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ive just started selling tshirts online, and ive already made a few mistakes. ill try to keep this thread updated with mistakes and wins as i make 'em. cause you know they are gonna happen! :)

please share yours! so i wont have to make the same mistakes.

1. didnt purchase packaging/mailers in bulk. ive been only getting a order here and there, so i was buying them piecemail/5 packs.
solution: i just went ahead and bought bulk poly bag mailers.

$3.99 for 5 pieces of mailers = $0.80 per piece
$30 for 100 pieces of mailers = $0.30 per piece
ill probably buy in bigger amounts later on. 50 cents savings per mailer is money in the pocket. every penny counts.

2. Alaska/Hawaii - i didnt even think about the higher shipping. i got burned on one order, but i consider the money i lost stupid/learning tax.
solution: still working it out. currently only shipping to 48 states.

3. 6 oz. heavyweight tees. (OPINION) they are stiff like cardboard.
solution: im jumpin on the American Apparel bandwagon, and going for 5.4 ounce tees also.

4. ordering too many different color combinations with ink and tee color. customers were starting to ask if i had this color, that color, can i print with this or that... and when you tell a customer no... they arent as excited to buy your tee.
solution: im just ordering one or two combinations, and thats it.

** I AM considering (since its limited runs) of giving the option of custom ink colors for an additional fee. people like to customize right?

5. too many colors in tee. makes em expensive. i see why threadless keeps the colors down to 1-4. less # of inks = less cost = higher profit
solution: im doing one color designs, which actually helps me as an artist to become better at line art! woot!

There are many things Im going to be exploring.

Myspace - add XX friends a day that would be interested in tees for future 'spam'
Door knob hanger ads\Car window flyers - relatively cheap advertising. Probably at colleges/near college apartments.
Ebay
Etsy
Do more non T-shirt art to post on art websites to continue promoting work - I can easily get several thousand views by posting my artwork on different sites so... I get an inquiry once in a while from them.
Expand business to include art services.
 

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jimiyo said:
3 . 6 oz. heavyweight tees. (OPINION) they are stiff like cardboard.
solution: im jumpin on the American Apparel bandwagon, and going for 5.4 ounce tees also.

4. ordering too many different color combinations with ink and tee color. customers were starting to ask if i had this color, that color, can i print with this or that... and when you tell a customer no... they arent as excited to buy your tee.
solution: im just ordering one or two combinations, and thats it.
Good post, thanks.

# 3 - well im an "aa" fan.
# 4 - usually those people will not buy anyway, they are just browsers.
 

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Alaska/Hawaii - i didnt even think about the higher shipping. i got burned on one order, but i consider the money i lost stupid/learning tax.
solution: still working it out. currently only shipping to 48 states
Using USPS Priority mail will give you the same pricing to whichever state you select. I think First class is the same way as well?

Great post!

:welcome:
 

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Buying a used heat press. A blessing and a curse both. I managed to find a used press locally much, much cheaper than I coulod have gotten a comprable new one, and this let us start off without much capital. However, now this press is sort of flaking out and not pressing very evenly, so we'll need to get a new one (or fix this one, if we can figure out how) sometime soon. I'll consider this a "win" overall though; we got it cheap enough that I can't really complain, and it did give us a nice kickstart.

Mistake: Not deciding and fully settling on some things. For example, bulk pricing - if someone asked what we'd charge to do a bulk order, it was a different answer (or stalled answer, which looks unprofessional) to each person. Fixed that now though =)

Mistake: Expecting simply having a website up to generate lots of sales relatively quickly. It takes a long time to build up a business and start getting a lot of sales, especially when you can't work on it full time. Now we're gradually growing, and having a bit more of a realistic expectations ;)

I'm sure there's many others, but those are what come to mind offhand.
 

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Good call Hammered.

I actually built a brand new PC (custom of course) with this in mind. Well, that and giving me even more of an edge sniping in Day of Defeat.

Backup external drives are wonderful devices for just this purpose!
 

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What I've learned from past mistakes...

1: ALWAYS do a test print before printing the first shirt.
2: Invest in a spot cleaning gun. It will prevent much angst and pay for itself in the first month.
3: Buy a laser thermometer and monitor the temp of your dryer often.
4: Don't drop the squeegies into the ink.
5: Look at your hands before you grab a shirt.
5: Learn something new every day.
6: HAVE FUN!!!
 

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just wondering.. this question is open to all, however, I see his designs are much like how one of my friend draws... does anyone have someone draw up a drawing and then get someone to do the vectors and such?? just a thought that came to mind. cause I dont think my friend has any computer sense ;) .. but he's an amazing drawer, any help on this? o_O?

thanks
wiLL
 

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IKyoungBumI said:
does anyone have someone draw up a drawing and then get someone to do the vectors and such?? just a thought that came to mind. cause I dont think my friend has any computer sense ;) .. but he's an amazing artist
It's relatively easy to scan a drawn image in at 300dpi and clean it up a little bit to be useable as a good raster image. Depending on the design, it might be a lot harder to turn it into vector.

I've done both, and also designed some shirts purely digitally as well. To make a vector image out of something you scanned in, you will probably want a program to convert it for you, and then adjust any errors in the auto-conversion manually. Newer versions of Illustrator have something like this built in, otherwise there are some stand-alone programs that do this as well.
 

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Twinge said:
Buying a used heat press. A blessing and a curse both. I managed to find a used press locally much, much cheaper than I coulod have gotten a comprable new one, and this let us start off without much capital. However, now this press is sort of flaking out and not pressing very evenly, so we'll need to get a new one (or fix this one, if we can figure out how) sometime soon. I'll consider this a "win" overall though; we got it cheap enough that I can't really complain, and it did give us a nice kickstart.


I'm sure there's many others, but those are what come to mind offhand.
You get what you pay for. If something isn't broke, most people will not replace it. I would have been wondering why the person was selling it. But as long as you learn from it, your okay.

I bought a 15x15 press, mistake. I should have saved a few more bucks and got a 16x20. The 15x15 is cool, but I see already where a bigger press would have come in handy.
 

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Buechee said:
You get what you pay for. If something isn't broke, most people will not replace it. I would have been wondering why the person was selling it. But as long as you learn from it, your okay.
It wasn't broken when we got it; it actually starting breaking down several months after we started using it. I don't blame the guy that sold it to us, and he did have a legitimate reason to sell it: he is now doing screen printing full-time, and just didn't have any need for the press anymore.

It still works fairly well, but we need to put down a big sweatshirt first on the bottom platen so that it gives enough pressure and such, which is a hassle.
 

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Sounds like that problem could easily be fixed. You can also purchase another rubber bottom platen protector and stack em, then get your teflon pad protector on over both...that might do the trick.
 

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WINS
1. Reading this forum and screenprinters.net religiously
2. Securing Two Jobs before I even purchased the equipment. ( I had everything paid off after those were done with)
3. Purchasing a Flash dryer as soon as possible. Efficiency goes through the roof
4. Having a slight bit of Construction knowledge, I built my own exposure unit, Drying Rack and Curing station.

Losses
1. Not getting into screen printing sooner.
2. Buying 4 wooden 110 mesh screens to start off with ( I found I needed a bit of variety even when I was first starting)
3. Telling my friends how much I can actually print shirts for... Now everyone expects me to give them shirts for 3-4 dollars.
 

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Buechee said:
You get what you pay for. If something isn't broke, most people will not replace it. I would have been wondering why the person was selling it.
Given the glut of people entering the tshirt biz, and the high rate of failure with new businesses generally, I'd assume a heat press was for sale because the previous owner's shop failed.
 
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