T-shirts aren’t just your normal staple clothing items but they can also say a lot about your personality and interests. Most people wear shirts with prints which are relatable to them be it statement shirts, band shirts, tie-dye or just simple branded t-shirts. Because of this factor, making custom shirts has always been a reliable business idea since the market is huge. Everybody needs new t-shirts regularly. As long as you have unique and interesting ideas for a shirt, it can be easy to make a custom shirt business thrive despite a lot of competition. There are many success stories like this one.
If you are looking forward to start a custom shirt business, there are a few things you need to know on how to make custom shirts. There are step by step processes involved which you need to follow in order to come up with top quality custom shirts and find a good clothing manufacturer. Aside from your unique and excellent designs, great quality is a characteristic your shirts must possess for your brand to gain ground over its competitors. Here is a simple guide on how to make custom shirts.
Things to Consider when Making Custom Shirts
The first thing you have to consider when making custom shirts is the niche you are targeting for your shirts. Your niche defines your market, your style and most definitely, your brand. You cannot simply create shirts based on anything you can think of as it is difficult to market your brand if it does not have any identity. You need to carve your niche and develop product designs based on the niche you have chosen. For example, you can develop designs which are sports-themed and stick to this concept to establish yourself as a sportswear before venturing on other concepts.
Once your niche is established, the design ideas will come in freely. There will be a lot of ideas available for whatever niche you have chosen. It will simply be conscious effort for you to stick to the niche and not come up with design ideas that stray away from your niche. It is better to ask help from professional graphic designers for your designs and have them saved in the computer instead of simply relying on physical sketches which can be lost or damaged and are harder to explain to the manufacturer. Make sure you have high-resolution design files.
The third thing you have to put your focus on is the quality of your shirts. Even if you have great and unique designs yet your shirts come off as poor quality, customers will remain unimpressed of your custom shirts. What is the use of buying a shirt which can only last for a few months? High quality shirts may command higher prices but most consumers definitely understand this relationship and as long as you are confident of your shirt designs then you can get away with the right pricing for your custom shirts. This is true for the shirt material but also the prints or embroideries.
Custom Shirt Production
There are basically three methods available for printing custom shirts. Depending on your level of production, budget and business size; each of the three methods have different pros and cons for your custom shirt company. It is up to you to weigh on their advantages and disadvantages and eventually pick the perfect method for your custom shirt production.
1. Screen Printing
Screen printing is the most basic and traditional form of custom shirt printing. It is a method known to be a cost-effective method especially if you are printing in bulk or large orders. However, screen printing has difficulty handling complex designs or designs which need multiple colors. If you use this method for complicated and colorful designs, the process takes longer and costs will get higher which is not practical for the business in general.
2. Heat Transfer
The heat transfer or heat press printing is perfect for custom shirts since you can easily print a design from your computer directly on to the shirt. This method is ideal if you are thinking of printing several designs out of a single batch of custom shirts. It is important to take note a heat transfer machine are not so costly ($700 to $2000) and the printing results are of lesser quality compared to other printing methods. This is way this printing can also often be done at print shops. It’s more suited for complex designs. When having larger quantities, it is easier and cheaper to do it with wholesale clothing suppliers.
3. DTG (Direct-to-Garment)
The DTG printing method is the latest and highest form of printing technology for custom shirt printing. The process is so convenient since you are basically using a printer to print on a shirt. You can be able to play around with different shades and colors as you can expect the results to be accurate as your design file. The only downside to DTG printing is there would be no possible discounts depending on bulk or large orders since the time it takes to print each shirt is just the same unlike screen printing wherein costs and services can be saved out of bulk orders.
Another great way to customize your t-shirts are embroideries. These are usually more expensive than prints, but also signal higher quality. Embroideries are done with a machine these days that can follow pretty much any logo design you have in mind. However, positioning and processing still requires a lot of manual work. So make sure that your embroidery logo is not too complex if you’re cost sensitive.
There are other aspects on how to make custom shirts but the basics are already covered in this article. Other factors such as custom packaging, inventory and even marketing are sub-topics which are covered in different articles (that you should also consider thoroughly). As long as you know the basics mentioned above, it is easier to jumpstart your custom shirt business. Also check out the history of the t-shirt business to learn more.