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Discussion Starter #1
I think I've seen something similar to this question on the forums before but I couldn't find it via search.

I'll be buying my initial inventory of shirts soon. Most of my designs are strictly for black t-shirts but some will have a white t-shirt version as well. The sizes I plan to offer are M-2XL.

Unfortunately, my finances don't exactly allow me to buy 100 of each or anything like that. So, in order to determine how many to buy of each size I was wondering what sizes sell most. Obviously, the country is getting larger so I had assumed something like this:

M - 20
L - 50
XL - 40
2XL - 30

How does that look? Am I way off?
 

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It sort of depends on your market. Some markets will need more 2XL and 3XL, and some markets won't order those sizes at all.

What type (theme) of t-shirts are you selling?
 

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If I remember correctly from another thread, it is the gaming crowd.

If you are going with 100 even, I think what you have is okay. There is enough in each size, so that you shouldn't run out too quickly. You can always adjust later, according to what sizes are selling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeh, that had kind of crossed my mind. My shirts are shirts that people into video games and anime would like -- which is tough because we come in all shapes and sizes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Comin'OutSwingin said:
If I remember correctly from another thread, it is the gaming crowd.

If you are going with 100 even, I think what you have is okay. There is enough in each size, so that you shouldn't run out too quickly. You can always adjust later, according to what sizes are selling.
Good memory.

That is something that worries me though, Swingin, running out of shirts too quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I hope I have this problem. :eek:

When you guys order your shirts wholesale how long does it usually take for them to get out to you? I'm assuming you can pay extra to get them to ship faster?
 

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If you have girls in your audience, I might break it down like this:

10 Small
15 Medium
25 Large
30 XLarge
15 XXLarge
5 XXXLarge

When you guys order your shirts wholesale how long does it usually take for them to get out to you? I'm assuming you can pay extra to get them to ship faster?
I think a 1-2 week turnaround time is normal.

Managing inventory gets to be a science after a while :) Running out of a size should be the least of your worries. That will only help you learn for each run after that (seeing which sizes sell out faster for your market).

I'd rather run out of a t-shirt size than have a shelf full of tees that aren't moving :)
 

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ph0yce said:
When you guys order your shirts wholesale how long does it usually take for them to get out to you? I'm assuming you can pay extra to get them to ship faster?
I get my shirts from Los Angeles. I live just outside of Nashville, TN.

If I order my shirts Monday morning, I have always had them by Thursday afternoon, UPS ground. That is the latest I've had them arrive. Most of the time, I get them by Wednesday!

Like you said, you can always pay for overnight if you need them that bad. A good problem to have, indeed!
 

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If I order my shirts Monday morning, I have always had them by Thursday afternoon, UPS ground. That is the latest I've had them arrive. Most of the time, I get them by Wednesday!
Are we just talking about the blank t-shirts, or the screen printed t-shirts from the printer?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Comin'OutSwingin said:
I get my shirts from Los Angeles. I live just outside of Nashville, TN.
As you can see, I'm in Los Angeles. Where are you getting your shirts from if you don't mind me asking? What kind are you ordering?
 

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My market is urban wear. I use ProClub shirts, and I get them directly from them.

Rodney, I thought we were talking about blanks. That's what I meant, if it was unclear.

Maybe he will clarify.
 

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Given how skinny some nerds can be I think chucking in some smalls would be a good idea. Likewise for the gaming market I'd add some 3XL's - in other markets maybe not, but for that one yes.

(personally I'd probably go with something like Rodney's curve, except maybe a few less smalls, rolling those into larges)
 

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Why are you buying inventory. Where I get my tees I get them within 2-3 days. Unless you offering pre printed shirts and your telling your customer that you will ship within 24 hours then I would suggest you buy a small sampling of sizes and order as you need them. How fast are you going to sell 100 shirts (Unless it is a wholesale client) What if you buy 20 med and then you sell 24 med Now you have to order more shirts anyway. I have no more than 24 shirts here at one time and I tell my clients 2 week delivery (The Norm) I don't have any problems filling any shirt order. And it is a financially sound move. My money is in the bank not on stock that is not selling.. But , that's me and I have been in retailing over 30 years.
 

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badalou said:
I have no more than 24 shirts here at one time and I tell my clients 2 week delivery (The Norm)
That's the norm for heat pressed shirts?

WOW!

If I went to a site and saw that it was going to take 2 weeks to get my shirt, they wouldn't be getting my money!

2 weeks?!

I think the inventory issue has a large part to do with the delivery time your customers expect. If they are willing to wait 2 weeks for a heat pressed shirt, then you don't need to have that many blanks on hand.

On the other hand, if you have on your site that customers can expect shipment within a certain period of time, and you can't meet that because you don't have enough blanks on hand to fill orders timely, that is not a good thing.

But in this age of instant gratification and the ability to have shipped items arrive quickly, even shipped via ground, I have a hard time believing that customers
are okay with waiting 2 weeks for a shirt unless you can give them a VERY good reason why it takes so long. Like you are growing the cotton and weaving the shirt and custom making it to their measurements!:D
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
WOW!

If I went to a site and saw that it was going to take 2 weeks to get my shirt, they wouldn't be getting my money!

2 weeks?!
Some of the most successful t-shirt sites have up to a 2 week turnaround time (think T-shirt Hell).
 

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badalou said:
Why are you buying inventory. Where I get my tees I get them within 2-3 days. Unless you offering pre printed shirts and your telling your customer that you will ship within 24 hours then I would suggest you buy a small sampling of sizes and order as you need them. How fast are you going to sell 100 shirts (Unless it is a wholesale client) What if you buy 20 med and then you sell 24 med Now you have to order more shirts anyway. I have no more than 24 shirts here at one time and I tell my clients 2 week delivery (The Norm) I don't have any problems filling any shirt order. And it is a financially sound move. My money is in the bank not on stock that is not selling.. But , that's me and I have been in retailing over 30 years.
That's exactly how I do it. I started out with 8 - 15 days delivery time and gathered orders over about a 4 day period (to save on shipping costs), then ordered all the shirts, pressed, and sent them out. I've never hit 15 days and people have had absolutely no problem with it. Now, since I keep the transfers in stock I can have a shirt out in as little as 24 hours if I need to since my supplier is local. I don't do business this way because it shrinks the profit, but if I had to I could. My average turnaround time is now cut in half.

Anyway, no funds tied up in shelved inventory is awesome, and what attracted me to this business in the first place (since I'm poor :D).
 

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I really don't believe anyone is so desperate for a tee shirt that they have to have it the next day. I say 2 weeks but I actually can get them out faster. I think a business is opening themselves up for a bad service situation by putting themselves on the line for instant delivery (24 Hours) Unless you are a major operation and have plenty of equipment to be able to turn out anything then OK. But What if you get an order for 1 shirt and whoops your equipment stops working (Printer, press, etc) I like to have the time. I Operated a retail operation for The dept. Of Veterans Affairs and we had a very large catalog operation for our Vets. Not one of the companies offered anything less than 2 weeks delivery. Our customers were never disappointed. Now, that saying unless your well funded and not a startup like Phil is then maybe that is OK.. some of you guys have been doing this for awhile and making lots and lots of money.. maybe you have lots of stock but you know the rest of us should be careful as to how you handle your money while your still in the beginning stage.
 

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Maybe I'm all alone on this one, but I'm not waiting 2 weeks unless it's something that I want really bad.

My feeling is a t-shirt isn't worth waiting 2 weeks to get. It had better be a REALLY good t-shirt if I have to pay for it, then wait to weeks to get it.

I also don't buy heat pressed t-shirts, so I guess that may have a lot to do with it also. Screen printed shirts are either available or not. I know that if I choose ground shipping (UPS or FedEx) then I know about how long it's going to take if they ship them when they say they ship them. Which is normally the day I order it or the next day. I also don't order that many shirts online.
 

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Just a quick note on a formula chart for sizes.

This may be different depending on your target market and being urban wear, you may want larger sizes. You could just bump all of these numbers up one. The general rule of thumb for ordering for larger quantities is:

1, 2, 5, 4

What that means is, for every 1 small, you order 2 medium, 5 large and 4 xlarge. I'll go by 108 because it's divisible by 12 (1+2+5+4=12).

Divide 108 by 12 and you get 9. Use 9 for the smallest size you are ordering.

9 S
18 M
45 L
36 XL

Again, being urban wear, people tend to wear the larger sizes, so you could bump it up to:

9 M
18 L
45 XL
36 XXL
 

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badalou said:
I Operated a retail operation for The dept. Of Veterans Affairs and we had a very large catalog operation for our Vets. Not one of the companies offered anything less than 2 weeks delivery. Our customers were never disappointed.
Just wanted to make a quick point. Just because your customers didn't tell you that they didn't like a 2 week delivery window, doesn't mean that they weren't disappointed by it.

Some customers are vocal, others aren't. I think if that is the industry standard, then they may "tolerate" it, but it doesn't mean that they aren't disappointed.

I hear customers of different kinds of operations all the time speak of their disappointment with a product or service and NEVER tell the company or service provider. What they do is tell their friends. And their family.

Lots of times customers don't understand why things take so long. So that's why I said earlier that you would need to explain why it would take 2 weeks.

It's hard for some customers to understand why they can go to site "A" and buy a shirt and know it's going to get shipped out that day, and go to site "B", and they say you will get it in 2 weeks. They may not understand that site "A" has screen printed shirts that are already in inventory, and site "B" has heat pressed shirts that they don't print until you order.

So if that's going to be the case, it should be VERY clear to the customer why it's going to take 2 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm surprised. I didn't know that some of you operated that way. In fact, that way of doing things never crossed my mind. I'm definitely going to consider this method instead.

For those of you that don't keep a stock of blanks do you let your customers know how long shipping will take somewhere on your site? If so, do you offer an explanation?
 
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