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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Thank goodness I have found you! I’ve read through lots of posts here to gather information and try to answer my questions – though excellent, excellent info here, I still haven’t found all of the answers I need. I’m looking for some great advice to move forward.

My sis and I are starting a kids clothing business and we have a line of tee-shirts that we would like to do (dozens of designs). Silk screening is out due to the cost and minimum inventory requirements. We just haven’t been able to find anyone willing to work with us on creating as orders come in.

Questions:

  • Heat press. What is your opinion on the quality of heat press produced materials vs. screened materials? Excellent, fair, etc.
  • Is it the general rule of the business to require minimum orders for production regardless of screening or heat transfer? We would really love to outsource the production of our products, but need someone to work with us to produce as orders come in until our business grows. Can anyone recommend a vendor in Arizona (preferably) or the U.S. that works with their business customers this way with heat transfer (I understand this is much more user friendly than screening)? Working with a fulfillment center like cafépress, etc. is out of the question for us.
  • Can anyone recommend a great graphic artist for tee-shirt designs? Again, we would prefer someone in Arizona, but are willing to work with anyone in the U.S. that is legit and has references. We’ve interviewed lots of graphic artists when seeking a screener and we haven’t been too jazzed about any of them. We have the sketches, just need the designer. Our marketing graphic designer charges an arm and a leg and has no experience with tee-shirt designs.
  • If we are left to our own devices, is it easy to learn how to heat press, and is it cost effective? I’ve found through the postings here the best equipment to purchase should we have to go this route. I’m just wondering how viable of an option this is, and is it really time consuming to produce the products? Can you also produce hats and bibs with a heat press machine? Maybe this is the best way to go for us to start out and then outsource large wholesale orders. Does anyone have any experience with this scenario?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for any and all advice. I really, really appreciate you taking the time to help move us in the right direction.

Cheers,

Tammy, in Arizona
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone, for your replies. Our designs consist of both images and letters, some only images, but the bulk also include letters. We are doing anywhere between 50 - 80 designs. We have capital to purchase the equipment with non-industrial machines. I looked on a web site of a company that I found a lot of reference to in the posts and their smaller machines are reasonable enough - much, much more than screening equipment that I've researched. Night and day really.

Does using the plastisol transfer and vinyl transfer (I understand very close to looking like screen printing) and the cad cutting require a lot of instruction? We're willing to put the money in to get what we need with heat transfer if it doesn't take us a year to learn and an arm and a leg to do it.

Thanks!

Tammy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't want to use Cafepress because we are starting a whole business where we will eventually be adding other products and an entirely different clothing line. The tee-shirt side is just the beginning and will not be the whole business.

With Cafepress, we do not control the level of customer service, the packaging or messaging. I'm not willing to give that up. That's all part of branding a company.

From everything I've read and all of your very helpful, and much appreciated advice, I think we are going to invest in the equipment and do it in house via heat transfer. It seems very cost effective compared to screening and will allow us to control out inventory. We just need to learn more about the best equipment and how to cut out and use vinyl letters for a more screened look, especially on colored shirts.

Thanks again for all of your help. Any other commenst are welcome!

Cheers,

Tammy
 
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