By Cassandra Balentine
Today’s print technology advances to support just-in-time production on everything from apparel to home goods, wall art, accessories, pets, drinkware, and stationary products. This model is appealing to businesses that want to offer customized items with an acceptable price tag and time frame.
Gooten understands the potential of print on demand products. Established in 2015, the company defines itself as a “smart” supply chain, which focuses on helping brands optimize their ecommerce business with on demand manufacturing. It does this by combining proprietary technology and operational expertise with a global network of 30-plus manufacturing partners, which are all carefully vetted to meet its quality and production standards. This infrastructure allows the company to fulfill orders efficiently, sustainably, and competitively. Headquartered in New York, NY, it employs a staff of 144, all of which work remotely across the globe.
As a print on demand solutions provider, digital print is a core capability for Gooten. From day one the company has selected products that benefit from the technology and partnered with manufacturers well versed at utilizing it. With digital print technology there are many benefits. These include zero inventory and the ability to quickly test new products and designs with minimal to no risk.
Among its offerings, the company provides a variety of apparel products, which are decorated using direct to garment (DTG) printing. Brian Rainey, CEO, Gooten, says this technology allows for maximum detail in design and more colors. “It is also a more cost-effective option for our partners,” he shares.
It sets itself apart in the market as one of the only smart supply chains in the industry for ecommerce businesses. Whether it is a known brand operating thousands of stores or an emerging high-growth business set for expansion, Rainey says it has it covered. “Our brands rave about the efficiencies we bring. We provide consistent, quality on demand digital printing in a single platform by using sophisticated APIs and we tie it all together into one unified invoice that centralizes insights into business operations across the brand’s ecosystem.”
In addition to DTG, Gooten utilizes transfer dye-sublimation (dye-sub) printing. This method is commonly used for its all-over t-shirts and accessory pouches.
Among its offerings the smart supplier provides rug and carpet-type products, which are printed using the woven technique. “Unlike dye-sub for the direct to fabric process, woven throw blankets utilize solid colored yarn combined with black and white yarn to achieve the 195 possible color combinations applied to photos or graphic designs,” shares Rainey.
The company works with a diverse set of manufacturers that are experts in their respective print techniques in order to offer best-in-class quality products to its partners.
These partnerships are key to Gooten’s success. “When it comes to digital printing, a commonly overlooked feature is the individuals who actually operate the machinery. You can buy a Ferrari but if you don’t have a driver’s license you won’t get the full experience,” says Rainey. The same is true when it comes to DTG printing. “Knowing how to operate these half a million dollar printers is extremely important when it comes to quality control. On demand apparel printing is a very delicate and detailed process. If one variable is off, then the entire product will turn out incorrectly.”
This is why the company conducts on-site evaluations with its manufacturers, ensuring that their technicians are well versed in every step of the process.
All of its apparel vendors use Kornit Digital printers, and the company has 18 apparel locations across eight vendors. “We are proud to use Kornit technology as it is a leading industry standard for advanced digital textile printing solutions,” states Rainey.
Kornit’s technologies and constant commitment to research, development, and innovation are aimed to help textile producers meet the dynamic needs and demands of today’s consumer-driven marketplace. Designed to eliminate redundancies, wasted time, and excess labor, Kornit’s DTG on demand systems produce superior quality with every impression and allow textile printers to be profitable from the first impression.
Further, the company’s inks are environmentally friendly, water-based Kornit NeoPigment inks that are certified to be free of heavy metals, formaldehyde, and alkylphenol ethoxyalates.
With digital print technology, Gooten serves a range of clients, from Etsy shops to large box retailers, seamlessly and effectively with scalability. The print on demand process enables a zero inventory model with cost and environmental benefits.
However, while the company has streamlined its process, print on demand products are made to order and therefore there is some additional production time that not all customers are accustom to. “In an Amazon Prime world where products are shipped in two days, and sometimes the very same day, many customers expect to receive products relatively quickly—providing a challenge for many ecommerce stores,” admits Rainey. He says sometimes customers get frustrated by how long it takes for a product that is printed on demand to arrive.
In terms of quality, Gooten’s strategy comes out on top. “Contrary to other print on demand providers that use the same facility for both wall art and apparel, the manufacturers in the Gooten network are the experts in their product categories. It is one of the many reasons why our partners rave about the quality of our products. Would you trust a candy factory to make cars? Definitely not. They are two different products that require specific machinery.
Similarly, you shouldn’t trust a manufacturer who produces canvas wraps to also print your designs on apparel. Both products have distinct surfaces and materials that require specialized printers and techniques,” comments Rainey.
The company is actively working on expanding its production capabilities within the hybrid DTG and hybrid legacy bulk spaces while also advancing a more seamless integration between those methods and traditional DTG. “In the interim, we are excited to officially roll out our embroidery capabilities to all Gooten partners,” he shares.
The company was well-poised to thrive during the 2020 global pandemic. “While the rest of the world came to a standstill last year, the entire ecommerce industry skyrocketed and the supply chain experienced a dramatic and rapid shift that even companies like Amazon weren’t ready for. At Gooten, our order volume quadrupled. While we initially had some disruptions with production time and customer support, we were quickly able to get back on our feet due to product redundancies in our global manufacturing network,” explains Rainey.
In 2020 during a worldwide pandemic, the company seamlessly fulfilled orders at a 98 percent error-free rate and 95 percent on-time shipping rate due to its smart supply chain. “Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to maintain strong production and shipping times, averaging 2.8 days to produce and 3.8 days to deliver orders,” he adds.
Gooten is a well-oiled machine that tested its limits and came out on top in 2020. The supplier network takes care in choosing its partners and together they serve clients in a timely and quality manner. As ecommerce continues to explode, businesses easily offer print on demand products with confidence and ease.
Oct2021, Digital Output