Dustin Burnett started the retail store, Nothing Too Fancy, only three and a half years ago. Now the largest retail and contract print shop in Knoxville, his was the first boutique t-shirt store to hit the city.
“We typically do vintage style t-shirts,” Dustin said. “Our retail store, without any intentions, has turned into a Tennessee-themed store although we do have standalone designs that don’t have anything to do with Tennessee. We print street wear and lighthearted designs. We like to feature a lot of local artists work, and we collaborate with at least twelve local designers. None of them are on staff, though we have one artist on staff for hand drawn art. It’s more like a collective of designers in the store. Very versatile prints.”
The shirts were immediately popular, and Dustin quickly discovered the joys of using contract printing for his tricky fabrics. In December of 2015, with Ryonet’s help, he decided to bring the printing in-house with an all water based automatic printing setup. He purchased a ROQ YOU XL P14 and gas dryer, optimized for printing water based inks.
The water based prints caught the attention of his customers, and it wasn’t long before many of them were coming to him with requests to print their own shirts for local businesses and events. Nothing Too Fancy took it in stride and opened up their process to printing both in-house designs and contract work. Learning the ins and outs of water based inks along the way.
“The first time we ever did in-house printing was December, and we haven’t run a single plastisol ink print since,” explained Dustin. “Our biggest learning curve was solving for opacity and the way that water based inks dry up in the screens, but it really didn’t take long to figure out the responses with water based inks.”
Their choice to use water based inks was crucial. As a shop that prints on mostly tri-blend garments, the soft feeling of a water based print wasn’t just a luxury, it was necessary for good quality products. But, there was a learning curve.
Dustin explained, “When we first started printing it straight out of the bucket, it was hard to get the (RFU water based inks) to show up on darker garments. Then we switched to mixing inks and I started using a higher level of Opaque Core which really allowed the colors to become more bright on the shirt.” Dustin recommends that anyone who is interested in printing water based inks on their ROQ should focus on properly selecting the kinds of ink that they use.
He currently uses the Green Galaxy Fusion Mixing system and RFU inks, but suggests mixing with extra opacity base to avoid having to use under bases. Water based printing is definitely worth it, he says. “If you are going to go for it, do it. Once you go through the cleanup process, you won’t want to go back to plastisol.”
Visit their website at: nothingtoofancy.com
Follow them on Instagram at: @nothingtoofancyprintshop