Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Dubow Textile was founded in 1991 as an embroidery shop, and implemented its first Kornit Digital direct-to-garment system in 2007. The business was founded as a contract decorator for promotional products, but in recent years has branched out to include direct-to-consumer operations, which has proven to be a match for digital direct-to-garment printing capabilities.
“(Digitally-printed apparel) is easy to sell to our customers because it’s conducive to printing one piece with quick turnaround, it’s vibrant, the look of it, the quality, the durability—because it lasts,” says Jenna Kraemer, Director of Business Development and Sales at Dubow.
As 2019 came to a close, Dubow was installing two new Kornit Atlas systems in their facility,
bringing their DTG operating total to twelve machines (7 Atlas, 5 Avalanche HD6). In the prior year, the company had expanded its investment in Kornit technology considerably, boosting daily DTG-imprinted output from about 2,500 pieces to nearly 8,000 pieces. This growth promises to drive continued expansion of Dubow’s production facility, which now comprises 60,000 square feet, up from 20,000 square feet in 1994.
“We have a wall coming down for our expansion, and that’s really only a temporary fix to get us by for another year or so, and then we’ll have to break ground on another new addition completely,” says Bryon Kraemer, VP of Operations.
Dubow’s digital print business has grown largely in response to shrinking run lengths and the need to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently, a development driven by an explosion in e-commerce.
“The majority of our pieces are now produced one piece per one order,” says Rob Dubow, the company’s CEO and Founder.
Unlike most print shops, Dubow Textile adopted screen printing after making its initial investment in Kornit DTG technology. While screens provide a logical, cost-effective means of delivering simpler graphic impressions in mass quantities, DTG remains the go-to method for ensuring profitability on more complex designs in small numbers.
“If it can go to screen print, and it’s high-volume, fewer colors, we obviously push it to our screen print process,” says Bryon Kraemer. “If it’s a mid-range run, or really detailed, then we’re looking for one of the Kornit systems to produce it for us.”
“A lot of what we offer is embroidery, screen print, heat transfer—those are kind of limited in terms of the materials you can print on, as well as the number of colors and the type of art you can print,” adds Jake Scherfenberg, Creative Director. “With digital print, you can print anything from transparency designs to normal photos someone pulls from the internet or their camera, with a nice, smooth handfeel. We can print really high-detail, high-color designs with no issues, and with our screen printing or embroidery process, that would typically cost way too much.”
Having partnered with Kornit for more than 12 years and experienced a great deal of generational change in Kornit’s technology and personnel,
Rob Dubow is confident Kornit sets the standard for developing the digital print technology that can best ensure businesses like his can meet the market’s challenges and create growth opportunities long-term.
“If somebody is looking for the true leader in the digital print world, to build a business around and be assured they’re going to have the highest form of digital print, and the best future with digital print, my opinion is—and I’ve looked at them all—that’s Kornit,” says Dubow. “Kornit has proven that they’re going to continue to lead the market in development; they have the wherewithal and support, and the team—especially in the United States—to lead that development, which allows us to go out and sell more.”
While the company had endured Kornit’s growing pains as a global customer service organization, Dubow has noted their partner’s considerable improvements in that regard.
“We now have dedicated (Kornit support personnel) who really want us to succeed, and the customer service has definitely shown that,” says Dubow. “When we have a need or a question, we’re able to reach out to the right resource and get the answers.”
Those improvements mirror improvements in Kornit’s technology during that same period.
“In the last five years, I’ve seen a tremendous change,” says Bryon Kraemer. “The speed of the equipment, the print quality has evolved quite a bit.”
The company’s expanded use of Kornit DTG systems plays a role in Dubow’s broader efficiency initiatives, which promise to continue driving success.
“Our digital world is exploding,” says Dubow. “We’re focusing, through the use of good sales techniques, but also, internally, our technology has become very, very solid. We’re able to produce orders, integrated orders with literally three clicks of the mouse to get them from order reception through invoicing. We’ve put together a strong quality control program, and with all of our efforts and technology we believe we can double our output within a couple of years. Everyone in our company believes that, is buying into that vision.”