How to pick the right sizes for your t-shirt order

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.

Cheers,
Adam Hendle
adam@threadbird.com
@iamthetrend


Common Misconceptions: Screen Printers Carry Stock

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…

Cheers,
Adam Hendle
adam@threadbird.com
@iamthetrend


Threadbird Artist Series: Fright Rags

One of the coolest things about working at Threadbird is getting to work with great people… and great artists. This week we’re starting a new series of features called the “Threadbird Artist Series”. Every so often, we’ll be interviewing a new artist that you may or may not have heard of. Help spread the love: Tweet the blog post, pass along the emails, tell your friends… and buy their stuff!
This week we interviewed Benjamin Scrivens from Fright Rags.

Fright Rags

Tell us about yourself… and why “Horror”?

My name is Benjamin Scrivens and I studied and worked as a graphic designer before making Fright-Rags my full time job. Horror movies have been a part of my life from the day I saw the original Halloween at the tender age of 4. Since then, I have practically lived and breathed horror in some form or another. It’s just always around me and present in pretty much anything I do. So when I was thinking of starting my own business, something horror related was a natural choice for me. As for t-shirts, I just felt that there wasn’t anything out there that spoke to me as a fan. All I saw were one/two color poster art reproductions. I wanted something smart & original so I decided to design shirts that I would wear myself. And when I posted the designs on a horror forum that I was an active member of, others liked them as well. It was then that I thought I could actually sell a few of them for fun.

I started the website in September 2003. My first batch of shirts sold pretty well, which allowed me to design and print a second series, and after that I just kept going. All the while I just looked at it as a hobby, but as the years went on, it started to develop a following. I got more serious about it in early 2005 and decided to take it as far as I could go with it. Within just a few months, we were selling to Hot Topic and the online business was growing exponentially, though I was still managing everything myself. Finally, in early 2008, I decided to quit my job and dedicate my full time and attention to Fright-Rags and have done so ever since. In that time we’ve grown out of two offices and I’ve taken on two full time employees and one part time employee. To this day, I see Fright-Rags as a way to bring horror fans of all ages together to share our common love for the genre. We just happen to provide the wardrobe!

What’s the most exciting thing about getting up to do what you do every day and why?

Working with people who have the same passion for horror as I do and using Fright-Rags as a conduit for all the connections we make with our friends, customers, and business partners. I get to work with my friends and just have fun celebrating something that I probably should have grown out of years ago. But here I am…33 years old and instead of wearing some button-down shirt and working in a cubicle farm, I can throw on my Evil Dead shirt and jeans and go hang with my friends at the office while horror movies play in the background. It’s amazing and I feel lucky and blessed to be able to do what I do.

How do you decide what characters/movies you want to do a shirt of and what goes into the design process?

At this point, the process is multi-faceted. Sometimes a designer presents me with an idea, and we discuss what to do with it. I always have a list going of things I want to do, or requests from people. And from there I just work with a designer and we collaborate on what we think looks best.

What do you think it is about Fright Rags that keeps people coming back and why?

While I do believe our original designs and quality printing are high on the list of what makes people come back to us, I also feel as though it is our connection with our customers that strengthens the bond. Because we are fans ourselves, we speak the same language. We’re not selling to people…we’re just creating stuff that people – and ourselves – want to wear. Plus, we show people how we do it…we show the stages of how a design is brought to life, what it looks like when it’s being printed, and even where we work. I believe in transparency of business wherever possible and I enjoy showing people the process and allowing them to be a part of it.

What are you most passionate about outside of Fright Rags… explain?

My wife and my two children are certainly my number one priority, and I enjoy all the time I get to spend with them and love being a dad. Between Fright-Rags and that, I don’t have much time for anything else, haha. However, I do enjoy exercising (biking, running, weights) which I do regularly, as well as ski in the winter. I also have a passion for great beer (mostly American microbrews) and the occasional fine cigar.

Give us your 3 must see horror movies?

  • Halloween (’78)
  • Night of the Living Dead (’68)
  • Psycho (’60)

A couple random “desert island” questions… if you could only take one of each?

  • Book: I love books…especially Stephen King. I also love business books (more on the philosophy or work and business), but I’m not sure any of those would do me any good if I was stranded. So I think I’d pick The Ultimate Survival Guide by John Wiseman.
  • Music: Ugh, this is a toughy…especially because I have a pretty wide range of taste when it comes to music, and what I listen to largely depends on my mood. But if I had to pick one specific album, it may have to be the Ramones “All This Stuff and More” Vol 1.
  • Something Else?: A Swiss Army knife.

Is there a featured product right now?

We just released some new over-the-zipper print hoodies that are fantastic (thanks to Threadbird!).  And on Friday October 29 we will be releasing 6 brand new designs that are some of our best yet!

Is there a sale going on or a possible Coupon code we can give out with the feature?

Sure, customers can use THREADBIRD10 for 10% off their next order. Expires 12.31.10.

Thanks Ben!

Below are just a few shirts from Fright-Rags, be sure to check out the rest right now!