Becoming the Don... of T-Shirt e-Commerce
Did you know that 87% of the world’s population is wearing a T-shirt at any given time?
Ok, I made that up, but it’s probably about right. T-shirts are the modern symbol of the common man, the great fashion unifier. So why not stamp your brand/artwork all over one and make your own online store?
Without further ado, here’s a brief guide to help you discover what's what in the world of t-shirt e-commerce.
Choosing Your Canvas
When you buy the actual T-shirts to print on, make sure you go for quality (not the cheapest or any old shite). This will massively affect how your final product will look. Here is a good website to help you pick.
Worth considering the fit too, are you selling to hipsters channelling their inner 90s skater or Essex girls wanting to show off their newly installed chest? Decide on that and let that guide the type of products you want to sell.
So what types of T-shirt printing are out there?
Lets go through them with a few, yays and nays thrown in too:
1. SCREEN PRINTING
YAY: Durable and long lasting
NAY: Labour intensive setup, complex designs and colours cost money and time, not available for print on demand
Top tip: Dollar makes me holla. This method is best for large orders as you’ll get volume discounts.
2. HEAT TRANSFER
YAY: Easily personalised
NAY: Not as durable as DTG or Screen printing
Top tip: Solid colours work great with this method. Ideal for knock-out gym wear.
3. DTG (DIRECT TO GARMENT)
YAY: Cost effective for print on demand, no colour limits, no setup costs, good for details. Perfect for on demand printing
NAY: Tends to be more limiting on the printable area available on the garment
Top tip: All about that cotton count. Don't go skimping on the cotton count as this affects the quality of the final product.
YAY: Gives you an all over print, which is great for patterned designs. Available through on demand printing
NAY: Tends to more expensive manufacturing process and lends itself to more premium products
Top tip: Make sure your design is suitable for all over printing. Sublimation t-shirts are always printed on a white t-shirt.
ON DEMAND OR BULK ORDERS?
In the t-shirt business you can take one of two routes when it comes to running an e-commerce store.
1. Buying in bulk
This means buying your entire inventory up front, across all sizes and colours that you intend to sell. The big advantage to this is that the more you buy the cheaper it costs you per unit, leading to significantly more $$$ in profit. If you are know your audience inside out and exactly what they will buy then this is up your street.
However this does come with some fairly obvious risks. You firstly need somewhere to hold your stock, and if you are buying a lot that might mean renting some warehouse space. There is also the risk that *shock horror* your designs don't sell. Your wardrobe and that of your friends could end up being a bit samey as a result!
2. Print on demand
This is where your store holds no stock. Your t-shirt doesn't exist until your customer orders it. This of course means that there are no upfront costs and no risk (except for your pride) if no one wants to buy your designs. It also allows you to put any new designs which you cook up, in your store immediately. If you are dipping your toes in the e-commerce space or just want the flexibility to change your apparel collections at will, this is for you.
On the other hand print on demand does come with an approximately 20% + premium on ordering in bulk. There is no production line spitting out 200 of your t-shirt design and therefore the labour costs in producing each order will be significantly higher. This also leads to a slightly longer lead time in getting your customer's order dispatched as each order will only be printed once the order is received.
Presumably you are reading this because you want to start selling T-shirts, so therefore you must have an idea of what you want to go on them. Use our t-shirt mockup generator to see what they might look like.
After all it's probably a good move to check they look alright before you try and sell them!
NEXT STOP → SHOPIFY
So you know what you want to sell, who you want to sell to and you've gone and made some absolutely cracking designs.
One problem you don't know how to build a website.... Well neither do I and you don't need to either. Introducing Shopify the e-commerce platforms that even my mum, Jill, can use.
For a pretty reasonable fee, you can have an e-commerce store that you can run from the comfort of your duvet up and running in no time at all.
That's also where we at Kite can help out. If you want to go with the risk free on demand option then our app is the cheese to your macaroni, the peanut butter to your jelly, the Ying to your Yang you get what i mean.....
Simply upload your designs, and set your retail price and we'll do the rest. By the rest I mean, we'll create your products, publish them to your store and then print and deliver them to your customers when you receive an order.
Take it for a spin here.