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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to start a SMALL online t-shirt company where i sell my own designs and slogans. I am wondering about several aspects of the creation process...

1) Artists: I am no artist, so I would like to outsource my ideas to a good designer. Mainly my designs will be either cartoonish or retro (like 50's era looking people). What should I expect to pay an artist to make an idea into a printable design? And where can I find such a designer? Is there a bidding site that includes artists (such as elance.com)? And what format should the artwork be in to be tshirt printed?

2) Manufacturing Process: I would like to start off small (maybe 20-30 designs times 10 per. Or more or less depending on printing requirements). I would like to keep low inventory and be able to print new ones quickly when needed. I assume this rules out overseas print shops? Would they require large orders with slow turn arounds? So my next option is online screen printers. Is that a good option for price and quality? Should I purchase the shirts or have the printer supply them? Which is cheaper? Can anyone compare the cost to have an online USA company supply and print the shirts compared to an overseas print shop do it? ANd how about the minimum order quantities?

3) Inventory & Size Requirements: Is there a general quideline as far as what sizes you should stock more of? Meaning what size is usually most popular? I am also wondering if I should offer womens styles?

4) Online Shopping Carts: Browsing some of these online t shirt companies, I see they have some really cool custom shopping cart programs that work perfect for selling tshirts. Are there any boxed software programs that work good for selling tshirts online? Can anyone supply some boxed software references or some custom software references?

Thanks
Tom
 

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I can't speak to many of your questions, but the advice I got from my printer was to stock sizes in a ratio of 10/20/40/30 (s/m/l/xl) although in my experience so far (2 weeks) I am seeing WAY more small and medium orders. We are a small retailer and started with an inventory of 500 shirts split up between 14 designs. This seems to have been a good start, although we are already looking at having to order more shirts of some styles. (By the way, we're using printmojo.)
 

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Great site. May I ask which printer you are using and so far how do you like them? Is seems your business size and style are similar to what I am trying to acheive (although totally different tshirt content). Do you do your own designs and outsource everything to the printer? May I ask how much you are charged per shirt?

Another question I forgot to ask is about using models for shirts. Does anyone high an agency to shoot all the photos of your shirts with actual models (not high budget models). Is this a good idea? To acheive professional photos with good looking people wearing them?

Tom
 

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tomld said:
Great site. May I ask which printer you are using and so far how do you like them? Is seems your business size and style are similar to what I am trying to acheive (although totally different tshirt content). Do you do your own designs and outsource everything to the printer? May I ask how much you are charged per shirt?

Another question I forgot to ask is about using models for shirts. Does anyone high an agency to shoot all the photos of your shirts with actual models (not high budget models). Is this a good idea? To acheive professional photos with good looking people wearing them?

Tom

Thanks for checking the site out. So, we're using the printer called Printmojo, which does very nice screen printing and also does our fulfillment (at a charge of $3.50 an order- fairly steep). We own all our designs. Printmojo has price breaks at different order sizes. If you log on, they give you instant quotes depending on how many you are thinking of ordering. You get serious breaks for orders of 500 or more of one design.

We hired a model of craigslist and took photos with a digital camera. They ended up looking good, as long as you're shooting outside in natural light. It's REALLY hard to set up a shoot inside without professional equipment.
 

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tomld said:
And as far as the online ecommerce shopping cart software. The style I am looking for is something like...

www.defunker.com/shirts/life/male/
www.bustedtees.com
www.threadpit.com/indexmaker/index.php

I assume these are all custom made websites, but does anyone know of a boxed cart program that could be customized to function similar to the above websites (especially defunker. way cool site for t-shirts).

Tom
Defunker is a great site - just a little too pricey, in my opinion. I'm not sure where you could find a shopping cart/site like that though - they have a pretty solid web designer over there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
And College Humor is owned by Connected Ventures which is owned by Zach Klein & Jakob Lodwick among others. But I still wonder what cart would come close to the functionality they offer.
 

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Go to www.guru.com and post an ad asking for designers. I have spoken with many through this website, several have done absolutely incredible work for me. Prices vary greatly, some folk qoute $30 per design, others qoute $300. I find the cheaper ones are better and usually more keen to impress.

If you do use Guru, let me know how you get on.

I hope to build a large database of freelance artists that I can call on to work as and when required, guru is the best place to get them.
 
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