T-Shirts: Printing: Your Store: Help

Howdy Pink Font Fans,

So I have an opportunity to get into another business. My roommate who owns a nightclub has 2k square feet of retail space that isn’t being used. He has a bartender who owns a very expensive screen printing machine and she also has tons of experience printing shirts for bands. So we’re all thinking of turning the retail space into a coffee shop / print house / web - media house.

So we can offer design services to bands, like cards, shirts, sites… and we also serve coffee and have a cool lounge attutude.

My question to yall, is…

If we set it up so you could have your designs on the highest quality shirts done with sweet screen printing instead of the iron ons that cafepress does, would any of you sign up for it? We’re thinking it would be something like $60 to set-up a shirt. (that is the basic cost for the screens and such) then as people order your shirts we print them and mail them. It’s sort of like cafepress, but a little more artsy and screen prints not transfers.

What are all your thoughts?

maybe i whould. but i am broke. wanna give me a discount:P

haha. well I know that those who want to have no cash up front will go for cafepress, but I think we would offer the shirts at about $6 cost. So you pay $60 set-up than $6 a shirt. Cafe-Press is free set-up but then your cost is like $15 a shirt. So if you’re selling them for $18 you’re only making like $3 compared to $12 with us. I’m just trying to get a sense if people know other people or they themselves would ever take advantage of something like this… could be for your web company. Your own custom clothes, family things, bands, teams…

Well, honestly I’d be leary about getting into business with friends.

Also, don’t kid yourself by thinking “if you build it they will come.” I think this type of business would require a strong sales team and very little business would come of the ‘loungers.’ Why not take cafepress’ lead and strictly focus on online distribution. I know it would be cool to have a hip shop setup but is it really neccessary?

good luck

Btw can I send you some designs and shirt sizes today?

Hmmmmm…I know how hard it is to do screen-prints (I did them all the time last year), but I think that people would like it if they could send you an image, and have you print it. Problem is, the cost would be high. I dunno, I doubt it, but I have a few good pictures that I would love to have on a tee, but I don’t want to spend $66 for one tee. If you could figure out something like that, I’d love to send you a few.

EDIT: My grandpa owns several sub shops in TN, and he’s always looking for ways to make more money (like he needs more…he’s got $2.5 mil on the stock market.). I’ll talk to him about it. If you decide to do this, I might be able to convince him to have you print shirts for him. Don’t on it though, just putting forth an idea. I don’t want to get your hopes up or anything.

That sounds cool. Actually, there is one thing that I thought of that I would like to have as a t-shirt. It’s simply a black t-shirt with large, plain text on the front (maybe Lucida Console) that says “Made by China’s finest”. I’ve got a few other ideas that need a little refining, but yeah - I would be interested. I’ve also got a few ideas for pictures and the like that could go on a t-shirt.

This makes me kinda wish I lived where you are right now. I would love to hang around at a internet cafe/cafe/printing station


Yes part of the lure of this situation is that it will be located right next to my roommates club. They are mostly a live music venue that plays around 20-50 bands a week. The girl I would be going into business with used to print the shirts for her ex-husbands band and their national tour.

I also want to build the internet presence. So to have it similar to CafePress where people can find your designs if you want them to be able to and they can get one of your shirts with you making the money. I also have some very close contacts with some boutique stores that we would market our own designs too.

The coffee shop, the Print House, or the Web Company on their own wouldn’t need the space, but I think if they all work together the synergy could be great. ie, having 100 people come by your web office and see you do crazy good graphic design and websites is some nice advertising. Also when his club lets out next door we’ll keep the coffee shop open till maybe 3 so people can eat snacks and coffee instead of going home. The t-shirts will be marketed to the bands and every person who has a great idea for a shirt they want to try out.

Also I think I can create some code that will make for some pretty slick band websites. Then have a graphic designer, maybe even on from these forums create the look for it. I even thought that to raise money for their site they could play a gig next door and use any door cover they make pay towards their site.

Sounds like you have a great business plan.

Hey EthanM, You helped me out when I was trying my first vector, so I can give you this advice from experience. T-Shirts are not easy to do. You have to have all the sizes, colors readily available. It is also very hard to get started and getting your name out. Me and my girlfriend started out own and had a bunch of shirts printed with a $500 investment. It did not work, because we did not have the time to promote the name. I am not doubting your motivation or your friends, just wanted to give your first hand experience, that until the name is out things will not go easy.
I wish you the best of luck though, Ethan

Thanks for the personal story.

My partner has actually already purchased the 5k screen printing machine and has a stash of shirts and ink already. She also has some very close connections with American Apparel (the top clothing company for custom shirts), so we can get shirts at dirt cheap prices.

The marketing for anything is hard, but that’s what’s great about the club being next door. People they bring in come by our place and vice versa.

I appreciate all of your advice. I’m still trying to organize all the numbers with this thing, but I think it’d be fun.

EDIT: American Apparel is located here in LA as well.


I wasn’t trying to rain on your parade, and wish to success, it will definetely be exciting.

sounds like a great plan, ethan! i really hope it works out for you. I have a friend who is hoping to get into the same business and after reading peoples comments on the business, im sure hes going to fail miserably.

I am going to buy a silk screen and make tshirts, maybe… someday…

[ot]Isn’t silkscreen the coolest font?[/ot]

Tell us when online ordering is available.

I just ordered 150 shirts

Haynes Beefy T
for about $7.50 each.

As far as your idea goes …it sounds like everything is in place, including the clients to make more money than the empty 200sqft is bringing in now. My brother-in-law screen prints in Maryland - and makes a killing off of the law enforcement - those guys want T-shirts for everything. Just FYI.