Why Order Screen Printing in Decatur, Al? – An Argument for Local Services
There is often a ‘tug of war’ nature to the small business vs large corporation debate. Oftentimes, small or local businesses are often set aside in favor of goods or services that can be done more cheaply and in mass quantities. But what is the real cost of ordering a screen printing job in Taiwan, vs ordering a screen printing in Decatur, Al? If it is cheaper abroad, isn’t it a good thing that you can choose that option as a consumer? Isn’t it really the fault of the business if the prices are lower someplace else? The problem with that sort of thinking is that it is a far too narrow picture of the marketplace and your options. If you want to know what you are really getting when you order a screen printing in Decatur, Al, read on.
America’s Love of Quality
Whether today’s Americans realize it or not, we are a lot more picky about the origins of our products. Especially when it comes to public health and safety. A good example of this, for instance, is the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
An American Journalist, Upton Sinclair, initially wrote an expose that portrayed the harsh conditions and working environments of the American immigrants. The author’s intention was to improve the conditions of working-class immigrants. The intent of his book The Jungle was to criticize industrialism and introduce a more socialist concept in America. He even wrote a narrative about a poor family, in which each family member kept working to avoid starvation. He even made it a point to visit several meat packaging industries to make sure the setting was as accurate as possible to the working conditions he was speaking out against.
Instead, the American public missed the point entirely. They were much more focused on food safety standards in the meat industry than the lives of immigrants. This caused so much outcry that the United States Government passed the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906. If that isn’t a telltale sign of our priorities as consumers, I don’t know what else there could be.
Safety of Materials vs Unknown Substances
You see, any sort of screen printing involves the application of ink on a textile. And there are plenty of ways that ink can be made. All you need is a form of pigment, a liquid, and possibly a thickening agent. If you are planning to produce ink en masse, you might use fillers. Some traditional inks in the past were made with heavy metals like cadmium and lead. Both of which can lead to poisoning if a person is exposed to it for too long.
According to Chemistry World, “Growing concerns over the known toxicity of heavy metals have led to the replacement of many inorganic pigments such as chrome yellow, molybdenum orange and cadmium red with organic pigments, which offer better light fastness and reduced toxicity.”
And in America, let alone Decatur, Alabama, we watch for things like metal poisoning. We literally look at heavy metal exposure on a case by case basis with the FDA.
So, if you are going to get some screenprinting done in the local area, chances are they are following the safety requirements in regards to the materials that they are using.
Different countries have different policies when it comes to dealing with hazardous materials. In fact, it is common practice for large companies like Nike and Apple to outsource their manufacturing divisions to other countries where environmental and safety standards are far more lax.
So, when you are choosing to get your screen printing done in Decatur, Al, you can find out about the materials involved. If you choose to get a screen printing job done in a place you don’t know, it is a gamble. A gamble that could lead to exposure to hazardous materials.
There is a fine line when it comes to quality control for a service you commissioned for. As a consumer, you want to be involved in the creation of the product or service you ask for. This way you can make key decisions and interpret your vision to the artist you are commissioning your work from. However, they still need to be aware of and explain the materials that they are working with and their limitations. This way, you can dodge a proverbial bullet by not wasting money on a giant mess.
It is because of this fine line that there should be an open line of communication between the person who commissioned the screen printing service, and the person doing the screen printing.
When you are ordering services online or with an outsourced company, chances are that there is little in the way of communication between both you and the person printing the shirt. Nine times out of ten, when you order a screen-printed shirt online, the site tells you to drag and drop the image that you want onto the shirt. Then they will ask you what material or size that you want. That’s it.
Getting exactly what you want always sounds good on paper. However, unless you are literally trained in graphic design, chances are you are going to wind up with an image that is too big, small, placed wrong or is too grainy on the shirt. Without the person who screen prints on a regular basis, you are without a trained pair of eyes that can catch and correct mistakes before the printing process starts.
There is also the added bonus of accountability. If a local company makes a mistake, there is a higher chance of it being addressed and corrected. However, if you were to outsource your screen printing jobs, and find something wrong, you are less likely to fix the problem. People tend to be more motivated to handle a customer service issue if they remember a face to face visit. If you are from abroad, however, you are less likely to be seen as a customer and are instead one of the thousands, if not millions, in a faceless void. You might not even interact with the person who does the screen printing process, either. Instead, you are just a job.
There is also the possibility of a language barrier, which can hinder communication between customer and client. Even if you both speak English, there are different measurement systems that are unique to countries. That in and of itself is another hurdle that can be avoided by just paying a little extra money locally.
So, you still have a choice to make about getting your screen printed goods. You can either pay a little more, locally, to get an error-free item with quality materials, good customer service, and open communication. Or, you can get a cheaply made screen printed item with the possibility of errors, hazardous materials, and no communication between you and the printer. When you frame it like that outsourcing seems to be the less attractive option, doesn’t it? But that is not for me to decide.