Cork, Ireland-based Hairy Baby Clothing Company has been able to expand its T-shirt and related customised garment business since the addition of a Kornit direct-to-garment printer to complement its screen and vinyl transfer equipment.

Founded by ex-DJ Daragh Murphy, Hairy Baby was set up to capitalise on a market opportunity for T-shirts featuring ‘Irishisms’, humorous slogans playing on Irish cultural themes. Initially working with screen and vinyl transfer systems, the business found that the speed and expense in preparation and production of these was at odds with moving quickly to seize new opportunities.

‘We’re a very reactive brand, so if something would happen, say, in pop culture, in the media, we’d be able to spin up a T-shirt really quickly,’ Mr Murphy said. ‘You can only do that if you’re operating a print-on-demand system, so direct-to-garment was perfect for that.’

The cost and complexity of setting up for screen printing meant Mr Murphy sometimes had temper the customer’s expectations or lose the order, and vinyl transfer he felt was unsuitable for some types of work with larger coverage. He found that Kornit’s single-operator, single-step pushbutton capabilities to be a more consistent, versatile mechanism for accepting graphically complex orders in any quantity, becoming the first business in Ireland to adopt Kornit Digital technology for digital direct-to-garment production on demand.

‘Speed of print, the reliability factor, and the cost per print were the three main factors for me,’ Mr Murphy commented. ‘Once we first saw our design roll off the Kornit, we said that’s it, we’re sorted here. This is brilliant. At present we have a lot of demand for crazy graphics, and the only way we can reproduce these is by using Kornit technology. With Kornit Storm HD6 it’s a beautiful smooth print, perfect colour every time, everyone’s a winner.’

The company is also implementing Kornit’s workflow software to enable software integration with client e-commerce sites for automatic transmission of orders.

‘I’m immensely proud of Hairy Baby and what we’ve achieved, especially since the introduction of Kornit systems,’ said Mr Murphy. ‘It’s allowed us to expand the business rapidly. Our growth in the last year has been fantastic, and that’s a direct result of having a really high-end direct-to-garment system in place.’