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Help - I'm conflicted!

1100 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  frankiko
Alright, so here's the deal. As I develop my t-shirt brand, my thought process is constantly evolving and changing over short periods of time (hours or even minutes)... I probably think about this way to much, but what can I say...

My latest conflict is this: At first I thought that I'd want to have all of my t-shirts printed with water-based inks on generic soft-hand fitted tees (no special vintage/stressed/acid dye) because I wanted to keep everything simple.. But the more I think about it, the more I want to try out other styles. Along with my diverse designs, I think it would help set my brand apart in the long-run. I'm not talking about taking any old design and throwing it on a distressed tee just because it's trendy - I really think my designs would work better and make more sense with these kinds of tees (distressed/dirty/dyed/etc).

I want to try all sorts of things, like water-based printing, discharge printing, bleach printing, bleach/ink splatters, vintage destroying, garment/acid dying, and this seems to me like it is way too much to ask of a printer. As for the shirts themselves - these styles are very expensive to buy from wholesalers (like Alternative Apparel and Bare Apparel), and I like the idea of every shirt being unique, so I wouldn't mind doing it myself to find out what works best.

I'm interested in experimenting with all of these things and having some fun, hopefully to find out what works best, but I've never done screen-printing or garment-dying of any kind (although I have researched quite extensively), and I'm sure it will be a huge jump to get into all of this at once.

I have no idea what I should do - stick with my original plan and slowly progress into other styles, or jump right in and build my brand the way I want it to be from the very beginning (which will be much more difficult and expensive).

I'm sure most of you will say that it is ultimately up to me, but it's 5:30 in the morning, and I've stayed up all night thinking about this. I just can't think anymore right now.. My mind is shutting down.
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Just a thought here, but if you are wanting to build a brand, and you are just starting out and have never done any kind of printing yourself, I would think that finding a contract printer would be your best option. As for distressing and doing the finishes yourself, how time consuming will that be? Will you save enough money on the quantities you will be needing to make up for the time you will spend on learning how to do it and then implementing it on a large scale? These shirts you want, they are probably made somewhere you can get them from cheaper than the sources you listed. They get them from somewhere. China? You might research that.

good luck
Just take a deep breath and calm down! You'll be ok. When starting a new venture it's never a good idea to diversify right away. You'll spread yourself so thin that you'll either have supply chain issues or drive yourself crazy trying to keep up both financially and physically. As you make more money you can buy the right equipment to help boost production enabling you to keep up pace while holding cost down.
Rule no. 1, don't sweat the big stuff that you can't afford when you are starting up. You can get into that stuff once you have the capital.
I suggest that you map out your plan to explore the various types of shirts before you even build your brand up. If funds allow you could purchase some samples, or you might already have samples in hand and you are itching to create them yourself, and if so that is your next step. Whether you contract or make the product yourself you need to have the products in hand and explore them first. I also think if you plan to make them yourself, you should decide if you are an "artist" making one item at a time and each is unique, or if you will have a production of a type of T-shirt, where all are alike. Those two marketing models are very different in my mind. I am a hybrid. I have designs made up, I can embellish them any number of ways and I stock certain blank garments. I have some pre-made items to choose from, but I prefer that people order something exactly how they want it. I enjoy making what people want rather than pre-making garments so I work my business model toward that end. You have a huge number of choices to make as you build your brand, enjoy the process, it is very fun!
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Don't be afraid to change. On the other hand you want to build a cohesive line.
I really enjoy this forum. I belong to another forum from another industry that I won't name. That forum turns nasty all the time because competing interests are always battling it out online. I love that the spirit of helping each other is what you experience here. Much can be said on behalf of the moderators for keeping it that way, and of the contributors here too. I always enjoy hearing about others' success. Keep plugging away and you'll get there. Rome wasn't built in a day ...... or a year, for that matter! :)
focus and finish your first goal/plan.
then think, go back and improve.
then focus again and finish your improved goal/plan.
...you prol'y know what comes next...
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