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I have made up my mind that I want to start a home based, full time T-shirt business. I want a business that my whole family can take part in. I have created some designs that I sell on CafePress and my oldest son is an artist. So this seems to be a good business for me to go into.

I am very confused about the different processes.
What I envision for my business is that I will be working out of my basement most of the time and sell off of a website. However, I will also be going to dog shows and different festivals and want to be able to sell there easily. I see vendors at dog shows using heat presses right on site and I'm thinking that I would like to do that as well. I plan on having about 150 - 200 designs for sale.

My biggest question right now is, would I be better off printing my own transfers or would I be better off purchasing them already done and then putting them on shirts myself? I would like a comparison and people's experience with quality and cost both ways. I will be applying for a business loan to get all the equipment that I need. I want to start with top equipment and do this right. It won't be a part time business, and I plan on making this work!

So time wise, cost wise, and quality wise, it is better to have your transfers made for you in bulk; say 100 of each design at a time; or is it better to get a good printer, quality ink, and good paper and make your own transfers?

Thanks in advance for any input. I'm going to be asking lots and lots of questions here! LOL
 

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Hi Jinx and :welcome:

I have made up my mind that I want to start a home based, full time T-shirt business. I want a business that my whole family can take part in. I have created some designs that I sell on CafePress and my oldest son is an artist. So this seems to be a good business for me to go into.

I am very confused about the different processes.
Here is a thread about the different printing processes. Different print methods have different advantages and cons. Alot depends on the type of product you want to produce. Screen printing is different from inkjet heat transfers, but not from plastisols.

Here is the thread that may help you decide what method is the kind of printing you are interested in quality wise:

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/general-t-shirt-selling-discussion/t48532.html

jinx 13 said:
What I envision for my business is that I will be working out of my basement most of the time and sell off of a website.
Alot of folks do screen printing at home. If you get a screen print set up, you can also make your own plastisols to take on the road with you.

jinx 13 said:
However, I will also be going to dog shows and different festivals and want to be able to sell there easily. I see vendors at dog shows using heat presses right on site and I'm thinking that I would like to do that as well. I plan on having about 150 - 200 designs for sale.
There are stock transfers you can buy and apply, or you can order plastisols, or make them yourself if you invest in the screen printing equipment. You can also print them with an inkjet printer (is that the method you see at the shows?)

There is a woman here, Greyhorsewoman, and she does this exact thing. Takes her press on the road to dog shows, and presses on site, with a generator and heavy duty extention cord.

My biggest question right now is, would I be better off printing my own transfers or would I be better off purchasing them already done and then putting them on shirts myself?
When you say purchasing them already done, do you mean stock transfers, the ones that are available for sale on websites that you simply press onto a shirt? Or, do you mean custom plastisols, your designs already printed for you, instead of you printing your own art on an inkjet printer?

Each of the products are different from the other, so comparing isn't that easy because each is so different to work with as well.

If you are talking stock transfers, you are limited to what you can find available, and you have to find a good supplier so you don't end up with transfers that don't transfer.

If you mean plastisols, they may initially cost more than inkjet heat transfers, but they save huge chunks of time because you are not printing 200 designs - one page at a time - and then if you have to trim each paper, add a ton more time.

So alot really depends on what you need to accomplish with your time and money. It's not so much, to me, how much does this cost or that cost, as much as it is which printing method produces the quality of print that you are aiming for, and which printing method fits your business model of how you want to run you business.

Again, screen printing gives you a great quality product, and you can then produce your own plastisols to take along on the road. You can also have more than one method, as alot of times, the printing methods differ enough to be able to compliment each other in a printer's arsenal without competing or duplicating each other.

Hope this helps. I feel my answer isn't even complete in this state, but since there are so many variables, hopefully this will help you try to narrrow your choices of print methods. Once you do that, you can really focus on how to best use that print method to your advantage.

I kind of think more than one print method might work for you, since you have the basement, you have the artist son, the ability to get a loan, and you want to go on the road. Alot of folks here offer muliple print methods to their customers. Each can fill a different role, and it helps them never turn work away. Best wishes to you and good luck in your new venture. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Jinx and :welcome:





When you say purchasing them already done, do you mean stock transfers, the ones that are available for sale on websites that you simply press onto a shirt? Or, do you mean custom plastisols, your designs already printed for you, instead of you printing your own art on an inkjet printer?



Thanks for the information and I'm sorry that I wasn't more clear. I meant my custom artwork made into plastisols by another source for me. I don't want to use stock transfers because I want to be unique and I believe that being original is the best way to sales. So many companies use the same transfers.

Thanks again for your help!

Jinx
 

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No problem, I hope I was able to actually help you, not sure I was as I didn't give you numbers, but I think time is money, so between custom plastisols and inkjet heat transfers, you'll see folks talking about the break point at which they would use one process over another because they feel at some point, one becomes less profitable, and the other more.

I just realized you got me to say "Hi Jinx" in the above post, too... lol. Have a good one, Jinx, I hope you find your perfect printing method that works for you. (pst: knowing you meant plastisols, I vote for you to screen and make your own, if you have the time, money, and know how to invest.)

Your son is the artist. On the forum there are alot of artists that want to also print their own shirts. They sometimes find when they design AND print, they don't have enough time to dedicate to designing, and since they are also designing, they don't have the time to dedicate to the learning curve of printing. Most would like to print so they don't have to pay someone else to print for them, and save the $$. But, they sometimes find the actual "cost" to them timewise is more than they bargained for, and they can't fully dedicate to design, printing and still have time for the ALL important Marketing and Sales.

With you and your son, he could design and you could print and market. The reason you may want to order up some plastisols is so that your son could design, you could do marketing and sales, and the printer could worry about printing those plastisols for you.... so again, my answer of a non-answer still seems to be: "How do you see your business model working best for you?"

You can always order plastisols while you get the marketing and sales rolling, and if you find you have more time left over to print, invest in the screening equipment. ??

Have a great night, Jinx.
 

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I use custom plastisols alot. I find not having the smell (the ink and chemicals for the clean up) that screen printing uses around is better for my home based business. I can order them ready made and press as I need them. I never have extra printed shirts around, because I can press a plastisol transfer only when needed. ..... JB
 
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