Our Labels Suck

We have been having issues with our labels. We print them on an expensive laser printer that we’ve had for several years. So we decided to invest $4000 in a real label printer.

$4000 is a lot of money. I went back and forth over this decision for a long time and did a lot of research into the different types of label printers from all of the manufacturers. I learned more about label printers than ever.

I was really close to pushing that “buy” button when I called a label printer reseller and described to him our problem. Our labels just looked bad and the printer melted the labels around the edges. The sales guy said that it may not be the printer, but the label and I should look for a specific type of label. He said that I should look for polyester labels that have higher melting point. He knew that he didn’t make a sale that day, but he knows that we will be back when our business needs grow.

It was back to research. Instead of researching printers, I started researching labels. I was looking for that specific type of label when I discovered that we were already using polyester labels that we purchase from OnlineLabels.com.

Back to figuring the printer was the problem, I went back to researching printers. It was here that I did something that I hardly ever do, but need to do more often. I asked for help.

I called OnlineLabels.com and described the problem that I was having. After listening to my issue, the technician that I was speaking with looked into their database for what other people in my situation use for printers. She gave me several different printers that their customers have good results with. While she didn’t give me any specific recommendations, it was good information to have from people in the same situation as us.

I looked up these printers and many of them are no longer in production. One of the printers, a Samsung, is now part of HP’s printer line and is difficult to buy or even find online. That would have been my first choice, but luckily, HP made it difficult.

xerox phaser 6022My next choice was ironically the cheapest on the list at about $150. It was a Xerox printer. Having little experience with Xerox printers, I looked it up and learned about the specific inks that this printer uses. Sounded like it would not only work, but would work great. $150 is a steal if it works and if it doesn’t, it’s only $150 so I bought it.

We ran our first set of test labels through this new printer last night. The results of the test were that the labels sucked even worse than the original printer!

But wait! The reason that the labels were worse than before is because they were so clear that we could see the issues with the layout and that the color choices we were making did not quite match! There were no burns around the label and with a few tweaks in Publisher, the color issue was easily resolved.

You might be asking yourself why we didn’t go to someplace like StickerMule.com and get our labels printed. We considered it, but after calculating how much we would need to spend for all the permutations of our labels, we would have to spend over $700 on labels. That is a decent chunk of money that could be used for a really good label printer. In addition, if we add any new products or change our recipes, we would have to place a minimum order on labels that we may or may not use depending on how well the product sells. In this case, we chose flexibility to print our own labels as a key factor.

So what did I learn from all this effort?

  • Ask for help. People out there have the same obstacles you do. Learn from their experience.
  • The most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best. Do your research before you go spend a bunch of money.
  • Understand your constraints (such as flexibility first) to guide your decision-making.
  • The difference in image quality between printers is stunning. It’s kind of like the difference between a 1080p television and 4k. You don’t notice the difference until you see it side by side.

Regardless of how awesome your products are, if your labels don’t look good, your product won’t look as good as it can. I hope this helps you on your quest for the best labels for your products too.

Please note that your specific requirements are going to be different than ours. I cannot endorse this printer for you, but can only say that it works great for us. Do your research based on your requirements to find the best solution for you.

See you at market!

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