Based in Westbury, United Kingdom, T-Shirt & Sons was established in the 1980s, entered the market for on-demand personalized merchandise in the 1990s, and became one of the UK’s largest screen-printing companies in the 2000s. The brand opened a subsidiary facility in the Netherlands in 2016 and expanded to dedicated facilities in the UK in 2017.
“In the early days of digital printing, the machines were really not designed for printing on textiles, they were designed to print on paper,” says Andrew Lunt, Co-Founder and Owner at T-Shirt & Sons. “We realized we needed a machine that was more reliable, and Kornit was the obvious answer. They were the only machine on the market at that time that was specifically built for textiles. We bought a Kornit Breeze, and soon we had three Breezes. We bought our first Storm and then our second Storm.”
The operation continued to grow, ultimately building an arsenal of more than a dozen Kornit Avalanche systems across two sites (UK and Netherlands). To continue scaling upwards, they added the Atlas system, which presented a leap forward for ease of use, as well as the Vulcan, which offered the highest capacity for mass customization available anywhere.
“We run a 24-7 operation here and need to be able to keep our machines running 24 hours a day,” says Lunt. “The Vulcan gave us that solution.”
The holidays are a particularly demanding period for T-Shirt & Sons, with roughly 750,000 garments imprinted over a two-week period. Orders are printed and shipped within 24 hours of their receipt.
“The Vulcan is a very reliable platform,” says Lunt. “We can put through over a thousand garments a shift on the Vulcan. Within six months, we invested in a second Vulcan, and that speaks volumes about the reliability.”
Having adopted the Kornit Avalanche, Atlas, and Vulcan systems for high-quantity printing on demand, T-Shirt & Sons were among the first print operations to upgrade to Kornit’s new Vulcan Plus technology in late 2019. Vulcan Plus brought new pallets, upgraded software, and a generally more refined performance to handle the company’s large volumes and tight turnaround schedule.
“The new emerging market is the one-off marketplace, the shorter run,” says Lunt. “Retailers are desperate to reduce their stock, and this platform gives us that opportunity.”
“The Vulcan is, like all the other Kornit platforms, easy to use, the maintenance is straightforward, and the machines don’t break down,” he says. “From early days, it was obvious to us Kornit was in it to help us develop as a business. They help us in a lot of places, they help us run our machines, and they listen to us when we have problems.”
“The Vulcans have enabled us to expand our business at a rapid rate,” he adds. “The reason we invested in Kornit is reliability. It enables me to go to sleep at night; I don’t worry whether my shirts have been printed. I wake up in the morning, and I know the work is done.”