Are you starting a t-shirt business and looking for a way to save on t-shirt blanks? If so, read on because this post is for you.
Quite a few of my private coaching clients and entrepreneurs who have purchased the T-shirt Profits ebook have emailed me recently to ask if the price that they are paying to purchase and print their t-shirts is too high. They are paying $10, $12, $14, even $17 for a t-shirt (the blank tee plus the cost of printing). And they want to sell their tees for $20. So that doesn’t leave much room for profit, let alone going into the wholesale business and selling your shirts to stores.
It’s true that some t-shirt blanks are not cheap, especially if you are looking for an eco-friendly material or a special type of tee. But, on average, you should be paying $3-$7 for a good quality shirt (closer to the $3 side for a white men’s tees and closer to the $7 for an eco-friendly or a special fabric tee). However, where this gets expensive is when you purchase your t-shirt blanks from a printer or a distributor, instead of purchasing directly from the manufacturer.
Printers and distributors need to make money too, so they usually purchase the tees from the manufacturer and mark them up a bit so they can make a profit as well. (I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be purchasing your blanks from your printer or a distributor, because there are definitely some cases in which that makes sense to do). But if you want to keep your costs down, you should be purchasing your t-shirt blanks directly from the manufacturer.
Some manufacturers work only with distributors, in which case you need to purchase your blank tees directly from the distributor. Bella, for example, offers wholesale pricing only through their distributors, so you are not able to purchase directly from them. Anvil works the same way. Alternative Apparel, for example, sells wholesale through their own website, but also works with distributors who typically charge $2-$4 more for the same tee. So if you are using tees from Alternative Apparel for your line, you will get the best price if you purchase directly from Alternative Apparel, rather than from your printer or one of their distributors.
However, even if a company has many distributors, not all of them will sell the same tee for the same price. You should sign up for a wholesale account with a few distributors (maybe 4-6) and see which ones are offering the best price on the blank tees that you are interested in. That way you can minimize your costs and maximize your profits.
And you can also save money on printing. Before you decide to go with a specific printer, make sure to get quotes from at least 5-7 other printers and see which ones are offering the best prices (but make sure their client references check out and that they offer great service – sometimes you do get what you pay for and a cheaper printing cost may mean that the printer is skimping on customer service or their quality is not as great). And the more tees you print (for the same design), the lower the cost per tee. Ask your printer to give you quotes for different quantity breakdowns.
Keep in mind that the fewer print locations and colors you have in your design, the less expensive the printing costs will be. So if you want to sell your tees for $20 and you want to print in four locations and have three colors for each location, that can really add up and it’s not realistic to sell your tees at $20 (especially if you want to sell your tees at wholesale cost).
Every dollar you can save on either printing, shipping or the actual tee itself, will affect your profit margin and your company. So gets lots of quotes from different manufacturers, printers and distributors before you decide on which one makes the most sense for your business.