yours or mine but for an amateur photographer customer, it isn’t going to make much difference).

 

So, there you have it.  All my secrets to the magic of pricing:  try a formula and if it doesn’t work, take a stab in the dark! Well, it is a bit more scientific than that but not much.  A little common sense, some experience in selling and knowing what your customers are willing to pay helps and knowing what kind of overhead you have is a must.  The less overhead, the more flexible you can be and still make money.

 

A FINAL NOTE: When you try to price some products and neither method works, it probably means you should be selling that product in the first place. There are some products that are too complex, too expensive for the general market or have too much waste to include in your offerings. No big deal with these, just don’t offer them.


PRICING SUGGESTIONS FOR LUGGAGE FINDERS

May 23rd, 2012

By Steve

 

One of the most profitable and versatile little products in sublimation is often the most overlooked – luggage finders.

 

Ok, they only cost only a couple of bucks so how much can you sell them for? Not much in most cases but that isn’t the point. The point is, you can sell them to almost everyone who comes into your shop and best of all, you can sell them several at a time!

 

Think about it. Who goes on a trip now days with only one suitcase? Well, maybe more than three years ago but even today, most people carry at least one bag plus a briefcase or second carry-on bag. That makes two. Add a spouse and you have four. Get the idea?

 

Luggage finds are versatile. Certainly, they can be used on baggage for air travel but also for sports bags, heavy business cases and more. Being able to find luggage is key but these are also great for handles of heavy items such as a tool box or even a heavy bag like a 50 pound bag of bird food or dog food that has a handle cut into the top of the bag.

 

Of course you will have to tell people how great these are. People won’t come up with these ideas themselves but many people will quickly catch on.

 

The time to introduce these to a customer isn’t when they come to pick up an order – that’s too late for a spontaneous order. Show them when the place an order. This allows them to pick them up when they pick up whatever they actually come in to order.

 

Now, for pricing. I would never tell you what you should charge. That is entirely up to you. But I will share my thinking about what I charge: For one, I charge $15.95 which may seem a bit outrageous but there is no profit if you offer just one without a setup charge. The price comes down when they order two: $10.95 each. But order four and they go for $24.95 for all four and if that isn’t good enough, I’ll cut it to $20.95 if they are all identical designs. That’s about $5.25 each on a $2 product or a $12 profit on something you probably would not have sold otherwise. If you sell only one set a week, that’s and extra $624 a year. Sell one a day and that’s an extra $2,600 a year.

 

Suggested images:

  1. Just their last name.
  2. Monogram (download “Monogram” font from freefonts.com.
  3. Picture of family members.
  4. Picture of family pets.
  5. Sports images – perhaps a child’s school mascot and their jersey number.
  6. Picture of a landscape or vacation spot (Golden Gate Bridge, Beach, etc.)


11 oz Coffee Cups : Suggested Retail: $15.95-19.95

March 19th, 2012

By Steve

 

The irony of the coffee cup is that it is perhaps the single most popular sublimated item but far from the most profitable, especially if they are being made in a mug press. People tend to sell this product far below any reasonable price because they see it as just another coffee cup. Much fancier coffee cups than these can be purchased at Wal-Mart or a hundred other places for a dollar so why should anyone pay so much for a simply shaped white cup? If this kind of thinking drifts into your mind when you sell your cups, you are bound to undersell your product and even feel guilty about what you have to charge to make any money.

 

First, understand, you are not selling a coffee cup. You are selling personalization. None of those fancy $1 cups have the picture of a grandchild or loved one nor a message to the softball coach – that is what is being sold and truth is, that is priceless to the recipient.

 

There are several considerations to be taken into account when selling 11 ounce cups:

  1. The initial cost of the cup which varies by the quantity being ordered.
  2. The shipping cost which can be significant.
  3. Breakage. To expect a 10% loss due to breakage is not unreasonable.
  4. Time to design the cups.
  5. Time to make the cups which will vary greatly depending on the method used (mug press or mug wrap).

 

Potential Markets:

 

General Public: Cups are favorites for special occasions and holidays and are given to parents, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, grandparents, teachers, etc. For these, $15.95 – $19.95 seems a reasonable price. Price can vary slightly if an unusual amount of text or more than one photo or stock design is used (remember, design time is expensive).

 

Suggestion for increasing sales to the general public: Consider offering cups in sets of two, four, six or eight. For anyone wanting a cup for a Grandparent, offer a set of two or four with the same basic design and their name for a reduced price. For example: Many children have four grandparents so a set of four mugs that all say, “The World’s Best Grandma “(pa), etc. with a picture of the child and the grandparent’s name or a short message would normally sell for $15.95. Buy two for $30 or four for $55. Cups must use the same basic design and layout with only the names changing (this greatly reduces design time). This is an easy way to double your profit with a minimal investment of time and product.

 

Sports Teams: Cups are popular with youth and children’s Little League, soccer, basketball, and football leagues. They are sometimes used as trophies (consider the polymer cups for this) and given to each team member but more often used as an appreciation gift for the coach(es) at the end of the season. These cups usually include a picture of the team along with a list of players or their signatures. For these, $24.95 for one or $19.95 each for two or more seems reasonable.

 

Fundraisers: Schools and churches are often looking for fundraisers and cups make a great product for this purpose. All cups should be sold with the same image or design but personalized with the recipient’s name, grade, position, etc. added as well. Suggested retail for this item should be in the $20 range. Your selling price should be in the $12.95 range. This provides a fair profit for both you and the school or church selling the cups.

 

Military Applications: The military love coffee cups with their branch of service and/or the logo for their particular squadron, detachment, unit or other designation. Getting cups with their branch of service is easy but adding these other elements is another matter. Sublimation makes this easy. Not only can their individual unit logo be included but their name and rank, nickname, etc. can also be added. Going one step forward, the picture of an aviator with his actual plane, a sailor in front of his actual ship, a soldier in front of his actual tank or other type of equipment makes the cup far more personal and even a source of pride. A suggested selling price for a cup like this might be $24.95 because of the additional design time required. This is a great market for other types of cups as well. Steins, 15 oz cups and unusual shapes are very popular with this group.

 

Other suggestions: Like the military application, there are hundreds of other potential markets including fire departments (especially volunteer departments), police departments, SCUBA divers, boaters, amateur race car drivers, hobbyists, clubs and other organizations, promotional applications, rescue teams, EMTs, Veteran groups, and many, many more.


Changing the order of objects

March 18th, 2012

Arranging the order of objects in CorelDraw

If you have ever started a design and decided later that the last object you created or brought into the graphic you really need it to be somewhere in between some other objects within the graphic. If you have spent hours working with that document then you wouldn’t want to spent a lot of time trying to work around the dilemma.

From CorelDraw, you can change the stacking order of objects on a layer or a page by sending objects to the front or back, or behind or in front, of other objects. You can also position objects precisely in the stacking order, as well as reverse the stacking order of multiple objects.

Here is how:

1. Select the object

2. Click “Arrange” from the menu

3. At this point you can arrange “back one’; “forward one”; “all the way to the back”; “all the way to the front”.

An object cannot be moved to a locked (non-editable) layer; instead, it is moved to the closest normal or editable layer. For example, when you apply the To front of page command, and the topmost layer is locked, the object is moved to the topmost editable layer. Any objects on the locked layer remain in front of the object.

By default, all objects on the master page appear on top of the objects on other pages.

An Order command is unavailable if the selected object is already positioned in the specified stacking order. For example, the To front of page command is unavailable if the object is already in front of all the other objects on the page.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


SELLING PET PRODUCTS

March 12th, 2012

By Steve

 

Condé Systems offers several really neat products for pets. Included is a pet bowlmats to place under the pet bowl, leashes, collars, dog bandanas and of course, pet tags.

 

Now before I proceed, let me clue you in to something: I once walked through a trade show held just for owners of pet stores. It was huge! They had everything you could name and more. What they didn’t have was a single booth – not one – that offered personalized products for pets!

 

Now I know there are a couple of sublimators who now display at these shows but they are few and far between.

 

I’m a dog owner. I have a seven year old box-head lab, named Topaz. He is a great dog and I know there are thousands of products out there with pictures of labs on them but none of them look exactly like Topaz and none of the items has his name on it. Given a choice between a food dish with the picture of a generic lab on it and one with a picture of my lab and his name, which would I be most likely to buy?

 

Now that you have answered that, you should be in-tune with the huge potential market for pet products in the United States. Americans spend billions (yes, billions) of dollars on pets. Why shouldn’t we sublimators get a piece of that? We should and we can! Here’s a way to start:

 

Remember that groomer that charges you through the nose to give your dog a haircut? Or that vet that doesn’t even flinch when he or she tells you what it will cost to have your pet’s tooth cleaned, or other care given? That’s your starting place. One, you already know each other (kinda). Two, they are in the perfect retail store for selling pet products, and three, no matter how much these people charge for their care, they are always interested in making more profit – especially the kind they don’t have to work for.

 

Now that you are sold on the value of the product, let’s get down to tacks and talk about what this marketing scheme is going to cost.

 

The best way in my opinion is to provide a sample set for each shop you are going to provide product to. That means one of everything, bowl, leash, collar, scarf – whatever you hope to sell – plus a memorial plaque for pets who have passed on.

 

These items need to be attached to something so they don’t “walk away”. A large sublimated plaque works well. You probably won’t be able to attach the food dish but it is so heavy, it shouldn’t go far anyway. Use the plaque to tell about pricing, the durability, the fact you will use their photographs, etc.

 

Next, print up an order form so your customer can place the order and provide you with the necessary information.

 

Let the receptionist take the orders for you. All they have to do is paperclip any pictures to the order form and make sure there is a phone number in case you have any questions. She also collects the money. Once you make the product, return it to the store and collect your portion of the cash.

 

There are certainly other ways to go this and you will find the one that works best for you. The point here is to convince you this is a market worth the effort and to get you out of the office and in the face of your local groomer, vet, animal hospital or privately owned pet supply store.


iPhone Covers Make Great Fundraisers

March 5th, 2012


by Steve

 

iPhone 4 and 4s are a hit. Millions of people have them, including hundreds of thousands of kids. The High Schools and Middle Schools are enundated with them.

 

“So what” you say? Here’s what. We are missing a huge opportunity to use these little covers as a fundraisers for schools, PTAs, sports programs and any other group that needs to make money for their cause.

 

The cost of a finished iPhone cover is less than $5. I retail mine for $20 but many people are selling them for $25 or $30 because they are personalized. I offer mine to schools and other fund raising groups for $15 across the board. The group can charge whatever they want to. The price includes their logo or school mascot and their name. So far as I am concerned they could also include a picture but most groups want to keep the order taking process as simple as possible so they look for a single, generic design.

 

Sublimation, or Photo Gifting, is a great fundraiser for all kinds of groups. There is no money up front, they order only what they sell and the products are so unique, they probably can’t get them anywhere else in their town or city.

 

On top of all that, these iPhone covers are so easy to make. Just print a piece of metal – that’s it. No special, complicated set ups or expensive jigs to buy. Just print a piece of die cut metal and stick it on the back of the phone cover.

 

Although there are many combinations of iPhone covers you can offer (rubber or plastic; white, silver or gold metal and white, clear and black covers), encourage your reseller to offer only one combination and let that be whatever best compliments the school mascot or design. For example: I have one school whose colors are orange and black. Their mascot is a tiger. For them, I offered a combination of a black case with a gold metal cover completely over-printed in black except for the tiger. The gold plate causes the tiger to almost jump off the plate!


Using the Blend Tool in Corel

February 18th, 2012

To blend objects

To
Do the following
Blend along a straight line
In the toolbox, click the Blend tool . Select the first object, and drag over the second object. If you want to reset the blend, press Esc as you drag.
Blend an object along a freehand path
In the toolbox, click the Blend tool. Select the first object. Hold down Alt, and drag to draw a line to the second object.
Fit a blend to a path
In the toolbox, click the Blend tool. Click the blend. Click the Path properties button on the property bar. Click New path. Using the curved arrow, click the path to which you want to fit the blend.
Stretch the blend over an entire path
Select a blend that is already fitted on a path. Click the Miscellaneous blend options button on the property bar, and enable the Blend along full path check box.
Create a compound blend
Using the Blend tool, drag from an object to the start or end object of another blend.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


How to Apply a mesh to an object in CorelDraw

February 17th, 2012

For those who like to create vector images and blend color into and object, I have a great tool for you to learn and have some fun with. The “Mesh Tool in CorelDraw id an awesome way to create colorful drawings and transition color into something very artistic. People will ask how you did it. I use this tool with flowers and for creating a more 3D effect with some graphics. I hope you find this tool as useful as I do. Here is how…

To apply a mesh fill to an object:
1.

Select an object.

2.
In the toolbox, click the Mesh fill tool .
3.
Type the number of columns in the top portion of the Grid size box on the property bar.
4.
Type the number of rows in the bottom portion of the Grid size box on the property bar, and press Enter.
5.
Adjust the grid nodes on the object.
You can also
Add an intersection
Click once within a grid, and click the Add intersection button on the property bar.
Add a node
Hold down Shift, and double-click where you want to add the node.
Remove a node or an intersection
Click a node, and click the Delete node(s) button on the property bar.
Shape the mesh fill
Drag a node to a new location.
Remove the mesh fill
Click the Clear mesh button on the property bar.
If the mesh object contains color, adjusting the intersection nodes of the mesh affects how the colors blend together.
You can also marquee select or freehand marquee select nodes to shape an entire area of the mesh. To marquee select nodes, choose Rectangular from the Selection mode list box, and drag around the nodes you want to select. To freehand select nodes, choose Freehand from the Selection mode list box, and drag around the nodes you want to select. Holding down Alt while dragging lets you toggle between the Rectangular and Freehand selection mode.
You can add an intersection by double-clicking in a space, or you can add a single line by double-clicking a line.
To add color to a patch in a mesh fill
1.
Select a mesh-filled object.
2.
In the toolbox, click the Mesh fill tool .
.
Drag a color from the color palette to a patch in the object.
You can also
Color an intersection node in a mesh fill
Click an intersection node, and click a color on the color palette.
Mix a color in a mesh fill Select part of the mesh, press Ctrl, and click a color on the color palette.
You can also drag a color from the color palette to an intersection node.

You can also marquee select or freehand marquee select nodes to apply a color to an entire area of the mesh. To marquee select nodes, choose Rectangular from the Selection mode list box on the property bar, and drag around the nodes you want to select. To freehand select nodes, choose Freehand from the Selection mode list box on the property bar, and drag around the nodes you want to select. Holding down Alt while dragging lets you toggle between the Rectangular and Freehand selection mode.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


Curving Text in CorelDraw

February 3rd, 2012

Most anyone who has used CorelDraw has had to exercise the software in order to continuously sharpen their skills. Some of the more simple needs from the application can  consume a major chunk of time when attempting to design something. Curving text is one of those things that you may not use often but when you need it; you need it! I have a simple method for accomplishing this task from within the application. In this blog entry I will provide a simple instructions using the “envelope” tool to curve text. It is up to you the user to perfect this technique.

Curving Text using the envelope tool:

Curving Text using CorelDraw

Curving Text using CorelDraw

1. Choose your font and type.

2. Select the the object using the “pick tool” from the tools menu.

3. With the text selected, in the tools menu select the “envelope” tool (fifth one from the bottom). If you do not see it. Left click over the tool showing and choose if from the drop down menu.

4. Select center node and, hold the left mouse key down and drag to the desired spot. If desired you can use other nodes to create curvature in other place within the font. Swing the arrow to ad an even more wavy graphic.

5. click off the graphic or on the pick tool again to seal the the deal. You can repeat the instruction to make necessary changes.

I used CorelDraw X4 in this demonstration but the technique should work with any version within CorelDraw. I recommend you test the feature and have fun learning to create awesome designs with this tool. There will be a video to come on our Conde TV page that will demonstrate this technique.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop


Using Felt with Condé Products

February 3rd, 2012

When I am asked how and when felt should be used, I have to include the rules of pressure and the types of products you have to transfer onto. For instance if you are pressing to a textured surface or some other uneven surface like tile or something with an easel on the

Using felt to create a meshing effect

back you cant exactly close the press evenly. So to accomplish an even surface where the top platen touches the sublimatable area, you must have something in between the hard surfaces to create a meshing effect. When this occurs the felt is needed.

With the right amount of pressure applied by the press the product will mesh into the softness of the felt and allow some resistance for the top surface to adjust to the flatness of the top platen. Therefore, creating equal distribution across the sublimatable area.

Felt is most often used on the bottom of the press just above the bottom platen and Teflon sheet. The felt is then applied and cover with protective paper to prevent ink from transferring onto the your reusable products that are more costly if replaced.

In addition, you will find informative videos for configuring color management by the support team at Condé by visiting Condé TV, the Condé Facebook Page and Condé Twitter. Look for more upcoming videos and informative blog entries to be added for successful sublimation and maintaining your Condé DyeSub System. If there is something that you think would be better said in an instructional video or blog posting, then we look forward to hearing your ideas.

Senior Technical Consultant,

Vicky Waldrop