Printing T shirts for profit is totally doable for people who have the resources to invest in the right equipment and who do their research and expand their knowledge regarding the different ways designs can be applied to blank shirts.
The market for printed T’s is huge; nearly everyone on the planet owns at least one. They have become a common way people to exercise their right to self-expression and are a classic wardrobe staple.
However, there are also a lot of rampant misconceptions regarding the degree of difficulty involved and the kinds of problems that can be encountered when starting a T shirt printing business.
So before you invest in expensive equipment and printing out your marketing collateral, let’s go through some of the most common misconceptions and issues in the T shirt printing business:
Issue # 1: Computer generate heat transfer designs
Yes, heat transfer is a pretty easy way to mass produce certain designs. If you’re smart about how you use your equipment and find out what materials are suitable for heat transfer, then this can be a good start to having a successful custom T shirt business. A lot of people have successfully utilized heat transfer in their T shirt printing businesses. One problem that would-be entrepreneurs run into is that heat transfer designs do not transfer well to dark shirts.
Issue # 2: Thinking that a start-up T shirt business package will teach you everything you need to know
Procuring the right equipment with an accompanying tutorial is not the end all and be all that many people selling these items would have would-be entrepreneurs believe. Doing extensive research into the type of designs you want to produce and which method would best suit your purpose and the materials available to you will go a long way into ensuring you don’t waste time and precious resources.
If you are good at working with your hands and want to produce large quantities of designs with a limited color scheme then perhaps screen printing would be right up your alley.
If you have a penchant for creating complex designs on your preferred computer program and plan on producing limited runs, then using a digital garment printer (also known as direct to garment) is probably more suited to your skill and requirements.
Don’t waste your money – there are thousands of people who purchase start-up kits with a vague promise of increasing their income without fully understanding what it means to get into this type of business. Their equipment usually ends up getting pushed to the back of their garages or storage unit until they drag it out for a garage sale during spring cleaning.
An alternative to purchasing your own equipment to use another company who specializes in contract digital garment printing to do the work for you. When doing this, you simply take the orders from your customers and have another company do the actual printing. This is a good way to get your feet wet by mastering your sales process and building a customer base before investing in equipment.
Issue # 3: Your designs are a huge part of your investment
Learning the processes involved in the different techniques used in the T shirt printing business is only the tip of the iceberg – your artwork is a huge part of your design and printing business. Your artwork is what will attract potential customers to your brand. You also need to match your artwork with the appropriate T shirt material and printing technique to get the most out of your investment.
For silk screen printing, for example, you need to be careful with how you organize and set-up your artwork. Any deviation will result in wonky-looking shirts that will fail to meet your client’s expectations. The easiest designs to work with for silk screen printing are the ones that involve text and simple art.
When you decide to start any business venture, make sure that you put in a lot of research before making a huge financial commitment like purchasing equipment or procuring a space for your business. Forums dedicated to the apparel decoration industry are a great way to gain new perspectives and share ideas with other entrepreneurs.