How to Fulfill T-shirts for Your Web Stores Without Going Broke

by Gary Jurman April 10, 2018 3 min read

Solving the problems of short-run T-shirts with multi-color prints.

So you came up with the killer T-shirt design you KNOW will resonate with your audience, but how many will you sell? What's more, you want to offer Ladies, Mens, and youth T-shirts in all the sizes.

The traditional way to do this is very expensive: you run down to the local screen printer and pay them to print a whole bunch of T-shirts --some of each size. Then you put your products up for sale on the website and hope they sell. (If you actually are a screen printer, then you try to figure out what's the bare minimum you can print without wasting all that set-up time.)

So let's see, you'll need...

Mens: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
Ladies: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Youth: ys, ym, yl, yxl

That's 16 combinations. Should you get 6 of each? What if you run out of Mens Large, but still have a ton of other sizes? Do you buy another 72 T-shirts just to keep the cost per T-shirt down? Do you have another $700 or $800 when you've only sold $200 so far?

What about offering v-necks too? What about that other design that you have that could be a cross-sale? Do you need to buy a bunch of those too?

Suddenly selling T-shirts online is complicated and expensive, but Merchmakr turns the whole problem on its head!

Merchmakr lets you print T-shirts on demand. That means you decide what to print after you already know what you've sold. Until you are selling T-shirts at a really good clip, you only need a tiny inventory  of blanks. You won't need a huge press that takes up a lot of space like the one below.

With traditional screen printing presses, you need a bunch of space and a whole lot of set-up every time you change designs. That's because old-school screen printing equipment is designed to do only large runs. They never needed to worry about "just 1 Large."

In today's world of selling T-shirts on the web, you want to focus on a bunch of products (or your day job), so stocking up with oodles of inventory with the same design just to see if your idea will sell just doesn't make sense. You want to sell T-shirts, but you don't want to go broke trying. That's what we were thinking when we designed Merchmakr.

So we decided to test our solution  by doing T-shirts on demand for a small game design company, Posthuman StudiosPosthuman Studios makes a game called Eclipse Phase, and they offer T-shirts. The problem is they aren't really trying all that hard to sell T-shirts because their primary product is games, and that's where their focus needs to be. The T-shirts are just to help their fans promote their games, so they can get more fans, and sell more games. That means they sell a few of this or that design in a certain size at a time --just like Ebay, or an Etsy shop. Is this a model for selling large runs of identical T-shirts that requires a warehouse of inventory? Clearly not, even though their games are popular. It's also not a model for a vendor without a Merchmakr. If we didn't get Merchmakr working right, we'd be spending hours just setting up the press every time an order for a certain design came through.

These T-shirts were quick to print (about 10 mins total for all three --while we were shooting videos), and all the set-up was done the first time the screens were made. Now we just swap them in and out for one-off printing.

In case you didn't watch the video, that's a 3-color graphic with no trap between colors (aka butt registration).

...and people who use Merchmakr love it. They get to make a bunch of merchandise without making an enormous commitment.

People use Merchmakr to make T-shirts for their small business, their cause they want to promote, and even for their church.

 Merchmakr solves the recurring short run problem!

Click here to get Merchmakr.

Gary Jurman
Gary Jurman

Gary Jurman has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years. He has taught private screen printing classes, and helped many people new to the industry bootstrap their way into business. He is the driving force in product development at DIY Screen Printing Supplies.

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