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Discussion Starter #1
Have a question most likely more but seem to find most of the answers on all the threads except for one, I'm doing research to start an online store selling my designs.

1) Are there sites that I can outsource the printing, production and distribution of products?

I know there are places like cafe express but it seems to me that I would basically go through there site. Is there a way for me to have my on site and allow my customers to choose the products then have the information processed by a printing company for production and distribution? Is Cafe Express the best option?

Thanks!
 

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CafePress does what you're looking for if you're looking for a "print on demand" solution.

Many people have their own separate website that "presells" the product before sending the customer to cafepress. You can even buy a script that will put all of the shopping info on your site and then the customer just goes to cafepress for the secure checkout process.

There are other companies with "print on demand" capabilities like spreadshirt, zazzle, printfection, etc.

Another alternative would be to setup the website to do all the selling and order taking, and then after the order is placed, you would purchase the product from cafepress/spreadshirt, etc and have it shipped to the customer (although the packaging materials would still be from the fulfillment company).
 

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Discussion Starter #3

What is the best quality for putting graphics on a t-shirt? How do you determine what the abercrombie's, american eagle and such clothing stores use and what type of t-shirts do they use?
 

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You can sometimes find which shirts they use by looking at the RN number in the neckline label.

This may or may not lead you to the original manufacturer. If it does, you'll need to contact the manufacturer (most likely by phone) and see if you can order similar shirts.
 

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As far as I know, there are no fulfilment services that provide the quality of screenpressed garments you'd see in AE, Amercrombie etc., as they're all DTG, flock/flex, or a heat press variant.
 

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monkeylantern said:
As far as I know, there are no fulfilment services that provide the quality of screenpressed garments you'd see in AE, Amercrombie etc., as they're all DTG, flock/flex, or a heat press variant.
yes. there are definite trade-offs (depending on your taste for printed shirts) in going with a CafePress, Spreadshirt option. Although I personally feel that DTG is an emerging technology that shoudn't be discounted, some people just don't like the idea.
 

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fcivilized said:
What is DTG?
Direct to Garment printing. Where an inkjet printer prints directly on the t-shirt instead of on paper and then transferring to a t-shirt (heat transfer) or instead of printing to a screen with ink pushed through the screen (screen printing).
 

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Fcivilized, I currently run my own website and outsource all embroidery and screen printing. I just purchased a heat press and vinyl cutter. This will help me offer another product to my customers such as small orders under 24pcs. also with transfers from companies like firstedition and many others I can offer them on my website and not print them until they are sold. I am looking to have all the new additions up late this fall.

I find that by outsourcing you SAVE a LARGE initial investment in equipment (Screen printing equip and Embroidery Equip) but you will need to find someone that is willing to work with you. By outsourcing the work I find that it gives me more time to cater to the customer and allows me to not have to be working on the machines all day, but it depends on what you like and want to do. I feel that if you have a good working relationship with the people doing your outsourcing everything works just fine. Also it does'nt hurt to have a back up to the main contractors doing your work as once in a while they may not be able to meet your deadlines. I have yet to run into that but I'm sure it will happen sooner or later.
 

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Is DTG the latest technology and the reason why it's not as popular as screen printing or is it just cost?
Yes, it is newer technology. Part of the reason why it's not as popular (yet) as screen printing is the cost, but I think the main reason is the print quality still hasn't matched the same level as screen printing. Many people feel that it will be there pretty soon though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
the print quality isn't there? Can you give a comparison? So stores like American Eagle and such use DTG but their print isn't quite as good as screen printing?
 

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the print quality isn't there? Can you give a comparison?
Your best bet would be to get a sample from the various places that do the different types of printing.

If you buy a full color printed black t-shirt from www.cafepress.com, you will see an example of one of the direct to garment printers. If you buy a t-shirt from www.threadless.com, you will see an example of a screen printed t-shirt.

So stores like American Eagle and such use DTG but their print isn't quite as good as screen printing?
Stores like American Eagle use screen printing. Most shirts you see in a retail outlet are screen printed. Some may use speciality printing like flock or crystals, but for the most part, they are screen printed t-shirts.
 

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There's a company called AET. I think it's called American Eagle Transfer. Anyways, I know that they do garment printing and sell transfers so that you can save up to buy the equipment which like cookster said can be very expensive. It's always good to start off smaller, then as you get more orders you can start buying the pricier equipment.
 
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