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Hi,

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.

My goal here is to sell you nothing, just, hopefully, to give you ideas about selling, doing it yourself, e-commerce, Payaal, 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 stary 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 screenprinters 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, dropshipping, POD, and a lot more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this very long subject.

Fred
 

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when you say "inks".....?

i tried with water based ink jets and the wash bleeds them from the backside of the graphic [inside the shirt]....what kind of ink do you reccommend [oil based ink jet inks, and do they make oil based for HP printers.

also, what kind of paper do you reccommend, i have heard that avery-colors transfers work best on both white and color tees


any websites i should look at for supplies & stuff
 

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tea shert said:
when you say "inks".....?

i tried with water based ink jets and the wash bleeds them from the backside of the graphic [inside the shirt]....what kind of ink do you reccommend [oil based ink jet inks, and do they make oil based for HP printers.
You need to use some sort of pigmented inks when you're doing heat transfer. The most easily available source of this is the OEM Durabrite inks for some Epson printers. Another very popular choice is 'Magic Mix' inks which are specifically designed for transfer onto clothing. (Magic Mix is similar to the Durabrite, but the Durabrite sometimes has a slight yellowing/greening of grays/blacks, especially thin lines.)

tea shert said:
also, what kind of paper do you reccommend, i have heard that avery-colors transfers work best on both white and color tees
You've heard wrong. Avery is actually a decent choice for iron-ons in my experience, but if you've got a heat press and want good you'll want to use Transjet II (which doesn't even cost any more than Avery).

tea shert said:
any websites i should look at for supplies & stuff
http://personalizedsupplies.com/ - Transjet II and Magic Mix
http://www.coastalbusiness.com/ - Alternate source of Transjet II, some folks also like thier Costal brand transfer paper.
 

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toonsign said:
Hi,


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.


Fred
Hi There,

Thanks for starting this subject. I'm currently doing market research and putting together an overall business plan for a tshirt line. I've been in the screenprinting business in the past, and have much of the knowledge necessary to get things started (graphic design and prepress background), but there is one area where I am outside of my element. This is the area of sales and marketing.

So I have a collection of designs, a brand, a screenprinting company to produce the final product, and capital to get it all started. Now what I need is to obtain a primary outlet channel for my product. I'll of course have a website and e-commerce capabilities if necessary, however, I want for my primary outlet to be clothing stores/boutiques. My main question is this:

"How do I go about obtaining retailers?"

I know the target market, and which establishments cater to the market. But how should I approach these places in order to try to convince them to carry my product? Do I just show up with a sack of tshirts and ask for the manager? Seriously, I am really lost in this area. Is there any advice, methods, or resources that could help me learn how to obtain retailers?

Thanks for any feedback.
 

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Thanks to members posting in this area. I am new to commerce e or otherwise but
have been doing graphic design for many years. I understand the printing process
as a designer and am happy to leave that to the professionals. Its the nuts and
bolts breakdown of operating a site that takes credit cards (necessary evil im told)
that I need to learn. I have high confidence in my designs (I actually know how to
draw!) and know that in the right forum they would sell. The trade off between going
to a fulfillment service vs climbing the learning curve on my own is my focus now.
 

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Fred , The info is great I would love to hear more. I believe I have some fresh ideas for fans of bowling but need to learn to hows and ways.


Jim
 

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Insight and education... I'm always wanting to learn more, refresh what I forgot and make me blow the dust off what I should be doing. I try to kick in some info when I can, but the background is light in this arena. That is why we are here. Thanks for the writings and keep it going. Oscar
 

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Fred, Thank you for your post I am in the starting phase of opening a Tshirt business and I for one want to say thank you... and when is more coming???
 

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66shirts said:
Just getting started here too. I need all the info I can get. Thanks for posting.
kind of what he said. I've been doing research and I'm ready to get a design screened. But I want to get into the transfer thing as well.
 

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Just a quick followup on this topic. Many of the ideas and questions that Fred introduced in his original post above can be found discussed at length in the forums using the forum search feature:

:searchbox:

For example, a search on keywords like paypal, shopping cart, heat press, printers will all bring up past topics that are good guides at getting started.

Also, about this point:

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 screenprinters 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.
If you have a store or business that wants to buy from you wholesale, there is virtually zero risk in going to a local screen printer since the products you are getting custom printed already have a buyer (the store that asked for them).

Usually, local screenprinters 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)
Screen printers don't require that the shirts be the same color or the same size for ordering. And you can get reasonable costs per shirt in more than one ink color. Screen printing can handle a wide variety of image types and color options.

It is true that the design must be the same in order to get quantity pricing (24 shirts of the same design or 100 shirts of the same design).
 

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Rodney, I'm looking to equip my studio with the ability to do quality heat-transfer t-shirts. I work with the animal rescue industry (non-profits) and would like the ability to do drop-ship items on an as-needed basis. I have the designs but have NEVER done t-shirts! Don't know the first thing about heat press equipment, inks, etc. using my own designs. Would like to offer non-profits the ability to sell my t-shirts. I want to offer all colors of t-shirts, not just white, by the way.
Space is not a problem, I just want to offer high quality t-shirts. If you can direct me to the proper forum or give me advice on good equipment, books, etc., I would really appreciate it. I'm a newbie at this, but willing to work and learn. :) Thanks so much!
Julie at Green Dog Studio
 

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Green Dog Studio said:
Rodney, I'm looking to equip my studio with the ability to do quality heat-transfer t-shirts. I work with the animal rescue industry (non-profits) and would like the ability to do drop-ship items on an as-needed basis. I have the designs but have NEVER done t-shirts! Don't know the first thing about heat press equipment, inks, etc. using my own designs. Would like to offer non-profits the ability to sell my t-shirts. I want to offer all colors of t-shirts, not just white, by the way.
Space is not a problem, I just want to offer high quality t-shirts. If you can direct me to the proper forum or give me advice on good equipment, books, etc., I would really appreciate it. I'm a newbie at this, but willing to work and learn. :) Thanks so much!
Julie at Green Dog Studio
Hi Julie, no problem at all. Your first step would be to head over to the "Heat Press" section of the forum here:
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=15

If you do searches using the forum search box :searchforum: in the upper right hand corner of that forum, you can find some great past topics on "which printer to buy" (use keywords like: printer or epson or pigment), "which transfer paper to use for lights and darks" (use keywords like: opaque, plastisol, lights, dark), "where to buy transfer paper" (use keywords like: personalizedsupplies, paper), "what to look for in a heat press" (use keywords like: equipment, brand, size, or browse through some of the recent topics in that forum), etc.

If after searching, you don't find the information you're looking for, feel free to start a new topic and post your question. We have lots of helpful members here who are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of heat presses and transfers.

:welcome:
 

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How does one price his designs and incorporate, electricity, inks, and the papers used? How exactly do you come up with a figure for all materials used. Please please give a break down (heat pressed designs)
jeff
 

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How does one price his designs and incorporate, electricity, inks, and the papers used? How exactly do you come up with a figure for all materials used. Please please give a break down (heat pressed designs)
jeff
Check out this link: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/tags/pricing/

You'll find all types of tips on how to do pricing
 

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"How do I go about obtaining retailers?"
TOONSIGN gave a good recommendation in the original thread about giving retailers samples and letting them order them from there. I have found that out of respect, you would want to call stores ahead and set an appointment. Start locally and try to find some referrals of people who know store owners to give you a little confidence. Some retailers only buy at certain times of the year too.

I do want to note that I am new to this t-shirt biz and am currently only selling on Cafepress so take my tips as you see fit. But, I do come from a background in invitations and stationery. I have seen a number of t-shirt and gift vendors at shows (The National Stationery Show National Stationery Show) and The Atlanta Gift Show trying to sell their "wares". Retailers go to these markets looking for products to buy. There are a number of them in a variety of cities. You can do a search on the site. Find out who "hosts or manages" the show, go to their site and get a list of all their shows. Cost of getting a booth can be expensive, but it may be a route you want to take to get in front of a large number of retailers at one time.

You may also want to look into a Manufacturers rep. They rep a number of different products but already have relationships with retailers.

(I hope I got TOONSIGN's quote accurate - I am new to this forum and don't know how to post more than one quote from more than one post)

Good luck.
 

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Hi Fred - I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more - how's the surf been up there by the way?

Rodney, you are a class act - thanks for all the work you put into the Forum
 

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Fred,
Thank You For That Very Infromative Written Piece...we Are In The Process Of Getting A Biz Up And Running And Trying To Figure Out Our Marketing Idea!
Thanx Again For That Thoughtful Piece!
Enjoy Life!
Chrissy
 

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Hi fred,

First thankx for the rambling - it was muchos usefull. I was hoping that some much needed advice could be dished out.

I run a design company which wants to start creating quality sub transfers for sale. We want our products to be vibrant and full of colour. Unfortunately we have tryed to replicate the colours on our preview screen and they just don't seem to come out. We use mugs, tshirts and canvass - all purcheced from xpres.

The equipment we are using is the EPSON R1800 with a sublimation bulk feeding system from purple monkey. We have a multi press 38x38cm Heat press set at 205 C. And we press for about 30 seconds on a high pressure setting.

When we seem to press the colours are not as bright as we hope they would be LSO THE LINES SEEM TO BE SLIGHTLY BLURED. the blue in particular is not bright...We are unsure if its to do with the press time/pressure, or we have set up our printing incorrectly.

We currently print from Adobe Illustartor and use the perceptual setting and we have the colour profile pm_r1800_v1.icm.

Any advice would be well apreciated as we are becoming fustrated with our expenive results...lol

Thanks and take care

Gareth
Chimp CREATIVE
 
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