Mimaki textile printer helps Flamingo Fabrics drive sustainability

"The new Mimaki Tx300P-1800B meant we could stop ordering offshore and live the model we were starting to offer our customers."

Investment in a Mimaki Tx300P-1800B digital printer has allowed Dundee-based Flamingo Fabrics to revolutionise its business model, as it focuses on providing sustainable solutions for designers and home sewing enthusiasts. Following its purchase of the production textile printer through Mimaki Authorised Partner, R A Smart, Flamingo Fabrics has both embraced sustainability and leveraged the potential for providing short run lengths that empower creativity while minimising waste.

“We understand that designers, sewers and home crafters often require smaller quantities of fabric for their projects,” says Flamingo Fabrics director, Dorota Potorska. “By offering short run lengths, we provide the flexibility and customisation required to meet their individual needs. Our customers can experiment with new ideas, test the market’s response to their creations, and minimise financial risk by ordering fabric in quantities as short as half a metre. This flexibility allows for greater creativity, as it enables the production of unique and limited-edition designs that cater to niche markets and individual tastes.”

In addition to the creative and financial benefits, Potorska is keen to promote the sustainable benefits of the Flamingo’s approach, “Our model solves the traditional problems of textile printing,” she states. “Short run lengths contribute to the reduction of excess inventory and waste in the fabric printing industry. Traditional manufacturing processes often involve large minimum order quantities, leading to unused fabric that may end up as waste. Flamingo Fabrics’ approach eliminates the need for our customers to purchase more fabric than necessary, ensuring that every metre we print is used effectively. It’s a huge help to small businesses as they order from us based entirely on the order they’ve received from their customer.”

Following significant research, which included a trip to Barcelona to investigate available technology at ITMA in 2019, Potorska ultimately visited R A Smart to test the Mimaki Tx300P-1800B textile printer. Thanks to its sticky belt, the printer can handle a wide range of fabrics including those with inherent stretch, ensuring Flamingo Fabrics can offer a wide range of base cloths to their customers. “R A Smart were fantastic at helping us find the right solution for our business and have been a great help with any tech support whenever it’s been required,” recalls Potorska.

Making their hardware investment at the end of lockdown brought its own challenges, but Potorska experienced a quick uptake from their customers. “The new Mimaki meant we could stop ordering offshore and live the model we were starting to offer our customers,” she remembers. “Previously we were ordering in large quantities which meant the potential for extra stock, and we’re passionate about offering a low inventory, low waste, sustainable model.”

“We understand the evolving needs of our customers, who seek flexibility and customisation in their fabric choices, and this was the drive behind our investment,” Potorska continues. “By providing the option for smaller quantities, we’ve been able to build strong relationships with our customers, and can respond to orders of almost any length.” Flamingo Fabrics offers an ever-changing design library with a minimum run length of just 0.5m and those customers who submit their own designs for print are required to commit to just 1m lengths, ensuring that small businesses can really enhance their offering to their customers.

“We’re actively demonstrating a significant shift to the most sustainable model for textile printing,” Potorska concludes. “Flamingo Fabrics’ investment in the Mimaki means we can offer short run lengths that bring numerous benefits to designers, sewing enthusiasts and the fabric printing industry as a whole.

“Flexibility, reduced waste, cost-effective production, and enhanced design innovation are just a few of the advantages that come about from our customer-oriented approach. By empowering creativity and minimising environmental impact, Flamingo Fabrics sets a new standard in the fabric industry, inspiring others to embrace the benefits of short run lengths and sustainable practices.”