Bridging the Gap
When outsourcing printed fabrics for interior décor became too much of a hassle, Dee Dee Davis simply started her own shop.
If you want something done right, do it yourself. As a brand manager/designer at a soft home fashions supplier, Dee Dee Davis became frustrated with the challenges of outsourcing the printed fabrics she needed – so in 2012 she decided to open her own digital textile printing company, Décor Print.
“For a couple of years (before starting Décor Print), I was outsourcing thousands of yards of fabric to printers across the country,” Davis says. “I was overwhelming them with what I had to print.” In the interior design world, color is king. She says the “extreme color matching” required for interior décor made outsourcing to other PSPs even more of a sticky situation. Plus, there just weren’t very many textile printers that she could rely on for her required speed and quality. Davis wanted to retain color control, hit her deadlines, and have the supply she needed, so she bought a printer and launched Décor Print as a side business.
With her reactive dye process print experience, a degree in textiles technology, and more than 20 years in the corporate textile industry – including a decade working at another home décor company that did in-house printing – Davis figured she would be set. “I thought I knew what I was doing, but there was a big learning curve. Lots has changed since the last time I was printing fabric,” she adds.
After six years in business in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Décor Print has grown to include four employees, in addition to Davis. The shop relies on pigment, latex, and dye sublimation processes on a total of five presses including Mutoh ValueJet 1938TX, Epson SureColor F7070, and HP Latex 365.
In addition to printing all the fabrics for Davis’ home fashions employer, Décor Print supplies custom textiles for interior designers. She uses fabrics primarily from PremEx and Jacquard Products, plus some from Top Value Fabrics and Fisher Textiles. Material printed by Décor Print ends up as decorative pillows, quilts, upholstered furniture, drapery, bedding, and occasionally clothing. Davis says they’ve also worked with artists who want their work scanned and repeated for use on continuous yardage of material.
With the emphasis on perfectly matched color in interiors, Davis says it’s important to have “color vision.” She sometimes spends hours matching colors for a project. “There are so many types of fabric – you have an optic white or a white that isn’t bleached, and all those colors look different on each substrate,” she adds.
Davis says she sees a growing attentiveness to wallpaper printing in her custom market. “There’s a lot of interest in latex printing on fabric, which I think could be really huge because there are so many latex machines already installed at a lot of signage companies. I can see those companies trying to capture some of that revenue stream.”