Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started my Tshirt adventure in the summer of 2013 to try to better serve my car club as well as put a little bit of money in my pocket. I bought a Stahls 16x20 Maxx press from Proworld, a box of Guildan 100% cotton Tees and a selection of various stock transfers from Proworld and was immediately disappointed. I couldn't get the ink to release from the transfer sheets and subsequently destroyed a lot of transfers and tshirts in the process. I found out that temperature is extremely fickle with these transfers after a visit from a Stahls rep to look at my press. I found it runs about 10 deg hotter than stated and that screened transfers have a shelf life of about a year and a half to 2 years before they become difficult to release, which may have been why I had so many issues. I then dove head first into custom 1 color transfers from Dowling and was very impressed, I pressed everything from 1 to 3 color large runs 50-150 tees with very little issue, except the extra cost of purchasing the transfers cut into my profit a little more than stock transfers would have. They work great for car club tees and after some research, I then bought a silhouette cutter not having the dough for a large format cutter. I've tried Thermal flex vinyl and love it, but realized that I couldn't make real money due to the time of cutting and weeding it unless I was doing overpriced one offs in my opinion. Overpriced to me is about $20. , I then discovered JetPro Soft Stretch as a means to recreate more continous color images, literally the greatest thing since sliced bread. I have found this to be the best bang for the buck with my process if your willing to sacrifice darker colored tees. I can print a 13x19" sheet with 2up images, cut to within a 1/4"of the artwork, Press, fold and bag 100 tees in a few nights and blow them out for $10-$15 at a car show with a tidy little profit. I maybe handle each Tshirt for less than 3 minutes during the entire process especially when I'm really cooking. To me, time is the biggest obstacle in profitability. I've done small runs with vinyl glitter and to me, its very hard to make a profit when you are having to cut and weed without charging a premium for a custom tshirt. At this point, I haven't looked into the DTG route mostly because of cost. I don't have a shop and very rarely take in custom orders. Mostly I print my own designs and people seem to really like them. I can definitely see that a DTG printer might make my finished product appear a little nicer but I can't see every paying one of those machines off with what I do. I now reserve my silhouette for custom decals that are easier to weed with less detail and size than I would need for a Tshirt image. Until I find a process that will let me complete a Tshirt under 3 minutes with minimal cost, I have no where else to really look.