I have some ideas for t-shirt designs. What’s the best way to go about printing and selling them? Do I have to copyright my designs first? Anyone have any experience with this?
I don’t know about copyright, but a lot of websites that sell t-shirts use www.cafepress.com to make them and handle the ordering.
Copyrights are automatically given to original works. You can still register one if you want however.
Even though they make it pretty easy, i would avoid Cafepress for t-shirts. The only real benefit of using them is that you don’t have to print a lot at once (they do one-off printing on demand). The big downsides are extremely poor quality printing (i’ve seen the printing on shirts wear off to almost unrecognizability after just two washes), and the fact that the base price for the shirts is about as much as most of your customers will want to pay, so you’ll have a very hard time making any profit if you use them.
Yeah I’ve heard of cafepress, but I actually want to make money from this. Anyone have experience with other professional companies?
How big do you want your operation to be? If you’re moving less than, say 100 shirts a month you can always just buy a screen and squeegee and print them yourself.
Man, I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of days as well. I’ve been thinking about contacting t-shirt websites like Busted Tees and asking if they accept outside ideas (I just looked at their site, and it seems as though they do).
I was also thinking of selling t-shirts on a website I want to start sometime in the near future, but I wouldn’t even know where to start doing that (selling shirts, that is).
This may actually be something that’s cheaper to get done locally. I know my high school makes t-shirts for damn near everything–every organization gets them printed up (some get lots printed up) and individual groups of kids do sometimes as well. Call your local HS and ask if they use anyone local. Chances are that is someone who does decent work and is used to handling fairly small jobs.
If it’s really good and fits the style, you might try http://www.threadless.com . You submit the design, people vote, and if they like it they print it and you get $2000 (some of it’s in store credit). They control all the “storefront” operations and selling (but you don’t get any more money after the initial $2000 no matter how well or poorly it sells).
Otherwise I’d say go local. My town of about 33,000 had a screen printing place, so they’re probably more common than you’d think. I also know a lot of our schools’ things were screenprinted at the local prison.
You could always have them made and start an ebay store and see how they do at first.