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HI,

My designs are coming along, and I was wondering where could I go initially to have my shirts printed. I don't have enough $$$ for printing it myself. And initially, as I realistically anticipate slow sales, I'd like to only pay after I've sold a shirt. In other words have them done individually. Do you guys know of any sites that cater to someone like me?
 

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Another twist on it-

I did the math, and basically figured that it would be cheaper to screen the intial one-color designs myself (I do have some background in this, not as much as the pros here though) and will order blank shirts in a number of colors and styles.

I'm doing my own site, photography and shirt designs. No outlay there and I've got plenty of experience in all three.

I can offer 5 intial shirts (this is somewhat upscale with a built in customer base, more to follow) and avoid getting stuck with 5 different screening charges and 30 items that I can't sell or turn into something else.. They're made to order (but no one will know that).

I'm probably going to spend about $1k on the whole deal to get it setup-- if my marketing package is on the money I'll probably make that back rather quickly. Yes, I do realize that there are no sure things but with the small dollar amount involved it's hard not to be optimistic. I've forgotten higher bar tabs.

The sites suggested will serve your purpose, but if you'd like to be somewhat successful it might be worth the elbow grease, ingenuity and some $$ intial outlay to get the ball rolling.

If it seems too easy then it probably is.
 

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I think if nothing more, sites like ebay, spreadshirt and cafepress can be a form of deducing whether there is interest/demand in your product line before you actually invest a ton of money.

Just my two cents.
 

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sarafina said:
I think if nothing more, sites like ebay, spreadshirt and cafepress can be a form of deducing whether there is interest/demand in your product line before you actually invest a ton of money.
Very true, however you pay a price for questionable quality, absolutely no brand recognition (Cafepress, not sure about Spreadshirt) and you show no equity stake in your product.

The first thing I used to do when I found a great shirt on CP was to make a copy of it and sell it to myself. Did anyone ever know? Nope, and it only takes me 10~ minutes to whip something similar up.

Could someone do this for my products? Sure, but they're limited in color and quality. They can't make the same thing that they see on my website for cheaper. This business is already so ridiculously cheap to enter that I'm baffled why so many decide to take the super short route.
 

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Chris said:
Very true, however you pay a price for questionable quality, absolutely no brand recognition (Cafepress, not sure about Spreadshirt) and you show no equity stake in your product.

The first thing I used to do when I found a great shirt on CP was to make a copy of it and sell it to myself. Did anyone ever know? Nope, and it only takes me 10~ minutes to whip something similar up.

Could someone do this for my products? Sure, but they're limited in color and quality. They can't make the same thing that they see on my website for cheaper. This business is already so ridiculously cheap to enter that I'm baffled why so many decide to take the super short route.
Hi Chris:
Are you saying then that you are printing your shirts yourself, or do you have someone doing it. Im asking 'cause Im in LA too, and trying to find the best avenue of getting my designs printed on a budget. Is it at all possible to find a vendor who can do low volume at good quality, screening, heat press or otherwise?

Thanks
Ryan
 

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rring said:
Are you saying then that you are printing your shirts yourself, or do you have someone doing it. Im asking 'cause Im in LA too, and trying to find the best avenue of getting my designs printed on a budget. Is it at all possible to find a vendor who can do low volume at good quality, screening, heat press or otherwise?
Ryan-

I'm doing the inital run myself and placing a bet on being able to sell X amount of shirts during that time. Stage two is locating a reputable local printer to handle more volume than my garage can support.. anything after that and I have friend who can handle mass production (but I don't think it'll be necessary).

To be honest, I haven't looked into small volume printers at all, but if I get a chance to talk it over with my friend I'm going to pick his brain (on where to go) but I hate walking in empty-handed in the meantime. I *think* the trick is finding the shirts with the best cut at the lowest price.. there are plenty of screeners out there and even if you didn't want to do the actual printing yourself it's still entirely possible to make your own screen for less than a normal set-up charge.

http://members.aol.com/elabeth/diy.html

No, that's not the final word on screening; it's just a good reference for the process and costs involved in making a simple one-color shirt.

C.
 

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Chris-
Sounds like a real good plan. Thanks for the link. I wish I had the space to give DIY screen printing a try, but I live in a condo with no garage.:(. Im looking into buying a heat press as an option and seeing what that is all about. Heat Press sounds easier and more flexible for doing quick runs than screen printing, and supposedly the quality of heat press these days is getting closer to comparable (or so they say). I dont know, I want an end product that is real professional vintage T that could be sold in retail. I wonder if heat pressing would accomodate.

In nothing else maybe its a good place to start building momentum and litmus testing designs. I originally planned to use CafePress to do that, but after spending a day uploading designs, building my premium shop and reading their forums, CP sounds like an uphill battle that isnt worth the effort. Especially in light of their tiny profit margins.

-RR
 

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rring said:
Heat Press sounds easier and more flexible for doing quick runs than screen printing, and supposedly the quality of heat press these days is getting closer to comparable (or so they say). I dont know, I want an end product that is real professional vintage T that could be sold in retail. I wonder if heat pressing would accomodate.
I honestly don't know a lot about heat pressing aside from what my parents used to buy me 20~ years ago. :)

But done right I think it's a great medium.. maybe we both have some cheap-local-friendly flexibility in our futures due to this forum?

[no company bashing please]
 

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You nailed it brutha. It dawned on me pretty quickly that I would never be able to recoup marketing costs on CafePress' slim margins. I wish I had a piece of that business. Not to mention - as you said - what's to stop someone from just copping an idea and then selling it to themselves or others at discount? Even if I had the dough to copyright all 60 of my designs, could I really take legal action? I guess there's really no way to stop that though

RR
 

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Please folks, let's not get into company bashing here.

CafePress can work, and does work for thousands of people. You can earn good money from having a store there and still get decent markups (I've been doing it for years).

Just because a service doesn't work for you, doesn't mean that it can't work for others.

The first thing I used to do when I found a great shirt on CP was to make a copy of it and sell it to myself. Did anyone ever know? Nope, and it only takes me 10~ minutes to whip something similar up
It's sad that you would resort to copyright theft being a t-shirt seller yourself. I hope that doesn't come back around to bite you somehow.

Very true, however you pay a price for questionable quality, absolutely no brand recognition (Cafepress, not sure about Spreadshirt) and you show no equity stake in your product.
You can still have brand recognition and quality products using cafepress. There are a lot of successful businesses running cafepress stores.
 

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Rodney said:
It's sad that you would resort to copyright theft being a t-shirt seller yourself. I hope that doesn't come back around to bite you somehow.
I fudged on that part to lend it more drama. I've never actually copied and bought another design but I have modified other ideas to suit my needs (or put a unique twist to it).

I don't doubt that you can have a successful CP store but I think you'd agree it requires the same amount of work as anything else to make that happen. It's not something you can setup, walk away from and expect a check in two weeks.

Being that I'm obsessive about marketing and quality the general idea of CP is like nails on a chalk-board to me. That's ultimately the problem I have and I'll try to tone it down a notch.
 
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