How to set up your t shirt printing business - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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How to set up your t shirt printing business


A comprehensive guide to help you plan and execute your Online Print Shop. Take a look at the various areas that you need to research before starting your t-shirt printing business. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to set up your t shirt printing business

How to Set Up Your T-shirt Printing Business?
When we think of start-ups, we imagine disruptive
technologies and larger than life personalities.
But if you can create something meaningful,
thats great as well. Not every idea has to
change the world. However, it is important to
define the idea, your vision behind the idea and
your commitment towards it. Were entrepreneurs
and we believe in using the collective expertise
of our teams to solve real-world problems. The
business aspect, though important, is secondary
to the problem-solving. And upon this foundation,
we have built businesses, big and small. So, when
youre trying to come up with a start-up idea,
just think how you could use your skills and
resources to envision and create a better future.
The money will follow naturally. That being
said, what specific problems can you solve with
your printing solution? Isnt everything been
said and done in the printing business? Well,
theres one more crucial factor that needs to be
In every industry, from time to time, there
emerge ideas that are truly revolutionary. Peter
Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and a venture
capitalist, calls this going from zero to
one. That idea, in todays printing industry, is
customizable goods. A wide range of goods,
ranging from coffee mugs to phone cases, can be
printed upon. Allowing customers to design their
own customized goods can be a great USP (unique
selling proposition). Our task here is to build
a business model around this idea. After
considering all relevant factors, we shall create
an actionable set of tasks that can be used for
any printable material. We shall, however, stick
to printable t-shirts. Understanding the
Market Printed shirts are popular with
youngsters who want to express their
individuality. However, most large orders are for
resale, uniforms, and merchandise.
Let us try to understand both these segments
individually. First, consider the B2C clients.
These are more likely to be youngsters between
the age of 18 and 28, though the range could
expand with the product adoption cycle. Adoption
cycle is the theory that describes how a new
product sees gradual acceptance by the society
with the passage of time. It is important to
understand this as it affects how you market the
product. Another determining factor is going to
be the location. Look for the top educators and
employers in your country. Their concentration
will be significantly higher in certain
cities. The B2B clients, on the other hand, are
going to have a more or less even distribution.
The demographics of this are also going to vary.
For example, an artist looking to monetize by
selling some merchandise is as likely to order
custom shirts as a factory owner who wants his
logo printed on the workers uniforms.
Therefore, one may argue that the business can
target many different segments. It is, however,
advisable to have a specific target as it keeps
your marketing and sales efforts focused. You can
expand your reach based on the growth of your
business. We shall start with B2C clients as the
order will be in small batches. This means that
the markup is higher and the initial investment
is less. The reason behind this is to learn about
the business with relatively less risk. Business
Opportunities The simplest way of identifying
business opportunities is to go back to
problem-solving. If you have a clear
understanding of the grievances of your target
market, there will always be problems to solve.
Fact is people are buying customized products
already but being able to design the said
products themselves at a reasonable price is
something that is still untapped. Here, the
concept of last mover advantage must be
mentioned. People say that first movers have an
advantage over the competition. A contradicting
point of view is that the last mover, the
business that implements the idea so well that
there is no significant competition that rises
after that. The advantage they have is that the
idea has already been tested and accepted to a
certain level. People are aware of the concept
and there is a demand. And, they already know the
flaws in the concept because they observed the
competition. While considering the business
opportunities, you may ask yourself why a
customer would come to you when the exact same
product could be available at other vendors. The
answer is simple. Recommendation.
Youll have to hustle for the first few clients.
Look out for people who could benefit from your
product and when you land a sale, make it the
perfect experience for the client. Give timely
updates. Be available on the phone. Make sure
everything is the way it should be right from
the fabric to the packaging. Dont aim for a good
review. Aim for a five-starred review. And when
you work with that perfection, people will come
to you. More so if you offer incentives like
discounts on referrals. This is another reason
to target specific segments and develop a
thorough understanding of their needs and
grievances. You can even use this knowledge to
expand the scope of your business at a later
Product There is a lot of demand for custom
printed tee-shirts. They make great gifts, can be
sold as merchandise or worn by geeks and fanboys.
Consequently, there is a lot of demand for a
web-to-print store. That gives us a basic idea
about the product. Moving on to customization,
the t-shirt design tool must allow users to do
basic manipulation of text and images. Some basic
text features like curved text, text shadows,
text outline are a must. Similarly, a choice of
image filters must be available. It should also
support various commonly used file formats. On
your end, it should support different printing
methods. This is necessary because you may use
different methods depending on the quantity.
So, the actual product is a combination of the
two things mentioned above, the customizer and
the tees. Resources If you are already in the
printing business and merely adopting
web-to-print, you may already have all the
hardware and machinery in hand. Initially,
though, it is not necessary to buy the machinery.
You can get the shirts printed by a
printer. Youll need a domain, and hosting
service. Some hosted solutions are also available
online but they have their own limitations with
respect to the layout and design. Next, youll
need a t-shirt design software. This is the
actual customizer that allows your users to
prepare their designs and shows a mock-up of how
it would look.
Youll need a storefront for your website.
Several storefronts are available online and most
of them have trials and/or demos available. Pick
one that fulfills your needs and fits your
budget. Make sure it has responsive themes, blog
integrations, and product search. This is
important as the customer should be able to
navigate the website easily irrespective of the
device hes viewing it on. If you are going to
be shipping worldwide, make sure you have
multi-lingual and multi-currency support. This is
the extra convenience you can offer to your
international clients which can encourage them to
choose you over a competitor. When scaling
operations, you are also going to need a
logistics partner and an ERP to make the
inventory and order management easier. But in the
initial stages, they arent mandatory. However,
it is highly recommended that you buy the
storefront from a firm that also makes ERPs as
this will make their integration smooth and easy.
Operations While the operations for this
particular business are not very complex, it is
important to have clarity about them. Especially
when there are multiple participants involved,
this becomes even more important. Therefore, a
plan documenting the day to day operations
becomes as important as the strategic plan. It is
as they say, measure twice, cut once. The
strategy is to start out with individuals. Once
you get the hang of it, target artists selling
merchandise. These designs are the most shareable
ones that youll get. Use them to capture the
attention of other individuals and companies. We
can deduce the operations plan from that. It
would generally go through the following process
  • Procure the raw material. Though you must print
    the shirts in batches, solid colored shirts are
    available from wholesalers at a cheap price.
  • Get sample prints from different printers and
    develop an understanding with him. If you offer
    an exclusive contract, you can get a solid
    bargain for the prints.
  • The first step in any sales cycle is known. When
    you sell your first batch, other potential
    clients notice the product. A small percentage of
    them may approach you for similar prints. In this
    way, the client base increases at a rapid rate
    once you start gaining momentum. This is going to
    be your organic growth and you must have the
    resources to meet the demand.
  • The last step is to get a repeat order. This is
    the confirmation of the hypothesis that is, this
    business idea.
  • Marketing
  • Marketing is going to be a crucial element of
    your web-to-print store. Make sure you give it
    due time and importance. But you will have to
    think beyond cold calling, which is not an
    effective way of marketing. If it is not your
    area of expertise, you may need to hire a
    consultant to take care of it.
  • For generating organic leads in the long term,
    and to spread brand awareness, you must make
    steady efforts in digital marketing. This is
    doable in the following ways
  • Be active on social media. Post designs. Ask
    customers to tag you in the product photos.
  • Visit various communities and discussion forums
    related to art. Let them know that they can make
    use of your services to print and sell their
  • Use influencer marketing. Send samples and offers
    to social media influencers.
  • Include a blog page on your website to get
    inbound traffic.
Of course, at some point, you will have to be
more direct and publish ads. A study of your
actual customer base, as opposed to projected
ones, will give you a detailed insight into the
kind of advertisements you need to create. For
example, if most of your clients are artists, you
should post ads on picture-based social media
such as Instagram. On the other hand, if your
maximum orders are coming from industrialists,
target LinkedIn. A good general way would be to
run a PPC campaign through companies like
Google. Financial Projections If youre bad with
numbers, youll probably defer planning your
finances but it is not that difficult to
understand. Let us start with the pricing of the
product and build our projections upon that.
There are many different points of view on how to
price your product. Some say you should charge
the market average.
Others say you should calculate the cost and add
the markup you decide upon. But the truth is that
there are going to be factors that are
non-quantifiable. How do you divide the cost of
your t-shirt printing software? The tee shirt
cost will vary with the batch size of your
purchase. The printing method may vary with the
quantity and the shipping cost with location. All
things leading to a difference in cost
estimation. Therefore, the best you can get is an
estimate. Well come back to this in a
bit. First, we must answer how you should price
your products. And for that, there is only one
strategy that works. Dont reveal the prices
publicly. You may offer single prints at a fixed
price that you can calculate as per the
above-mentioned factors. But for bulk orders,
give an individualized estimate based on all
these factors. And leave a margin for
Coming back, the above-mentioned is going to be
useful when youre calculating the financial
projections. Research and find the size of the
market. Calculate the revenue for best case,
average case, and worst-case scenarios by
comparing them to the percentage of the market
youll be able to cover in each of the cases. The
motive here is to get a clear idea of the point
where the business should break-even and get
profitability. Roadmap 1. The first thing to do
is to purchase a domain and hosting or go for a
hosted platform. 2. Next is to have the web-store
up and running, along with the t-shirt design
software. You may also buy an all-inclusive
storefront as an integrated solution.
3. Now that you have a front end for your
business, use your contacts with the printers and
logistics companies to set up a delivery and
print mechanism. You may additionally purchase an
ERP to simplify this, depending on the scale of
your business. 4. With the entire system in
place, it is time to put your go-to-market plan
to action. 5. Scale to different products and/or
different industries. Conclusion Starting a
business can be overwhelming. You are excited.
You are anxious. Maybe the competition daunts you
or your inexperience makes you doubt yourself.
But the underdog always has the advantage.
You dont need an office. The decision making is
fast. Movements are more coordinated. And theres
so much energy to give you momentum. Every new
employee will bring with him more energy. Build a
culture that channelizes that energy in a
positive direction. Making mistakes is
unavoidable. But, did you know that making
mistakes at this stage can be an advantage?!
Recovering from mistakes is difficult for large
organizations. As a startup, you can keep trying
new things to see what works or doesnt work. But
make sure that you learn from the outcome,
whatever it may be. Of course, its not all going
to be easy. There will certainly be difficult
times, sure as there are going to be
celebrations. You may find yourself in situations
where there is no right answer and then youll
learn how to avoid those situations.
  • And since you made an effort of reading through
    the entire article, here are some bonus points
    that may help you along the way
  • Consider operating remotely. Your website is your
    store. Having an online print shop can save you
    rent and commute expenses.
  • Give away 10 of your stakes to your first 5
    employees and cut back on the salary. This will
    also encourage loyalty.
  • Bootstrap. Invest the money youre saving back
    into the business.
4. Pay yourself last. This is your brainchild.
If you dont make compromises, no one else
will. 5. Read. Stay on top of all the
information available about your industry. This
is your first step of a long journey. There will
be tales to tell and there will be moments to
cherish. So, go ahead. Make memories, learn
lessons, and dont forget to have fun.
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