Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
So, Why would you want to consider custom t-shirt tags on your custom designs? Simply put, extra SALES!
As a garment decorator, it’s easy to misunderstand the importance of what offering custom t-shirt tags can offer. Often the decorator understands this. Their focus is to label their own branded garments.
Since 1996, when I first entered the t-shirt industry, there was one common thread woven throughout my experience; there are many people who want to create their own line of branded shirts. The typical process to meet this goal was to purchase equipment, design shirts, private label them, and then find buyers. By the hundreds and hopefully even by the thousands!
The problem? There is a fair chance your t-shirt line will get lost in the abyss of online designs. What I’m stating is you will have to find ways to stand out. Ways to make your brand shine above the competition.
And, You’ll need lots of persistence. Think about this: in 1975, Gary Dahl sold a pet rock to well over a million customers, something in which I wouldn’t think possible, but it happened.
So it’s not a matter of whether you should begin a clothing line, it’s a matter of if you begin a clothing line, are you prepared to stick it out?
Make sure you have other income streams to support your Endeavor. Making sure your private label will either sustain your personal income goals or if not, how can you subsidize your sales to meet those goals?
Know Your Competition
When I began my screen printing business in 1998, I went around to every competitor in my area and introduced myself. There are always areas of specialty. Where your skills Don’t overlap their skills, and they have to find someone else. Sometimes they simply get too busy and want to farm out some of their smaller jobs. You can learn a ton by making polite business relationships with some of your competition.
I let them know what my services were and if they needed anything from me, even though they were competitors, I would be more than willing to help. Almost every person I talked to in these companies were very welcoming and supportive.
By the time I sold my company 13 years later, I had printed or fulfilled one or more of my services to over half of these companies. I even had continual repeat business from a select few who saw the value in what I offered. In some way’s, we lifted each other up.
I give this illustration because one of the biggest concerns business owners have is that their competition will get the work they are seeking. And sometimes that’s true. They will outbid you, or the unscrupulous ones will use your weaknesses against you when bidding a job. But most will concentrate on their work and their bid.
What I had done was build a referral network by having my competitors potentially find jobs on my behalf, even though they weren’t selling my services.
When custom tagging or labeling is something you implement for your own t-shirt line, if you offer this service to others, you now open up a much larger market than what you can focus in on yourself.
The High Importance Of Labels for Branding
In 2017, the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) did an industry survey on the garment decoration community.
In this study, 61% of companies surveyed offered some post-production or finishing services to their customers and 65.9% of those offered tagging and bagging the garments.
The additional studies within this survey lead to the conclusion that as printing facilities offered more post-production services and they implement these services efficiently, “the better off they are regarding sales growth.”
According to the SGIA survey, the efficiency of creating these labels is also of high importance. I’ll briefly go over each method of custom t-shirt label creation alongside the pros and cons of each.
Without going into too much depth of each process, these are basic generalizations to give you an understanding of each methodology.
A woven label is a known standard style for most higher end garments. This type of label is precision stitched and extremely durable.
Pricing will vary depending on the style of label, but in small quantities (around 25), the average price for a good quality label is $2. These are either sewn in or for a higher price point, an iron-on or heat pressable version is available.
Pros: Durable, familiar, soft feel
Cons: Higher cost for small quantities, single color lettering (more colors = more $$), needs to be sewn into the fabric if sourcing you must send your garments to printer, high equipment costs if you want to manufacture woven labels in-house