A couple of years ago I thought about starting my own line of T-Shirts. I’m a Tee wearer and I have a really bad time trying to find T-Shirts I’m happy with. A lot of people thought I was mad, there was already places like CafePress, Threadless, Think Geek and Insanely Great Tees that were out there and doing a nice job of getting business.
I listened to the neigh-sayers and didn’t really press forward with the idea. I’ve even bought some of the Tees from the places listed above but I have to say I don’t think they do it that well.
Don’t get me wrong, the sales process is awesome, perceived customer service amazing, shipping times: fast, bit with each there was a problem as I see it, the merchandise.
My most recent order was from Threadless, and when I say recent I mean, my delivery arrived on Monday after they had their massive all shirts $9 sale late last week. The guys from work pooled our order together and we ended up buying a total of 10 shirts in various sizes.
As I said I have bought from others before, in particular I have one shirt from Think Geek bought as a gift from a friend and three shirts from Insanely Great Tees that I bought.
Here’s what’s wrong… the shirt from Think Geek has a large head opening, that large hole has to go somewhere and on me it hangs down too low int he front and about the same amount in back. As is the case with one of the shirts from my recent order from Threadless.
Another problem is in the sizes, they aren’t all the same and I don’t mean across company. I mean within this order. The shirts David and I got are 2XL and 3XL because we’ve seen them too small in the past. In this order one of the 3XLs is the same fit as a 2XL. One is a shirt made in Bangladesh while two others don’t have labels and three others are American apparel shirts that have had their AA labels ripped out and all have the customary Threadless print inside the back section of the shirt.
Had the same problem with the shirts from Insanely Great Tees, of the three we bought (over a year ago) two are fine, the right size (2XLs from them) and they have stood up to trials of me wearing them very well. One of them has a strange collar, it rides really high all around.
So I guess my plan was always to come up with my own pattern, or at least find one I really like and break it down to make a pattern. Shop the pattern around at manufactures in Australia and see what we could do. The plan was always to keep the whole project Australia made, supporting local manufacture and even Australian grown cotton or bamboo materials.
That plan was pretty expensive, the shirts would probably have had to sell for around $60-80 to make some money. They’d be great quality, but no way could they have competed with companies like Threadless and the like who can do a spot sale for $9 per shirt.
So the next step was to find a wholesaler who already produced tees locally, this was near on impossible. One was a manufacture for Bonds, but some of the stock at times may come from overseas (I read this to be most of the time). The other one I looked into was “No Sweat”. A group against sweatshop production and all for local manufacture, but the quality of their shirts wasn’t really where I want to be. They collars were loose and would have lost shape too easily, that is the number one thing I hate above all else in a shirt.
So maybe for now the dream is on hold, it is certainly not gone from my mind. I already have one design ready to go and others in my head. One day I’ll do this and it will be massive.