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In House photo-gifts advice please


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I want to do photo gifts in house as we currently outsource them here in the UK.

Whose hardware do you use and which should I buy?

My best selling items are mugs, then mouse mats, then others.

We don't have any great volumes.

Magic Touch and Novachrome are a couple  of companies I have info on.

If you use any of these companys which hardware configs. are working for you? and which should

I avoid.

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Sublimation makes the nicest mugs, and broadest range of gift except garments.

The Epsom d88 is entry level, about £60 but a bulk ink system is another £200.

I would go for the richo printer, A3 about £500 orA4 about half that.

Hardware is cheaper from the magic touch but the other company mentioned has a broader range of blank printables.

A good mug press will be about £300 but you should recover the cost of a full mug setup doing two boxes (72) mugs in maybe 3 months?

Flat gifts need a different press.........

If you only ever do sub flat things you can get by with a cheapsh press, but if you want to grow into laser t shirts etc then an Adkins is the way to go for £850.

Technical support from Magic Touch is excellent and are my prefered supplier.


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i`d agree with Phil buy good quality presses which will last you for a long while.

But i purchased my CHEAPO equipment two and half years ago from china and i`ve no problems i maybe one of those lucky ones. (Mug at £111.00 and press at £250.00 Epson Printer £30.00 and bulk ink feed system £35.00)

November/December i did about 100 mugs the only rjects i had was when i forgot to reverse the image or silly spelling mistakes

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Personally I would start with the instant photo gifts from Adventa through Swains. They have a comprehensive range and are all you need to get started. Once you've established a market then get the printer and heat press. We have gone the other way and now just push the product we can do at the counter because it is much more profitable (when you take into account wastage, time doing production, set-up for one-offs, power etc) I use a nearby shop for mugs and t-shirts as they do much bigger volumes and their price to us is good. All the best.

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Like Nash, I bought a cheapo 5 in 1 kit from China (via E-bay)

It's a flatbed press, with a mug press, baseball cap press and 2 sizes of plate presses which plug in as you need.

Had it for 2 years and honestly can't fault it. Quite simply- it works. Cost me £200 at the time, more now though due to the value (or lack of) the pound.

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We have the instant gifts too and they are popular. I wouldn't have been wanting to fluff around in the backroom over a printer and press during our busy times like Christmas. There is a place for them but if I can get better margin without the hassle I'd choose the easy way  ;)

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We have a slow Epson C88+.  Slow compared to the new Ricoh's which spits out a page every 45 seconds and can do up to 11"x18"

For some reason we've been having customers with deceased family members come in and they're ordering 20-40 T-shirts per and with our Epson, it takes forever to print (about 11 minutes / page).

If you expect your volume to increase, spend the extra money and get the larger Ricoh.  

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Phil, It's a simple 8x10 photo of the deceased family member with some writing on it.  Sometimes with a short poem.

Profile the customer.... let's just say I'm in the ghetto.  Fairly safe in the day time, and get the hell out of there at night.  Definitely not what you would call the "high street".  They're OK wearing T-shirts to the family members' funeral....  

Our customer base is about 60% black, 39% hispanic, and 1% other.  With the occasional traveler from other countries stopping by once a year.

They initially want black T's, but after I tell them our volume prices,  they're OK with white 50/50 T's.   With a great up-sell if they want the Sof'Links.  Our heat press temperature display is inaccurate too, so instead of pressing for 1 minute, we only press for about 29 seconds, so once we start pressing, it's FAST.  When our C88 dies, we'll replace with a 4 ink Epson Workforce unit that I can get a cheap CIS & Artanium ICC profiles for, they're faster than what we currently have, and about $60 refurbished directly from Epson.

Right now: 20 - 8x10's takes about 4 hours to print, and about 15 minutes to press.

Ricoh, would take about 15 minutes to print !

new Epson workforce ???

We average about 120-150 T's per year, not nearly as many as you.  I like the idea of those instant gifts, but cannot find a distributor of those products here in the US, and don't want to order them from the UK.  If someone in the US knows of a vendor, let me know !

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