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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found this forum yesterday and have spent a GOOD part of yesterday AND today going through tons of forums. There is SO much to process here.

set-up

I'm starting up my company and I'm going to introduce 5 shirts up front. 2-3 colors each (3 light colored shirts(white, green, light brown) and 2 black shirts).

Question:
Do I get platisol transfers created (some shirts will have the same back so good opportunity to gang), buy a $300-400 heat press, buy the shirts and do it myself?

Or...do I let someone else handle this for this first run and if it's successful look at buying the heat press?

I think I'll end up doing 150 shirts of each design, so I'd end up doing about 750 shirts up front.
(estimate from others 3 color front & back 150 shirts $6.75)

I've got an assistant that works part-time for me that I pay $10 hour that could handle doing the heat transfers if need be.

Am I correct in seeing that there's typically about a $2ish margin on shirts and we could probably do 1 shirt every 2 minutes for 30 shirts an hour?

If so, that seems to be saving $60/hour and then paying my assistant $10/hour. AND being able to print on demand more so. If I did the 150 shirts, I'd need to so different quantities for each size and if I sold out of a size, I'd need to order a lot more.

I know this is rambling some, but I'm guessing all you 'pros' out there are following me on this.

I've got enough people nearby that would work for $10/hour (I know..little high..but that's fine) that I don't believe I would end up doing much work on this myself.

If one of you pros could walk me through the pros/cons, that would be great!

I've tried to search forums, but not sure where to look and there's just a bunch going right now.

Thanks for any help.

I don't want to really start a t-shirt business per se, but it seems like the on demand thing could give me some great flexibility in regards to sizes and quantities.
 

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If you are just getting started I think the plasitols would work well as you could press them as needed, as you get orders. I would not print 5 designs at 150 shirts per design without having some idea of what type of quantities you will be selling. I would also not order that many transfers to begin with. I would order a smaller amount of transfers first and test the designs and see how they sell. If you buy that much all at once and they dont sell, you are out the money :) But I do think going with plasitols is a good way to go as you do have the freedom to press them as needed and dont have a bunch of pre printed inventory.
 

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I really don't know what kind of designs you have , but plastisols are a great way to go. I think a good heat press,a alignment tool(to keep transfers aligned the same),and transfers will get you moving forward. I think with the proper tools and a little practice will allow anyone to place he transfers correctly. Good luck. .... JB
 

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Have you sold these 750 shirts?? Too many people get them selves in trouble by building an unsold stock without have a customer to sell them to. The passage build it and they will come is not something I would advise. Your best bet is to make samples of the shirts. Get plastisol transfers made for you or a local screen printer to do them for you. You can find a cheap press on ebay for the amount you quoted but I wouldn't waist my money. From your post it sounds like you have a business of some sort already. $2.00 margin?? Where did you get that? I did 750 shirt in one weekend by self. Why would I need an someone to do them for me. I think if you are going to do this then my recommendations are below.
1. Have plastisol transfers made of the designs you want to sell as samples. Then you can apply those designs to the orders (Correct color shirt and size ordered without guessing what you think you would sell) that you have. By the way what is your marketing plan? Who is you buyer?
2. The money you were going to spend on 750 shirts spend on a quality heat press. Then you are ready to do the work yourself. Why pay someone else. I can heat press 2 shirts in 1.5 minutes (have a video on youtube that shows this. www.youtube.com/badalou )
3. As bobbielee stated just get a minimum of the transfers made for you to do your sample shirts.
My observation in your business plan above so for is your heading for trouble financially right from the start. This one of my pet peeves with new people in business. They eat the dinner before setting the table. If you think your designs are sellable then get yourself some sales and let those sales pay your way slowly. I am sure you will get more advice. Read it and make notes. All of us want you to do well. Lou
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lou,
OK..Going through your questions, reading forums and processing everything and doing the numbers.

Thanks for the questions/comments. All good!

When my company launches, I'm doing a pretty intensive marketing plan that will 'hopefully' reach millions of people within a very short amount of time (mostly viral). I need to have all orders shipped within 4-6 days (really 2-3 ideally), so I need to be able to turn around orders fairly quickly.

I'm going to do platisol transfers (order enough to make it cost effective, but not go crazy)(forums to find quality/best cost option).

I'll buy a heat press (back to the forums for reviews)

I'll just print a couple of each shirt to have some on hand. I'll use the response online and have my assistant keep up with inventory and create more as the demand goes. This will save me TONS of money and I won't be stuck with 35 Large of some shirt that I 'thought' would sell.

When I originally started the t-shirt process, I was doing what most others did:Call a silk screen t-shirt printer and figure out costs on shirts. It wasn't until I started researching shirt prices and printing methods that I found this forum. That's when the idea of doing it myself came into play. AND I realized how much money I could save AND not be stuck with a lot of inventory in case a shirt totally flop-not that any of them would. :)


I really appreciate the comments and questions and I'm LOVING this site!

Thanks to all the responses. Very cool!

Jeff

PS. I have been on this site WAY TOO LONG in the last 2-3 Days!
 

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Hi Jeff, pretty much what Lou said is what I was going to say... the $60 an hour vs. $10 hour and all that *only* come into play when you are making *sales!* :)

Until then, it's all cost, cost, cost. I think you are speaking from this point of view now. You got great advice (plastisols keep your inventory flexible)

I would add two things:

1. Try to choose a wholesaler who is located close to you to save on either shipping dollars (you can do local pick up) or to save on shipping days. A local wholesaler can have an order to you the next day. That can also help you keep your inventory down, as you can call it in as you need it, but you have to have a wholesaler with reliable stock for that to work.

2. Regarding heat pressing the shirts yourself: whatever best fits into your business model is the right choice for you. When you are pressing, you are not actively marketing your shirts. If you pay someone $10/hr to press them for you, you are free to market and increase sales. Some people can do both well, sometimes that doesn't work... but that's so personal, you have to judge that, imo. Good luck to you...
 

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I think Lou and kelly have given some great advice. i will ad that by pressing the shirts yourself , you will have sole control of quality control. I have a part time worker, but I still need to be on top of things to assure my standards are being kept. I would rather hire somebody to do marketing and this would you to keep control of quality.

I use vendors close to me for fast delivery. I also choose the vendor who will give me the best price, and the one who has the best deal on shipping. I take advantage of all cost savings and this affects my profit. I want to add one thing to never lose sight of "PROFIT IS NOT A DIRTY WORD". ... JB
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Been great responses.
I've applied for my sales tax stuff and will look at the local wholesalers to check on pricing and availability.
Now if I can get case pricing on individual shirts from a local wholesaler, that would be perfect.

I'm ordering a press and the platisol transfers. I am going to do the first set myself with my assistant there and make sure BOTH of us know how to do it where everything lines up perfectly and looks pro.

Once I've got all that stuff in place (t-shirt wholesaler, platisol transfers in, and the press in) I can hand all that off to my assistant and get back to the marketing side (which is really a lot of fun right now).

Now that I've read up on all of this, I CAN NOT WAIT to get the heat press in and start making some shirts!

Thanks again for all the help. As soon as everything launches officially, I'll do an update with how the 'rookie' did saving money!

Jeff

PS Lou-Thanks for 'encouraging' me not to buy 150 of 5 shirts up front! I'll order the t-square it tool tomorrow!
 

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A couple of more points.

1. Even some of the further away wholesalers have reasonable FREE shipping deals. I take advantage of this whenever I can, I prefer FREE to low cost local shipping. I do try to stick with west coast for 2-3 day drops on items, but even using Alpha from Atlanta (I am in Washington State) I still get my inventory in 4-5 days.

2. I am on the band wagon of do it yourself. Its FREE too! Also, you need to learn the ropes, and understand exactly how to make your product in the event your assistant is not a long term employee. I admit I planned to get more help sooner than now, but somewhere along the way I have developed a slight "control" issue and I am now nervous at the thought of others making my products. Also, In my area, I would be hard pressed to get good help for $10/hour:( Even my family scoffs at my attempts to hire them for that...

A word of caution, you will have a learning curve. There are lots of little tips and tricks to experience first hand before you will feel totally comfortable with making your own apparel, but the cost savings are AMAZING when you pencil it out.
 

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I order from AlphaShirts.com and I do local pick up. I can do same day pick up if ordered early enough, and always next day.

Alpha Shirt will give me case pricing for the asking, even on a $30 order. I just have to call it in instead of completing the order online. The girl can adjust the prices manually for me if I call. Alpha did not tell me this, I learned about this here on the forum. When I asked, it was no problem. So ASK for case pricing, whereever you go, you never know!! :D

Also, to save plastisols when you are learning... cut up a plastisol into a few pieces to practice your temperture and times to find the perfect ones. Don't use whole plastisols on practice attempts.

If you need to test for a dark shirt, don't *use* a dark shirt, use a cheaper white shirt for testing. I would recommend using the same fabric content tho... if it 100% cotton, practice on a white 100 cotton.

Good luck to you. :) Don't forget to get your teflon sheets as well. ;)
 

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Kelly, I think you gave some sound advice. I never even thought about cutting transfers and garments for practice. I'm also really jealous about the local pick up. I know shipping cost really add up. I'm so so jealous. .... JB
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Seriously,
This forum rocks in a lot of ways.
The shirts, the heat press, the transfers, how to do it, cut up small pieces (WOULD NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT) and asking for case pricing.

My site launches Oct. 15th so I'm hoping to get 'good and practiced' before then.

Thanks again..
 

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I would ask different companies for sample plastisols to play with too. This way you don't have that cost. I don't know how to save you on the test garments unless you buy seconds or maybe some used shirts to practice on. ... JB
 

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To save on tshirts in tests, I've seen people post that you go to a fabric store and buy a yard or two of tshirt fabric to play on.

I think that sounds good in theory, and others do this, but I like to play on *the* kind of shirt I am looking to sell. I know the substrate (shirt) makes a huge difference in the outcome, so to me, testing on something *other* than the product just about defeats the purpose of me seeing exactly what they customer will see. JMO. (Just my opinion.:))
 

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As Kelly stated...yardage from a fabric store is a good idea BUT...remember a lot of the yardage has 'sizing' on it...(what ever that is) and it can create some issues when pressed...I know that with diuracotton testing I had some problems with size-ing' and finally figured I had to use different time/temp.. some testing would be in order
 

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First of all, who are you going to market the shirts to? #1....I do not recommend buying a $300-$400 heat press. We have tested several imports and have yet to find one that is worth the price. They just don't have it together yet in China for producing quality machines. That being said, using transfers would be an excellent way to keep your inventory of printed shirts to a minimum and it would certainly allow you to print on demand. If you could provide some dempgraphics on your potential customer base I would be pleased to offer more advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK..been nuts here to say the least. I think the site is going officially live this afternoon. 5 years in the making and I think I'm finally here.

I've been overwhelmed with the help from this site and all the users here! I've spent hours (too many) reading through tons of different options, opinions etc and it really helped me make some educated decisions.

Because of this site, I did not buy one of the cheaper heat presses.
I found a local one (from classified here) and got a great deal on a used GeoKnight. I paid more than I would have for the Chinese one, but way less than I would have if I bought it new.

It is amazing!

My target demographic..
What I think it is (but we'll know in the next couple of weeks):

High schoolers, college kids and guys who like "The Office"

I'll post pics of the shirts as soon as I get the photoshoot finished. The heat press/plastisol transfers has saved me SOOOOOOO much money upfront and there's no large inventory issues.

I've got accounts now with alpha, broder, san-mar and S&S Sales (here in Nashville).

My assistant can make the shirts at a rate that I save a significant amount of money as opposed to subbing out and we're making some shirts for others as well.

I really can't stress how helpful this site has been.

When I think back now that I was going to order 75 shirts of 5 different designs (and was thinking of ordering 150 each to get the price down) and having to decide quantities for each size...Good grief..that's crazy!

Thanks to all for over $3500 upfront costs saved and the shirts really look amazing!

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
site launched

OK..Site is officially up and I've begun the daunting task of marketing. TONS to do now.
I did buy a heat press (GeoKnight) from a local forum member. Great press and it makes such a difference.

The plastisols work great. Everyone has loved the shirts and I've ended up (of course) making shirts for others already.

If you want to check out the site, by all means.

theCRICKETtoy™

I also put up a youtube channel at YouTube - theCRICKETtoy's Channel

I'm in the process now of shopping for retailers while also selling directly off the website.

Doing the shirts in house (my assistant does most of them now) has been a huge cost savor up front and the massive amount of flexibility.

I can not believe how good the plastisols work!!! Thanks for saving me $3500 (stupid money to have spent buying shirts from someone else) and for all the help with everything else.

Jeff

(ps..some of the youtube videos are ritarded..but that's the point)
 
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