Repairing A Heat Press Myself: Launching New Fashion Sun Protection Designs, Update Part 1

Hi Heli Community,

I hope you all are well. I am feeling better - I've definitely had some ups and downs over the last six months as a solo woman entrepreneur, and I'm ready to share the challenges with you regarding all that's been going on with our new and existing designs.

This is Part 1 in a series about our Heliades Designer/Entrepreneur's experiences launching new and existing fashion sun protective clothing designs.

This series is an update on our entire UPF50+ fashion sun protection clothing line: the UV Sun Gauntlets Collection (sun gloves and arm sleeves), reintroduction of our signature Sol Escape sun protection cape, and launch of two new designs the Sun Shrug and Sun Dickie, plus the Sun Bolero which is in the design idea phase. I'll also cover issues that occurred regarding my heat press, fabric labels, fabric manufacturing and production set backs (there was a fire!).

I hope this gives you some insight into what it's like running a small business and dealing with seemingly small challenges that upend the process of launching new designs and getting product back in stock on our store.

Part 1: My Stahls Hotronix Heat Press Broke.

It started with my heat press which is a piece of machinery used to apply trims, logos, film and transfer artwork to fabric. I was preparing to debut our new prints for Spring season. (I have beautiful fabric in pretty prints and lovely colorways I think you will love!) As you may know, for the time being the UV Sun Gauntlets Collection (sun gloves for hands and long gloves or sleeves that cover arms and hands) is being produced by hand by me.

To prepare for production I made a mini-marker (if you sew, it's like laying out all your pattern pieces in various sizes on the fabric like a puzzle - optimized to reduce fabric waste), then batch cut the pieces for the UV gloves and arm sleeves. I added to the marker a new design I've been testing and wearing around town (it's called the UV Sun Bolero). I wanted to make a few and see what you think of it; decide if it's worthy to carry the Heliades name and be added to our fashion sun protection clothing collection.

The next step in production is applying the trim and labels. Our fans know we like tagless products when possible to optimize comfort particularly for sensitive skin, and the placement of the trims help distinguish right and left gloves. My heat press was working brilliantly until suddenly it just stopped working. Fortunately, my Hotronix heat press is made in the USA and while out of warranty (of course it is), Hotronix has a robust tech support program. However, it still took Andy (tech support) and me about 8 weeks to diagnose and solve the problem.

Along the way, I bought a nifty infrared laser thermometer and dusted off my dad's old Fluke multimeter (still works). I learned how to use these tools as well as how to completely dismantle the heat press and check connections for the temperature probe, test the controller, how to calibrate and a bunch of other thingys that probably are boring you right now. I also got a refresher about OHMs and polarity, and learned how to test and read a multimeter. At times it felt like I was in school and failing my class project!

Heliades Clean Fashion Sun Protection Clothing-Behind the scenes heat press repair

Left and Right: Three hands testing heat probe connections. Center: Texting with Andy, my repair technician.

Ultimately I had to replace the temperature probe with a new one and reattach it to the controller board (a green motherboard), learn what Red n' Tacky bearing grease is, buy it and apply it, and re-calibrate the temperature AND the pressure again. (Btw, Red n' Tacky is also made in the USA!) Andy was great - a very patient soul who understood the urgency of getting the heat press operational. After running tests, I believe the heat press is fully functional.

Go here to read Part 2 of this series!

Please know how much I appreciate you and all your support of Heliades. Our mission remains unchanged: to help stylish, skin-conscious individuals like yourselves defend your glow - maintain healthy skin and a positive self image, and raise awareness about the importance of skin health as it relates to your overall health by protecting skin from UV sun exposure.

Read Part 2 - Fabric Labels, Please Stick!

Read Part 3 - Developing Technical UPF50+ Fabric

Read Part 4 - Patterns, Samples + A Fire

Be well,


We are a woman-owned brand and emails are a crucial way for us to contact our readers and fans. We regularly provide store offers, tips for keeping your skin healthy, how to's for staying stylish and sun smart, and updates on what it's like to run a small business. Sign up to receive our updates and get 10% off your first order. Give us a try, you can unsubscribe anytime!
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About our founder

I started Heliades with the intent to combine fashion with function by designing sun protective apparel with an elevated look that doesn't scream beach, resort or activewear. My goal is to create stylish options to protect our skin every day, for every occasion.

Clean clothing Values