Growing Pains

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Many businesses experience growing pains. The pain comes when we reach some sort of turning point in the business. We must make a decision to stay where we are or take a leap of faith. I am currently experiencing that with Thread Zone. When I started in a garage servicing a few event clients everything was pretty simple and straight forward. Since then we have moved into a small facility, and most recently we decided to add an automatic press. This is where the pain comes. I had to make a decision to take a risk to grow the business. The decision was based on a few factors. First, how can I serve my customers better, second, what is needed to do this, and finally what will it take to get there.

It only makes sense that if we are going to take risks and go through growing pains, we will take our customers brands very seriously. Remember the first question asked in the decision process….how can we serve customers better? Here’s to us being able to help your growth be less painful.

Brian NeSmith
Thread Zone

The Worst Event Shirt Ever!

We do a lot of printing for events. Over the years we have seen thousands of event designs. And we have designed some of them ourselves. However one particular event sticks out as the worst shirt ever and it’s not surprising that event participants complained. This was years ago and it was a holiday 5K event. If you are familiar with 5K events, all of them typically offer a t-shirt of some sort when you register. This event was no exception. At Thread Zone we try to advise our customers on best practices for their event shirts. What is trending, what fabrics people like, etc.. This event wanted none of that. So we did what we normally do, and printed the shirts for the customer. 1,000 shirts, basic white, 100% cotton, with a horrible one color logo on the front that one could barely see because they chose a light color on a white shirt. Now I understand that this may be somewhat subjective, but you have to trust me on this one. It was bad. To this day I wish I had recorded the looks on participant’s faces when they picked up their shirts. It was a look of “I just paid for this?” The bigger issue to us was this was a brand and they hurt themselves. Their sponsors were not thrilled with the look of the shirt either. When putting on an event, you want your shirt to be a cool design and a nicer shirt. This is for the very simple reason that you want folks wearing them well after the event is done. Not throwing them in the bottom of a drawer.

Take the time to invest in your event. Invest in the growth and the brand. It will be worth it in the end. As a follow up, the next year the event was taken over by a new group, and it improved 100%.

Fundraising with T-Shirts

I spent some time in the non-profit world.  So I feel I am somewhat familiar with the events that typically take place to help raise money for various causes.  Events that most people are familiar with would include casino nights, 5K runs or charity walks, golf tournaments, etc.  However, there is something that many charities overlook because it's a relatively new idea.  Selling t-shirts as fundraisers.  Think about how many people you see on a daily basis wearing a t-shirt.  Stop and look at it sometime, read the message.

In our age of online platforms, we can now offer non-profits a FREE way to sell shirts online and make money for their cause.  Yes, I said FREE!  Many times people look at this with a skeptical eye, and rightfully so.  We all grew up being told nothing is for free, right? Well, this is!  Now, where are your actual costs? Time and effort is your cost.  We are able to help you set up the online sales portal, we can manage it for you, and produce the product and fulfill to your customers.  However, the client MUST put the marketing effort in to let folks know they can buy. 

It's not an "If You Build It They Will Come" platform.  People must be informed and told over and over again so they know to buy.  We have seen case studies of this program bringing in tens of thousands of dollars if the client really gets behind the effort.  And when it's all over, we show up at your front door with a check.  Yep, just that simple.

So next time you are looking for an out of the box idea, consider selling t-shirts online to support your cause.  You don't have to recruit volunteers for this one :).

Artwork is key

Many of our customers are first-time folks ordering screen printed apparel.  The first time doesn't mean first time the company orders with us, although that happens too.  But rather the first time the customer is ordering printed apparel.  When we think of printing most people automatically think brochures, flyers, business cards, etc..  And while these are all great items, it's a completely different printing medium and process than apparel.

For the apparel industry, artwork takes on a different meaning.  Although we all want good clean artwork, for apparel we need to convert the art to spot colors and make sure all colors are separated before we can make screens and go to print.  I don't claim to know as much about traditional offset printing (on paper) other than to say the process varies from ours.

As a result, having good clean artwork is key to your design coming out well on your custom printed t-shirts.  That usually means we need what is called Vector artwork.  This is artwork that is typically formatted as .EPS or .AI.  It allows us to manipulate the size and still maintain the integristy of the design.

So remember, when you are considering ordering custom screen printed tee shirts.  Have your designer provide you with artwork that is ready to go to avoid any artwork set up fees from the printer.

Thread Zone does custom printed apparel through screen printing and embroidery.  Call us today for a quote!