Are Cheap Custom Shirts Equal in Quality? 

August 18, 2021

Are Cheap Custom Shirts Equal in Quality? 

 

Custom t-shirts serve as a walking billboard. When done well, a t-shirt is pretty universally cool across all age demographics. So, understandably, companies want a piece of the marketing action. Hopping on that bandwagon, it’s tempting for many companies to just go for “cheap is better” and buy the lowest-priced t-shirts they can get their hands on.

As the saying goes: you get what you pay for. Really cheap just isn’t worth it.

Here’s what it means to get retail-quality shirts your customers will love to wear. Bonus: they may be cheaper than you think.

Cheap vs Inexpensive

Macklemore famously sang about a fifty dollar Gucci t-shirt. He rapped, disparagingly, “I call that getting swindled and pimped; I call that getting tricked by a business.” 

Fortunately, great custom t-shirts can be had for a lower base price than $50/shirt. MUCH lower.

Whatever the price, companies want to see the return on investment. That ROI comes in the form of repeat purchases, brand recognition and representation. You want custom t-shirts that get worn, not stuck to the bottom of a dresser drawer.

“Cheap” doesn’t mean inexpensive, though. Cheap means:

  • Stiff
  • Ill-fitting
  • Pilling
  • Falling apart after a few washes
  • Cracking of a printed design
  • Tearing of threads in an embroidered shirt
  • Fading

Cheap is instantly recognizable to customers. They pick it up and it just feels cheap. So even if you get a customer with that initial low price, in the long run “cheap” is actually really expensive. Cheap costs you positive brand impressions, repeat customers and the longevity you want to see out of a custom t-shirt.

Cheap custom shirts can be made inexpensively but still with quality. More tips on that in a moment.

What Kind of Shirt Do Your Customers Want?

If you put yourself in the shoes (or shirts) of your ideal customers, it’s pretty easy to imagine what they would want: the opposite of everything listed above! 

Favorite t-shirts get worn repeatedly. Sure, the design and the color contribute to what constitutes a “favorite t-shirt,” but other factors which rate highly include:

  • Feel
  • Shape
  • Consistent color, any “fade” being intentional
  • Doesn’t change colors when wet (nobody likes sweat patterns)
  • Lasts for repeat wearing

The kind of shirt described on a list like that gets worn again and again--that’s where you start to see the real ROI on custom t-shirts.

Ways to Save Some Dough

Fortunately, if you want custom shirts cheap, it can be done! In this case, we are talking about cheap custom shirts that fit the “inexpensive” definition, rather than being poor quality.

There are lots of ways to save some serious dough with custom t-shirts online!

Here are some of the pro tips:

  1. Start with a great design that really works on a shirt. It’s expensive to use the wrong inks, wrong fabrics, or too many colors and watch your design not hold up. Great design is material-specific, working with what you want to get the best product!
  2. Limit colors of ink or embroidery if you want to save some bucks that way.
  3. Order in bulk to save on materials cost.
  4. Print on demand, rather than going through the expense of maintaining (and tracking) an inventory. Inventory means dollars sitting on your shelf instead of worn on the backs of customers.
  5. Let us do your shipping. Utilize dropshipping services to save on shipping costs. Everything goes directly from our industrial-grade dryer to your customer!
  6. Consider a t-shirt subscription program. Subscription boxes are a hot trend and a great business model. If you’re up for repeated customers and great design, talk to us about starting a t-shirt subscription box service for your customers.

Advertising and brand promotion with custom t-shirts makes great sense, if it’s done well. We can help you get the cheap custom shirts you want, without them being, you know, cheaply made.