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Hi guys
I have quite a few designs made up on my computer for vinyl printed tees that I want to sell online.
Now, should I just showcase the colour designs on the website or should I actually make a 'prototype' and take a picture of it for the website?
I'm coming from the perspective that to make tshirts samples of all my designs will cost money/materials. Whereas if I just show images of the computer design that will save money.

Am I right in taking the cheaper option or is it a false economy?
 

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I say false economy. You will get views from both sides so it will still come down to you. What I say is this - just because you can do it on the computer - does not mean you can produce it for live time. I work with a lot of young designers with great ideas - most times I just shake my head. My question is how do you plan on getting this image on the shirt, How much do you plan on selling it for. There are many times when the production cost is higher than their sale price.

I am not talking simple words on shirt, I am talking intricate designs with numerous colors. My position is that I would like to know before I sell a shirt how it looks in real life before I find out after getting orders. I also get the I want to screen print a 3 color design, but I want to try one to see how it looks. So I explain to them how that is really not what they want to do. I just feel you need to do one to see if there are any production issues and that one done is my picture and if available the picture becomes someone wearing it.
 

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totally with irv on this one. even if you don't use the shirt pic for your site, be sure you can produce them at a profit, at least. personally, i like to see a model wearing it, but that's just me. others don't care. when/if i do my own brand, i'll likely have a slideshow banner thingy thing with the model actually wearing it, then a template with the image on it, or a model template. (i do have my own ideas on a model and settings, so when/if the time comes i won't stress over it. but, i do like to see it on a real person.)
 

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I say false economy. You will get views from both sides so it will still come down to you. What I say is this - just because you can do it on the computer - does not mean you can produce it for live time. I work with a lot of young designers with great ideas - most times I just shake my head. My question is how do you plan on getting this image on the shirt, How much do you plan on selling it for. There are many times when the production cost is higher than their sale price.

I am not talking simple words on shirt, I am talking intricate designs with numerous colors. My position is that I would like to know before I sell a shirt how it looks in real life before I find out after getting orders. I also get the I want to screen print a 3 color design, but I want to try one to see how it looks. So I explain to them how that is really not what they want to do. I just feel you need to do one to see if there are any production issues and that one done is my picture and if available the picture becomes someone wearing it.
I'm a young designer and I learnt the hard way, even just for simple 1 or 2 colour screens. Set up costs can really ruin low-order jobs, as you're almost adding £2-£3 per t-shirt in some cases!

Also, watch out for VAT. Most prices from printers and suppliers are Ex-VAT, so keep that in your costings before you calculate it!

Otherwise I would recommend to start with good quality mockups using Photoshop. There's a number of good templates out there, particularly from GoMedia's Arsenal pack (although these are paid), and these give a good, professional impression. When you have some orders, make sure to reserve a couple of shirts for the business, so you can plan for a photoshoot to use for product shots.

Tom
 

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Irv hit it on the head. I ordered a tee that I saw online that looked awesome and I had to have it. It was a photoshop mockup and when I got the actual tee I was very disappointed. The tee looked nothing like the shirt I saw online. Terrible print, registration was off, colors were off, and in certain areas they laid down too much ink. The ink was heavy and it felt like bricks on your chest. The person that printed this shirt had no clue on how to do the job. He was skilled as an artist, but sucked at screen printing. I had to fight with this guy for a refund and eventually got it. Everyone with a graphics program think they can make and sell t-shirts but when it comes to the actual printing they fall short. Printing a run to see if there are any production issues before selling to a customer is very good advice.
 

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So if you dont actually print the shirt and someone makes an order based on your graphic image on the computer will you order just one shirt from the printer? That will be so expensive and not worth it. I say pick a couple designs and print those maybe 50 shirts ea. Thats 100 shirts with 2 designs. Use white shirts and limit the color of the images. Just to get started and have something physical. Sell on the website and get the social networking going and setup at some local festivals or farmers market or something. (Advice i got from this website that worked for me starting out)
 

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i wouldn't actually produce 50 shirts unless i already had them sold. instead, i would probably go the plastisol transfer route and produce them as needed. that way, if i didn't sell a single one then at least i haven't ruined 50 shirts i could use for a design people *will* buy.

bear in mind that you don't even have to make the shirts, you can just sell your designs if that's what you're really into. it's not like there's any shame in not backing your designs up with a physical product. :)

coastside is right, onesy-twosy printing is probably too cost prohibitive for most people to have done for a typical shirt.

think of it this way, too: if you make a shirt, you're going to wear that shirt, and you hope someone will comment on it. or you can give it away to someone of social influence. wearing and washing it also gives you the benefit of how well it works in real life. i mean, if your own design isn't your favourite shirt to wear, it probably won't be anyone else's, either, eh? lol.
 

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Forsure there is different ways to go about it. For me i would rather take the risk with a design or 2 and hit the street and hustle it and get out there. I sell at festivals, bars and car shows. I do a lot of selling out the back of my truck, right now. Obviously thats not for everyone. I've sold 0 online but have stuff up online for branding.
I dont print myself either so when i do an order i try to make it as cost effective as i can. I made a couple shirts i dont like anymore and just have to eat the loss.
But of course if you already hype and sell 50 shirts before you make them then thats ideal.
Gotta focus on your strengths. If you can sell from home online, shirts or designs do it!
I like selling someone on a shirt and giving it right there to them and walking away with cash.
Need to have a little stockpile for that though.
What if he just put his deisgns on cafepress or zazzle or one of those sites?
 

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I often do those shirts that start out on those shirt service sites. Or redo the ones that were done there and when they were received - surprise! - trying changing somthing or getting another 1. You can go that route or retain some control. I never thought of wearing a photoshoped LCD on my chest - must try that sometime or at hope when I need one, it can be done.
 

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hey, joe:

How many colors can you imprint? ...These are considered specialty prints so the cost involved is higher the the ordinary.... ~ from the FAQ. check out the two 'the's. just a typo i happened to catch.

i think there are a couple things to bear in mind here. one, joe's site has tons of pics because he offers a service, so to have real models for that many images would be silly. two, if you plan on doing on-site event sales, sure, print them ahead of time; otherwise, i think it's generally assumed that most of the advice given in this context is centred around online sales, eh?
 

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did we? :) we probably did. the last conversation i remember having with anyone was earlier today at my day job. i was telling the guy i work next to how things forged in the bowels of hell are probably pretty good quality. granted, they may be cursed, but they're built to last.
 
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