Learning from the CEO


How to Start a T-Shirt and Decal Business

A customer asked: What would you recommend in regards to vinyl cutters and heat press machines for entry to mid-level start-ups?

When my wife and I started this business, we had this same concern because we didn’t know how successful it was going to be and we didn’t have a lot of money. The question really came down to if we should buy the least expensive vinyl cutter or the least expensive heat press?

The answer: Go with what you can afford within your budget. If you don’t start your business, you can’t grow your business. You can always put away a budget or contingency, or even finance, for higher grade equipment as you grow.

As far as my recommendation, buy the quality heat press first as your equipment investment. If you know you have $1500 to spend on your production equipment, spend more on the heat press and less on the cutter.

Why: Every item I create, when it came to heat transfer material, needs to be quality. If you’ve got a cheap heat press and it has cold spots, doesn’t regulate temperature or pressure, if it’s faulty, you could damage your product or just be creating less quality than you’d like. Or you’re spending tons of time pressing and repressing things. That can cost you money.

Here’s a breakdown of how to pair your equipment:

Later on, when you’re gaining customers and your orders are building you can add a second cutter, a higher quality, and bigger cutter, to your production line. Now, you’ve got two cutters, making twice the products, and a quality heat press that hasn’t let you down. It’s easier to have two cutters doing work than having two heat presses you’re monitoring and lining up with vinyl.

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About Author

"It's awesome!" Matt Vassallo is the owner and CEO of The Rhinestone World, building the company from an entrepreneurial vinyl and rhinestone decal business he and his wife started in their home. As a teacher, Matt understands and appreciates what it means to empower others by providing knowledge and education to succeed in this industry. And if you haven't noticed, he's kind of a sports buff.

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