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Discussion Starter #1
I spent all afternoon/evening at the shop yesterday cutting my teeth on the screen press and printed out 90 shirts. (not very efficient yet... ;) ) I have three different one color designs on the fronts that I'll be offering and my brand logo on the back of the left shirt tail of every shirt and am happy with the way they turned out for the most part.

I've worked out an arrangement with a local screen printer so I'm using his equipment and its pretty nice (4x4 with micro adjustments). The platens I'm working with have grids put on them which is cool... but they're not exactly identical and I'm not sure that they're all straight. Personally, I've always had problems drawing straight and level lines so I was having a hard time getting the hang of it. ;)

So after all this, there were obviously shirts that were clearly off center/not straight... (about 10%) and some that were marginal/questionable. My question is that if a mistake is not glaringly obvious, but because I'm critical of my work I see it, should I sell the shirt? The guy I'm working with has been doing it for almost two years and said that I was stressing out too much but I don't really want to ship out bunk shirts that get sent back to me, know what I mean? On the other hand, if I go by my seemingly extraordinary standards, then I won't have too many shirts to sell...

Any recommendations?
 

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I think it partly comes down to personal standards. I'm extremely picky, so I probably wouldn't sell them either. The chances of you getting returns are pretty slim - if the shirt is way off, sure, but if it's a little off... even if they notice it I don't think most people will return it (even I didn't bother returning the couple of crooked shirts I've bought - it just isn't worth the effort... particularly because come to think of it both the shirts came from sellers who were also shady for other reasons).

Mistakes don't create a good impression. Shirts with major imperfections I'd use as test prints, etc. (or overprint them so they look chaotic and "funky" and the mistake is no longer noticeable). Shirts with minor imperfections I'd either sell as a discount (depending on the error of course), give to friends (not as a birthday present or anything... just "hey, want a free misprint? it's FREE!"), or if it's really subtle just cross my fingers and hope for the best (i.e. sell it as per normal).

If you sell something you know is a bit dodgy and get someone asking for a refund, at least you can refund them without resentment (you know it's your fault, not them being picky), but I'd be more concerned about the people who notice/care and don't come back (and mention the problem to all their friends...)

On the other hand... not every shirt will be 100% perfectly lined up (and nor do they need to be - the body they're on won't be), and if your 'mentor' thinks they're okay... he's the one with the experience who has seen them.

A guy who says you're "stressing out too much" could be giving you good advice because it's hard to have objective distance on your own work... or he could be a bit too laid back when it comes to quality control.

To a large extent you just have to decide what your own standards are for quality control - but it would certainly be worth getting a range of shirts (from perfect, to a little off, to way off) and showing them to friends and family and seeing what they have to say.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hey thanks Lewis, I really needed to hear/read that. :)

As a side note, I took out some of my T-shirts that I have purchased over the years and was surprised to find out that, as a customer, I had accepted plenty of shirts with the same type of minor imperfections that I was stressing out about on the shirts I printed. Most of them were slightly off center/not exactly perfect and I hadn't ever noticed it because I never actually held them up and stared at them long enough to see it. (I'm guessing that was because as a customer, if it was close enough it was good enough)

So that made me feel better...

Your advice on showing ranges of quality to family is a great one, though. The wife has a critical eye, so I can enlist her talents in my quality control department. :)

Thanks again.
 

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RAHchills said:
Thanks again.
No worries.

I definitely agree that there are imperfections we just don't notice as customers, that we do notice as sellers. There is such a thing as "good enough", but it is sometimes hard to pin down that fine line between good enough and not good enough.

Re-examining your old shirts is definitely a good idea - I should probably take another look at all of mine actually :D

The other positive to remember is that as you learn you'll make less mistakes, so this will be less and less relevant.
 
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