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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

My name is Zac and I operate a growing performance car site in my area. Membership is up over 1,000 members in roughly about a year (in a local, medium sized town), and I would like to provide shirts for my members at a cheap cost. I've looked at places like cafepress.com and stuff like that, but I am also a business major and would like to take advantage of my idea and run a small, home based, tshirt business from my home. I know I could sell a decent amount of shirts as I have many connections in my area through my job and my website of people who would be looking to purchase shirts, such as the many car clubs that operate within my website.

To make a long story short, I have been running this website for free and now it's time to start generating a little bit of income to pay for hosting...and hopefully a few dollars for gas :wink:

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Now I don't want to go cheap on the supplies. I want to produce a quality shirt that I won't have to worry about getting complaints about. I have a few questions:

1: I have an HP Photosmart 7260. Has anyone had any success with dye inks at all? Is there a way to make them work?

2: What kind of Epson printer do you use? What is the best value? Do I really need a $400 printer right away, or is it just a convenience for people producing large volumes of shirts?

3. How about this DuraBrite ink? Does it perform well? There is a value pack on epson's website for about $37. Is that all I need? What reasons would somebody go with a bulk ink system, and how hard is it to set up?

4. The heat press: What size heat press is ideal? Does it honestly matter what kind of heat press I buy or is this a minute factor in producing good shirts?

5. Browsing through ebay I am seeing people selling various heat press designs that are ready to be placed onto a shirt (professionally printed onto a transfer sheet and ready to press). I am calculating anywhere from 25 cents per sheet to 65 cents per sheet and the designs are really cool. Has anyone invested in these? Seems to me like one could offer some neat designs for the general public this way without sacraficing the profit margin on the shirts.

6. Best places to buy shirts? http://blankshirtstore.com/ seems to be a pretty good choice. ?


I am very happy to have stumbled onto this website and answers to any or all of these questions would be greatly appreciated!

Zac
 

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1. With dye based inks, the ink will bleed when the shirt is washed. After the second washing, the bleeding washes away. The ink also fades over time with dye based inks.
2. You can get the epson stylus c88 for $80. Just as long as the printer uses pigment inks, youll be fine.
3. Pigmented inks fade less, and dont bleed.
4. 16" x 20" is a good size. This gives you the ability to transfer images onto larger things than t-shirts potentially, and also gives you plenty of room to work with. The brand of press wont matter for the quality of the shirt. You do want to buy something that will last a long time though.
6. I buy from bodeck and rhodes. Alot of people on this forum buy from S & S. Another copany to buy from is alpha, and there are countless other manufacturers that you can buy from (search the forum). http://blankshirtstore.com/ is expensive. That is for people who dont have a tax id. To buy from a true wholesale distributor you need a tax id.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a ton for the help. I see where you're coming from with the Tax ID. I think i'm going to order tshirts from blankshirtstore.com for now just to make sure I'm not walking into something that i'm not going to enjoy. Also, I see plenty of potential to generate profit even if I am paying $2.00 per shirt. It will cut into my profit margin, but then again I am not looking to make a terrific amount of income here. I would describe my intentions as "an income producing hobby."

If anyone else has any suggestions I would love to hear them. I am just making sure I study up on this before I go out and make any big purchases.

Also, does anyone know anything about the longevity of most heat presses? Is it fairly easy to make and sell enough shirts to get your money back in profits?

Zac
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also, out of curiosity, how difficult is it to obtain a tax code? Do you think it would be worth it for me to do that or would I be better off going through the fore-mentioned websites to purchase my shirts?

Zac
 

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Welcome Zac,
I'm new to all this too, but I'll tell you what I have learned so far from this site...
jdr8271 mentioned a lot of it..

ZacFields said:
1: I have an HP Photosmart 7260. Has anyone had any success with dye inks at all? Is there a way to make them work?
Dye based inks are not recommended so I wouldn't risk your future reputation by trying to use them. You want pigmented inks, either the DuraBright or the Magic Mix inks.

2: What kind of Epson printer do you use? What is the best value? Do I really need a $400 printer right away, or is it just a convenience for people producing large volumes of shirts?
The best value may be the Epson C86. According to Cindy at TLM Supply House, the C88 is not a good option to get. I'm not sure why, but she recommended the either the C86 or the R300. I'm sure there are recommendations for other models, but I was asking Cindy about these two choices. By the way, the R300 or R320 are both Dye based ink printers but TLM makes a bulk ink system so you can use the Magic Mix pigmented inks.

3. How about this DuraBrite ink? Does it perform well? There is a value pack on epson's website for about $37. Is that all I need? What reasons would somebody go with a bulk ink system, and how hard is it to set up?
I've read that the ink does perform well, but the color settings may need to be adjusted for the printer. The prints tend to come out too yellow I believe. It has something to do with the ink not really being made for the heat press. Apparently the Magic Mix inks were created with the heat press in mind.

4. The heat press: What size heat press is ideal? Does it honestly matter what kind of heat press I buy or is this a minute factor in producing good shirts?
I think everything always matters, no matter what the subject is. You want to get a good heat press for durability, ease of use, and even heat amonjg other things. Hix is always recommended. I chose a Heat Master press myself.

http://www.hixcorp.com/content2.html

http://www.screenprintsupply.com/catalog/heatmaster/heatmasterpage.html


5. Browsing through ebay I am seeing people selling various heat press designs that are ready to be placed onto a shirt (professionally printed onto a transfer sheet and ready to press). I am calculating anywhere from 25 cents per sheet to 65 cents per sheet and the designs are really cool. Has anyone invested in these? Seems to me like one could offer some neat designs for the general public this way without sacraficing the profit margin on the shirts.
I've never looked into pre-made bulk transfers, because I want to start coming up with my own ideas. I might be wrong, but I would think that the designs you find on eBay will be turned into shirts and sold right back on eBay, so your competing with others that have the same design. However, I admit that I don't know much about that.

6. Best places to buy shirts? http://blankshirtstore.com/ seems to be a pretty good choice. ?
I'm going to get my resale tax id, and order through S&S Activewear. They seem to be recommended a lot here. Another company I was looking at was ShirtSupplier. They do not require a tax id, but I would assume they are a little pricier than S&S. I have to get a tax id to find out what S&S is going to charge me.

http://www.shirtsupplier.com/

http://www.ssactivewear.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Decal_Designs for your advice. My question to you, though, does the C86 use durabrite inks? On the epson website i don't believe the C86 is listed as a compatible printer.

What printer do you use personally?

Zac
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also, does anyone know approximately how many shirts the "magicmix" cartriges can print before needing a replacement cartrige? I'm trying to get a rough estimate of my cost per shirt produced and it's very difficult to get even a rough estimate. The cartrige I am referring to is for the Epson C86 and is about $75.

Zac
 

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ZacFields said:
Thanks Decal_Designs for your advice. My question to you, though, does the C86 use durabrite inks? On the epson website i don't believe the C86 is listed as a compatible printer.

What printer do you use personally?

Zac
I'm going to use the R300 since I had it already. That is a dye based printer, but TLM has a Magic Mix Bulk ink system for it.

The C86 does use Durabright inks, and can also use the Magic Mix Bulk ink system.
 
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