Part 2: The Best Way To Start T-Shirt Business On A Budget (Business Add-ons $350-$500)
So now that we have the bases to out t-shirt business it's time to add add on some other equipment.
But before we do that lets clarify a few things.
- By no means do you need these add-ons to start you t-shirt business. So, if your truly on a budget these are add-ons to consider after the business is started and the money is rolling in.
- Consider your businesses customer base before choosing which add-ons to add on to you business. I will clarify what i think each is good for later in the article, but ultimately if you don't believe the products you can add with the respective add-ons will fit your customer bases then it would be no point to add it on until you feel otherwise.
Now that we got those two things out of the way I must add some house keeping verbiage... My goal is to help 1,000 people start t-shirt businesses this article will be a huge part of accomplishing this goal and your help and support will be too. I am here as a tool to share the things I've learned the hard way. The links provided below are affiliate links and provide me a small commission to allow me to keep doing what i am doing. So when you go to make your purchases if you could refer back to this article and use the links provided it would be greatly appreciated. After all I don't teach people how to make t-shirts so i can make money, I make money so i can TEACH MORE PEOPLE HOW TO MAKE T-SHIRTS!
So lets get to these add-ons...
Inkjet Printer & Transfer Paper
The first thing I would add to my business is an inkjet printer and inkjet transfer paper. This will be used to add full color photographs and/or images to t-shirts. The reason I would add this first because this is a season-less add-on. What I mean by that is that you can add photos to shirts no matter what the weather is outside.
So let's start out with what you can now produce with an Inkjet Printer and Transfer Paper and why it is a good addition...
With an inkjet setup you can now produce Celebration T-Shirts for things such as birthdays and graduations by putting photos of the birthday or graduation celebrator or even characters on them. You can also print memorial t-shirts in the same manner. Once you add these to your business you can start to produce highly sentimental shirts for your customers. And when you can add the sentimental value to customers garments I can guarantee to things will happen if you can give them something that they can be proud of.
- They will return.
- They will send other friends and family your way.
I'm not going to be super technical here and I am also going to be honest as always. To me it does not matter what Inkjet printer you use so if you have one working start with that and if you don't like the result then switch to a different printer. Honestly don's expect much of a noticeable difference if it was purchased in the last year or two.
If you do not have an inkjet printer currently or you would just like to purchases a newer printer anyway, then I will let you know what printer I use in just a moment. Please keep in mind technology changes so fast so take these suggestions for what they are worth. The only thing truly tell people to consider when choosing an inkjet printer is to consider the cost of replacement ink.
The first printer i purchases was the Epson Artisan 1430 it is a wide format printer that prints 11x17. It was the best photo printer available at the time some would say and has being used heavily in this industry until it was discontinued. Great printer, but i quickly learned of 2 problems.
- The replacement ink set was $120. I replaced the ink with manufacture ink about twice before I looked for a 3rd party option. I found one that eventually clogged up my print head and led to more unwanted problems. I no longer use 3rd party ink after it messed up my $400 printer. I was able to fix it, but that more likely to be the case because i worked on computers all my life. But it's just not worth the headache or worse money. However if you can find a good 3rd party ink by all means it will save you on some cost and increase you profit.
- I thought I was going to be printing huge 11x17 prints on shirts, but that wasn't the case I came to realize that it was a overkill size for a print. 11x17 sized prints wouldn't allow me to put wording above and below it which is what most customers want when they are purchasing these kinds of shirts.
So with all of that said the Epson Artisan 1430 was bad purchase for what I intended to use it for. Which put me back on the market for a new more cost effective printer for the job. From that I headed to staples and made this video where I went shopping and picked up the Epson XP-640.
You can watch that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fFLj8dIEuQ&t=34s
Epson Expression 6000
There is a new version of this printer now Epson Expression 6000 for $60 you can find here: https://amzn.to/2UV8kFP
And the replacement ink here:
►►Black and Color $73.29: https://amzn.to/2XbjyDs
►►Black Only $24.99: https://amzn.to/2IjxcBm
►►Color Only $48.29: https://amzn.to/2UT0HzN
Because color ink these days are separate you can also grab it by the color which is a plus because after while you may have 2 or 3 cartridges of one color say Cyan, and the Magenta is always running out you can just purchase Magenta cartridges here:
►►Cyan $12.99: https://amzn.to/2ZeNTTN | High Capacity XL $16.99: https://amzn.to/2GhiPd1
►►Magenta $12.99: https://amzn.to/2Ihje2J | High Capacity XL $18.23: https://amzn.to/2Ihk93b
►►Yellow $12.99: https://amzn.to/2Ge75Z2
Inkjet Transfer Paper
The only other thing you need to complete this process is the correct paper. There are a few different brands of inkjet transfer paper, but the paper i uses is by Neenah and it comes in two types one for white and light garments and one for dark garments.
You can find those here:
►► Neenah Dark Transfers 3G Jet-Opaque 50 Sheets $46.55: https://amzn.to/2sP1QZf
►► Neenah Light Transfers Jet-Pro soft stretch 100 Sheets $41.29: https://amzn.to/2TfMTeG
FAQ: How do they hold up in after wash? How many washes do they last?
The most common question asked is about how inkjet transfers hold up after wash and my response is as expected. I personally don't give wash instructions and I have seen people return to get new memorial shirts wearing the one they got a year ago. I cant say how much they wash them, but they look great upon return and they are in fact returning for new ones so that says enough for me.
Truth is this isn't the only way to put full color images on t-shirt nor is it the best way, but what i will say is that its the most cost effective way to get started. To me this is absolutely the best way to start doing so on a budget.
When it comes to heat presses in my opinion you must own a press 15"x15" in size at least. After getting started one might think to upgrade to a larger press 16"x20" when in actuality they should be looking at getting a hat press. The reason being is that a larger press really wont add any profit to your business. Sure you might be able to add some oversized prints in a single press but will that really add profit or a real increase in productivity? In my opinion no.
Adding a hat press will add new product options for your customers to choose from which in turn will add profits to your business.
Don't take my word for it let me break it down for you...
Most hats I purchase cost between $3 and $5. There are some cheaper ones and some more costly of course, but based on the hats I use $3 to $5 is where I want to be. That pretty much is right in line with t-shirts right? Right.
So on to where you really add profit into your business with a hat press and that is material costs. I calculate that the material cost for a basic t-shirt is $2.33 that's for a 12x15 sheet of vinyl. a typical print is 12"x12" so you will be left with some scrap.
When it comes to a hat the typical print size for a hat would be 2"x4" or 2.5"x2.5" which would be 8 square inches. a single square inch of vinyl costs .013 cents and 8 square inches would cost about 10 cents.
Hats for me wholesale at $12.50 and if i am going direct to consumer can sell anywhere from $20-$25, which is pretty much the same as a shirt would sale for.
Lastly, a hat press can can be uses to add finishing touches such as clothing tags or sleeve prints to customer garments more efficiently and speed up productivity. The reason I say more efficiently is because you can do these things with your normal press, however it requires you to do things like flip shirts inside out and use pillows which will be eliminated if you have a smaller more specialized press.
So which hat press should you purchase? There are a few different options. At the moment I am not high on combo presses so until I do further testing I will only recommend hat specific presses.
Hat Press Recommendations
►►HPN Signature Series Cap Press $330: http://cli.re/649Zmn
►►HPN Black Series Cap Press $290: https://cli.re/L9rxxo
►►Cheapest Amazon Hat Press $120: https://amzn.to/2Xg5J70
This article is currently unedited.