Selling T-shirts can be a great way to make money and promote an existing business, but you have to do it right to succeed. One of the most common mistakes made by would-be entrepreneurs is choosing a poor-quality shirt or low-grade printing in the hope of saving money. While you might pay less for printing costs, the result is a shirt that no one wants or that will not hold up well to normal wear and tear. If you want to keep your customers happy and buying shirts, you can’t cut corners.
Types of T-shirt Printing
To the uninitiated, all shirt printing looks alike. However, there are significant differences between the methods. Some techniques wear better than others. Some are also capable of effects that other methods of T-shirt printing can’t perform. For instance, the classic printed T-shirt is made by using a screen printing technique. In screen printing, individual ink colors are forced through a fine mesh screen onto the shirt. This produces a durable print that does best with line art and flat colors. However, screen printing can reduce a shirt’s stretchability and does not produce soft gradations or designs with many colors well. Shirts that require these factors also require a different printing method.
Iron-on transfers, often used by hobbyists to make just one or two shirts with a lot of colors, are certainly cheap. They are also a poor choice for commercial shirts because they give the product a “plastic-y” feel and wear out quickly. Most companies choose digital printing if they want the wider range of colors and effects offered by transfers, but don’t want to sacrifice quality. This technologically-advanced T-shirt printing technique provides a large print area and can handle subtle gradations and multiple colors without stiffening the shirt. It tends to be more costly than screen printing, but it can handle small orders easily. Digital printing works best on light-colored shirts.
Choosing high-quality garments is part of ensuring that you offer products that your audience wants to buy. Thin shirts with little stretch and a higher percentage of synthetic materials may be cheap, but they don’t sell or wear well. Neither do the once-popular heavyweight shirts, which provide an unflattering fit on many people. Take some time to research your market and find out what kind of clothing and price point appeals to your potential audience. They may not understand the nuances of T-shirt pricing, but they will complain if your products don’t hold up.
Choosing a Printer
After you’ve narrowed down your shirt choice and the printing style that’s most appropriate for your artwork, you have to choose a printer. Not all T-shirt businesses are created equal, though. The cheapest ones may offer poor or inconsistent quality or unapproachable customer service representatives. Contact several printing companies and ask them about the printing methods they use, the quality of their equipment, and their policies. It takes a little longer than choosing the cheapest supplier, but you’ll get a product that’s worth selling.
Remember that your sales will only be as good as your product. For this reason, it is worth your time and effort to learn about the printing process, the quality of textiles, and the printer you will be contracting with before you leap into action.
Jessica Osborn fuels her love for style as a freelance blogger writing about fashion. As a t-shirt collector, she recommends this website for all your custom t-shirt printing needs.