Crafting Your Own Custom T-Shirts
With the invention of the T-shirt around the time of the Spanish American War men’s fashion was forever changed, notes T-shirt Spotlight. While they were first issued as a sort of underwear for soldiers the T-shirt became popular as an easy apparel to clean shirt for boys to wear during chores and play. But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that T-shirts really hit their stride. It was then that the shirt became a mode of expression as just about anything anyone could think of could be printed on the shirts; whether it be art, slogans, or just tie-dying it. T-shirts are one of the most ubiquitous pieces of clothing in our society today and they continue to sport a huge variety of styles, art, and slogans.
The best part about T-shirts is that you can create and print your own shirts with your own art designs.
Basic Steps for Making a T-Shirt
Regardless of whether you’re interested in making T-shirts in bulk to sell or just for yourself and some friends or for some sort of one time event, there are some basic steps you will need to take to craft your masterpiece.
- The first step you should take is to figure out what you want on your shirt. You could have everything you need to make a T-shirt but get nowhere if you don’t have an idea of what you want the t-shirt to say. So spend some time figuring out what you want on the shirt; do some drawings and talk with your associates and friends to get some feedback. This step is not only just designing the art piece or slogan for your shirt, it also involves picking the base color of the shirt, picking font and size for lettering, and choosing what material will be used to stick your design on the shirt.
- Once you’ve settled on what your T-shirt will look like, it’s time to find a printer. If you have the equipment and the know-how, it’s entirely possible for you to do all your own printing, but depending on the circumstances of what you’re making your shirt for, doing so could prove troublesome. Instead, shop around your city to find a reliable printer who knows what they’re doing notes Jay Fanelli of Full Stop Interactive.
- You’ll want to find one that fits your needs, whether that is price, quality, distance or a combination of all three. Again, the size of your operation should help you pick the sort of printer you need as well. If you’re doing a small run of shirts for a single event, you probably don’t need to find a printer with industrial level equipment designed for mass-market printing. But on the other hand, you might want that big printer if you’re looking to sell your own line of shirts.
- If you were looking to make a limited run of shirts for a group of people or an event, once you found a printer you’d basically be done. But if you’re looking to start an online business or add T-shirts to an existing line of products, then you’ll need to have some marketing says Printmojo.com. Marketing is really nothing more than a different term for ‘letting people know’ about your product. Having a suave website to display your beautiful T-shirts is definitely a good idea, but there are other ways to get the word out as well explains Yancey Strickler, founder of Kickstarter. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool for marketing, but it can be limiting in its speed and reach (unless you go viral, then you basically get free marketing to millions). Don’t be afraid to run promotions, or give some samples away to bring people in, trust is an integral aspect when selling a product; the customer has to trust that your shirt is worth their money and interest.
- Once your shirts are rolling off the printers and being purchased on your website, it’s time to get to shipping them out to your eager customers. However you decide to organize your shipping system, make sure you stick to whatever system you picked. Whether you do everything by hand in an excel spreadsheet or through special software, make sure that you keep track of every shirt you make and every order you take. Knowing what your inventory holds and what has already been sent out will help when you get those inevitable emails or phone calls from customers who will complain about something.
Keeping Your Customers Happy
While word of mouth can be great for getting some free marketing, it can also work against you to terrible effect, nothing spreads as fast as a disgruntled customer’s complaint. You will get customers contacting you no matter what, so make sure you or your employees know what they are doing when they have to field complaints ranging from ‘this shirt doesn’t fit’ to ‘when will you have more of this shirt’. While the old saying “the customer is always right” isn’t always that correct, the idea behind it is still very important. Don’t be afraid to send another T-shirt to replace a defective one or to give someone a discount, keeping your customers happy, willing to come back, and willing to talk to other people about your shirts is worth the price of a single shirt or discount.