i started with 3 different designs and actually printed on t-shirt (1 funky, 1 religious type, 1 kid oriented....targeted for these 3 markets)....and
20 different designs just printed on a bond paper binded on a folder just for visual aid of what i can print.
people normally asks "can i see the quality of the prints?" then you can show the printed t-shirt......"do you have other designs?".. then you can show the ones you printed on bond paper.....and hoping the next question will be "How much?"
That's the way to go, since you are going to be customizing Tees you can only have a few of your samples ready to be shown and possible examples on paper, that's is creating a Portfolio. Keep in mind as you do business with different customers you need to save some of those tees for future reference.
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