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This is a reprint from an article I made in 2005 - hopefully a refresher for some.

I only wish to share what I've actually done myself and hopefully what little I know would be helpful to you.

"For those who may not know who I am, my name is Fred, I live in Melbourne FL and have been a custom heat transfer printer since 1987 (sublimation and pigmented inks).

My goal here is to sell you nothing, just, hopefully, to give you ideas about selling, doing it yourself, e-commerce, Paypal, Ebay, heat presses, inks ,etc.....

So you want to sell t-shirts. OK, now do you want to sell strictly through CP (Cafepress), Zazzle or other fulfillment services or do you want to either print them yourself or have someone else print them for you?

Who are your customers? Do you want to offer wholesale and retail pricing? These and other questions will try to be discussed here. Since this is a lot of stuff involved, we'll take it step by step.

First: Who are your customers? Do you offer your own designs to be sold at one at a time or do you offer them in quantity discounts?

Would you rather offer your products to fundraising groups only, operate your own POD service, wholesale only, etc... Lots of questions which you should decide which way you want to either start or expand your business.

Whether you have a store in CP or other places or imprint your own and sell online, always consider your store as a place of business. You spend hours tweaking your website, trying to get the last bit of META tags right, hoping the search engines will pick your site up out of the thousands online. Lots of work.

OK. You wish to offer your products as a retail item, available to the general public. You also wish to offer them in such places as CP, Zazzle, etc... These services are very unique as you can upload your images, place them of a multitude of products and the only cost to you is your own time to develop your website. They take care of the rest.

Suppose you want to offer your own designs at a true wholesale price. To be able to offer bulk pricing for those gift stores, flower shops, kennels, etc... that are interested in stocking and selling your designs on garments such as t-shirts. Various services (above) offer bulk pricing and can handle that for you but suppose you wanted to see if you could either do them yourself (to increase your own profit), or to have a local printer do them for you?

Usually, local screen printers have a minimum of 12 or 24 shirts, same color, same size, same image, etc... for ordering. True you get a reasonable cost per shirt (in one ink color only) but you are risking spending money or your products that you must now sell yourself. Profits are much greater as is the risk of not selling them.

For quantity orders, on products that (example) your local gift shop will stock, your wholesale cost will be a lot lower and hopefully, profits bigger, however, finding any shop or store that will spend their money on your products is a bit hard to come by. In the past, I usually gave them a few sample shirts for them to display and they would order, using these free samples. Worked out very well.

Now suppose you decide to print them yourself. This is a horse of a different color. The benefits of you printing your own products are, you control your own QC, increase your own profits, the ability to offer both retail and wholesale pricing, have a lower retail price versus your competition, and more. The down side to this is the cost to start your own t-shirt business.

You will need a heat press ($600+), inks ($50), heat transfer paper ($20), printer (Epson $70+), starting inventory, etc...

Well, I'll close for now but I would like to continue more about this subject. I request that if you would like to have more information, that you reply to this post with your comments. If there are enough responses, maybe the Forum owner would create a separate folder for such a subject.

What I would like to go into depth on are such things as Ebay, Paypal, E-commerce your website, How to build your own website, how to print, inks, transfers, printers, wholesale-retail, drop shipping, POD, and a lot more.

Been selling on my Ebay store since 1996, 2-3 websites selling retail, wholesale and drop ship. Hopefully I've been doing it right these past years.

Thank you for taking the time to read this very long subject. Let me know what you think. Perhaps I'll bring back my others posts from 2005.

Melbourne FL"
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