What we are going to talk about is mistakes to avoid while starting a t-shirt business and custom apparel. First we will talk about the basic mistake which is usually done by many people. These tips are to know, mistakes done by others, so keeping those in mind it will help you avoid major issues later on.
Top Mistakes in Manufacturing
1. Too Many Rejects
You can’t help but see a few t-shirts getting rejected during production or after it. Ofcourse, you would love to see it vaporize but to be honest, you can only reduce to some degree but never get rid of t-shirt rejects. Below are a few ways you can avoid getting frequent rejects.
- Probably the easiest way to sell it as it as at a lower price. This way, instead of completely dumping a t-shirt you can make some money out of it. You can sell it at a little higher price if the defects are not that visible. If you printed something wrong, you can either sell to other customers or just ask you client to accept it at a low price.
- Sometimes mistakes such as a missing number, or a missing graphics can be finished by redoing the print on it. Yes, it would take a little more time to finish than it should, but it will save from the losses you had to incur for it.
- The next option is to repair the shirt if it could be done. Oftentime, the print mistakes are minor and can be repaired. You could even apply a second layer of transfer over the mistake to cover it up.
- The mistake could also be because of the poor quality of the t-shirt or the fabric, in which case, you can actually return the product and get a new one.
- The final option is nothing but to scrap it if the damage is too big. Even better would be to donate it to a homeless guy.
2. Not Determining Your Production Quantity
This is especially true for first timer t-shirt printers, who would overproduce printed t-shirts, Thereby incurring unnecessary losses. This can simply be avoided by counting your t-shirts beforehand along with the transfers. Some may choose to pint extra t-shirts which they can sell somewhere else but in reality it stays in the inventory for a long time before getting sold; some even are wasted for no good reason.
3. Assembly Line
A lot can go wrong in the assembly line when it’s not well organized. Your items should move from production to shipping with minimal touch points between them. Take orders through multiple step process is an inefficient process that leads to a significant waste of time, effort and resources. It can be easily tackled by starting your day with large orders and moving to small volumes later.
Sometimes orders just get stuck and then there’s a long waiting period before it gets delivered to the client. This can be a big waste of time and resources and could occur for various reasons such as waiting for supplies, production bottlenecks, waiting for customer’s confirmation, shortage of staff and other reasons. To reduce waiting hours of orders, you should plan ahead before the production process.
5. Inventory Management
Inventory management yet another area, where you could be losing your productivity. Almost all big businesses already have an inventory management in place, it’s the small businesses who often overlook it. If you have an ecommerce store and offer same day delivery, it’s natural to have some printed t-shirts in the inventory, but you would definitely need someone to manage that or you would either be stacking more than necessary. Have too many pre-printed t shirts in the inventory can typically lead to wastage. How much inventory you need will depend on the quantity of orders on a daily basis, which you can track during your initial days of business. You can definitely take a look at your sales history to find the right quantity of inventory you can keep.
6. Production Process
What could go wrong in the production process? Well almost everything! You could either be adding more of what’s not needed and skip what’s needed. The rule is you go extra for customers who pay you extra and skip for those who want it cheap. Take a good look at your production process and see if all the steps make sense considering your customer’s budget.
Other Common Mistakes in the Print Industry
Plan your business
Many people do not have any plans or preparation before starting a brand new business, They just take is easy and buys machinery and equipments. Starting a business is not easy as selling candies. First of all you decide whether you want to be a sole proprietor or a corporation. Plan about the whole business, like how you are going to store your product? How you will manage your accounts and billing? From where you will hire your resources? Get some knowledge about DTG printing business. Learn about your state provision and formalities before starting a custom t-shirt business.
These are things that are worth your time and money to get someone to consult with you on. A lot of these content is just to educating on the basics of what do you need to do.
2. Solitary work can’t benefit you
In a custom t-shirt business, all the works cannot be done single handedly. You need to hire resources. In a business there will be many units like production, artwork, administration, billing, sales, marketing, etc. You cannot look after all the units. Hiring resources will be a big benefit to keep the company running and be profitable at the same time and someone you know exactly what they’re going to be responsible for.
In a T-shirt business, printing is the part many people take easily, people buy DTG printer but not have enough knowledge on how to create printing art. The machine does not create the images for you. Hire freelance designer in the beginning not permanent one. Take trials because designing is the core part which will increase your sell. As you don’t know the customer demand, keep researching on what is in trend.
You can find many blog post telling about description for all the jobs and business profile, or creating a list for which people do what job! But what they left you can find here.
3. Capital flow
Cash flow is the biggest thing that cause plaque in your business. Getting orders can be found easy then delivering them. If you are struggling for money from the beginning and in that case you get a reasonable sized order, it will cause distress. For bigger supplies you should have raw material in stock in large amount. To run your machines you need ink, cleaning supplies,cutting and stitching tools. Always have contact of those people who can supply you raw items whenever you need in an emergency.
As custom apparel businesses are very profitable, many people want to start. Whenever you start DGT business, first you need to calculate about how much money it will need to start. Second how you’re going to pay your bills for purchases. Do you have enough money in your account to get started? If not how will you manage or let loan.
With cash flow delivering initial orders can be the biggest challenge. So be prepared to face all. While running the business you get time to find other investors you need to build up referral business. By doing this you increase the probability of long term success.
4. The Swing
Up and down trend in the business is common. To make it constant focus on your sales, production and marketing. Suppose you go out and make sales calls, and you get a few orders, so you will be engaged for that order. After delivering, you will again start sales calls. While you were engaged you haven’t made any sales calls. This will make your income fluctuates. So the sale and production should run simultaneously. Be creative about your marketing. Marketing plays a vital role to increase your sales. Creative marketing will help you to find customers,as they will get attracted. Take a good look at your marketing process and see if all the steps make sense considering your customer’s budget.
5. Salutary Work
Never false promise your client that you can’t produce. It’s better to under promise, and over deliver. Never promised the clients by a certain date, without knowing if it is possible for your production team to complete it on promised time. Though money making is important, but you also have to make relationship with customer for lifetime. So to get numbers of customer sometimes sales person take the orders advancely, if you know one t-shirt takes 30 days to get delivered, then never make false promise to deliver it before 30days. This kind of activities hamper company’s reputation as well as lower your customer, sometimes these kind of situation cause scramble. To deliver on time you need to work overtime and spending a lot more than you budgeted for shipping. By which you end up not earning any profit off the order.
6. Product Quality
Good Quality is very important. When People spend their money in your product, they expect product that is value for their money. Because the only thing the customer cares about the end product. So never cheat your customers, as already said customer relation is for lifetime, once customer likes your product they will come back to you with more orders. Even they give other people reference to buy t-shirts of your company. Take a good look at your production process and see if all the steps make sense considering your customer’s budget.
7. Taking Advices
Always take advice from people who are already in the same business, they can provide you real time advice from their own experiences. Taking advice from people who don’t know anything about t-shirt printing business, will conflict with your mind and hence wastage of your time.
8. Equipment Management
Cleaning of your machine is important. Even if you have a long day of printing you should always get time to clean those. If your day ends at 5pm stop printing at 4:30 so you have the time for your equipment maintenance. If it’s not done, when you come in the next day you”ll find dried, hard ink all stuck over mechanical. This is preventative maintenance. By this maintenance of every single day your machine parts will last as long.
Hoping above tips can help you getting some idea about what not to do while starting a t-shirt business. Keeping these little things in mind, your company will run way long years with profits. Always be happy to help your customers. If you have any doubts, posts your queries in the comment section below.