Our Intelligence channels offer market intelligence, technical reports and deep-dive analysis of key industry motivators, technologies, materials and impactors. WTiN Intelligence provides detailed analysis of important high-growth areas of the textile and apparel industry. WTiN’s expert team of analysts and network of researchers go beyond the what and the why to look at what might come next, what businesses need to contend with in an evolving global supply chain, and how they can take advantage of the opportunities on the horizon.
Industry insight, market information, and the connections you need to examine and evaluate market trends in the roll-to-roll digital textile printing sector.
By Nitin Madkaikar
Market and technical intelligence essential to the activewear and athleisure textile and clothing industries.
By Fiona Haran
By Otis Robinson
By Jessica Owen
In-depth intelligence about textiles used in outdoor sportswear, footwear and equipment, as well as textile applications that require protection from external environments - such as workwear and PPE.
By Jessica Owen
By Jessica Owen
In-depth intelligence on the materials, manufacturing technologies and application areas of smart textiles.
By Jessica Owen
By Jessica Owen
By Fiona Haran
Providing investors and decision makers in the textile and apparel value chain with in-depth analysis and insight into the digitalisation of manufacturing processes and smart business models.
By Otis Robinson
By Madelaine Thomas
By Otis Robinson
Our WTiNews channels take a look at global textile and apparel industry innovation, businesses, technology and markets, provided by WTiN’s in-house team of journalists. WTiNews is set apart from basic news content as it discerns the importance of changes and developments in the supply chain. WTiNews doesn’t only tell you ‘what’ has happened, it also covers impact, the bigger picture and the industry’s response to trends, events and more.
A viewpoint on both natural and manmade fibres and yarns, as seen through the eyes of manufacturers, growers, processors and spinners, with a mix of technical articles, analysis and product innovation news.
Analysis and manufacturing technology updates for the global fabric manufacturing industries and their supply-chain partners.
By Jessica Owen
News, market insight, analysis and product development updates from the fast-growing markets in technical textiles, covering all applications and end uses.
Unrivalled coverage of the manufacture and uses of engineered polymer and fibre ‘non-textile’ products.
By Jessica Owen
Your instant window on the global raw materials prices, trade movements, resources and manufacturing costs that can affect the profitability of your textile products.
As a result of the cancellation of key industry exhibitions this year, manufacturers of technology and materials do not have a platform to showcase their products. Travel also remains a challenge for many people. So the logical conclusion is to create an online event where manufacturers can exhibit their innovations to an unrestricted global audience. The Innovate Textile & Apparel Virtual Trade Show will be live on 15-30 October 2020.
Future Materials (FM) is focused on innovation in the fast-growing technical textiles sector, from fibre to finished product, covering all the applications and end uses across the world. As global demand for technical textiles rises, high-level executives and product designers increasingly turn to FM for the latest news, product launches, R&D projects, conference reports and market insight.
Nonwovens Report International (NRI) keeps you up-to-date with the latest developments across the nonwovens market. With its team of technical and industry experts, NRI makes use of its close ties with associations, research institutes and market-leading businesses to bring you international reporting that covers areas all over the world.
Previously known as IoTex, the newly relaunched Textile 4.0 journal delivers vital insights into the burgeoning transformation of the textile and apparel value chain. It covers a spectrum of content, from technologies enabling the personalisation trend to supply chain transparency, the latest in fabric gripping robotics, smart clothing and much more.
Krisjanis Ozols talks to Joseph Link about the growth of Printful, the impact of Covid-19, the need for on-demand manufacturing and why personalisation is a trend that is here to stay.
The resiliency of the digital direct-to-garment printing (DTG) market during 2020 has been a real positive for the broader inkjet textile printing industry.
The versatility demonstrated by DTG print service providers during the Covid-19 pandemic is why experts from within the industry are confidently forecasting an acceleration in the implementation of the technology post crisis.
There are several factors influencing the DTG market’s strong performance in 2020, but the most obvious is its ability to utilise the B2C marketplace. The most successful DTG print service providers are Web2Print enterprises which utilise ecommerce.
During the height of the pandemic, brands and retailers cancelled orders following the forced closure of non-essential retail outlets which badly affected industrial-scale print service providers who rely on bulk orders to make profits. A surge in online clothing purchases ensued, which presented the DTG community with an opportunity to showcase itself in front of a much larger and more varied consumer base.
Printful was established in 2013 and is an example of a successful DTG print service provider with a large online presence. According to the company’s head of operations development and partnerships, Krisjanis Ozols, “Printful was founded with the goal to build the most easy-to-use, most small-business-friendly print-on-demand (POD) service out there.”
On-demand manufacturing is a buzz phrase, but the concept has been gathering momentum alongside a rise in the adoption of digitalised manufacturing solutions. Manufacturing on-demand is a more environmentally friendly approach compared to traditional practices and is a concept which in theory tackles two key textile industry challenges: overproduction and sustainability.
It is evident with the success of businesses like Printful that DTG printing facilitates the adoption of an on-demand business model.
Ozols says: “On-demand is an important driver of online retail growth. Not only is this model faster and more environmentally conscious, but it also enables a whole new generation of small businesses and brands to emerge.
“Thanks in part to the on-demand model, developments in retail software, and payment solutions that allow cross-border trade, anyone from anywhere in the world can become an online seller and develop their own brand. There are no upfront costs, no hassles with inventory, no headaches of receiving payments or shipping orders out. All of this can be done on your behalf with the help of technology.
“As the technology has progressed, on-demand printing has also become more efficient in terms of production speed and cost-effectiveness. It means small merchants can now compete with fast fashion companies not just with a more unique design offering on their products, but with pricing as well. Not to mention the fact that on-demand production is also much better for the environment as it only permits the manufacturing of what is being sold.
“This is very important to Printful as we’re working on becoming more sustainable in all business aspects; from limiting the waste generated during production to efficient energy use. These are the main reasons why Printful only uses DTG technology to print on apparel, which happens to be our largest product category, so the technology is a fundamental part of our business and we expect the technology to be a key growth driver for us in the future.”
Printful has grown exponentially in its seven-year existence and is an example of what can be achieved by emerging small-scale DTG print service providers. Since 2013, the company has evolved into an on-demand, order-fulfilment, and warehousing service that manufactures and ships products – including clothing, accessories, and home and living items – for online businesses.
Key to scaling up, according to Ozols, is “software development know-how.” Ozols states that the printing technology, despite it being important, only goes so far and that the company would “not have got to where it is now without its team of over 90 software developers.”
“On-demand manufacturing in the textile industry is preferred by SMEs, and it’s not enough to be just an efficient manufacturer to support them,” Ozols continues. “You have to help them by providing a reliable and easy-to-use platform to create products, connect them to their ecommerce store, enable payment solutions, and so forth.
“There are a multitude of challenges that we’re trying to solve for our customers, and even though optimising production is an important part of that process, it’s definitely not the only one. You then realise that the world is more connected than ever before, and you need to have a presence and localisation anywhere where your customer's customers are.
“Printful's success has been based on providing an overarching solution to businesses to get started and expanding our product catalogue and fulfilment network as we move along – all while maintaining an unparalleled level of quality.”
Printful has acquired a fleet of Kornit Digital printers to handle its textile printing operations. Ozols says the company is particularly impressed with the machines’ energy efficiency and the fact they enable water printing technology: sustainability was a much talked about challenge across the entire textile industry prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the issue is unlikely to fade until appropriate and sustained action has been taken collectively. Additionally, Printful considers Kornit as more than just a vendor.
Ozols adds: “We (Printful and Kornit) work together to implement any new updates and provide Kornit with feedback on what the industry needs. Our main attention in terms of investment and R&D is focused on textile printing: how to improve processes and scale even further.”
Consequently, Ozols reveals that Printful is expanding by developing its own cut and sew department which “enables the company to get ahead of competitors”.
The ability and desire to invest, expand and innovate is going to be key for print service providers throughout the next decade. Analysts warn that standing still now, despite an economic recession, will result in lost ground. But Printful sees the value in investments and leads by example when it comes to equipping itself with highly digitalised, flexible, and reliable solutions and the company has certainly not been deterred by the global pandemic.
“Since March this year, we’ve invested US$4m in printing equipment, hired more than 200 new
employees and launched over nine new partnerships with fulfilment centres globally,” says Ozols. “We’re also continuously working on our expansion plans: we have launched a partnership with two outsourcing printing facilities in Australia and one in Japan, we're focusing more on investments in Europe, and we expect to open our Canada fulfilment centre this year. All this will give us enough time to prepare for the peak season, which is quarter four.”
The reason why this capital investment was necessary is due in part to a consumer yearning for bespoke apparel, which for the most part is purchased online. And Ozols is confident that the trend’s influence on the fashion & apparel market will continue to grow.
“People have an innate desire to stand out,” he says. “If you make product personalisation as easy as possible, the customers will likely go for it. Enabled by on-demand manufacturing, this trend will be flourishing for years to come. More brands will embrace the idea and try to offer customisation to buyers in various ways. As the technology develops further and more retail is done online, we will also see further innovations.
“It's enough to just look at where the Chinese market is right now, with apps such as WeChat and shopping platforms like Pinduoduo. This infrastructure reshapes consumer behaviour and offers an incredibly wide array of solutions to be built on top of it.”
There are signs that the mass production business model, which has shaped the textile industry for decades, is losing its grip on the textile industry and there is evidence to suggest that the global pandemic is going to accelerate that trend. A younger, more environmentally conscious consumer is also expected to buy on-demand products on much wider scale throughout the current decade and Printful has positioned itself to capitalise on that prospect.
Ozols continues: “All in all, we’re coming out of this global health crisis more confident than ever before in our ability to provide the best POD services to our customers and safeguard the business against any future challenges.”
Have your say. Tweet and follow us @WTiNcomment
Keywords relating to the article being analysed. Hover over the keyword to see the relevance (0 low relevance, 1 high relevance) and click a keyword to open a search for more related content.
Entity breakdown of article being analysed. The chart shows entities (companies, organisations, people, locations, regions and technologies) that are referenced in the article. Hover over an entity to see how relevant it is in the article (0 low relevance, 1 high relevance) and click an entity to open a search for more related content.
Concepts relating to the article being analysed. Hover over the main nodes to see the concept name and relevance. Click the concepts to see the relevant dpedia.com link. The child nodes from each concept are the most relevant other articles on wtin.com to that concept. Click these to open the article and hover over to see the article name and relevance to that concept. Relevance values are 0 to 1 with 1 being of most relevance.
Concepts relating to the article being analysed. Hover over the main nodes to see the concept name and relevance. Click the concepts to see the relevant dpedia.com link. The child nodes from each concept are the most influencing companies, organisations and people to that concept. Click these to open the a search to find more content related to that influencer. Influencer nodes are sized by how much influence they have on the concept they are linked to.
Your subscription doesn’t allow access to this content. You’re just minutes away from adding this content to your subscription.