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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my designs has 4 versions that I make with metallic vinyl. If I allow someone to choose a design in one of four metallic colors that’s now 16 variations. If I then offer multiple shirt colors that number goes up a lot. Then even more when sizes are added.

If I have these many options it will be really expensive to make everything so people can choose what they want if I am selling at a show. If selling only online I would have to have a lot more blank shirts in stock.

But if I offer less options, say each of the four design options only comes in its own metallic color and on coordinating shirt, for example design one is silver on black, design two is only copper on blue, etc, I could keep fewer shirts in stock and i would have to make much fewer shirts to have the whole collection.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Start slow and see if they sell. Unless these are print-on-demand?
They are print on demand in the fact that I print them on demand normally. If I do a vinyl I can easily just cut it and press it. But I also would have to have all of those different colors in different sizes on hand so that I don't place an order just for one shirt to come in.

If I'm printing DTF which I have a lot of other designs for then I would have to either order the one print and pay the shipping that it costs which means that that one film is going to cost a lot more than if I had ordered a ton of them up front. The problem is I don't want to order a ton of different designs up front if only two of the designs are the ones that sell.

That's why I'm wondering if I should only offer a very very small option set. Like for the dtf, if I only sold one design then I could print 20 of those get them shipped to me and then they're ready to go at a moment's notice. But if I have 20 designs I could either order one of each for the same price as if I ordered 20 of a single design, or I would have to order a whole bunch of each of the 20 designs which means I'm putting out a whole bunch of money up front.

What are other people who fulfill their own shirts actually do in a case like this? Do they offer lots and lots of different variations and make sure that they have everything in stock in case something is ordered? Or do they have very very few options so that they can have just a few shirts and designs in stock with a very low money input up front
 

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one problem will be deciphering what your customers will want, so best to start with a few of each
see what is popular and whittle down your offerings

you will have to put some money up-front to find out what sells

or, you can also do mockups and ask friends/family what appeals to them
if you have a large enough pool of people, then it should give you a pretty good idea of what to focus on and what to drop
unless all your friends and family are crackpots, then you may have to go further afield

anything you can do in-house when needed is good, then slowly work in dtf for the designs you know will sell

for tee's, start with a simple line of unisex that you like the feel/fit offer only those (add in ladies/racerbacks/etc. later)

it is hard to dial-back the excitement of your designs that would look great on so many variations
that is why a good mockup generator and advice form others will help you narrow down a good starting lineup
 

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One of my designs has 4 versions that I make with metallic vinyl. If I allow someone to choose a design in one of four metallic colors that’s now 16 variations.
The 16 variations are just a capability.
The only physical stock you need for these is 4 rolls of vinyl.

If I then offer multiple shirt colors that number goes up a lot. Then even more when sizes are added.
All you need is an initial investment in stock. Then you just replace what you are selling.

Lets say you are offering 8 colors, which should be enough...
You can buy 84 shirts per per color using the appropriate ratio (ie 1-2-2-1-1).
This means 24 shirts per color for the more popular sizes, and 12 shirts for the less popular sizes.

Starting up Stock Cost:
8 colors * 84 shirts * $3 per shirt = $2,016
or if you use $4 shirts
8 colors * 84 shirts * $4 per shirt = $2,688
That's the general idea of course and should be fine-tuned to match your needs.
Some colors are more popular than others for example, so you should increase the stock number for black shirts and reduce it for the less popular colors

Weekly Stock Replenishment Cost:
Let's say you sell 200 shirts per week and you've made $2,800 in profit.
You need to spend $800 per week to replenish your stock, leaving you with $2,200 in net profit.
 

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No way I would spend $2600 for upfront shirt inventory for a print-on-demand operation.

Personally, I wouldn't spend a dime on shirts until I got my first order. Maybe it never comes.

And depending on how my launch went, then I would decide what to stock. You only need 1 shirt for every color for every size to completely cover an order. Then replenish as you go. I know you can't do small orders from wholesalers because of shipping cost. But you'll work through it.
 

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No way I would spend $2600 for upfront shirt inventory for a print-on-demand operation.
Personally, I wouldn't spend a dime on shirts until I got my first order. Maybe it never comes.
The thing is... the OP mentioned "selling at a show", where buying more blanks on demand is not possible.

You only need 1 shirt for every color for every size to completely cover an order.
The problem with this is that after selling your single black M-size shirt, it's out of stock until you replace it.
Even if just selling from home, shipping for replacing one or two shirts will not be free.
 

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The more choices you give people, the harder it is for THEM to decide... and many times they do not decide, and walk off, thinking they will be back later. Only give a couple of choices, in my opinion.
You do that, and you'll be losing sales.
If people are looking for a blue shirt and you only have black, they will simply buy from your competitor.
 

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You do that, and you'll be losing sales.
If people are looking for a blue shirt and you only have black, they will simply buy from your competitor.
I disagree, wee have been doing this over 20 years selling at shows... if you have 8-10 types & colors of shirts, and 4 different variations of the same design people get overwhelmed. If you have 1-2 variations of design, and 2 dark and 2 light shirts, they usually can pick... but even that can be too many choices. The people who say you don't have enough choices for them, were only gonna waste your time trying to make them happy, and walk away without buying anything anyway.

Also, if you loose 1 sale because you didn't have 42 options... well, you just saved the cost of 43 shirts that you did not invest in...instead of loosing that 1 sale.


Again, this is just my opinion after 20 years of selling at shows. o_O
 

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I disagree, wee have been doing this over 20 years selling at shows... if you have 8-10 types & colors of shirts, and 4 different variations of the same design people get overwhelmed. If you have 1-2 variations of design, and 2 dark and 2 light shirts, they usually can pick... but even that can be too many choices. The people who say you don't have enough choices for them, were only gonna waste your time trying to make them happy, and walk away without buying anything anyway.
Adding the design variable changes the equation completely.
I'm not suggesting having 10 colors per design... That's silly.
Personally, I match designs to fabric colors and I print on one to two colors....rarely three.

The only exception to this is minimalist collection.
These are not printed shirts, and when I doubling the color variation my sales doubled as well.

Also, if you loose 1 sale because you didn't have 42 options... well, you just saved the cost of 43 shirts that you did not invest in...instead of loosing that 1 sale.
It depends on your business model and of course I'm not suggesting having 42 colors.
Having 7-8 colors for matching to the design is enough.
Lack of variation would cost me a lot ore than one sale...
 
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