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Someone left a comment under our video asking what program we are using to arrange and resize images for DTF printing. That’s a raster image processing software. RIP software from some brands needs to get paid and licensed while we offer our software for free. When you choosing a printer, you need to take this into consideration. The person who asked this question is new in this area, so I make this video to talk about some common asked questions about T-shirt print on demand.
To start a T-shirt printing business, the most common asked question is how much money can be made selling T-shirt. People are wondering whether the T-shirt market is saturated or profitable. In our previous video about DTF printing cost, we have calculated that the average cost of a printed T-shirt is only about 6.6 dollar, so the product cost is not the primary consideration factor before you start the business. If you are doing T-shirt business of traditional design and classic niche, the competition in the market is increasing. However, there are always lots of opportunities in custom-designed T-shirts, because new trends and innovative designs keep creating significant demand, one after another. Take this gilt veil transfer film for example, it cover a thin layer of golden powder on the printed pattern, it can offer people more styles to display their unique personalities and interests on their T-shirts.
To start a profitable T-shirt business, we need to stay updated with the latest consumer preference and the newest market trends. People may be saying that, I’m always scanning fashion websites, following influencers in social medias and joining relevant online communities. But these jobs are not always reliable. The information online is overflowing and changing rapidly. It can be challenging to filter out the noise and identify reliable trends. It is essential to participate in some offline events or do some local community research. Take GPX event for example, we set up a booth in GPX exhibition every year and invite people doing print-on-demand business to attend our exhibit. It’s a valuable opportunity for you to talk to people in person, learning deep insight of industrial trends and discussing business experiences.
The second question is what kind of machine should be purchased for the T-shirt business. There are many machines specified for T-shirt design, such as DTF printer, DTG printer, vinyl cutter, screen printing press, embroidery machine and so on. They are various in function, learning curve and price tag. Among these machines, only DTF printer and vinyl cutter are suitable for selling one-offs and easy to operate. Compared with vinyl cutter, DTF printer possesses advantage in producing colorful and image-based designs. A bundle of a DTF A3 printer with a curing oven is still the most popular choice for beginners, you can print designs at home and ship out your products the same day as you receive orders. Before your business gets stable and grows to the next level, you can perform the most cost-effective investment, for example, buying transfer prints rather than a printer. Business is all about calculation, owning an affordable DTF printer can achieve a better balance among lower business cost, customized design and faster fulfill time.
The third question is about how to choose a blank T-shirt. This is a very difficult part. There are a lot of elements you need to take into consideration, such as fabric, color, weight, neckline, stitching quality, sizing and so on. The most important thing you need to do is doing market research and understanding your target customer. Discover opportunities from a small niche that you are interested in, study and understand purchase habit of your customer base, test your marketing plans and tailor your products to narrow down options for meeting consumer needs.
There are plenty of content creators making videos about choosing blank shirt, you can find some contents that are relevant to your customer base. They are going to tell you the quality of different T-shirts, some may even suggest you some purchasing sources. But you should not rely solely on content creators for your T-shirt business suggestions. Some of these content creators have affiliate accounts with certain companies, some are sponsored, and others may have the different customer bases. You have to place some orders of samples in the colors and sizes you want to offer, transfer designs on them, wash and wear those T-shirt and check if they are as comfortable and durable as expected.
The last thing I want to talk about the maintenance of DTF printer. Some people have a hesitation or turn down their mind when they come to the maintenance difficulty of the printer rather than its price tag. People complaint that the printer nozzles run only several weeks before it get clogged. Actually the printer can run smoothly for a long period if you maintain it properly. The core principle is to keep the printer nozzles moisturized all the time. In idle state, the nozzles should be sealed in the capping station to avoid inks drying up. You can add some moisturizing cleanser into the capping station from time to time. And if the printer will be off duty for a long time, a moisturizing device should be add onto the print-head. When you find the white ink print-head got slightly clogged, operate the self-clean process and clean the print-head using moisturizing cleanser. When cleaning any ink-contacting parts, don’t use alcohol, because it vapors quickly and will solidify inks.