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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I am new to the tee shirt business and I have just signed up for my first fair. My question is that I don't know how many designs I should bring and how many of each design and in what sizes?
This is a 3 day event in the fall. I'm doing the show because the price is good, however, the price is good because these are the 3 slowest days of the fair.
I thought this would give me an opportunity to check out the market and how things work in this arena.
We will be there for 12 hours a day in a kiddie section (another reason why it's so cheap). My slogans are geared more toward adults, but I can't afford $2,000 to show in that area of the fair.
Thanks for you help
MJ:)
 

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As you move out into the fair world, especially if you can't find 'prime' booth space, it may behoove you to ask other vendors if they would consign your apparel, or ask if you could take up a portion of their booth and, in turn, either pay a commission on sales or flat fee. There's a few websites out there which tell you about all the fair, events, etc. going on across the US. They will also give you numbers of vendors at the events and then it's time to start cold calling.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Tom, Thanks for your input. I would have never thought of that. What a great idea! I'm still struggling with how much inventory to bring. My imprinter (I outsource) will make as many as I want but will charge me an under minimum fee. If I sell out I really cannot take orders due to the fact that I can't get one shirt made for someone.
Is there anyone out there who will silk screen one shirt? I would like to personalize shirts.
Once again, Tom, Thanks a bunch
MJ
 

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For silk screening I doubt you'd be able to find a printer who would just screen one shirt, at least that's what I have been told in the past. I use the digital media to print method and don't have to worry about that side of things. If you really get creative you should see if there is an airbrush vendor in the area and see if you can work up a deal where you provide the gear and he can customize per the customers requests. Although this will be a lot more footwork for you it could prove to be profitable.

If, on the other hand, you're just trying to gauge market demand, it might be better to just give-a-way some free swag and make sure that you a website up and running. That way if your customers like the apparel they can order from you online. Just my two-cents
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Tom,
When I read about heat transfer systems in this forum are the people talking about those vinyl letters that go on shirts. You can feel them right? Or am I off base? I don't know what the end product looks or feels like when they talk about this process.

Is silk screening the "top of the line process"? Just asking because I really do not know!
This method is the only one that I have used only because it was all I knew.

What does your method produce. Can you run your hand over the print and feel it?
How could an airbrush method help? Are you saying that this is a process whereby I can get one shirt for a customer? What is the difference in look from silk screen to airbrush? Would I just call and ask these questions?
We will not have a web site up. I know we should but we just won't. We're really scrambling to get this up and running. I'm still trying to figure out quantities and # of designs. I feel we need a catalog and none of this is done. We also need a banner. I think our up front money is going to be at least $1000.00 .

Last night I was trying to do the math. It looks like if we bring 500 shirts with us we need to sell 13 an hour! Is that unrealisitc? We are also thinking of bringing in some plushies for kids. We're being put in the kiddie ride section. UGH!

One other question: The fair is in October. Is it okay for us to show short sleeve tees? They are much cheaper than long sleeve or fleece?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks
MJ
 

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This is one of the hardest questions. I can tell you this. No matter what you bring (t shirts, sweatshirts, etc.) someone will always ask you for something you don't have. Be prepared for that. Have business cards ready to hand out and maybe offer free shipping or discounted shipping on items that they want that you don't have on hand. This makes my aunt (who comes with me to every show) insane. No matter how many different things we have, it is never the right color, design or shirt type.

Good luck!
 

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In regards to your first questions, which printing method works best? If you browse through the forum you'll find as many different answers to that same question. Basically, what it all comes down to, is the printing medium working for you, what I mean by that, does my printing type, digital transfers, DTG, screening, etc., effectively meet my needs and demands and are my customers satisfied with the finished product? Now we can go on all day about how Chromablast bests silk screening, or why DTG is better than Chromablast, or why this medium has a better 'hand' than that medium. But it really doesn't matter what I think, it matters what your customers think, remember you don't have to please me.

With that said, DTG is much like a 'high impact' airbrush. For my two cents, I believe this method will begin to revolutionize the garmet industry, perhaps not in the same way that Gutenberg revolutionized the print press, but definitely change the way the industry functions. However, with an upside there's always many downsides, which after you review this forum you'll find all the pros and cons.

Catalogs, catalogs, catalogs, everybody loves catalogs....when's the last time you ever went through a catalog of a company you never heard of, be honest. For me, unless it's online, I'm not bothering with it, but that I can be somewhat of an uber-geek at times. I prefer the line, 'We're a green company and only use online brochures.' Even if its BS, you won't have to waste a bunch of money on printing up a catalog which more often than not will get pitched in the trash anyway, unless you print up a nice catalog for people to browse through only while at the booth.

Last question, short sleeves, where are you located?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Shell,
Thanks for responding. I don't mind shipping. My problem is I am not in a position to take orders, especially for only one shirt. I'm so afraid I'm going to be stuck with inventory. I have no plans for another show. This is really a test market for me.
thanks
MJ
 

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Hi Tom,
I am located in Massachusetts. It will be cold, especially at night. I'm trying to save money of inventory and wanted to purchase some Guildan 2000 or 5000 and perhaps a long sleeve hoodie for children. There will probably only be about 10,000 people going through the fair in 3 days. I am languishing over this. Can't get anything else done. Just sitting here with my calculator trying to run the numbers.
Any help is always appreciated.
Thank you,
MJ
 
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