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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I currently am buying my shirts through a screen printer, and of course, I have to order a certain quantity of shirts before it is even worth it to me profit wise.

So I've been thinking of printing my own. Since I have so many, SIMPLE designs, I would like the option of a "print to order" system. Since, I know some shirts might not even sell, as others will.

I am currently paying about $7.00 per shirt and selling them for $15.00 at conventions, and about $18.00 online.

I am happy at this point with the profits, and my one design that is selling like hot cakes, but now it's time to grow. Is it worth it to print my own shirts? Considering I have so many designs I would like to experiment with? or Should I just stick with the 24 shirt minimum from my supplier?

I have a potential business partner who is willing to invest into our own screen printer, but I have no clue exactly what is needed to get started. I've been searching around for printers, but of course, that is just one small step towards printing my own clothing line. Of course I need additional materials and supplies, but what?

I am pondering the Spreadshirt, cafepress, etc... idea, but this does not solve my issue when stocking shirts to sell at various Shows, Conventions, Flea Markets, etc...

So, I guess I'm asking.... What is the best sollution here? If I wanted to go ahead with my own printing supplies, what is my best solution and product choices? What exactly do I need?
 

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Re: Newbie T Shirt retailer, need input...

You need to prioritize... is your goal to become a printer or is your goal to make money selling shirts?

I would consider some alternatives,

  1. increasing the size of your orders from the printer so that you get a better price
  2. using plastisol transfers
  3. seeking out another printer that may offer you a better price
 

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Re: Newbie T Shirt retailer, need input...

A direct to garment printer is another option you can look into in addition to the other suggestions. It allows you to print on demand yourself. We have one and love the fact we can offer a limitless number of designs without sitting on inventory and just print what we need when we need it.
 

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If you want to get into production without getting in too deep, I would say get a heat press and find someone to make plastisol transfers of your designs. That way you could get two dozen or four dozen or whatever, but you'd be able to take them and press them onto shirts as you need them, and what you wanted. Like if you got 24 plastisol transfers, you could press them onto some black medium shirts, some large blue shirts, etc, as you needed them or wanted them. It may be a good way to go, and I don't know much about them, but I think you could get a good heat press for less than a grand. There's a heat press section on the forums, look in there.

If you are interested in doing actual screen printing, you're going to have to invest a lot of time and money into it. It's not extremely difficult to learn, but I wouldn't call it easy.

If you want to sell shirts, have someone else print them.
If you want to just make shirts as you need them, do plastisol transfers and a heat press.
If you want to learn the technical and complicated craft of screen printing, go visit a working shop, ask questions here and read a whole lot, and then get a press, flash cure unit, maybe an oven, ink, screens, printer, films, squeegees, blank shirts, exposure unit, emulsion, etc etc etc. It's pretty expensive and you'll be in the red until you sell a whole lot of shirts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you want to get into production without getting in too deep, I would say get a heat press and find someone to make plastisol transfers of your designs. That way you could get two dozen or four dozen or whatever, but you'd be able to take them and press them onto shirts as you need them, and what you wanted. Like if you got 24 plastisol transfers, you could press them onto some black medium shirts, some large blue shirts, etc, as you needed them or wanted them. It may be a good way to go, and I don't know much about them, but I think you could get a good heat press for less than a grand. There's a heat press section on the forums, look in there.

If you are interested in doing actual screen printing, you're going to have to invest a lot of time and money into it. It's not extremely difficult to learn, but I wouldn't call it easy.

If you want to sell shirts, have someone else print them.
If you want to just make shirts as you need them, do plastisol transfers and a heat press.
If you want to learn the technical and complicated craft of screen printing, go visit a working shop, ask questions here and read a whole lot, and then get a press, flash cure unit, maybe an oven, ink, screens, printer, films, squeegees, blank shirts, exposure unit, emulsion, etc etc etc. It's pretty expensive and you'll be in the red until you sell a whole lot of shirts.
very informative reply, thank you very much...

I did a little reading on the plastisol transfers... This is basically like an iron on type of print? So, I would need a heat press, and then just order the transfers from a supply company?
 

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get a decent heat press, and find a screen printer who will provide the transfers and also print your designs on them. Then you can basically create shirts on demand, which is not so much fun with actual screen printing, where doing as many prints as possible is key for efficiency.
 
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