Sunday, August 12, 2012

How to make your own T-Shirt Company

Isn't technology awesome?

I mean seriously. It used to be if you wanted to make your own t-shirt company you basically just learned how to make screen prints, purchased lots of cheap blank shirts and then did all the work of screen printing onto the t-shirts yourself.

These days you can just get CafePress or a similar website to do it for you (and pay an arm and a leg for shipping), but that really cuts into your profit margin.

But what if you could just buy a machine that did all that for you? Now I admit Industrial Embroidery Equipment is pretty expensive. Out of the range of most people, but it can be done if you're willing to make the investment.

And a lot of the process can now be easily automated, so the onus on you is really to just set it up the way you like it, let the machine do the work and your job is really to get the sales.

Check out the amusing video below:

Now I admit that is an awesome video and the cartoon mouse sure makes it look easy.

But consider the prices. I browsed and the cheapest machine I could find was $7,500. (American dollars of course.)

The prices of the various machines weighed in between $7,500 to $55,000 USD. So yeah, if you have the money you could get a machine to do all the work for you.

So really you would just need to design the clothing, program the machine and then find buyers for your products, followed by shipping and accounting costs. (And buy the materials, of course. Thread, fabric, etc.)

I think the hardest part of all that would actually be "programming the machine" to do embroidery work on a t-shirt. That sounds super technical and I wonder just how easy the software allows you to do that.

Okay, so I admit that does sound like significant work, but it may all be worth it, especially if you're selling in bulk. But it beats having everything sewn in third world countries by sweatshop labour (*cough cough* slave labour *cough cough*).

Next lets pretend you are up to the challenge and have 10s of thousands of dollars to be spent on machinery. What will you actually design?

In theory you could do quite a few different designs. There are certainly lots of options out there. Worse comes to worst you could just browse Facebook for ideas for slogans, artwork, etc... just so long as nothing is copyrighted.

Speaking for myself I would have t-shirts made of all my artwork, use quotes from famous people (quotes are copyright free) and whenever the inspiration struck me make random limited runs of various things. And then sell it all on fashion blogs like Fashion Salon, etc.

However I am a very creative person. I create new things every day of my life. I would have to be in a coma to not be creating something physical (and even then I'd still be dreaming in a creative way).

Note to Self: If I ever end up in a coma I must remember to wake up and ask for a pint of stout. (Magnum PI fans will like that idea.)

So anywho, having your own t-shirt company (and the heavy machinery to do the actual work) isn't for everyone. You would have to be very creative in the first place. Preferably with some training in the fashion industry.

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