Hi , honygee!
This is a very good question that I'm not certain I've seen addressed here before! You raise some valid concerns for your industry.
I'm sure our community has vast opinions and we'll hear from people soon on this .
Thanks for posting
Hi, I'm in the personalization industry selling laser and rotary engraving equipment and some some of my customers offer t-shirts. Have you considered purchasing a digital printer? Do you have a budget for such equipment? I know equipment that ranges from $9k-$20K for digital printing. As to website, I would recommend you visit MOPRO and look at what they do with video, photo shots, etc...
You are smart for being careful about impulsively ordering thousands of T-shirts and just watch them sit around. Trust me, that's the wrong way to go, I did that with one of my start-ups a few years a go and I still have all those products sitting around, occupying space with that venture dead now.
What I would suggest is that, why don't you develop what you had mentioned earlier "on-demand printing" into a business model? Especially if that doesn't already exist, you can make it your own and hit a home- run with it.
Read Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
Great advice, ode4tina.
print on demand until you get a feel for volumes. batch order when you have the risk reduced through experience. Set up your own web site if you have limited lines of product as you seem to. Then you can buy on demand to fill orders and even have a white box place drop ship for you. Use OpenCart or one of the other ecommerce platforms. They work quite well and are typically free.
RodBlue Sky Glass
I have a line of T-shirt designs that I would like to sell. My preference would be to offer through some sort of print on demand platform, allowing customers to purchase whatever they want 24/7 and have shipped to them directly. However, I can't seem to find a provider that makes it easy to offer the shirts in all the sizes, colors and designs that I would like. I have looked into such companies as Zazzle, Noisebot, etc. but the setup has just been too complicated.
Conversely, I don't have the funding or space to print 1,000s of shirts and have them sitting around my home waiting for them to be purchased and ship them myself. This would be easy and most profitable but also the most time consuming for me (as I also have a full-time job and other entrepreneurial pursuits). If I do go this route (even printing 100 or so at a time) how should I set up my website to streamline the ordering process?
What have others done? If you have a T-shirt business or other garment business or one with similar issues, please share your solutions. I am most interested in a 1-2-3 solution.
Thanks in advance for any good ideas!