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Hello Forum members! :)
This is a phenomenal resource for everyone in the Tee-shirt industry, from new fashion start-ups to corporate established music and entertainment companies. So, with that in mind, I wondered if Rodney might let me do some market research? I was curious as to who your chosen supplier is for blank, imprintable tees? Not looking for shout-outs in any way, I would love to know who the competition is and more importantly...why?

Good luck to everyone here with their Tee shirt companies and projects, and we hope you are all having a busy summer! Let's here from you then...who are your favs?

Best!
Simon
 

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I like Sanmar, They have a very helpful customer service department. I have called them and they have researched to help me find things they don't and provided me names of other vendors. I feel confident when ordering, because I can see the inventory on hand.If they don't have it at my primary warehouse they will send it from another one. I can't say enough nice things.They have helped me grow my business by providing me great customer service and products that allows me to pass this on to my customers. .... JB
 

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American Apparel for a reasonable quality fabric, fantastic colour range, and ease of sourcing.

Alternative Apparel for gorgeous fabric and far more interesting cuts and styles.

Gildan if I just want something crap for promo/commercial, because they're reasonably standard, cheap, easy to source, and actually have a surprisingly good colour range.

Continental Clothing interest me (for much the same reasons Alternative does), but I haven't bothered because it's easier to stick with current suppliers than to jump through hoops to source them in Australia.

If they were to open here (with, say, a certain company in need of a new supplier ;)) I know there'd be interest, but as a small market it's presumably often just not worth it for apparel suppliers (i.e. how much interest?).

Like most Australians I am prepared to import from the US myself when necessary. With CC I felt like the company was scattered across the globe, and there wasn't enough unity. CC Europe is not the same as CC America, and I couldn't be bothered dealing with that. I want to know I can get the same style anywhere. Alternative made it fairly easy on me to order direct (until recently), whereas with CC it didn't look easy enough up front to jolt me out of what I was familiar with.

So if you distilled from this that four of the most important things for me as a customer are: ease of ordering, quality of fabric, colour range, interesting styles (in approximately that order), you'd be right. Price gets passed on to the end customer, so while it certainly matters, it's not of primary concern.

Things like sweatshop free, organic, etc. range from useful for my marketing (much of what you can market to us, I can pass through to my customers and market too) to personally useful (i.e. ethics are a bonus for me as a customer), or are covered by other things above (e.g. organic fabric = quality of fabric).
 

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Alternative made it fairly easy on me to order direct (until recently), whereas with CC it didn't look easy enough up front to jolt me out of what I was familiar with.
I have only recently been in touch with Alternative and although they got back to me very quick especially given the NZ time change, but i dont know how keen i am on having to do the 4 step process just to order.

Why are all distributors based in NZ.
Why are there even distributors when nobody holds stock?
ANNOYING.

Im stressing about Fully Stoked!
 

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Not sure if you're looking for manufacturer or supplier info. Sanmar is generally the cheapest but their selection is pretty bland, limited to only common colors and styles. Broder/Alpha is very fast, has the best web interface and the prices aren't bad although I wish they would just combine their brands so I didn't have to order from two different companies. Alpha has shorted in me in the past even when their web interface claims they have plenty in stock. Boxercraft has great customer service and very nice products.
 

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I truly think customer service is the key to picking a favorite company. The company can offer the most spectacular variety of garments, but their customer service is bad will drive customers away. ..... JB
 

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I use heat pressed vinyl onto Gildan tees, on the sublimation tees I use a European alternative to Hanes Soft link.

In a supplier I obviously look for a keen price, but like JB said, customer service is vital. The price is irrelevant if I have to encounter long delays for my delivery, get sent the wrong items, or have limited choice. Good communication goes a long way to resolving many of the issues. Some suppliers have good communication, others just wonder why they lose so much trade.
 

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I truly think customer service is the key to picking a favorite company. The company can offer the most spectacular variety of garments, but their customer service is bad will drive customers away. ..... JB
I completely agree; unfortunately when a company doesn't have the product, the quality of their service becomes irrelevant. All summer long people wanted colors that Sanmar didn't carry, brands they didn't carry. So I can't limit myself to a single supplier. Besides, I wouldn't say Alpha has bad customer service and they are extremely fast. I have ordered at 5pm one day and had my shirts before 10am the next morning with ground shipping from Atlanta.

Now Augusta on the other hand, they have very nice products but jiminy christmas are they slow. You'd think they are making the shirts one by one as they sell them; heck maybe they are.
 

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Rick, I totally agree with you. I use Sanmar and Heritage Sportswear both. I tend to try Sanmar first, but Heritage is great too. I can order from either and get product the next day. they both have good customer service too. I'm 20 mins away from Holloway and they won't even talk to me. I could get my product the same day with little effort, but they choose to not sell to me. I have asked why several times,but they say they don't need anyone else in my area. .... JB
 

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I have 4 main suppliers depending on what the item is and how soon I need it.

I generally check Sanmar first since they have a warehouse about 25 minutes away so I get everything the next day. My second choice is Heritage Sportwear since they carry some items that Sanmar doesn't like the Pace Racewear shirts which are popular for car designs. For jackets I use Tri Mountain and for team and spirit wear, I use Holloway.
 

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I also like SanMar for their great customer service. Their sales reps have always answered my questions. I agree that they don't have a range of newer styles and colors but that doesn't really effect my business. I also like SanMar's free freight policy. Unlike other companies, if stock must be pulled from more than one warehouse you aren't charged for shipping as long as you purchase over $200.00. When items are on sale SanMar will give you the best deal (either free freight or sale price). With other companies if one item is on sale you have to pay freight.
 

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When items are on sale SanMar will give you the best deal (either free freight or sale price). With other companies if one item is on sale you have to pay freight.
Alpha/Broder do this but I didn't know that Sanmar did. Do you have to call and ask them? I don't remember seeing this option on their website.
 

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I just called Alpha and was told that there is no free freight if any items are on sale. You are not given the better deal. Its probably the same for Broder because they are part of the same company. That's how its always been for me. Sanmar's system, whether you call or place an order online, will automatically figure whether free freight or the sale price is a better deal for you. When calling ask the rep to verify. When ordering online you'll see a "free freight" message next to the list of warehouses that your stock is being pulled from.
 

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I bolded text for clarity.

I just called Alpha and was told that there is no free freight if any items are on sale. You are not given the better deal. Its probably the same for Broder because they are part of the same company. That's how its always been for me. Sanmar's system, whether you call or place an order online, will automatically figure whether free freight or the sale price is a better deal for you. When calling ask the rep to verify. When ordering online you'll see a "free freight" message next to the list of warehouses that your stock is being pulled from.
No, I think you have confused yourself. Both Sanmar and Alpha/Broder offer the choice of free freight or sale price; but neither offer both. You asked Alpha the wrong question.

With one click of the mouse Alpha's web ordering program gives you the price and allows you to choose; although it does not choose automatically like Sanmar, but they do give you the option.

Alpha also compares freight cost from different warehouses so you can select the cheapest freight since the closest warehouse is not always the cheapest.
 

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I have only used Alpha as a distributor and I really like them. Nice people when I have to deal with them on the phone and they can answer my questions. Good selection for good prices. I can drive up to northeast Philly and pick up my shirts the next day and the ladies at the DC are nice and sometimes yell out "Vacord!" when I come in.
My favorite brand of shirts is Alternative, because they've got a lot of cool stuff. It's expensive tho, so I've only gotten a few things. I like Gildan for general custom work and end up using them a lot for personal printing too.
I think American Apparel is highly overrated and don't like dealing with them directly, because their wholesale ordering site doesn't tell you if anything is out of stock, you just find out much later. Their quality control is the worst I've seen in any brand. I can get some American Apparel stuff from Alpha, and I would much much rather do that then order directly from AA. I do like that I can make more money off an AA order than a custom order of Gildan shirts!
 

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These are the ones I'm primarily dealing with at the moment:

Wasatch Tees, they provide a wide variety of color, sizes, and brands at a reasonable price, pretty easy to navigate.

Sanmar, we signed up for them primarily to order caps to DTG. Their ordering system is a bit strange (requires you to download software/activex plugins to view), but it seems to work fairly well.

Utah Tees & Fleece, a company in Salt Lake, they carry a few different brands, but are usually limited on colors, but I like dealing in person when I can.

When our business picks up more, I'll probably start looking for American Apparel, Alt. Apparel, or Alstyle, we primarily use Gildan 2000's or 5000's at the moment.
 
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