There are tons of different t-shirts brands out there, so don’t feel bad when you have no idea where to start when ordering yours. Hopefully this guide can help you out. Here are our four best t-shirts for screen printing:
“I can’t find ANYTHING I like!” Sound familiar? If you’ve ever spent countless hours looking for new clothes and end up with a whole lot of nothing – it might be time to take things into your own hands. What better way to get something you actually like than to have the resources readily available to create your own custom clothing?
You have spent months working with your artists and designers getting your vision exactly how you want it on a t-shirt. You are all set and about to place your first t-shirt order with your screen printer (hopefully Threadbird ) and then it hits you. What size tees should I order?! I can say from experience there is really nothing worse than losing a potential customer because you do not have their size!
So what size tees should you order?
Unfortunately there is no magic answer, equation or rule to answer this question. Conventional thought is that you should order with a 1-2-2-1 ratio and honestly if you have no clue where to start it is not a bad ratio to follow. A lot of customers will be able or willing to go up a size in a tee and try to shrink it. Weighing everything more towards the middle just makes common sense with the thought that the majority of people fall somewhere in the middle and thus you will be covered most of the time.
There has to be a better way!
Although there is no magic formula and it always seems like you run out of the size you need, knowing your customer base is really the key to getting your tee order right. After several runs and releases of different lines with your company you will and should start to be able to see a pattern of what sizes are selling best. But if this is your first release I recommend trying to stereotype your customers as much as possible. Yes, stereotyping is usually not a good thing, but in this case it could really help you.
Know your customer
Really think about whom your customer is and what type of demographic they fit into. For this I’ll use a first hand example. I run a company called Pong Deck that makes a game that goes along with Beer Pong. Aside from our Pong Deck game we also sell a few t-shirts. When ordering these tees, I literally took into consideration that most beer pong players, like to drink copious amounts of beer and thus not all of them are in the most fit shape and are a bit larger than the Warped Tour emo crowd. So when placing my order I made sure to heavily weigh my ratio towards XL and 2XL shirts. On the other hand if your demographic is the emo crowd whom love skinny jeans and tight shirts you probably aren’t going to be ordering a ton of XL shirts. I know it sounds mean to stereotype your customers, but you have to be honest with who your demographic is, because you are trying to meet their needs!
Bottom line, know your target market to the best of your abilities.
Of course there is no perfect solution when ordering sizes, just try and do your best to put yourself in the shoes of your market and if all else fails resort to the 1-2-2-1 method.
In this series of articles, I am going to attempt to uncover some of the most common misconceptions that customers have about screen printing. Hopefully through these articles the world of screen printing will make more sense to you and lift the veil of mystery behind how your t-shirts actually get made.
The first misconception that customers have about screen printers is that they actually stock t-shirts on their shelves. A few years ago, when I was getting shirts printed for my band, I just assumed that the screen printer had all the t-shirts on hand. Working at Threadbird has shown me that many people have the same assumption.
So lets talk a bit about the reasons, positives and negatives, why most screen printing companies don’t carry stock themselves.
Reason #1: Too many brands, styles and colors
Let’s use our most popular selling t-shirt, the American Apparel 2001 unisex tee, as an example. The AA 2001 alone (not including the AA 2001 Organic) comes in almost 60 different colors and 7 different sizes! Take a moment to envision how much warehouse space would be required to stock that inventory. Now multiply those numbers out over the 30+ styles of standard crew neck t-shirts that Threadbird offers…
Reason #2: Manufacturers, wholesalers and shipping times
There are wholesalers out there that specialize in buying stock directly from manufacturers. These companies warehouse and ship stock to screen printers within a matter of days! They have the warehouse space, buying power and shipping power and play a vital step in the success of getting your t-shirts to us, allowing us our to concentrate on our specialty, screen printing.
Reason #3: Money, money, money…
Most importantly, not stocking inventory allows us to keep costs down and keep customers happy.
Does ordering stock slow down the process?
The entire screen printing process (normally) takes around two weeks to complete and getting stock only takes a matter of days which really never effects the customer. The only times there might be an issue are if a customer changes their mind on what stock they want after an order is placed or suppliers (occasionally) run out of certain sizes or colors. Having stock run out is not very common, but can happen from time to time. In the event that certain stock does run out, Threadbird is excellent at finding you a comparable option.
How will I know if I like the feel and fit?
Threadbird will gladly order sample blanks for you so that you know exactly how the shirt will feel, fit and look. Never hesitate to ask your Threadbird rep if you have questions on blanks or if you really want a hands on approach have them order you some blanks and compare for yourself!
We hope this helps! Stay tuned for the next installment of Common Misconceptions…
To make the process of ordering screen printing as awesome as possible for both you and your printer, there are three tools we recommend that all printing clients have on hand. And our list might surprise you.
1. A Pantone Matching System (PMS) formula guide.
Pantone guides can be a bit on the pricey side, but if you are getting ready to drop a lot of dough on screen printing your precious designs, it’s probably worth the investment. Pantone Formula Guides run about $100 new, but you can usually find them used on eBay or Craigslist for about $50.
For those of you who are already confused — Pantone is THE world authority on color. Since the 1960s, its matching system has been standardizing colors throughout the art world. More than 1,500 colors each have a number assigned to them (e.g., PANTONE 185 C) to help artists communicate their color visions to printers, which is their ultimate purpose. Because the color callibration of computer monitors all differs a little bit, this system makes sure we can all stay on the same page.