We actually do the printing by ourselves. It is not that hard of an process, just takes a good learning strategy and practice actually. We use the screen painting process, for designs up to 2 colors (because of how hard it is) instead of printing onto the shirt directly we make screen painting transfers which we believe is the best because we can create multiple transfers from one "screen" and it is cost effective. For the 2+ Colors we actually have a sublimation printer that prints like a regular printer but uses the same liquid that big companies would use to make their shirts. The equipment we have cost under $1000 together, it is a screen painting machine which cost $320 and the sublimation printer cost $300 and transfers come in around $200 we actually picked up a free heat transfer machine. We looked at all the methods you stated and seemed as if that was the best way for us to customize it and not work around other companies prices. It actually is a better feel for the shirts than when you get another company to print on clothing because a lot of cut and sew products would be hard for other companies to print on so the customization is a HUGE difference and that makes all the difference in the clothing industry now-a-days. My friend and I went to a summer training program for 4 days to learn everything about screen-painting and how it was a good alternative. To remind you, it takes a learning curve to actually do it and it takes a lot of effort and practice, but we are 15 and 16 years old and we learned and there may be people younger than us on this thread but we are probably the youngest as it goes (I turn 15 in 1 month). Thats just what we thought. Overall, screen-printing and sublimation printing for your self and doing it yourself is just better for customization and if you have cut and sew products that require some type of logo or print that companies cannot do. We try to make it custom as possible to stand out.There's a few options when creating a brand:Really interested in Starting a new line, Thieves & Kings. I don't even know how to print clothes(should I find someone to do it for me, or do it myself) what should I invest in, etc. I have some dope designs down. PLEASE HELP ME, Give a beginner some advice.
1. Printing stuff yourself. You've got to buy or lease your equipment, which is probably out of the question if you're starting up for under a grand or two. A cheaper, and shittier, alternative would be using heat transfer printing, which is essentially using special paper you can find at Walmart and ironing it onto a shirt. Lasts around 15 washes before crackling to the point of it being unwearable, for me, at least.
2. Paying somebody else to print. That's what, from what I've seen, most low to mid scale companies(pretty much every brand on here) do this(If anybody on here prints themselves, please speak up. I'd love to hear all about the process). Find a company you can trust, with prices that leave room for profit. I'd also heavily suggest finding secondary printers and the like that you can trust, in case your primary flakes. Some people sell these sources, but, for the most part, good sources can be found by extensive Googling.
3. Printing on demand. This would include sites like Cafepress, Printfection, Redbubble, Skreened, and so on. These use methods like direct to garment printing to print their designs on, and only print a shirt when it's ordered, meaning no sitting with stagnant inventory. These sites are usually reserved for the casual 'pop culture' shirt such as this one: http://skreened.com/wellthatsjustsuper/i-m-not-saying-i-m-batman These services are, in my opinion, no way to start a brand. You have little control over the printing process, there's no distinct branding, along with some other glaring flaws. I would not recommend it for starting out a clothing brand, rather for an artist trying to make some money on the side from selling funny shirts.
Since I'm apparently writing a small book, I might as well cover shirt blanks. There's no definite answer on shirt blanks, as they're up to target market and your personal preference. There's fitted(FUCT and SSUR) and box cut(HUF) shirts, all organic and synthetic ones. I, personally, like a box cut shirt made out of thick cotton, but you'll probably like something else. The material of the shirt matters as well, as certain printing methods won't work on certain blanks, such as with dye sublimation printing and cotton shirts. I'd highly suggest reading HTSACC's article of shirt blanks here: http://www.howtostartaclothingcompany.com/t-shirt-blanks-how-to-choose-one/
Some more required reading would definitely be Thread's Not Dead: http://threadsnotdead.com/ It covers a good amount of subjects, mostly from the viewpoint of a designer.
Reading back on this, I feel more and more like I just talked out of my ass for 3 paragraphs. If I'm wrong on anything here, somebody please correct me.
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