So, you’ve got a nonprofit and you’re in need of some printed merchandise. Printed t-shirts and hoodys are a great way to help build hype around your organization and raise dollars at the same time! Whether you’re looking to sell them at your next event, auction off for some big bucks or even just give away to participators, you’ll want to make sure that your design is original and low cost to produce. Follow these tips to make it happen!
First and foremost, pick the right shirts
With so many brands and styles to choose from, choosing which tee to print on can get a little overwhelming. The first factor you should consider is the price. Generally the price per tee will go down with volume (depending on where you decide to shop) so you’ll want to order in bulk at wholesale prices.
If you plan on giving these tees away, you’ll want to check out Tultex and Gildan tees. These are some of the leading brands in the industry and they offer the lowest prices. If you’re looking to sell but don’t necessarily want to splurge on the finest, go for a brand like Next Level or Anvil—which are still a great price but offer more contemporary styles. If you’re looking for a premium tee to be sold or auctioned off at a higher price, American Apparel, BELLA+CANVAS or Alternative Apparel is your best bet.
For printing purposes, you’ll want to consider the color of shirts you choose. With screen printing, it’s cheaper to print onto light colored garments, like white or heather grey. When you print onto light colors, most inks (dark colors and bright colors) will be easily visible on the garment. However if you try to print on say, a black, royal blue or a dark grey shirt, you’ll need to first lay down a white under base in order for the color of the ink to show up against the dark background. The additional layer will raise your printing costs as well as add more thickness to the feel of your design.
Create a Simple Design
When it comes to designing your t-shirts, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not creating an image with too many colors because you’ll most likely be screen printing your shirts. In this method, the price is based on the amount of colors you need to print. A new screen is created for each color—so the price will start to sky rocket when you’ve got three or more colors compared to just one or two. More colors will also add to the weight of your print. Try incorporating the color of the t-shirt into the artwork to make use of negative space! Or come up with a dynamic, one color design that can be printed with color, or bleached out with discharge inks for a soft, unique look.
You’ll want to cut down on the amount of print locations. Since screen printing isn’t priced based on the size of the print, even small logos on the sleeve or hip can pump up the price. Keep things simple—if you need to list your sponsors on the back of the shirt, make sure to convert the logos to one color so it can be printed with one screen! Also make sure to create your design using Adobe Illustrator or a similar program because some printers will charge for vectoring your file and separating the colors.
Explore your options
There are many online ways to promote and auction off merchandise for a good cause. Sites like Represent and Teespring now offer sellers an opportunity to create, sell and drop ship printed products—all on one platform without any of the risk or the headache. Represent takes it one step further—specifically catering to the nonprofit community. This site allows you to create your designs online along with a campaign outlining your organization and fundraising goal. Share the campaign with your friends and supporters and they can purchase directly from the site. Once enough tees are sold and your goal is reached, Represent will fulfill your orders and pass your profits right to your charity! It’s a very hands-off, seamless process–making crowdsourcing for your cause easy. Promoting your cause on social media using custom hashtags is another good way to build hype around your organization and merchandise.
Always find the best deals!
Always make sure that you’re getting the best prices, especially when shopping online. Retailmenot is a site that runs a search engine specifically for finding online coupon codes and sales! If you’re planning to sell or distribute your merchandise in person at an event, try to use a company that specializes in both screen printing and providing many options for blank t-shirts—that way you can keep your costs down. Here at Blankstyle.com we offer hundreds of blank apparel brands and can even do your printing for you! This will ensure that you get the best prices, the fastest turnaround and the widest selection of brands.