Well, it's actually not T-shirts I had custom made. But it's related, so here's the whole story.
Last year, I decided to create a line of "Asian" inspired tops for kids. I was going to have the stuff made in China. And yes, I got really cheap prices, but there's the quality control issues. Since I'm a busy mom, going to China myself was out of the question. The woman I was dealing with was going to make some Onesie for me using pima cotton @$ 1.50 a piece.
I changed my mind going with China after I sent her some sample fabrics of floral print to match. What I got back was something totally different. When I questioned her, her respond was: Oh, we thought it was a very close match. Well, I didn't know until that moment that baseballs and flowers are very similar!
So I then decided to have the goods made in the good old USA. How difficult could that be? Being a New Yorker, working in the heart of the garment district and being Asian myself, I thought it would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong.
First of all, the fabric itself cost a fortune. Founding a contractor willing to do a small run is the other problem. In the US, under 1,000 pieces, it’s considered as samples. Samples cost a lot more to make then production. I was learning a lot in such a short period of time. With China, I was quoted for a small run @ $2.60 a piece (which is still expensive in China’s standard), but that was good enough for me. That price included: the hangtag, your own custom label, washing label, the pattern, fabric, cutting, sewing, button and packaging. In US, you have to pay for every single thing listed above. My total cost per piece - $20.50, yes, $ 20.50.
Stores, doesn’t want to buy my goods because they are too expensive, even at wholesale level. I have stock that I don’t know what to do with. The only good thing is that the style will never go out of style.
I hope this is helpful to those of you looking to manufacture goods here. Don’t give up, because I sure didn’t.
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