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i want to start my own t-shirt business then branch out to other clothing pieces..when screen printing on to the shirt should i do it myself or pay someone to do it?
 

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I think you could do it either way. We have members here that are doing it themselves (screen printing their own line of t-shirts), and we have members that just send their design to a professional screen printer and have them do the printing.

It can work either way. I guess it depends on how much you actually want to do (and how much you can do based on your time/budget/physical space constraints).

:welcome:
 

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fresh said:
what would be cheaper
If you are just starting out, it would be less expensive to get a few t-shirts printed up by a professional printer than to purchase screen printing equipment. The learning curve (time expense) would be less as well if you outsourced the printing.
 

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Personally I'm inclined to the view that anyone who needs to ask whether or not to outsource printing, needs to outsource. You'd know if you could do it yourself.

Longterm you may want to learn to do it yourself (for satisfaction or maximising profit), but short-term there's no need (and longterm if you're successful you wouldn't be printing them yourself anyway).
 

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I'm in the same position as fresh. I've got some good designs (I think...but I suppose everyone thinks this) developed in Photoshop, but don't really know where to go from here. I'd rather have someone else do the printing, and it's heartening to hear that this is a valid commercial option.

Another query: do Tshirt designers generally get their designs screenprinted, or is heat transfer a real option? I get the impression that quality and heat transfer do not generally go hand in hand. Interested in the views of experienced designers...

Cheers
 

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Ross B said:
Another query: do Tshirt designers generally get their designs screenprinted, or is heat transfer a real option? I get the impression that quality and heat transfer do not generally go hand in hand. Interested in the views of experienced designers...
People have been successful selling t-shirts printed with heat transfers and t-shirts printed with screen printing. There are some challenges and benefits with each printing method; either way, you have to make sure that you get quality printing on quality garments.
 

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Thanks Rodney.

But assuming you do get quality printing on quality Tshirts, aren't heat transfers liable to fade and lose their sharp, vivid quality far faster than screen? That's what I've heard. Any definitive opinions on that, based on experience rather than folklore (which is how I'd classify my information on the subject)??
 

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Ross B said:
But assuming you do get quality printing on quality Tshirts, aren't heat transfers liable to fade and lose their sharp, vivid quality far faster than screen?
I think heat pressed plastisol transfers can have similar durability to a screen printed t-shirt.

I'm a bit biased because I really prefer screen printed t-shirts. In my opinion, they are currently the standard for quality and is what you normally see in retail stores.

That being said, I think that heat press done right can sometimes be hard to tell from a screen print.

Each has it's benefits (lots of specialty inks and techniques can be done with screen printing...if that's your thing - heat press can be done "on demand" without much setup cost) and drawbacks.
 

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I love the hands on feel of doing it myself, and long before i got a press kit I knew I could do it. I kind of don't like the idea of someone coming up with something, and sending it off elsewhere to get done. I think the DIY type approach is more admirable, and shows more character and more interest in screen printing and shirt design in general.

Since I have my own press, I could change up my logo at any given time, put my logo on any area of the t-shirt i see fit, make little sleeve designs, press labeless tags on the inside, and just goof around with designs without being charged more, without consulting anyone, or getting turned down because the people im paying to that think it's dumb and don't want to do it.

Before I got my press, I tried to get a few shirts done by a pro, but I had to have a minimum quantity which sucked, i wanted a logo on the sleeve and front and back, which came out expensive, and they kept telling me what shirts i should get them printed on (gildan 100%) and that fruit of the loom 50.50 would be too thin to print on, so I just thought that was absurd and never dealt with anyone else since.
Also the setup fee's for color's were pricey, and they wanted to tweak my art too, wh ich was also unacceptable.

as for doing it myself, there is alot of frustrations and trial and error, but it feels so awesome when you get the hang of it and do things right, it seems worth it. also, ive been making some $ by also doing custom jobs for freinds and one of a kind shirts, which is also something you can't do if you outsource.
 

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MinusBlindfold said:
I love the hands on feel of doing it myself, and long before i got a press kit I knew I could do it. I kind of don't like the idea of someone coming up with something, and sending it off elsewhere to get done. I think the DIY type approach is more admirable, and shows more character and more interest in screen printing and shirt design in general.
I personally don't see how this shows more character, and how it's relevant to running a successful business.

If someone wants to contract out any part of their business, especially if the end product will be better because of it, I think it's smart and shows just as much character.

Just listing some of the things required to run an online t-shirt business (in no particular order):

1.Website design/creation
2.Create designs for t-shirts
3.Having shirts printed
4.Shipping shirts to customers
5.Overseeing the running of the business

These are just some of the things involved, and each of these things present various challenges themselves and require lots of time and energy.

I don't see how someone contracting out 1 or more of these things (having the shirts printed in particular) shows less character, or is less admirable than if someone chose to do most or all of these things themselves.

Are people that print their shirts themselves but have someone create their website showing more character than someone that does most of these things, but sends their shirts to someone else to get printed? I certainly don't see how that could be. I also don't see how that's more admirable.

Different people have different skills and different skill levels.

Some people can create websites, others can't. Some can print their own shirts.

I think there is something to be said for someone that can oversee the whole operation and make it successful. Whether they print themselves, create their own website, ship their own products, or have someone else do some or all of those things.

I would also like to point out that there are some people that are too busy running their successful business in order to print their own shirts. And that's mostly because they are busy creating designs, updating their site, shipping their products, and marketing their business.:);)
 

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Well, I'm a newbie so am not speaking from a position of experience, but I think Comin'OutSwingin makes a lot of sense. It seems to me curiously judgemental, self-congratulatory and ego-orientated to take the sort of purist stance MinusBlindfold has taken.

As far as I'm concerned, the most exciting aspect of Tshirt printing is the design itself (and let's face it: if the design stinks, it doesn't matter how accomplished you are at doing the rest of the job of having the Tshirt printed and marketed, whether by yourself or someone else - it ain't gonna work!). What's less admirable about focusing on the thing that excites you most, if that happens to be design, and contracting others to do the parts of the job they specialise in? As far as I'm concerned, the only issue here is whether it is economically feasible. It seems it is, going by most responses - to the posters concerned, thanks for the benefit of your experience.
 

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MinusBlindfold, while I also disagree about the admirable/character comments (although I think I see what you're getting at), I am right there with you on the thrill (and benefit in flexibility) of doing it yourself.

The feeling you get from designing the shirt and the thrill you get from printing it yourself and seeing it followed through to the finishing point really aren't the same.

This is one of those don't-know-what-you're-missing until you try it situations.
 

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ok, you guys read into that wrong. I wasn't taking a purist stance and being ego-oriented or whatever, It's just my opinion.
Since I don't have dollar signs in my eyes everytime I print a shirt, I guess I disagree with contracting different people for jobs I could do.
Also, I work a part time job and go to school and print shirts, so I guess printing isn't my full time job, therefore when I get a chance to do it, I don't treat it like a job, but rather something fun and something I take enjoyment in. From desiging, printing, shipping, what not, I like it.
I don't have a store, a website, or sell a high volume of shirts per month. But some people come up to me, through word of mouth and are like "you do those shirts, huh? got any on you?" and I sell them a shirt.
so i guess Im not at the level of shirt selling you guys are at, and I think our priorities, and opinions, are different.
and my last post, was just that: opinion.
 

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Your opinion was that printing your own shirts is more admirable and shows more character than people that contract their printing out. I don't think I read into it wrong, but I also stated an opinion.

I simply disagree and said why.

There are many reasons why someone doesn't print their own shirts, and having dollar signs in their eyes isn't necessarily the reason they contract it out.

Speaking for myself: I am married, have two children (boys ages 8 and 5), work full-time in the medical insurance industry, go to school part-time, and am trying to run a small business.

With the learning curve it takes to learn to screen print quality shirts, I just simply don't have the time.

I'm sure there are other constraints such as expenses and just the inability to learn to do it that would also hinder people from being able to print their own shirts.

I would love to learn to be able to do it someday. I am sure there is a great degree of accomplishment that comes with printing your own shirts.

But, to make a blanket statement of printing is more admirable and shows more character than outsourcing, I think is quite short sited, especially given the many different reasons people can't/don't print themselves.

My opinion.
 

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Again, have to agree with Comin'Out Swingin.

Re your comment: "ok, you guys read into that wrong" - how so? You stated, and this is a direct quote "I think the DIY type approach is more admirable, and shows more character and more interest in screen printing and shirt design in general."

That is obviously your opinion, and like Comin'Out Swingin, I stated my opinion in response: that is, that I think your comment is judgemental and self-congratulatory. I can't see how or why you claim we "read into it wrong (sic)". Your words are your words, and they say what they say. The fact that others challenge or don't share your view does not mean that they interpreted you incorrectly. More ego operating there, in my OPINION.

Take your point, Solmu. I imagine it is very satisfying to see the process through from design to final product. I suspect this is what MinusBlindfold meant to say, minus the judgemental stuff.
 

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I wasn't being judgmental either. Both styles are admirable, I just said DIY is more admirable in my opinion, but it also doesn't take anything away from people that outsource.
the way you guys read into that was probably thinking I dont think people who outsource deserve as much credit as people who don't. all i meant was i like DIY approach better. Obviously, from your responses, I didn't choose the best words to convey that.
anyways,
Sorry if enjoying my hobby and effort I put into my shirts makes me seem self-congratulatory.
I like t-shirt making. for a while I was going to outsource, but had a bad experience. since I do it myself though, i tend to lean in favor of that technique. sorry if that chaps anyone's hyde.
honestly I could care less how many people vouch for coming out swingin. if someone said DIY was a big waste of time and wasn't as admirable as sourcing, i wouldn't jump down their throat and call them out on thier words and label them self righteous or whatever.
If you like what you do and are confident in it, it should take a lot more than some random internet dude not favoring your technique to get under your skin
 

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My partner and I bit the bullet and bought all of our equipment. It cost us around $5k to get everything we needed except blank shirts.

We did a first run of about 12 of our designs to pass out to friends from a local screen printer I sometimes to artwork for.

I think if you do it yourself it will cost more in the beginning but will save you much more in the long run if you are successful. If you only have a few designs or color options it may be good to contact a local printer to print them up as you need them.

Our problem was we have so many designs, plus each design usually is offered with at least 2 shirt color options. So I figured it would be easier to do it ourselves, plus you don't have to fit in to the printer's schedule. If we want a shirt now we can go out and print it.
 

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Minusblindfold, if what you meant was that you like the do it yourself approach better and that's all you meant, then that's what you should have said. You didn't leave it at that.

I don't know what you were thinking when you talked about printing yourself being more admirable, but it does seem self congratulatory to say: "This is the way I do it and it's MORE and admirable and shows MORE character." Especially without saying why you believe that.

I don't think anybody was jumping down your throat. I certainly wasn't. You made a comment, I responded to why I believe you are wrong. I hope you don't see someone that simply disagrees with your opinion, as jumping down your throat.

As for the topic of the post, deciding whether to print yourself or pay someone involves lots of factors.

1. Can you afford quality equipment?
2. Do you have room for it?
3. Do you have the time to invest in learning how to make quality prints?

As identityburn stated, printing yourself will probably cost you more in the beginning, but you could probably have a higher profit margin in the long run. But, then you could become so successful that you don't have time to print thousands of shirts!

There are pro's and con's to printing and outsourcing. You need to weigh them, and see what's best for you.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
Minusblindfold, if what you meant was that you like the do it yourself approach better and that's all you meant, then that's what you should have said. You didn't leave it at that.
well what I said is what I said, in the way i saw fit. i do not regret my words, i just didn't mean them to sound as harsh or to take anything away from one technique over another. I don't need anyone telling me what I should have said either.
Comin'OutSwingin said:
I don't know what you were thinking when you talked about printing yourself being more admirable, but it does seem self congratulatory to say: "This is the way I do it and it's MORE and admirable and shows MORE character." Especially without saying why you believe that.
I actually had that opinion BEFORE I started printing my own, which is why I picked it up in the first place. I wanted to screen my own shirts, thought I couldn't, was going to get them outsourced, decided not to, and then I really got into printing myself. so regardless if I would be printing my self, I still think it's admirable, more so than sourcing. a lot of people source out there work, no matter what field they're in. bike mfg, shirt printing, metal working, whatever, but I'm always going to show more interest in the people and business that do it themselves. that's all there is to it.
and i do beleive I explained why i thought so, look over my very first post to see why i favor DIY.
Comin'OutSwingin said:
I don't think anybody was jumping down your throat. I certainly wasn't. You made a comment, I responded to why I believe you are wrong. I hope you don't see someone that simply disagrees with your opinion, as jumping down your throat.
---I never made a comment that was supposed to reveal any fact, I simply stated my opinion which made you "respond to why I believe you are wrong." I hope you don't see someone having a different opinion than you as wrong.
 
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