Lack of sewing skills is a major obstacle to reshoring the apparel industry. The good news is there are many talented cut-and sew shops popping up in North America and Europe. This article is courtesy of textiles expert Debbie McKeegan and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan. She interviews the Founders of Print Logistics – a Polish provider of sewn clothing with printed designs on demand.
(All images courtesy Print Logistics.)
Print Logistic was established in 2018 by Michal, Wiktor and Ross Newens. They have one joint vision: to transform the manufacture of sewn textiles, rewiring the traditional workflow to offer printed, sewn apparel and décor on-demand.
The company is located in an historic district of Poland with a rich textile heritage. They print and sew garments in their high-tech, custom-built manufacturing facility. With a global customer base, they manufacture 3,000 SKUs every day in their smart production hub.
To learn more, we recently conducted an interview with the team.
Michal Tracz, based in PPoland oversees production daily, explaining that:
“I’m the CEO and founder of Print Logistics. I’m sitting in our factory doing daily operations and taking care that everything is fine, and that production is working well. I’m focused on improving, to be better and better in our on-demand production. Fashion on demand is the future, I think. That was five years ago, and now we are seeing the market transforming in that way.”
Ross Newens adds, “I’m also one of the co-founders of Print Logistic. Michal and I founded the company together about five years back. At that time, I was an initial investor in the company. We joined together because we both had e-commerce sites in Poland. And we were really looking for, let’s say, a sustainable resource to meet our garment production needs for these platforms. Michal, his brother and we joined forces almost five year ago.
“I didn’t really know anything about this particular industry,” he continues. “I’d come from other sectors—the TV sector and digital out of home. I’m also the CEO of a listed company in Warsaw. We joined forces, and I began my baptism by fire to try to really understand what this entire sector was all about. Michal took me on a tour to ITMA 2019 and FESPA 2019, which opened my eyes to the real happenings in this industry. That’s when Michal and I really started working on a new vision for printed, sewn products.”
He adds, “The most interesting thing for me was the amount of waste and the toxicity of the whole garment and fabric production side of the traditional textile business. Now, I focus on building international relationships with clients. At the beginning, 90% of business was conducted in Poland. After four years, 90% our business is not in Poland. We’re servicing clients from the US to all parts of Europe.”
Debbie McKeegan: When you first joined the company, what was your vision?
Ross Newens Michal and myself were talking about this earlier, and our vision changed a bit. Initially, we just wanted a reliable partner who could support the merchandise platforms we had in Poland. But as we started to really understand and see the opportunity, I became a believer, let’s put it that way, in this opportunity. That was when I really understood the potential and opportunity of this business. I don’t think that vision has really changed much. We’ve had to adapt the business model to enable us to reach that point. But now, five years later with all of the technology and the integration capabilities which Michal and the team have built, we now have the way to work with larger international clients and with small disruptive brands as well who are perhaps going to be the spearhead of this revolution in the sector.”
DM: In the last five-year period, there have been many changes in the market. Now, consumers are aware of the true costs of overproduction in the fashion cycle. Also, technology has advanced dramatically. Michal, what impact have these changes had on the business?
Michal Tracz: COVID had a major impact on our business transformation and the on-demand software. COVID made everything faster, and honestly, we weren’t prepared for it, because our business was only established a year ago. COVID gave us the opportunity to implement technologies that would allow our business to grow.
DM: How can you describe the services you offer?
MT: We started with direct to garment at the beginning, with a small range of products using Kornit DTG technology—T-shirts and hoodies—and then we realized that on-demand production is the future. So we began developing this aspect of our business. It was tough, a lesson for us at the beginning. We have finally transformed our facility and are now ready to launch fashion on demand. Now, we have all-over printed items. We now offer more than 3,000 DTG SKUs, in all colors, all models and using the most popular brand names. Roll-to-roll is a service that we offer for 15 to 20 different types of fabric, which are printed by the meter on demand.
We have a wide range of products, from basic items like T-shirts or hoodies to more complex home decor such as bed sets, curtains, pillows and kits. We try to adapt and produce whatever our customers ask for. Fashion on demand is a great way to do business. Our customers help us to create new products. Our team adjusts production according to demand. We also offer accessories, like mugs, phone cases, all small sublimations.”
This fashion-on-demand is our biggest opportunity, both now and in the future.
RN: Human capital is also important. We speak a great deal about technology. Cut-and-sew is the core of fashion-on-demand. We’re very fortunate in our location, which was sort of a historic capital of garment and fabric production that we have access to multiple seamstresses. We have an enormous pool of resources that we can use to scale our business.
The availability of experienced, qualified seamstresses can be a critical resource for business growth. We are very fortunate that where we’re located, we have a huge supply. I’d love to believe that we could have a sewing school at some point, so that we could bring in new people.
MT: The biggest challenge was, I believe, the fact that the production methods for large-scale garment manufacturing were very different than what we do now. The production of a few hundred garments or thousands at a time was relatively easy, because seamstresses are trained to make one type of product.
In our factory, we had to train seamstresses quickly to change between products, such as T-shirts, sleeping bags, and bed sets. Our machines have also needed to be adapted as we offer on-demand in just three days.
DM: How do you help your clients to create printed goods on demand?
MT: If it’s the brand owner who would like to start a business with their personalized products, they can choose from our white label catalogue of the products and start designing using our 3D tools. The process is simple and takes only a few moments.
But with the fashion designers, it’s a different story. We design the line with the fashion designer, we render it in 3D, then we adapt the workflow. It’s not that complicated anymore.
This service is developing all the time, and we’re just about to release a Pattern Uploader where effectively we can take a designer’s pattern and then upload it as a digital file. Once the digital file has been created, it can be used in the rest the workflow. It will be an innovative process, as it allows designers to design unique customized products. This will change the game for on-demand manufacturing.
Print Logistic is pioneering a whole new landscape for the manufacture of sewn textiles; their business model is adaptive and primed to revolutionize the manufacture and sale of apparel garments and décor products, both online and offline.
Michal explains, “We offer a full end-to-end service. Upon receiving the order, we are preparing for production, printing, cutting, stitching, quality control, packaging, and dispatch direct to the consumer, retail store, or warehouse.”
Click here to watch the complete 30-minute interview.