We have witnessed several individuals begin screen printing to launch their own clothing line. They immediately discover that screen printing is a labor-intensive trade that takes more time and money than they anticipated. When launching a business, especially an apparel line, time is of the essence. These printers are also aware that it will take longer than expected to start generating income, and they require money to acquire the supplies they need to keep printing. As the printer recognizes they need to make more money, they start printing t-shirts for other businesses on the side to help them out financially. Many printers follow this route and begin producing goods for others full-time, gradually losing sight of the brand they started screen printing for in the first place.
We want to explain the pro's and con's of either company type, printing for yourself versus printing for others before you set out on the same path. We intend for this blog to assist you in making a logical and well-informed decision regarding the kind of business you will operate.
Printing Your Own Apparel Line
- Cost-effective: Screen printing is one of the most cost-effective methods of printing apparel in bulk, which can help you save money and make a profit in the long run. By screen printing your own apparel you will be able to save on the cost of labor that would otherwise be outsourced to create your merchandise.
- Quality control: By printing your own apparel you will be able to ensure every print is up to your standard before shipping a product to your customer.
- Lead Times: You will control the lead times for product. For example, if you land a big retail account for your merchandise and the retailer wants 200 t shirts by Monday, you can work all weekend to ensure the order is completed. You are not reliant on another company to produce the merchandise for you.
- Locally Made: A lot of retailers are looking for goods produced locally. By making yourself the artisan of the product you have an easy sales approach for retailers looking for this type of good.
- Time-consuming: Screen printing requires a lot of time and effort, from creating the artwork to setting up the equipment to printing and curing the ink. This can be a an issue if trying to run all other aspects of your apparel line such as sales, design, customer service and marketing.
- High setup costs: Screen printing requires specialized equipment and materials, which can be expensive to purchase and set up, especially for small runs.
- Long training period: You will need to master the art of screen printing before selling your work to individual buyers or retailers. This will require long hours learning the process of screen printing before producing high quality goods.
If you are someone really wanting to start an apparel line, screen printing your own merchandise is not necessary. You can outsource this work to be done so that you can focus on the other aspects of your business. There are many talented printers already specialized in this trade that could produce high quality merchandise for you, saving you time and money. If you are interested in the trade and craft of screen printing, then we suggest you print your own apparel line as you will find fulfillment in the laborious part of the business.
Screen Printing for Other Companies
- Focus on screen printing: If you print for other companies instead of printing your own apparel line you will be able to focus on the screen-printing process. Yes, you will still need to market your business to gain business printing for others, but it will narrow down the workload to your shop alone.
- Steady jobs: Printing for others brings in more consistent revenue to start. Established companies, soccer teams, etc. always need printing services. Selling your own merchandise might not prove to be as lucrative as you thought if there is no demand for your merchandise.
- Repeat business: If you provide high-quality screen-printing services, you may be able to secure repeat business from companies that need custom apparel on a regular basis.
- Limited creative control: Printing for other companies means that you may not have complete creative control over the design and branding of the merchandise.
- Tight deadlines: Companies may have tight deadlines for custom merchandise, which can be challenging to meet if you're also managing other orders.
- Quality control issues: If you're not familiar with the brand and quality standards of the companies you're printing for, you may run into quality control issues that can damage your reputation.
Similarities screen printing for yourself verse screen printing for other companies
Whether you are screen printing for yourself or for others there are some constants that wont change.
- Customer Service: No one loves dealing with angry customers, but it happens no matter what type of business you are running. There is no way to avoid this one unless you outsource the customer service, which is expensive and time consuming.
- Meeting deadlines: Deadlines keep the world in order, whether you are meeting a deadline for another company or retailer, its imperative you meet these dates to keep your clients happy.
- Marketing Efforts: You need to show the world what you got! Services and physical goods require adequate marketing efforts.
- Accounting: You need to keep track of how much money is coming in and out of your business.
In our opinion screen printing your own apparel is a bigger undertaking than printing for other brands or companies. Not only do you need to learn and master the screen-printing process you need to create a demand for your product; this requires skilled marketing. When printing for other companies, the demand already exists. Companies search for screen-printing services, and you can meet that need. If you are creating your own line of apparel, there is not necessarily a demand for your merchandise yet. You will need to create hype and awareness of your merchandise to create demand.
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