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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My business partner and I are planning on printing personalized shirts on demand at health and fitness expos (dye sub & heat transfers).




Does anyone have any experience selling at conventions? We're planning on starting with a smaller event and carrying several blank styles to test the market, and we’re pretty sure of the size breakdown for our target customers. But we’re not sure how many of each style.


So, for discussion’s sake, say we have 10 styles: 6 for women and 4 for men…

Any recommendations based on the size of event: 1,000 participants, 10,000 participants, 30,000 participants, etc…?


Sharon
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for all the great info, Swingin! :D

I have a friend who sells screen-printed designs at Police conventions, and he sells approximately the same amount (about 1,000 shirts). By “styles,” I was referring to the T-shirt styles, not the designs. I expect the more stylish shirts to sell well (and not be a huge risk, since with transfers, we won't wasting inventory on non-selling designs), but the biggest chunk of our inventory will be probably be the basic Gildan tees.



My business partner wants to purchase VERY conservatively, but since we're printing on demand, I'd rather have lots of extra blanks for website sales and for the next expo than run out of stock altogether.


Thankfully, I know my demographic very well, since I'm one of them, and I've sold sports jewelry at the expos with a lot of success, so we're now expanding to the T-shirts. I bought a shirt like this at a race in Germany last year, and people were waiting a half-hour in line to order their shirts and then another hour to get them printed. I won’t COUNT ON that kind of response, but I'll try to plan ahead as much as I can to head off those sorts of delays.



Marathoners tend to be big T-shirt buyers. We'll have several non-editable designs ready to print, but our big seller will be a pre-set design with editable fields to personalize the shirts with their name and race bib number.



We've already got the heat press, sublimation system, transfers, etc... All that's left to buy is the inventory. I'm guess I'm just looking for confirmation that we're headed in the right direction... and for some stats to reassure my partner that overly conservative can be just as bad as overly optimistic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You have a very good plan for starting out, and you are definitely headed in the right direction!
Thanks for the vote of confidence! The expo we originally wanted to start with had an attendance of 10,000 participants last year (not including friends & family). With the numbers she was aiming for, we wouldn't even stock 3%, but she trusts my opinion and business experience. I just wanted to get a little insight from the pros so she wouldn't feel like we were wasting resources.
Do you have an idea about where you going to get your shirts from.
We'll carry the bulk in basics like Gildan, but we want to test out a few styles from Alternative Apparel and Vapor, though I wish I could find some better performance blanks.
You could point out to your partner that even in an absolute worst case scenario it's not going to be hard to sell unused blanks to another printer without taking a huge loss.
Good idea. She's not panicked about the idea of buying too much, just... hesitant. I'm sure reading advice here will put her mind at ease.
Thanks again!
 
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