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I commented earlier that "I think I see what [Minusblindfold is] getting at", so I guess I might as well elucidate that.

In "creative" businesses & endeavours (and by "creative" I mean a business in which something is created, not necessarily the usual meaning, in other words "when you're making something") there are often two approaches: the practical approach, and the artistic approach (not mutually exclusive I know, but humour me a little). For example some people build a house by putting together the correct elements until they have what is considered a house. Others take their time, craft every segment to perfection, and put their heart into the building. For practical reasons the first approach may be considered better, but there are few people who wouldn't rather live in the second house if all matters were equal (which they're not).

One is a builder, the other a craftsman or an artisan. Morally speaking they're no different, and one is not better than the other, but chances are you have a little more respect for the artisan who takes their time to make things perfect.

Personally I'm a person with a romantic bent, and someone who misses artisanship in everyday life.

If an artist designs a shirt and has someone print it they may be an artist, but they're not likely to be an artisan. If they are there to supervise the printing and make all the choices - they just don't do the actual printing because they don't have that skillset - that is one thing. But by handing the order off to someone else and leaving it in their hands (i.e. here's my artwork, I'll be back to pick up the finished shirts), they lose something. It's not bad that they're doing that, it just means something is lost to the romantics who care.

I like it when, as much as possible, an item is created by one person, or failing that a tightknit team working closely together (e.g. I don't differentiate between the Coen brothers making a film, and Robert Rodriquez making a film - both are artisans, and the Coen brothers work so closely together they might as well be one person).

As an aside, I would regard someone who sewed the shirts they print on as a better artisan than the rest of us - it just almost never happens (because it's ridiculous from a practical standpoint). Granted it's a sliding scale - if someone went so far as to make their own inks from scratch I'd say they were the better craftsperson for it, but had done something so impractical I might lose some respect for them as a human being capable of rational choices. In the case of printing your own t-shirts... it's really not that impractical. If you're successful enough that it is, print your own prototypes.

(I visited a very successful local designer last month who creates printed handbags. She still has a full print setup in her officespace, and she designs and handprints all her prototypes herself - only once she's completed a design is it given to someone else to replicate [fairly normal in the fashion world I guess] - personally I really enjoyed the fact that despite running a huge business she was still involved to that degree - were I to buy one of her products I could know that she had handprinted this design [if not this particular bag] and checked it until she was happy with it - her work is better for it)

A lot of people here have commented on how much they hate big business (e.g. Walmart) and would rather deal with your local corner store - part of that is about customer service and keeping money in the community, but part of it is about retaining these small touches that are lost when business is put first and quality takes a back seat (however slight).

If you print the product yourself you have complete control, and in theory it'll be a better product for it (okay the reality is you're probably not as good a printer as your local professional printer, and since you are so close to the design you may not always be able to take a step back and make the right decisions, but in theory the artist who stays with their design from start to finish should be able to subtly craft every aspect to perfection to produce the best possible outcome - and as MinusBlindfold said sometimes there are things you can do (and easily even) that an outsourced screenprinter just won't do for you).

So here's the problem...

Do you not respect an artisan more than someone who says "good enough"? Do you not find what they're doing 'more admirable'? Personally I do. I'd rather have a ring made by a jeweller using the utmost skills of his hands than one smelted in a factory. Clearly this is subjective - you may prefer the factory finish.

Point is, to me those who follow the entire process of shirt creation are better artisans, and the better someone is at that the more I 'respect' them. That person is statistically more likely to create a product I wish to wear/endorse.

The problem is when you say "I find it more admirable" you imply that you find something else less admirable. That really isn't the case though. Those who don't print themself are just on the baseline (nothing wrong with that), whereas those who do are attempting to raise the bar. Now obviously we could get into specifics where such and such self-printer sucks and such and such outsourced printer is unusually hands-on and excellent.... but those specific exceptions don't change the generality of feeling. It's not meant to be objective.

Hard to get this across without insulting/offending anybody but hopefully you see what I'm getting at. The most important thing to remember is that I'm not saying anyone is a better artist, businessperson, or person than any other - what I'm saying is that they're a better artisan, and that I personally (as you may or may not, as is your wont) value artisanship very highly. Some people will think this is an outdated sentiment with no place in this modern world, others will agree with me.

So while I never would have chosen the words MinusBlindfold used, I agree with the gist of what I at least think he's saying.
 

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Well put...

I think the problem comes in, like you say, with the "I find it more admirable." Because it does seem to imply that the the other method is less admirable. And in the context of what the topic of the thread is and the question the OP had about starting a business, how admirable printing one's own shirts is debatable.

One could be printing their own shirts to the detriment of their business. They could be so concentrated on printing, and neglect other aspects of their business, and consequently the admiration for printing their own shirts goes down the drain, because their objective is to run a successful business.

They could be printing their own shirts, but be a very bad business person, have poor customer service, overprice their shirts, don't ship in a timely manner, etc. Then being an artisan, and printing their own shirts doesn't seem so admirable in the grand scheme of running a business.

Solmu, if the gist of what Minusblindfold what saying is how you put it, I also agree with this notion. There is something extra to be said for someone who takes the time to hone their craft and be an artisan. But like I said before, in this situation, there are just so many reasons that people can't/don't print their own shirts, I think the chosen words don't really apply, because they seem to automatically imply that if you don't print your shirts, then you have less character and your methods are less admirable.

And while this may be the case in some instances, it's hard to just apply that to all that don't print their shirts themselves.
 

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wow. i didn't think i'd read all of that, but it makes sense as far as what I was trying to say.
so if i do find one technique more admirable, what's the harm? the object of my admiration shouldn't set off such a wave of response unless someone found offense in it. otherwise it's just another opinion from another guy on the internet.
 

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No harm at all.:)

I was just trying understand why you felt that way. The way you put it seemed to say that anyone that did other than whay you felt was admirable, had less character and what they did was less admirable. That seemed like a very narrow viewpoint to take, given the different reasons why someone may not be doing what you think to be admirable.

Healthy discussion is all it is!;)
 

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i guess I'd rather come off as a narrow minded jerk than just WRONG lol. but yeah, all i meant was i lean more in favor of. Anyone in the t-shirt business is ok in my book, regardless of technique.
also, i really didnt contribute to the thread but rather just explained why i like hand screening. but yeah, for starting up, i suggest you find out what you want to do according to interest and budget. do you just want the shirts done? or do you want to learn how to do them yourself? if you're really interested in the process, i suggest investing with a starter kit, but you do have to learn all the steps and mess up a bunch before you get the hang of it. if you're really interested in just getting all your designs out there and selling them soon, it would probably be wiser to get them done for you, for fast turn around times and to test the waters to see if you're stuff will even sell.
i have a kit and it took me a while (a little over two weeks) before i printed a shirt with quality worthy of selling lol. if you get shirts made for you, you can be selling them within a week without any stress of actually making them, just find a printer with decent prices and your set. good luck!
 

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I screen print and have just recently opened my online shop. I've found though that since I don't have much business, it's not worth it for me to set up my press to print just one shirt as it's ordered. And since most of my shirts are one or two colors, I've decided to have plastisol transfers produced for me so I can press them one shirt at a time as I get orders.
 

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neato

I identify with your situation and have reached similar conclusions re the Tshirt design venture I am planning. Only worry for me is whether transfers can give quality/durability/enduring vividness and sharpness comparable to screenprinting when printing on to 100% cotton (it seems not, from the advice I have received).

Good luck.
 

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Ross,

From what I've read, that's not true at all. Plastisol transfers are supposed to be fantastic. Many even prefer them over direct screenpritning because of the soft hand they achieve.

Do you have a heat press? If so, order some samples and test them out. I think you'll be surprised. :)

Phillip
 
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