How to Print On Demand for your T-Shirt Business

Jennifer Sanchez

Starting your t-shirt business doesn't mean you have to spend all your money at once to build your inventory! When you start out you can choose as much or as little as you have budget for.

When I began, I had zero pieces of inventory, then when I sold I would order that piece to print and ship. I don't recommend starting that bare though! What I realized is that I was raising the cost of my shirt by having to pay shipping for each one ! That was silly...

I began to find a middle ground with my inventory. This is where you can begin your inventory planning.
Starting out, have 1 of each size in 1-2 colors. As you grew, began to use the profits to stock up. Add more colors and decide what your brand will carry going forward. Personally, I keep 3-4 of each size, Small through 2XL in no more than 4 colors at all times. As I sell, I then replenish what I need. 

Also I recommend that you do not make your shirts before they are ordered. Once your buyers order comes in, make it and prep it for shipment that day or next. Choose to ship daily or every other day with this process and give yourself 2-3 days processing time on all your sites. Processing time means how long does it take you to make and prep your order. This must be explained on your shipping policy page and most customers are patient to wait! This prevents shirts from sitting on your shelves and wasting money and time. I found that small and 2XL don't sell as fast as medium-XL. So imagine if you have shirts made ahead of time, you would have those sizes that are less popular sitting on your shelves only to later sell them at a discount.
Sometimes you can even decide if you have a popular design make those ahead of time in sizes you know sell. I would only recommend this for continuous sales of a specific shirt and you know 100% it will move.

Note that I like to ship daily or every other day, but when you get in to wholesale quantities or large sales in a shorter time you will ship as fast as you can make them. If this is your situation, make time to plan out if you will process and ship each day what was made, or will you process it all and ship on day 3. Either way, your customers expect you to honor that processing time that you state on your sites.  So make sure to communicate if you get overwhelmed and ship those that can't wait!

Another thing you can consider is only stocking t-shirts in the warm seasons and sweatshirts in cold seasons. If you have the budget, sell them across all seasons! I now here in the North even a summer night can get cold and we like sweatshirts with our shorts!

So this business doesn't have to clean out your savings to run efficiently.  Buy bare to start and add as you grow! This is my version of Print On Demand and it will keep you in budget and on track!

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