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printing highly customised apparel

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Malcolm_X

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Hey,

it's pretty common to have an online business designing T-shirts and selling them on sites like Teespring, Teezily etc. and running ads on Facebook / Instagram to get traffic.

I have a different issue and perhaps someone has done this / is doing this already and can help.

To the point - we have a large audience to sell to already and we're looking to print high quality T-shirts that are beyond the limits of the above mentioned sites..

1. challenge - it's hard to find a printing house with the exact shirt type (in terms of material, cut and style). I contacted H&M and although they are not able to sell for wholesale prices, they are able to deliver the specific T-shirt I am looking for in large quantities.

2. challenge - assuming I'll have the shirts sent directly from H&M to a printing house that can print the designs on them, I didn't come up with a way to conveniently distribute and deliver them to the end client.

Any ideas on how to successfully get this started ?
 

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Argue

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I’m no expert, I know nothing but maybe @Walter Hay can help.
 

Walter Hay

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Normally I would recommend buying direct from manufacturers, but the big brand garment industry presents a problem in that regard. They almost invariably sell through distributors.

In the case of T-shirts they do supply big P.O.D. printers such as Printful, Teespring etc.,

This leaves you with a few alternatives:
1. Buy your shirts from a Print On Demand producer, if they have the brand you want.
2. Buy from wholesalers. In your case you could search for them throughout the EU. I know that there are substantial wholesale distributors in the UK, and until next year at least you would be able to ship duty free from there.
3. Try to obtain a distribution account with the manufacturer. Not easy to do, so if you can actually make contact with them, also ask for names of distributors.

Walter
 

Malcolm_X

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ok, cool. Thanks.

Do you have any tips on the printing ?

I mean, if I find a printing house that would print the designs on the T-shirts we'd give them...
the only way I see is getting them to ship the printed T-shirts back to us again and we'd ship / deliver them to the end clients.

Which is obviously very cost-, time- and labor inefficient.
 

Walter Hay

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ok, cool. Thanks.

Do you have any tips on the printing ?

I mean, if I find a printing house that would print the designs on the T-shirts we'd give them...
the only way I see is getting them to ship the printed T-shirts back to us again and we'd ship / deliver them to the end clients.

Which is obviously very cost-, time- and labor inefficient.
Yes there are some POD businesses that will print on the garments you supply, AND they will ship direct to your customer. They will probably charge you extra because they will only be making a profit on the printing, not on the garment.

The difference between the price you pay a POD business for the blank garment is substantially more than what you would pay for a blank garment when buying from a distributor.

If you are only selling in Germany or other parts of the EU it might be difficult for you to find a willing POD that will do that for you. In the USA the competition is so big that there are a number of places to choose from.

Note that I have referred to them as Print On Demand (POD) not just as printers.

Walter
 

Xeon

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Just my 2-cents.

1) The fee per tshirt done by a POD is usually very high. Based on what I've seen so far, you're looking at 1.5x - 2.5x more than what you would be charged than if you go the screen printing route. If you're using quality blanks, the cost per tshirt will and can easily reach >= US$20. If you add on your fulfilment costs and other things like apparel finishing (swing tags, neck tags, polybags), I don't see how you can make any decent profits from this unless you're selling it at $35-40 per tshirt.

2) POD's printing quality is quite questionable and seems a case of luck. Check out the many, many reviews, articles and videos of all the bigger PODs.

3) POD takes a few business days (2-4+) to get printed each time a customer orders a t-shirt (because these POD companies have a backlog of other customers' t-shirts to print). This increases the time the customer has to wait to get the item.

4) If you want a specific cut and material of tshirt blanks, maybe you can look into cut-and-sew garment manufacturing. There's a lot in the US, not sure about UK. Some of these guys are also clothing line manufacturing companies so they also do printing (screen printing and dye-sub) and finishing, but their MOQ is usually high. So, you would find these guys, get the products all made and done, then ship to you and you ship to your customers. They usually don't do fulfilment.
 

Walter Hay

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@Xeon, you have made good point about costs compared to screen printing. If it is practical to print and stock large quantities of each design, screen printing is by far the most economical.

Walter
 

Xeon

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Oh, and here's a POD in the UK that looks promising: White Label DTG/T-Shirt Printing | Streetshirts

I don't know if they'll allow you to send your own apparel for them to print on, but they do pretty much everything you want including the fulfilment and shipping under your own brand. Their list of guarantees are pretty attractive but disclaimer : I haven't used them before.
 

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