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Looking to cut our the middle man...laser vs inkjet

1388 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  stevegamble
Hey Everyone,

Pretty much a newbie here. I currently use a fulfillment service for our website which launched fairly recently. The more I continue to research and the more problems and limitations I run into with the service, the more I examine cutting out the middle man.

Our shirts currently sell for around $17 each, but in order to truly penetrate the market, I'd like to be able to sell for around $10 - $12. Something I can not currently do with a middle man involved.

Realizing at that price a customer will probably less picky about the quality of the shirt (that's not to say they won't care--just that they won't necessarily have a gripe with a heat transfer shirt versus DTG or screenprinted), we would like to start pressing shirts ourselves.

Ebay and other places have pretty good deals on presses (for around $200 or less if used)...and we'd like to investigate this as an option. Any advice on the following would be extremely helpful to us:

In general:

1. Between inkjets and laser transfers, which yields the overall best quality?

2. I know it's not possible to print white without opague paper using both of these methods, and frankly I don't feel like cutting each design out if I did. That being said, in theory couldn't we just make anything white print in "off white" by adding 5-10% of C, Y or M into the mix? Yes, it wouldn't be pure white, but alas at $10/shirt retail, I don't think it would be detrimental.

3. In your opinion, what are some of the best online wholesalers of blank T-Shirts with respect to pricing and service?

In regards to inkjets:

1. If we choose the inkjet transfer route, what is an inexpensive printer that you could recommend to achieve decent quality prints?

2. What in your opinion is the absolute-without-argument-best transfer paper on the market in regards to durability, feel and overall quality? My biggest nightmare is having a print come out looking like consumer iron-on products, or being able to see residue around the edges, etc.

In regards to laser transfer:

1. If we go the laser route but don't want the investment in a printer, is it perfectly fine to use a local print shop's color copier or laser printer? I would rather let them deal with supplies and pass the cost on to me on a per sheet basis.

2. Best paper to use?

I know this is a lot, so I'll be patient I promise. Thank you all in advance very much for taking time to give me your thoughts. It's greatly appreciated!
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Please provide your website address so we can see what type of designs you are offering. This would help offer some recommendations.
Sorry but...I'd rather not post the site address on here. To give you an idea, the designs are not usually more than 4-6 colors, and usually smaller than 10x10. We try to avoid using white in our designs (we're used to having them printed via DTG), but some of them do have white and we use an underbase.

Not sure what other information you might need, but let me know! If you'd like, I can PM you the web address, but don't want to publicly post it.
Yes please PM it to me. I will not provide it to others.
I am in a similar Boat..
I do dye sublimation on poly, and chromoblast on cotton.. In both cases I can do only white shirts.
I do have a Graphtech cutter, and a GEO Knight 16x20 press.
I get more orders for Blue, maroon, etc.. and need to print light colour Sport logo's on dark shirts.
In quantities of a dozen or so at a time..
Can't just yet justify a DTG printer, or a versaCamm cut print.
Inkjet or Laser,?? for quality prints on dark shirts. Prefer a all in one, Printer for $300- $600. Range.
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