12 August 2011

Custom Shirts – No Minimums

“Custom Shirts – No Minimums” – Customized Girl Really Means It

There are many places online where you can go and buy custom apparel.  A few have interactive design centers, where you can add your own text, art, and images (though none of those are as easy to use as Customized Girl’s, in my somewhat (very) biased opinion).   And a few even offer some of their inventory with “no minimums”.  But almost none of them extend that “no minimum” offer to every single item in their catalog.  Customized Girl, however, offers exactly that.  No minimums. On anything.

What exactly do you mean “no minimums”?

A lot of custom apparel sites require a minimum quantity to place an order.  Sometimes the minimum is 6 items.  Sometimes it’s 12.  Sometimes 50.  When a site, such as Customized Girl, says “no minimums”, it means you can create a totally unique item, and buy only one of them.  This is pretty exciting for someone who thought of a cute idea and just wants a single t-shirt printed.  Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to find a place that will sell you just one.

Why do some places require a minimum?

It all comes down to the production process.   Many custom apparel sites are screen printers that have moved their business onto the web, which is great. We’re happy to see small businesses thriving.  Unfortunately, it’s not so good if you are a customer that just wants one, or maybe five, t-shirts printed. This is because screen printing requires a big set up process.  You have to make screens for every color, and screens can get expensive.  To offset the sunk cost of the screens, most places do two things: charge a set-up fee, and require you to purchase a lot of shirts, so that the screens can be used many times.

The same might be true for embroidery.  If you have a complex image that you want embroidered, you’ll probably have to pay a set-up fee to turn that image into a file capable of being embroidered.

There are a few companies out there who recognize the inherent disadvantage of requiring minimum quantities, and they have invested in direct-to-garment digital printers.  These require no screens and no set-up.  The cost is essentially the same, whether you are printing one design or one hundred.  Customized Girl uses these state of the art printers for almost all of our soft apparel products.

However, even the companies that have recognized the importance of digital printers still require minimums on huge chunks of their inventories.  This is because they are still screen printing many of their items, such as koozies, drinkware, and performance shirts. At Customized Girl, instead of relying on screen printing and requiring minimums, we’ve diversified our production methods.

To produce custom koozies and certain bags, like sports duffle bags, we use a hi-tech film process.  We take your design and cut it out of an ultra-thin, highly durable material, and heat press it to your item. It’s so thin, it feels like it’s part of the item. To produce custom shotglasses, custom coffee mugs, and other drinkware, we use dye sublimation. We actually print your design on a piece of high quality transfer paper and heat it until the ink leaves the paper and merges with your item.

For all of these reasons, we think Customized Girl is pretty special.  We hope you do to.

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