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questions, and feedback on "us blanks" shirts

1990 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  chewingcow
questions, and feedback request on "us blanks" shirts

hi all. first time poster, been lurking/studying for a few months.

if you're impatient :p , here are my questions: (i figure i'd include a little background to make it easier for the experts to answer/give their opinions. it's all below right after my questions.)

so - i like us blanks, from what i have learned on their website, and speaking to one of their vp of sales. made in usa, and since i'm in socal, definitely local to both me, and my printer. (a word about my volume. i'm starting out perhaps 1 or 2 dozen at a time.)

1. how is their quality? (since they're not exactly hanes cheap, but priced very much like american apparel on the wholesale side.)

2. i would love to hear not just what you, as the seller think, but also what your buyers have said. understandably, they bought your shirt for the design, but if it was subpar in quality that would not be great either.

3. aside from an acceptable price, the make-it-or-break-it criterion would be 100% made in usa. it would not bug me if the raw material came from somewhere else, although one of the companies mentioned how in all 'probability' the cotton used for made in usa shirts would come from the usa since it is the largest producer of cotton. where the raw materials come from is not a deal breaker, but usa cotton would be a great bonus. reason i bring this up is that while american apparel claims 100% made in usa, it seems there is some 'talk' that even that statement is not true. so just checking with all of you more seasoned veterans who know whether or not us blanks' 'made in usa' claim is indeed true.

4. absent #3, i'm going with hanes. unless:

5. are there any other reliable 'made in usa' suppliers here in southern calif. that you guys/gals have used.

6. if any of you have used us blanks before and decided to take your business somewhere else, love to hear the facts, most especially.


if you want more info/background, read on.

i was going to go with american apparel. for what i am setting out to do, the 'made in usa' was/is a very big must-have for me. spent the last few days reading up about them. charney's actions are certainly mind-blowing. i also saw the mess the company financials are in. individually, it bothered me. but those 2 together, on top of everything else, is simply not worth it to me, and not an issue i want to have to defend ad infinitum.

on the one hand, if i wanted recognizable and relatively cheap and decent, hanes would be it, as one of my clients in a former business does a lot and has given me some very hard to beat numbers. and to top it all we have a 20 year relationship and he's 5 minutes away. (wholesaler and silkscreener.)

i made about 10 inquiries today, most of them catching someone on the phone for a good 15-20 minutes. in my simplistic way of ranking/categorizing the emphasis of each shirt mfr/maker, i came up with the following:

1. decent quality for the least price
2. eco-green
3. fair trade
4. made in usa

it's difficult to have it all, as the price would be prohibitive. it's amazing how quickly a newbie like me would be able to fish out what a company stands for, because when i press some lower level sales person or employee, if they can't even spit out the 'party line' so to speak, then i know they (and effectively, most of upper mgmt) don't even believe what they're supposed to be standing for!

(for an amusing example, one company, after admitting they were not fair trade certified, quickly and enthusiastically offered that all of their suppliers/vendors were wrap-certified, or in the process of being certified. so being the inquisitive novice, i asked what it meant. she says - 'workers' rights....' and goes silent. she does not know. she puts me on hold, and finally comes back with 'worldwide responsible accredited production.' if your company makes a big to-do about social responsibility all over the website, and your sales people who are tasked with selling that product with that image have a less-than elementary grasp of one of the main points, we got a problem! and don't get me started on how some of them reacted when i asked how they knew their vendors were fair-trade or the like!)

i'm still really torn with going with an out-of-state company - would really rather just not have to. case in point, i called royal apparel - really nice talk with them. (of course, i find it interesting when 'some' lines are made in usa, and 'some' are imports. that sort of introduces situations that could cloud the issue, basically forcing me to just K.I.S.S. and go the hanes route.)

so there.

and THANK YOU for taking your time to hear me out.

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wow. 50+ views and no reactions. if that is indicative, esp considering the demographics of the people on this forum who are at least interested enough in the shirt business, that's NOT good. it tells me:

1. even if most of you were indifferent, it's not you, but the fact that few have actually dealt with them.
2. nothing compellingly positive/negative.

i will say this: sent an email over the weekend, and have not 'heard' a squeak. (granted there were some specific requests. at the very least, i expect an acknowledgement, like a 'got it, working on it.' that's not too much to ask for in this day and age, is it?)

left a message yesterday, and have not heard a squeak. (1 return call, that's all. he has my email, and my phone. i'm not unreasonable.)

this is exactly what my printer was talking about, and something i certainly don't want to deal with. there are enough moving parts to make this all work, and i'm beginning to appreciate why customer service will weigh more than ideal quality. my printer explained how he gets the american apparel, and even hanes and gildan shirts. fast, convenient and cost-efficient for him, which is good for me also.

too bad. i had high hopes for us blanks.

thanks for everyone's 'help.' your non-responses spoke volumes about them. i need a shirt supplier that is a bit more proactive. i think i am a good test case, to see how the very little guy gets treated. not encouraging. so i'm moving on...
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My suggestion to someone who is starting a line, and clearly quality is an issue, is order samples from a few different companies you would like to deal with. This is for 2 big reasons

1) You can see, feel, try on the shirts and really decide which you like best. It is impossible to tell from the pictures.

2) You'll get hooked up with a sales rep, and see how the company handles payment processes, what their customer service is like etc.

Never decide on a t-shirt you want to be your band t-shirt until you see it and feel it. Its such a part of your brand identity. It may cost $10.00 for a sample, but you won't end up with 24 t-shirts that you're not happy with!
thanks, femma. i hear you. but if can't even get them to respond for me to do what you are suggesting (which of course i will do, and have been doing) what's the point? :)
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