T-shirt production used to be a big pain. You had to find somebody to do a design for you. You had to find a printer who would invariably be a small shop and would charge you an arm and a leg. You had to pick them up yourself and distribute them yourself. Still then, as now, T-shirt production was a great tool in any band’s toolbox. If the shirt was interesting and memorable, then people took comme des garcons hoodie notice of both the shirt and your band. And if you were savvy enough at business, you could also turn a profit by selling them at shows.
One of the realities of 21st century music is that unless you have a label and serious muscle behind you, you can probably forget making money by selling music. Honestly, even with that kind of support, you are still unlikely to make a living just from selling CDs or songs on iTunes. What big name artists have learned is that touring and merchandise are where the real money is made. A song can be copied and pirated by thousands or even millions of people, but the event, the real thing, is something that cannot be copied. And neither can custom band merchandise, or at least not effectively, which is why T-shirt production in the age of the Internet is such a great thing for bands. You can up load your images to any number of printers doing business on the net and get your shirts for dirt cheap.
If you end paying two bucks per shirt for T shirt production and sell them for twenty, you are going to find that making a living as an indie band gets a whole lot easier. The printers can do these kinds of runs because of economy of scale. Your average small town printer gets a fairly small amount of business, but their fixed costs remain the same. Basically they need to charge a certain amount per shirt in order to cover the costs of employees, equipment, and what not. Big T-shirt production printers get a lot, lot more business, so they only need to charge minimum prices per shirt printed. So it is really easy to get a great price on T-shirts, even if you are only looking at a small run.
If you are a band that is thinking about doing up a run of shirts, you need to keep a few things in mind. One, you want to get a design that is eye catching and cool, so people will take notice. This is free promotion for your band, so put some thought into it. Second, make sure the band name is visible on it. It is cool to have something stealthy, but save that for when you are already rolling in the dough. If you find the right person to do the shirt design and right printer to do the T shirt production, sales can make the difference between making it as a band and living in your Mom’s basement. It is your choice.