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Kerry King is the Senior Vice President of R&D at Spoonflower, which has enjoyed tremendous success since its founding nearly 12 years ago by Stephen Fraser and Gart Davis. At the time, very few people considered the option of designing and printing their own fabrics because not only was printing a custom design expensive – from $ 50 per yard for bulk orders up to $ 150. $ per yard for small orders – but many surface pattern designers didn’t. have a low investment platform from which to distribute their products directly to consumers. Advances in digital printing and online sites like Spoonflower have changed that in unrecognizable ways.

The company’s customers have subsequently grown to over 4.5 million people who use its online marketplace to choose from over a million fabric and wallpaper designs.

Spoonflower is currently in the process of moving to a larger and better equipped facility at its headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, which will soon be as fully integrated as the company’s second operation in Berlin, Germany, which is currently dealing with international orders. .

Design swimming pool

Kristen Detoni is the founder of Design Pool, based in East Hampstead, New Hampshire, which specializes in licensing or providing proprietary seamless patterns through its own digital library, and works in partnership with leading companies in print on demand as Spoonflower. A key objective is to make institutional specifiers, architects and interior designers aware of the potential of digital print-on-demand services. Domada Design is a newly formed extension of Design Pool with a focus on items for individual interiors.

Domada was created as an online store in just 30 days.

“This would not have been possible in the past without the tools of Industry 4.0,” said Dettoni. “We don’t have an inventory, and everything is done on demand. The DIY part of the business has been very successful, but the challenge is to connect with commercial and residential businesses. DIY makers understand this, but interior designers have little awareness of the potential and these are the markets we seek to infiltrate.

© Messe Frankfurt.


Based in Buena Park, Calif., Prima-Tex is a family-owned, full-service provider of digital and rotary printed fabrics, from design to fabric sourcing, printing, cutting and sewing to labeling and packaging.

CEO Jonathan Tio said the company started with rotary printing, which still made sense for many customers placing bulk orders for single-pattern fabrics.

“The two technologies can work well together, especially providing samples that are digitally printed and then rotated for bulk orders due to lower overall costs. A good thing about digital printing, however, is that there are a lot more people investing time in R&D.

With ten machinists on site, Prima-Tex has, over the past six months or so, shifted some of its production to mainstream masks.

The next normal

The three panelists agreed that existing clothing and home furnishings supply chains must change and that online print on demand can become the ‘next standard’, based on collaboration, transparency and agility. .

“From the start, our company recognized that waterless printing was the way to go, and that it made sense to reduce the number of process steps involved to be a low impact business,” King said. “Spoonflower’s digital printing process continues to innovate on the pillars set by our founders, through an environmentally friendly process, sustainable operational practices, the use of pigment based inks and dyes. water and initiatives that continue to reduce waste by-products. “

She added that Spoonflower had also pivoted some of its production to face masks, “based on empowering manufacturers, whether it’s tailoring or design, which is the right space for us.”

“We are a source of unique fabrics and provide kits to the community of manufacturers to assemble, cut and sew for local community supplies. “


Speaking about advancements in digital printing, Detoni said so much has been accomplished in the areas of sustainability, including the development of cleaner dyes.

“People forget that digital printing is completely on-demand and you only order what you need, which is part of the reason why it’s replacing old business models,” she said. “Digital sampling is also now really cheap and worth it from the point of view of the consumer, in order to see and feel the fabrics. The beauty is that any order can be completely personalized.

Advances in automation and 3D visualization have been identified as new tools with the ability to fully plan jobs.

© Prima-Tex.

“Digital printing is all about connecting all the parts and parts and fully automating the process from initial order to cutting,” King said. “All solutions must speak to each other. “

For Tio, the acquisition by Prima-Tex of a laser cutting machine to boost the company’s current face mask and PPE activities.

“It allows us to do a lot more in one go and few specific skills are required, you just have to program, load the fabric and pass it through. The speed can be a bit slower overall, but it gives a lot more freedom when it comes to shapes and sizes.

While the panelists agreed that sewing remains a bottleneck, despite the continued evolution of sewing machines, the current trend remains towards independent design and rapid, small-scale online manufacturing and delivery.

“Overall, this is a big win for producing unique and useful products,” King said.

“So much has changed and it has made it possible for anyone to get started in this business,” Tio added.

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