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...is always the hardest. Here's my concern:

I am thinking about starting out in the business t-shirt. My gf is a marketing/economics university graduate and we're all kinda fired up about this. I am a graphic designer so images and ideas for t-shirts won't proove to be a problem and she can help with the 'technical' side of work.

But, what we don't have, is a steady income = no start-up money = not enough $$$ to cover costs.

Since PrintMojo.com requires the 'shopkeeper' to purchase sets of 24 of the same item at a go, we can only afford ~ one set every three/four months. So we where thinking about buying the first lot and see how things fare from there.

The problem is, how do you get people to purchase at your shop when your shop only has one shirt to sell?! It was funny and depressing at the same time when we thought about it.

Any ideas please?

We greatly appreciate any help given :)
 

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I'm not sure what kind of costs you're talking about here....you dont need to get hundreds of t-shirts printed. You could always get a few made and printed and then try and sell them locally or online....

What do you mean one shirt? Do you mean a single shirt with one design or the same type of shirt with different designs?

Hope we can help you more...at least your gf can support you.

Nick.
 

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The problem is, how do you get people to purchase at your shop when your shop only has one shirt to sell?! It was funny and depressing at the same time when we thought about it.
While it is harder to get a sale with only one t-shirt to choose from (customers like a selection, even if not all designs are the same "quality"), if your ONE design is compelling enough, and you advertise it to the right potential customers, they WILL buy.

Another option, if you're going the fulfillment route, and you don't need screen printing, is to try spreadshirt.com, which will allow you to have designs up for sale and they will print them "on demand" using vinyl "flex" or "flock" transfers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
hongkongdmz said:
What do you mean one shirt? Do you mean a single shirt with one design or the same type of shirt with different designs?
One shirt with one design.

Since, the print-on-demand service (with heat transfers and such) is always a wee-bit cheaper (because one doesn't have to buy inventory up-front) but the quality isn't as good as that of screen-printing, would it make sense to start off with such a service and then move on to a more professional screen-printing service - once we know the design sells?

Thanks a lot for the help everyone :)

PS:

rodney said:
Another option, if you're going the fulfillment route, and you don't need screen printing, is to try spreadshirt.com
What's this fullfillment thingy everyone's talking about? (English isn't my primary language so if it's a technical thing / jargon I might not have heard it... or if it's something of a common word around the forum... :/ *n00b*)
 

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m4nti said:
What's this fullfillment thingy everyone's talking about? (English isn't my primary language so if it's a technical thing / jargon I might not have heard it... or if it's something of a common word around the forum... :/ *n00b*)
I wouldn't have picked English as your second language. The dictionary has a pretty good definition in this case: "the process or business of handling and executing customer orders, as packing, shipping, or processing checks". Basically a service that handles payment, making the shirt, sending the shirt, etc. like CafePress, Spreadshirt, PrintMojo, etc. as opposed to printing them yourself, or getting them printed for you and handling payment, sending the shirts, etc. yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the definition :)

Anything on this question? :

m4nti said:
Since, the print-on-demand service (with heat transfers and such) is always a wee-bit cheaper (because one doesn't have to buy inventory up-front) but the quality isn't as good as that of screen-printing, would it make sense to start off with such a service and then move on to a more professional screen-printing service - once we know the design sells?
Also the problem with spreadshirt is that there isn't "Malta" in the country list (where I had to fill out the payee information for the cheque). Which kinda sucks...
 

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m4nti said:
Thanks for the definition :)
No worries.

m4nti said:
Anything on this question?
I didn't answer that question because I tend to be a bit rabid/biased :) My personal philosophy is that you should always start with the best, so I wouldn't test the market with an inferior product.

In general some people do think it's a good idea though, and on a business level I can't really fault it (there are potential problems - like your brand getting a reputation for low quality - but they're not that likely to really bite you). It's the kind of thing I tend to think people should just do what they want to do.
 

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Solmu said:
I didn't answer that question because I tend to be a bit rabid/biased :) My personal philosophy is that you should always start with the best, so I wouldn't test the market with an inferior product.
It's fine. I was asking for opinions. I don't think there's a true, 100%, sure-fire way of doing this (because if there was, everyone would be doing it and everyone would be rich :p)

Solmu said:
there are potential problems - like your brand getting a reputation for low quality - but they're not that likely to really bite you
That's what scared me actually. I'll have to investigate this aspect further. *puts on a hat and monocle, lights a cigar and walks out into the (imaginary) rain*

Solmu said:
It's the kind of thing I tend to think people should just do what they want to do.
Doesn't hurt to get some advice about it though ;) Thanks a lot.
 

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Since, the print-on-demand service (with heat transfers and such) is always a wee-bit cheaper (because one doesn't have to buy inventory up-front) but the quality isn't as good as that of screen-printing, would it make sense to start off with such a service and then move on to a more professional screen-printing service - once we know the design sells?
I think it can be a way to get started. I know of a few people that started out with a print on demand service like spreadshirt, cafepress, etc and then moved on to a full screen printed clothing line.

There is the quality issue to tackle, as there are some things that aren't possible with heat press that are possible with screen printing (and vice versa).

If you had simpe, 1-2 color designs that weren't too intricate, I would say that spreadshirt would be a good fit for you since their vinyl/flex printing would probably have comparible quality to a 1-2 color screen print. Maybe try spreadshirt.de (germany) or spreadshirt.net (europe) to see if Malta is on the list there.

That being said, there are several PrintMojo merchants with just one t-shirt design in their store that make sales just fine.
 

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m4nti said:
Since, the print-on-demand service (with heat transfers and such) is always a wee-bit cheaper (because one doesn't have to buy inventory up-front) but the quality isn't as good as that of screen-printing, would it make sense to start off with such a service and then move on to a more professional screen-printing service - once we know the design sells?
There's tons of different 'levels' you can get involved in. The cheapest as far as startup costs will also yield the least return -- this would be setting up a cafepress/spreadshirt/etc. shop.


the next step up would be buying your own heat press, and printing transfers on-demand as people order them. This will require some start-up money (heat press, transfers, blank shirts), but not nearly as much as it owuld be to start up your own screen printing shop. While the quality of heat transfers is a little worse than screen printing, it's still good if you use quality materials.

It's good enough that I would not worry about being thought of as giving an inferior product, in other words. In addition, that press can also be used with plastisol transfers, which are argueabley as good as regular screen prints and a lot easier to do yourself.
 
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