The start of a New Year and the start of a new business… that’s poetic right? One of our most popular webinars of last year was “Start Your Home T-Shirt Business”. So to start off the New Year, we’re going to go through the steps to starting your home business and talk them out a little bit more.
So, without further delay… let’s start your new t-shirt business!
#1 – Legal Details
This can easily be the most intimidating part of the process. For the purpose of this blog, we are using the State of Ohio as an example. And a very handy resource is available right at Ohio.gov – a PDF called Starting A Business in Ohio. This guides you through the steps of what registrations are necessary (IRS, Workers Compensation, etc…) and goes a step further to describe the types of licenses available, and what’s necessary.
In Ohio you’re required to register your business with the Secretary of State. This process is quick and only requires you to fill out several pieces of information on the Secretary of State website. You’re also required to register with the Ohio Department of Taxation, which is also possible online using their “Ohio Business Gateway”. Lastly you also have the Vendor’s License which only costs $25.00.
The benefit to completing these steps is that your business is legal and you’ll be able to receive wholesale pricing from your vendors. Having a legal business can also benefit you for tax purposes. Not to mention the companies that won’t even sell to you unless you have a valid business. In addition to that, if your business, in the state of Ohio, is owned 51% or more by a woman, there are even additional resources and benefits available to you.
Keep in mind these are only meant to be tips to start the legal side of your business – you should visit YOUR state’s website and search to see what additional steps may be necessary to do business in your area. You can even try an internet search for the phrase “starting a business in _____” with your state.
#2 – Location
Okay – so where is your business going to be? You are most likely starting your business at home. Problem solved, right? Not quite… are customers going to come to you? Or are you going to them? If they come to you, do you have a space dedicated to your heat printing business? Beyond that, in your work-space do you have enough counter top space? You’ll need room for your heat press, for boxes of garments, boxes of transfers, and a place to lay finished garments. Printing at home certainly saves you money. But the secret to making it work is planning ahead and making sure you’ve planned for these things.
If you’re going a step further and considering a retail space then here’s something to think about: How much space do you need? What is the minimum amount of space that a heat printing business needs? It’s technically possible to run a heat printing business out of a 3 foot by 3 foot kiosk with an outlet. But this may not fit all business models. The question becomes, what is your specialty? Do you have retail opportunities? Does the amount of business you believe you’re going to do justify any retail space?
#3 – Your Name
This is the easy one, right? Just pick a name. But we see a lot of business names that aren’t always well thought through. A clever name for your business is all well and good. But is it a name that people are going to remember? Is it something that pertains to what you do? If your name is clever, but it doesn’t SAY what you do then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. And here’s another tidbit that can influence your decision: is the web domain available? You might have come up with a good name that says what you do. But if the web domain isn’t available, and you plan to someday have a website, should you keep the name?
Another word of advice here: Make sure the name you choose isn’t trademarked. Using a trademarked company name is just asking yourself for a lawsuit which you probably won’t win. So just to be safe, here’s our suggestion. Go to www.USPTO.gov and do a trademark search for the company name you wish to use.
Our new glitter letters are the perfect companion to your glitter transfers or to add a little bling to any printing. The Pro Block (Plain Block) letters are sold in a kit. The 2” size contains 750 letters; 40 each of ACEILMNORSTU and 20 each of the remaining. The 3” size contains 620 letters; 40 each of AEORS and 20 each of the remaining.
The glitter alphabet kits are available in Black, Red, Yellow Gold, Royal, Pink and Sliver. The letters are easy to layout and can be positioned on top of your screen printed transfers! Add a personal name or fun phrase to your shirts to make each shirt a one of a kind! Glitter Flake is recommended for cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blend fabrics. Due to the combination of fabrics, weaves, coatings and dyes used in the textile industry, we recommend and provide samples for testing.
As a special introductory offer through 5/15/13, if you order 2 kits, the third is free. This is a great time to stock up and have these on hand for your summer orders!
Have you ever combined a heat transfer with embroidery? If so, you may want to consider entering Stitches 2012 Golden Needle Competition™. This year there is a category for Embroidery & Heat-Printing Decoration. The winners will be featured in the November issue.
Now before you discount doing this because you may feel that you have not done anything exciting or creative enough to have any chance of winning, here’s a few things to consider.
Even if you don’t win, entering a contest creates an opportunity for you to increase your company’s exposure. Be sure and take several photos of every entry you submit. These photos should be posted to your website and your Facebook page with the announcement that you have entered them in a national decorating contest.
If you choose a garment you have done for a customer, you will want to obtain permission to submit the design. If the client grants permission, when you post the photo of the client’s shirt to your Facebook page, be sure and tag your client’s Facebook page so it also shows up there. You might also include a thank you for the use of the shirt as an entry. Your post will then show up on your client’s page, which brings your business to the attention of potential new customers.
While you may think that the competition is stiff in these competitions, in some cases this really is not the case. If you have ever viewed entries from other decorated apparel contests such as the Impressions Awards, you might notice that some categories attract only 10-20 entries. So you really have a much better chance than you think of winning.
If you do win, not only are you featured in Stitches Magazine, but you now have a reason to post again to your Facebook page, Twitter, Linked In, and submit a press release to your local media about winning this award. And of course, this should be on the home page of your website.
Ideally, you also create a nice framed piece of your published winning entry in Stitches magazine that you put up on the wall of your showroom or area where customers walk in and can see it.
Stitches is accepting entries until Monday, May 21. You can view the categories here:
You can download an entry form here: https://www.asisafe.com/asiinternet/htmlemails/stitchesAwards/form.htm
If you enter and would like to be featured in this blog (whether or not you win), please contact Deborah Sexton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms used when ordering apparel can be confusing. A special thank you to team member Andy Curtiss who did some research on what they mean and how it comes into play when applying heat transfers.
Denier– A unit of measurement that indicates how fine the weave of a material. Specifically, denier references to the weight of a fiber. For example, 1 denier = 1 gram per 9,000 meters of a fiber. So this means that the higher the number, the heavier the weight of the fibers used. A lightweight garment has a lower denier. For example, a woman’s nylons could be 7 denier. But a heavy duty nylon awning could be 1,000 denier. This does not affect heat printing.
Moisture Wicking – This term refers to some fabrics abilities to absorb sweat from your skin and pull it through to the outside of the garment. This leaves your skin dry and comfortable and allows the sweat to evaporate more quickly. Both nylon and polyester have the capacity to wick moisture as noted above. This term alone has no effect on the adhesion of our product as it is NOT a special coating, but a natural ability of some fibers.
Dri-Fit, Aerocool and Cool Mesh – These are trademarked or brand terms that refer to a type of jersey in which nylon or polyester has been mixed with cotton or another natural fiber. These garments are advertised as not only good at wicking away sweat, but the added natural fibers like cotton make the garment more breathable and comfortable, allowing a person to cool down more quickly. So when dealing with these garments, we will always need to ask: polyester or nylon.
Porthole, Mini, & Micro Mesh – These are all terms that simply refer to the size of the holes and the denier (weight) of the mesh fabric. All three can either refer to polyester mesh or nylon mesh. The largest holes with the heaviest denier are generally the porthole mesh which is used for some football jerseys or mesh laundry bags. In contrast, the micro mesh has tiny holes and smaller denier and it is used for basketball and lacrosse jerseys. Mini mesh is between the other two and can be used in any of the sports previously mentioned as well as soccer. When a customer mentions any of these products we should immediately ask if it’s nylon or polyester and make the appropriate transfer type choices from there – don’t ever assume!
Tricot Mesh – Tricot is a term that refers to a style of knitting or weaving. The tricot style will generally leave one side of a garment smooth and the other side textured. Tricot mesh is this style of weave used in a mesh jersey. These are often times a higher end jersey in the sports world (it is also used in undergarments and sleeping bags). Tricot mesh comes in both polyester and nylon varieties so we need to ask when customers mention it – don’t assume!
Performance Wear – A garment that is worn close to the skin because of its wicking properties. Performance wear is made to be tight, but flexible so it can be worn under a uniform or as a uniform itself in some sports. Some performance wear is worn as a loose fit. These garments can be decorated with any of our products that are appropriate for polyester. However, other performance wear is referred to as compression fit. These garments are worn skin tight and will generally stretch to some degree. For this fit you should use Elasti Prints® or CAD-PRINTZ™. You will hear the terms moisture wicking, dri-fit and aerocool occasionally in conjunction with performance wear (see above for their definition).
Sublimation – A high end process of decorating garments that involves dying the garment with a gas process. Garments are polyester and start the process as white or very light grey. After the sublimation process is complete, the garment will show a different color(s) on the outside, but still show the original white or light grey on the inside. The only catch to the process is that it easily suffers from dye migration (see below). The only transfer type that can be safely used is CAD-PRINTZ Sub Block.
Vector vs Raster Art:
There are basically two different types of art – vector and raster (bitmap/jpg). Both are useful depending on your end use.
Raster art is made up of tiny boxes known as pixels. An example of a raster image is a digital photograph. Typically, rasterized files end with file extensions such as .jpg, .tif, .bmp, .gif, and .png. One of the most common mistakes made with raster art has to do with scaling (sizing) a rasterized image larger. Since raster art is resolution dependent, you can scale smaller, but you shouldn’t scale larger. This is because there are only so many pixels in the image. Raster images are measured by their dpi (dots per [linear] inch). A crisp, high resolution image will be around 300 pixels per inch. When scaling larger, the same amount of pixels remain, but over a larger area. Therefore, if you scale a high resolution (300 dpi) photo twice the size, you now only have 150 pixels per inch, which is half the resolution previously. When scaling larger, the pixels per inch decreases, which in turn makes the resolution decrease. This creates the distorted and pixilated look.
Vector art, on the other hand, is not resolution dependent. You can scale it larger or smaller and it will still look the same. Vector art can be used on a golf ball or the same art can be used on a billboard and either one will look clear. This type of art uses mathematical formulas to create the artwork. There are no pixels involved. Instead, it uses points and curves to create shapes. This type of artwork is created in applications such as CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator, which can have file extensions such as .cdr, .ai, and .eps.
How does this all fit in to our transfers?
Rasterized artwork is fine for our CAD-PRINTZ™ digital transfers as long as it is high resolution at full size (300 dpi or higher). Also for our digital transfers, vector artwork is perfectly acceptable as well.
If you are interested in our screen printed transfers, the printing process differs some. In this case, you can send us raster artwork, however, it will only be used as a guide from which the artwork will be recreated. Vector art is preferred for screen printing.
Baseball All Star teams are forming and these teams will need uniforms. Start with the front of the uniform and dress them like pros! An entire layout category is dedicated to these players in our Easy Prints® collection. Many of these teams will want two or more colors on the print and our online design tool, Easy View™ can show your customers what the print will look like in two colors on their shirt. All Star teams frequently also add a number to the front of the uniform under the logo, especially script with tails layouts. If doing teen uniforms, our 4” numbers are perfect. For smaller youth, use 2.5” or 3” numbers ordered through our Express Names program. If using 2.5” numbers you can fit 10 digits in one strip, and for 3” numbers you can fit 8.
The All Stars will want to be recognized so be sure so to be sure to add an Express Name above the number on the back. The 2.5” size is best for teen uniforms and the 2” size is perfect for younger teams. The number under the name can be ordered in two colors to match the uniform front, and with Easy Prints® numbers it is one application in just 4 seconds. For teen uniforms, an 8” number can be used and for smaller sizes use a 6” number.
If your team has a sponsor this can be added to the sleeve. Add this as well as a cap size print for your team caps to the front logo and create a gang sheet – all three logos are printed on one sheet for a great cost savings.
Add an American flag to the other sleeve and your All Star is ready to play!
Screen printed transfers come on their own cover sheet (the release paper they are printed on) so a cover sheet is typically not needed. However, occasionally you are putting a print on the same side as an already existing print which does necessitate the use of a cover sheet. Also, many types of digital transfers require a cover sheet (Transfer Express does include a cover sheet with every digital order).
There are three different types of cover sheets.
Reusable Cover Sheets are sheets coated with the non-stick surface used on pots and pans. It is the most durable and long lasting of the cover sheets, but also the most expensive. Reusable cover sheets will change the finish of the print, too, creating a shiny gloss finish. These sheets are the heaviest and will take about 10 degrees away from the application so you may need to compensate for the loss of temperature when using this type of cover sheet by increasing the temperature. The sheet is reusable and can easily be wiped down for the next use. These sheets are sold individually through Stahls ID. The sheet size is 18” x 20”.
Kraft Paper is another type of cover sheet sold by Stahls ID. It is sold in packs of 25, and is 15” x 19” size. Kraft paper is also reusable. Kraft paper does not change the finish of the print.
Transfer Express cover sheets are the least expensive and sold in packs of 10. The sheet size is 12.5” x 15” so it is the smallest of the three. These cover sheets are also reusable and do not change the finish of the print.
So all three cover sheets do the job making your choice dependent on the desired finish, size you need covered and your budget.
Should you accept apparel from your customer? Although a personal decision, it is not recommended.
You are a provider of custom printed shirts, and there really is no profit in just offering a portion of the process. Would you bring food to a restaurant so that they can cook it for you? I’m sure you can find it for less than they charge which is what the customer tells you when they bring it to you. For the buyer to bring you apparel and accepting outside apparel will eat at your profitability. If you buy the shirts, you know where to go and can get the item for less if an error is made. You also have more profit built in. How much can you really charge for doing just part of the process? Also, suppliers in our industry such as Broder, Augusta, San Mar, etc. sell blank garments that are meant to be printed; it is often a better quality than what the client picked up at a close-out store. A dealer of ours recently shared an experience when they did accept customer provided garments. Their customer had brought in a sample and the prints were ordered based on the sample. However, when the larger quantity was brought in, they had not been able to get the same item but instead found something close. However, it was smaller. So the prints ordered could not be used and guess who ate that cost?
So, remember your business model as a provider of custom printed apparel and sell only finished apparel where you have complete control and profit over all parts of the process. Do you allow customers to bring in apparel? If so, please share your experiences – both positive and negative.