SuperSample was founded 15 years ago during the rational exuberance at the ending of the Cold War.
In fact, the same printer (an HP Deskjet) used for editing the English translation of the original Russian
"500 Days" plan to
reinstate the market
was later used as the experimental mechanism for the discovery of shuttle-head inkjet textile printing.
Early Business Model
Soon SuperSample was using wide format plotters as we built a business providing
strikeoffs and small lot production for New York's textile converters and
We developed unique proprietary chemistry, with pre-coatings tuned to optimize color yield and fastness for
various fabrics through after-print steaming and washing regimes.
When word of our progress spread, many alert venders (divisions of giant companies) started working with us.
Encad (now part of Kodak) gave us a printer for testing with textiles.
CIBA, BASF, DuPont and Kimberly Clark gave us textile inks. Kodak,
Kimberly Clark, and Hewlett
Packard have signed
secrecy agreements and taken confidential inspection of intriguing parts of our technology.
Best Color Quality
In the beginning our printers were modified paper printers, which had four colors. But the
four color system,
which works well on paper, doesn't yield the complete gamut on textiles.
We had to mix-up liquid dyes for spot colors to match each job. In 2000, Kimberly Clark gave us a
12-color printer to test. Here was a real challenge: twelve inks are just enough to reproduce the textile
but there was no software fully capable of exploiting twelve colors. We developed our own (patented)
software and built
a system that produces the highest color quality and works in an easy natural way.
Ubiquitous Image Interface
Different in approach from most digital color printers, we print from client's RGB images, not 4-colors,
multi-channels, or indexed files. Our color management software works with the original image and gives
our colorist powerful tools to pitch inks by focusing primarily on color space, not coordinate space.
With the triumphant rise of digital photography, 24 bit RGB
has now become the universal color system. The Internet features many
galleries with growing numbers (many millions) of 24 bit RGB images. There are commercial image galleries,
public and private archives,
and Wiki's featuring millions
of images in the public domain.
SuperSample was founded about the same time as the World Wide
Web. Our first website advertised our services,
but few customers even knew about the web then. Now just about everybody has access to the Internet, and our
provides customer services with pricing information, technical guidelines, image uploading, live webcam of
and an archive of time
lapse webcam videos.
Internally we use our website for intra-company communication, constantly reviewing our
printing process, moving large images, storing supplier contact information, publishing job sheets, and
referencing patent databases.
Our next software releases will be web applications based on our design and color management software, so we
can easily extend
printing control to remote locations. And we plan a web facility that combines invoicing with payment
New Business Model
Our mission has been the advancement of ink jet textile printing. Our business has grown very slowly, we
have been more successful as a
research laboratory than a service bureau. We still have the highest quality printers (with 12 colors) which
suffice for studio work,
but for real production they are too slow, and several generations behind the latest,
best hardware which is almost fifty times as productive. To take large printing orders we farm out the work
other shops with newer faster equipment. Our shop is sized for partial pieces about five yards long, while
textiles come in fifty yard
pieces which the newest textile inkjet shops are equipped to handle. We outsource locally and globally.
So, we are not only textile printers; with demand brought by the reach of the Internet,
we have also become textile converters.
Our business has outgrown the capacity of our shop.
For 15 years we have maintained our printing price at 100 dollars a yard. Our
service has gotten more responsive and the
quality of our work has been refined. Now artists exhibit their work with our printing in museums, couture
models for the runway with their fabrics (and our printing), costume designers use our printing for Broadway
shows and television,
and our sample prints become the prototypes for mass market apparel. Supersample has the highest quality
printing in the textile world.
As a textile printing laboratory SuperSample has made many developments including new methods of
color management, software tools for
creating new textile designs, customer service web facility, intense color chemistry, small lot processing,
worldwide production outsourcing. SuperSample has recently applied for patents on a new architecture for
that makes use of fixed-head inkjets in conjunction with conventional high speed rotary printers. We think
this new universal
printing method will lead quickly to world wide adoption of inkjet mass production with advantages that
higher productivity, lower production costs, lower pollution, faster market response, simplifying market
with fewer closeouts and more fulfilled orders.
Worldwide, annual production of printed fabric
is about fifty billion yards. It accounts for about a
hundred billion dollars in turnover. SuperSample's business is nanoscopic in comparison
to the world textile markets, yet its advanced methods of digital printing, combined with its Internet
application, point the direction for
a revolutionary shift in commerce in the textile printing markets. SuperSample is the seed of this new
Now speedy digital printing
is becoming more wide spread both in demand and supply, though still a small fraction of the textile
printing market. We are developing the world's highest quality digital printing --as a convenient service
delivered through the Web--
that really gives clients a desirable, amazing product. Here is an opportunity for prospective business
with strengths in fashion marketing and financial services to work with us to build an industrial textile
where clients can easily realise digital creation on a mass scale.
- David Kushner,
President, SuperSample Corporation