Guest Post by Carol Montrose
If you’re looking for a fun hobby that allows you to be creative, save money, and even net a decent return down the road, then you might want to consider the world of consignment tees. A lot of retail stores are looking for ways to expand their in-store variety with less risk, so if you are able to create graphic or craft tees that sell, you’ll easily find placement. Although there is an up-front cost that you will have to pay out of pocket, you stand to make quite a bit if your tees are popular.
So here are a few things to consider when getting started:
First you need to tally up the initial cost. Making one tee for yourself is not too expensive, but once you decide to create multiples, you’ll obviously be paying more. Or will you? Bulk t-shirts will generally cost you between $2 and $3 apiece for standard cotton. You can order them online and many come with free shipping if you order over a certain dollar amount per shipment. You’ll need to consider what sizes to get and if you want to pay more for girly tees, tank tops, or other specialty items (like super-soft jersey, which is fairly popular in tees right now). These could run you as much as $5-$8. Remember, cheaper may seem better initially, but you have to think about what people are more likely to buy in the long run. And don’t forget to wear your designs for a bit before moving ahead and making more; you need to know which designs people are more likely to buy, so get opinions from everyone! You’ll get your own cheap tees out of the bargain and a lot of great feedback.
Next you should think about how you’re going to make your tees unique. If you want to screen print graphics you’ll need to buy or make your screening materials (reusable frames, screens, etc.). These can be purchased as professional items (fairly pricy) or faked with homemade versions. Or you may opt to use stencils instead (a much more cost-effectivetechnique, but the likelihood of bleeding is higher). For at-home printing, you’re probably better off with the stencil method, at least while you’re just starting out. You’ll also need fabric paint and a few good ideas.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to create graphic tees. If you’re crafty with a needle you can add all kinds of buttons, beads, bows, zippers, and patches to tees, although this could end up being a lot more time consuming than printed tees. On the upside, shirts that sport built-in jewelry (beaded necklines, for example) are fairly on trend. You could even do some creative shredding with the scissors (for some reason this appears to have come back into vogue). In short, there are many ways that you could design your tees, but most of them will require some additional materials, which add to the overhead.
Finally, you need to approach retailers about selling your tees on consignment. The standard consignment fee is 50% of any sale, so you need to go in with a marked-up price in mind that will get you paid back on product with a little extra to pocket. Say your cost per unit is $10. If you sell for $20, you’ll only get back the ten bucks you spent, with no real earnings. But if you mark it at $30, you’ll get $15 back, meaning an extra $5 beyond what you paid.
Of course, if you think retailers are taking too much, you always have the option of going into business for yourself. By setting up a website and engaging in internet marketing (there are many free avenues for advertising online) you can keep all of the money and sell your tees for less. The only real trouble is getting your wares to the public, and in this case, it might be worth half your sale to let someone else handle the business end. In the meantime, you’ll have plenty of your own tees to wear and when the sales of your consignment tees start coming in, you’ll more than pay for the cost of your own wardrobe.
Carol Montrose is a freelance writer and part time MBA student at California State University Northridge (CSUN). She resides in Southern California, and likes to knit, read, cook, and play with her 4 cats.
Are you interested in guest posting on Family Friendly Frugality? Please email me heather @ familyfriendlyfrugality.com. I’m looking for anything in the family friendly/frugal niche, but specifically how-to’s, DIY posts and RECIPES! Must be original content not posted elsewhere.