Coco Channel famously said, ‘dress shabbily and they remember the clothes; dress impeccably and they remember the woman’. Whether you’re after shirts for fledgling clothing line, merch for your band, or simply ‘…on tour’ t-shirts for your friend’s stag party, no one wants to pay for custom made clothing for a special occasion only to receive a shabby, poor quality product. If you’re thinking of ordering some customised clothing then, make sure you follow the tips below so that people remember you and not just the garms.
Know your materials
Prices for your custom clothing will vary depending on your specifications. There’s usually two main components you’ll need to worry about. The garment itself and the ink used printed onto it.
If you’re thinking of starting a clothing line, quality is going to matter more. You would be better off sourcing the garments yourself and finding a printer willing to work with these than relying on the stock the printer has in, over which you will have less control.
The same applies for band merchandise. I’ve personally been through more band t-shirts than I care to remember. Usually, they fall apart at the seams as a result of excessive sweating in mosh pits. If threadbare shirts full of armpit holes are the aesthetic your band is going for great, otherwise try and get something more durable.
Try and find out the ink the printer will be using. We’ve all had t-shirts with a rubbery plastic design printed on that cracks and falls off after few washes. This is plastisol ink and if you want your design to last, you should probably avoid. If possible, plump for the discharge ink. This colours the fabric itself and last much longer.
Economies of Scale
This is a universal business rule. Buy more and you’ll get a cheaper rate. Ask the printer where the cut-offs for discount fall. If you need 40 shirts it may be just as cheap to buy 50. A good custom clothing printer should make you aware of this but it’s always worth checking. By a similar token, if you have a projection of how many units you plan to move, buy as many as you can in bulk. It might hurt at first, but will fetch you a higher margin per unit resale.
What are you being charged for?
Often you won’t just be charged for materials and labour. There can be quite a number of steps involved in setting up a custom print, and some printers will charge you for each one.
Setting up the press, mixing ink, as well as any number of unnecessary extras can be charged for and if you’re not careful these can end up almost doubling the unit price that was originally quoted.
Keep the design simple
Chances are if you’re looking to get these designs printed yourself, you’ll have come up with the design yourself. Do yourself a favour and keep it simple. It makes the brand more recognisable and will cost far less in printing.
The same goes for colours. Black on white is plenty simple and effective for most bands. Just look at your local HMV at the design on big name band t-shirts for example. If simply cannot do without a second colour, keep it simple and effective.