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Why We Created the Merchmakr

by Gary February 06, 2014

Once upon a time I invented a build-it-yourself screen printing press. I spent a good effort ensuring that anyone could build it and that you could get professional results when you used it. We sold the plans online for about $10 and had a modest amount of sales. As it turned out, after paying for advertising and other expenses, we lost somewhere around $100 every time we sold one. We could have made more money giving fifty dollar bills to strangers and thanking them for not shopping with us.

Earlier version of merchmakr press without HOTSWAP head.One day I walked into a craft store and saw the Yudu all-in-one screen printer. I instantly hated it. I thought the design flaws were so obvious --surely no one would ever buy it. If you know about the Yudu, and the flaws are not obvious to you, bear in mind that I have been screen printing for thirty years.  We made a lot of fun of it straight off. We were even inspired to create a YouTube video about how much it sucked. We had a cartoon throwing it overboard and saying it made a better boat anchor than a screen printing press. That was fun, but shortly after, we realized we'd missed the point: people did buy it. A lot of them did. If you do wind up looking at the comments on the video, it's a mixed bag. Many people loved the Yudu, and many hated it too. Some even hated us for making the video. What's important to me is that people felt passionately about it.

 

 

 

Even though a lot of people bought the Yudu, it turned out that lots of them fell instantly out of love with it. A great many people had trouble using it (especially if they were newbies), and experienced screen printers avoided it like the plague. So we decided that instead of making videos trashing it, we'd help the newbies learn to use it and sell them supplies too.

 

 

One awesome side-effect of helping all those people was that we made a lot of friends, and we got to hear their stories. People told us why they bought the Yudu. They told us what they wanted to do with it, and where it fell short for them. A lot of them asked us the same questions again and again, so we learned straight from them what they needed. Even though I started out sure I knew what was wrong with the Yudu, it turned out that thirty years experience in screen printing did not lend me insight into what newbie screen printers would and would not want from their first screen printing kit.

Getting schooled by the newbies was a lesson in humility for me. I had to go along with it, or I never would have learned anything useful. As it turns out, my thirty years in screen printing could be a tremendous help after I listened to them. I was able to solve almost every problem they threw at me. I could even guess what problems they would have before they had them. Of course, the next logical step was to just scrap their Yudus all together and start fresh from the ground up. That's why we created the merchmakr.

The merchmakr is perfect for people who want to work out of tiny spaces. It has an exposure unit for making screens, so you don't have to buy one separately. We created a special HOTSWAP system for it so you can quickly do multi-color prints that look great. It's lightweight, very portable, and it works on any flat surface without having to be screwed or clamped down. Except for a few parts, it comes assembled and ready to rock. It ships with water-based inks, but it is ready to use with plastisol as well.

And most of all, you get instructions and technical support, because we're ready to learn even more from you. We can't wait to see the awesome merch you'll be making with the merchmakr!

Gary Jurman
Gary


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