A friend was asking me about this earlier and while at one point I was able to answer it off the top of my head I’m now sorely lacking in the info for the best answer. Rather than do the right thing and respond with “I don’t know” I’m turning to you all for help. The basic question is in 2008 if you wanted to print and sell a couple of T-shirt designs on the web, how would you do it?

Things I think I know:

  • Proper screen printing is a requirement, no “print on demand” using iron on or heat transfers.
  • Printing a gross of shirts at a time is way cheaper than small runs.
  • Men’s S, M, L, XL are required.
  • Local printing with in person pick up is always cheaper than printing elsewhere and shipping.
  • Storage of and fulfillment is a nightmare.

Things I know I don’t know, but would like to:

  • Of men’s sizes, which are the most commonly ordered?
  • Which women’s sizes are most common and worth producing?
  • Does the shirt printed on still matter (American Apparel vs Hanes Beefy T, etc)?
  • Is it better to have a simpler shirt with no branding of who made it, or some credit somewhere so people know where it came from?
  • Are there any companies doing storage & fulfillment that are worthwhile? (I know at one point there was a guy in Chicago who ran a business where he did nothing but stock products for other people’s companies and handle their mail order in exchange for a % of the sales, but he’s long since stopped.)
  • If selling the shirts online, is it worth taking orders from outside the US or is shipping still prohibitively expensive? (Or is the exchange rate so good that it doesn’t matter?)

Any info (e-mailed to me or posted in the comments) would be super appreciated. I know for a fact that this person is looking to add merchandise to their existing non-merchandise related company so options like Threadless are out of the question from a business standpoint. Suggestions? Ideas? KTHXBAI