Based in France, Brodelec was an early adopter of Kornit technology, having implemented their first Kornit direct-to-garment print system in 2005. They’ve built a successful business supplying products for a variety of tourist attractions around the country, as well as corporate-branded and personalized garments, promotional and event-oriented gear, and print-on-demand services to support a variety of online e-tailers.
“As the market for printing on demand emerged, we started printing for a number of web stores, each of which just boomed,” said Hugo Willems, Sales Manager at Brodelec. “We adapted our production to serve business models of companies knocking on our door, giving them on-demand production with drop-shipping to their customers, virtual mock-ups of apparel, personalization tools – and we’ve done great business engaging the market via social networks, YouTube ads, newsletters, and search engine optimization.”
Brodelec utilizes several technologies for garment customization, with each operator able to work across these platforms. They strive to optimize efficiency and ensure the fastest possible delivery, streamlining workflows to ensure they can operate through peak seasons without adding personnel.
Having established a solid DTG production routine, they added the Kornit Presto for roll-to-roll, direct-to-fabric printing in late 2019.
“Our model is to bring to market the right product at the right moment,” said Hugo. “We innovate, we sell, our competitors sometimes copy our business model in countries where production costs less, but we intend to compete and lead our market, always.”
Hugo cited a new velvet cushion Brodelec was now manufacturing in-house using the Presto system, which capitalizes on modern trends and appeals to customers in part due to its being made in France.
While the brand actively deployed advertising, free samples, commercial offers, and an expanded sales operation to serve the garment personalization needs of local businesses and organizations, demand for these products fell off a cliff with the onset of COVID-19 disruptions. No tourism, no events, and no gatherings meant no demand for corresponding apparel, a sudden trend that reverberated globally. Within two months of the disruption, Brodelec turned to producing protective masks, which proved profitable and enabled them to persist without laying off any personnel.
Able to imprint a variety of fabrics using a single ink set and an eco-friendly, single-step production process, the Kornit Presto system was pivotal in offering these new garments, and this new market opportunity inspired Brodelec to create a sewing department, invest in laser fabric-cutting technology, and establish relationships with key fabric suppliers to ensure timely production.
Having built a robust business model for serving a broad range of French businesses, and demonstrated the agility and versatility to adapt to new market challenges and opportunities, Brodelec is bullish on its future as a leader for on-demand production in the digital age.
“As one of the major outsourcing plants in the country, we have a great system for prospecting potential clients, inviting the prospect to see what we’re doing, and convince them these machines are the future of high-quality, personalized gear,” said Hugo. “Digital production opened the door to online stores, and now we’re looking to create several web stores for direct-to-consumer opportunities.”