T-Shirt printing business

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Preemo, Aug 15, 2011.

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  1. Preemo

    Preemo UKBF Regular Free Member

    201 17

    This is a problem I have come across recently, and I bet a lot of people come across it too.

    Basically, do you think there's a business for T-Shirt printing (anything from simple letters to a picture), but not actually printing it yourself. Like paying another company to print it for you, then being paid to send it to your client.

    The reason I'm asking is because I'm only 16, so I imagine the machines will cost thousands to rent, let alone buy.

    It will probably sound stupid as you'll say "Why wouldn't the client just go to the original company who prints the T-shirts?".

    Best Regards
    Posted: Aug 15, 2011 By: Preemo Member since: Jan 12, 2011
  2. KateCB

    KateCB UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,258 534
    There are many, many businesses doing this - we print our own range and of course print for our customers, but for orders that are larger than we can handle we go to larger manufacturers to do it for us. Once you get to 500 garments to produce in a 10 day turnaround with multiple print positions (i.e. chest, sleeve, back) then it is hard to handle unless you are set up on a large scale.

    Machines vary from £300 for a single heat press (Second user at this cost)to £10,000's for large quantity machines; then there are the actual printers to print the designs, be they sublimation printers or cad cut for garment film - a basic set up with a heat press, cad cut, sublimation printer can cost as little as £5,000, then of course you need the inks, garment films and software......but its not too bad an investment for a smaller business!

    There is a business called red lizard - all the designs are theirs, but they don't print anything, they out source the lot and simply sell the garments, and they have been doing it for at least 10 years.....
    Posted: Aug 15, 2011 By: KateCB Member since: May 11, 2006
  3. Digital Ark

    Digital Ark UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    246 28

    I set up a screen printing and embroidery business in the 90's. I started with a single head, single base screen printing machine and then upgraded to a 4 colour machine with speed base, tunnel dryer and then added embroidery.

    My initial outlay for the single colour screen printing machine and spot dryer was about £500. I was lucky that I had a chap locally who I sub contracted the production and reclaiming of screens (what you use to print the designs).

    However, there is an easy way to start thanks to the internet. Go to spreadshirt, create some cool designs, set your profit margin and you are in business.

    Another option is to buy a second habd heat press (I would suggest setting up a 10 mile search to your location as they are too heavy to post), and then buy in stock transfers. You can print transfers using inkjet printers but these are usually not very good.

    Sign-up to dyesub forums as this is full of people with garment printing businesses covering laser, dyesub, digital, screen, transfer and a few more.

    Finally sign-up for Images Magazine which is the trade journal for garment printing.

    Good luck.

    Posted: Aug 15, 2011 By: Digital Ark Member since: Jun 16, 2011
  4. KateCB

    KateCB UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,258 534
    I shipped out a heatpress recently that I no longer needed - cost me £18 shipping. I have another one for sale at the moment with three platterns, which again I will ship out!

    Another trade magazine is Printwear and Promotion (free) , lots of ideas and information in there too, and the have an exhibition at the NEC each Feb/March where you can see everything available...
    Posted: Aug 15, 2011 By: KateCB Member since: May 11, 2006
  5. retromunky

    retromunky UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    20 2
    It's certainly possible, in fact that model is partly what my business is built upon. :)

    To be totally honest, because of the greatly reduced margins (after my supplier has taken their chunk) I'd be struggling if I just resold printed t-shirts, however I found other opportunities to branch out which have helped me so far.

    If you have a decent range of good quality, original designs then you can make it a success - it's when you're trying to compete on price with the thousands of other resellers of the same old designs that it can be tough to earn a crust from it.

    If you're looking to come up with your own designs then there's always scope to have these transferred onto other items too, giving additional scope for profit.
    Posted: Aug 15, 2011 By: retromunky Member since: Jul 18, 2011
  6. huzefa siamwala

    huzefa siamwala UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2 0
    Hey we are a company in india, which does embroidery digitizing and artwork like ( verctorization, line art , color seperation ) etc.. I have a lot of companies in UK which out source their work to me. The advantage is, you save on investments on machinery softwares etc, you save on man power, the turn-around time is much faster. Also digitizing is done for £2/ thousand stitches with the best quality assurance and money back guarantee.

    Plz tell me how i could approach such companies.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
    Posted: Aug 16, 2011 By: huzefa siamwala Member since: Aug 11, 2011
  7. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,521 273
    I've been printing t-shirts, part time and full time for around 15 years.

    I recall a whole bunch of orders for an inter company fun day which featured individual laser transfer designs on around 500 shirts. A quality shirt cost me £1, the transfers £1. I sold them for £12-£15 each and this was in 1999!

    I'd be pleased to get anywhere near that sort of margin these days.

    It's a jungle out there at the moment and despite the simplicity of the business there are numerous elements such as design, and the time it takes, stock, colour, size, style control and the subsequent costs that chip away at the bottom line.

    As an aside, and maybe this is one for another thread, can I ask why you, KateCB and DigitalArk are prepared to give so much detail about how to set up in what is effectively competition for you, and dependent on where the OP lives, possibly me as well?

    I've just lost an occasional (Mousemat)customer who found that a rhinestone application set up they'd seen can also be used to cad cut football sponsor logo's. Who told them? A local screenprinter who was serving 3 of the local leagues and is now wondering where his regulars are going!!?
    Posted: Aug 16, 2011 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
  8. jhardy2008

    jhardy2008 Banned

    334 31
    no idea...
    Posted: Aug 16, 2011 By: jhardy2008 Member since: Jul 2, 2010
  9. OCP

    OCP UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    65 38
    We do this on a daily basis for many customers distributing worldwide. i would say it works well although direct to garment printing and vinyl printing seem to be the method of choice as these can be produced as 1 off's with no set up costs.

    We make it very easy for the customer offering integration of the back end of our site if need be to make the order system automatic.

    If anyone would like any information about this PM me or give me a call on 0114 2689478. i would be happy to help

    All the best

    Posted: Aug 16, 2011 By: OCP Member since: Mar 2, 2009
  10. alex.t

    alex.t UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1 0
    i want to start my t-shirt printing business ( sublimation printing ).
    Any ideas who is supplying the full business kit with the finance option?
    Posted: Apr 28, 2012 By: alex.t Member since: Apr 28, 2012
  11. VSpy1

    VSpy1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    509 51
    I would add a note of caution here - I know of a few people that have gone down this route and thought it would be easier to turn a profit than it actually was... I would definately recommend buying in transfers and applying via a heatpress, rather than buying in all the other equipment - at the start anyway... You can also get 'plastisol' transfers made up from your designs, which are basically vinyl transfers produced from a screen, so they look good and will probably outlast the tshirt fabric! Because there are soo many different ways to print, I would try to sample several styles and then you know what works best for you...then once you are up and running, you could then buy the relevant equipment....
    Posted: May 2, 2012 By: VSpy1 Member since: Apr 29, 2012
  12. VSpy1

    VSpy1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    509 51
    Try searcing for BMS - url is printerowners...

    also join (search) dye sub forum....
    Posted: May 2, 2012 By: VSpy1 Member since: Apr 29, 2012
  13. Kevin H

    Kevin H UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    97 45

    I did work for someone in the printed products industry a while ago (who will also do what you need and print for you and you can then ship out); BUT I would imagine the margins are slim for you doing that.

    Also, as someone mentioned earlier, if you want to get into the industry fully with presses/embroidery machines etc fully then be aware this is a cut-throat industry to try and get into.

    Before jumping in to 'do it all' yourself with the outlay etc I would go and work for someone doing it for a while (if you haven't already); either a paid summer job, or work experience, or just volunteer to help out to get some experience. Then you can see what is involved and get a real idea of what you would need to do to succeed.

    If you still like the 're-seller' option better then as you already think, you will be struggling to get around the 'why don't they just get them direct'; it is possible, but you would need to get creative on both your marketing and your 'buying pitch' to get a deal to make it worthwhile.
    Your best bet here, I think, would be to have your own designs and 'pre-sell' them, then print to order (maybe have something ready for xmas, school/college/uni graduation, local sports team before season starts, ???). Once again this will come down to a marketing challenge.

    Either way, good on you for getting out there and thinking about how you can succeed for yourself - good luck which ever way you go :)
    Posted: May 2, 2012 By: Kevin H Member since: Feb 27, 2012
  14. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,521 273
    If only it were that easy...

    Several times a year I have people call me with a 'great' design that they want put on a t-shirt, they'll sell a couple and 'then we'll order dozens more off you when people see them'.........Err, no they won't!

    The success of the KEEP CALM range of shirts came pretty much out of knowhere, a fad, a passing phase that will die just as the next idea comes along. I've attended numerous events, some of which have featured my own designs, where the major players exhibit and have seen some fantastic unique stuff that simply does not sell. One company exhibiting at a clothing specific trade show at Londons Business Design centre sold just £35 worth of orders over 4 days. Quality stuff as well.
    Posted: May 3, 2012 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
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