DecoNetwork is the solution for anyone with a direct-to-garment printer, sublimation printer or embroidery machine wishing to go online, to sell both their own products and those their customers have designed on their site. We interview Brenden Prazner of DecoNetwork.
“…you can just see light bulbs going on for people and they say, ‘this is like you’re reading my mind! I have been wanting to develop something like this but haven’t been able to!!’.”
TM: How did you go about creating DecoNetwork? What were some initial challenges that you faced in the early phases of doing business?
DN: DecoNetwork is the culmination of about 5 years of development. It was originally called Pikiware and created by PikiCentral. Wilcom has since partnered with PikiCentral to create what is now known as Wilcom DecoNetwork .
The initial challenge we had was that the majority of people in the apparel and custom goods industry didn’t catch the concept of online retailing and the benefits of having an online t-shirt designer for their customers. We spent a lot of time listening and finding ways to better explain the technology and the vision of how it can benefit a business. In the mean time the GFC seemed to have sparked growth in online retail business, especially in the apparel market, proving more resilient than traditional retail. Compared to 12 months ago, this year we have seen an incredible increase in people really seeing the need for selling online and interest in DecoNetwork. People also realize that it’s really hard to try and commission someone to create this kind of technology from scratch!
TM: Is DecoNetwork more catered to t-shirt brand owners, t-shirt designers, or just any body who wants a custom t-shirt made?
DN: DecoNetwork is for everyone from consumer to t-shirt printer. In terms of the people who actually subscribe to DecoNetwork though – this is the person/business responsible for actually creating the products and shipping them out. We call these “fulfillment centres”. They have their own store and they can set up an affiliate network – offering free stores to t-shirt designers or those wanting to sell t-shirts, without the hassles of printing them and managing stock.
Of course, all these stores are designed for the end consumer who wants to order shirts online!
TM: At what point did you realize that DecoNetwork was taking off and on its way to become successful?
DN: The technology and the way people use it is changing so rapidly and we just realized that we have a solution in perfect timing. Just the responses we have when we demonstrate the capabilities of DecoNetwork – you can just see the light bulbs going on for people and they say, “this is like you’re reading my mind! I have been wanting to develop something like this but haven’t been able to!!”. It’s a real game changer for the custom goods and t-shirt industry.
TM: The DecoNetwork seems like an all-in-one service provider for t-shirt brand owners. How do you manage to maintain and handle all of these services? How many people are on the team?
DN: Yes! It’s very comprehensive and aims to cover all aspects of the business from providing a professional website you can manage yourself, to product catalogs, order management, marketing, production and shipping. We don’t have a huge team but we have a very passionate one. There are about 10 people committed to the research and development and then a team of service and support people to ensure people are getting the most from DecoNetwork.
TM: Out of all of the shops on DecoNetwork, what are some of your favorite ones?
DN: Hmm that’s a hard one. I like Purpose51.com because of their goals for their site – they give 51% profits to charity. I also think that MyVisualpromotion.com is an excellent site. A cool Affiliate store is http://www.mscolbyart.deco-threads.com – cool tattoo inspired tees.
TM: I checked out the many other solutions offered on your main site, Wilcom. Which of these solutions would be best used in conjunction with Deco Network for serious clothing line owners?
DN:Wilcom is famous for our embroidery design software. Since partnering with Corel back in 2007 we now have two fabulous products for multi-decoration design. Whether you’re designing print, embroidery, appliqué, sequins or a multi-decorated design, DecoStudio and EmbroideryStudio are essential for production ready artwork. You can visualise the layers of print and embroidery effects on screen using the best of CorelDRAW and Wilcom combined. Wilcom is used by most fashion labels, sports apparel, right down to the start up or small business user.
TM: What tips can you give to t-shirt designers and brand owners looking to gain more customers for their business?
DN: Just read up on online marketing and e-commerce. It’s such a promising area and perfect for people just starting out or with low overheads. There’s a wealth of information about how to create excellent online stores and build customer engagement. Building trust and making your site easy for your customers are key!
TM: What’s in store for the future of Deco Network? How will you guys keep up with the changing technology and continue to reach new customers?
DN: We are currently pushing forward with an ever-evolving development schedule, we’ve been releasing improvements every two months. The improvements are based on customer feedback through our forums and also looking ahead at technology and what is needed to help all DecoNetwork store owners improve their results.
Wish I could tell you all the things we have planned…