Startup Questions and Answers

Answers to the questions you have, and the questions you SHOULD have before you get started in custom apparel.

Just reading the title of this article probably has 10 questions swirling around in your mind! Whether you want to get into the embroidery business, do custom t shirt printing or screen printing, or create and sell gift items like mugs, koozies, plaques or any of a hundred different options, you probably have the same basic questions as everyone else.

Here are the Top 3 Questions we get and the best answers we can give you to help you get started:

Question #1: How Much will it Cost?  

Money is almost always the new entrepreneurs first thought, and that’s not a bad thing. After all, that’s one of the reasons you are probably thinking of starting your business, right?

The answer is, of course, “it depends”. If it’s an embroidery business that’s on your mind you’ll need to figure out if you can make money with one single head or will you need higher production with a multi-head embroidery machine? For a single head you can expect to pay under $12K for a good quality industrial machine like the GS1501 from Pantograms (that’s an estimate, check with us for what current pricing is)

If you start with 2 units for a 2 head embroidery machine solution you pay a bit less but get 2x + better production capacity. That 2 head solution is perfect if you are doing a lot of small quantity custom jobs, like a few jerseys and caps to match; jersey is embroidering on one, cap is embroidering on the other at the same time. There are always price breaks available for buying multiple machines at once, so you can expect to pay less “per head” but a larger total investment up front.

On the Printing side, the OKI920WT is the t shirt printing machine of choice here at Pantograms. It’s incredibly easy to use, produces some incredible quality custom t-shirts and will allow to put an image on just about anything. The custom t shirt printer and a great heat press to go with it is usually well under $10K depending on the bundle.

If you want to see how a single head machine or a multi head or the OKI920 t shirt printer works, just choose the One on One Demo button and get that set up.

Rather than invest all your cash in the equipment up front, it is frequently a better idea to lease the machines instead. Simply put, this lets you start with the right equipment if you can’t quite afford a real commercial embroidery machine, etc. It also lets you keep the cash you have for things like marketing, inventory, rent and other business expenses. You can expect to pay under $300/month (depending, this is just an estimate too) for a GS1501 and about $500/month for a Stitch and Print System that will let you do embroidery AND custom tees.

Learn more about leasing here.

But the most important thing to keep in mind about cost is:

It only makes sense when you compare it to revenues.

If a single head embroidery costs you $12K but can help you make $40K but a Stitch & Print Bundle costs you $22K but can help you make $65K (just examples) which is the better deal? Which is a more worthwhile purchase? A better investment?

That investment difference when you lease is even LESS.. what makes more sense for you?

Question #2: Can I Learn to DO It?

Maybe you’re a home embroiderer, or a screen printing pro or just a creative person with lots of t shirt printing ideas and you’re want to start something new but you’ve never used this equipment or this process before and it makes you nervous. Understandable!

Just put any fear of actually operating a commercial embroidery machine or the OKI920WT T shirt printing system or a heat press out of your mind.

The OKI Printer along with the Digital Heat FX EZ Peel Papers is so easy training literally takes just a few minutes. You can EASILY learn to make t shirts, bags, sweats, and all kinds of other custom apparel and gift related items. Pantograms offers free training, free support and lots and lots of videos and webinars on the use of the OKI920WT and Digital Heat FX papers.

Industrial embroidery machines share some similarities with consumer and high end consumer embroidery machines so if you have experience with those you should be comfortable getting started. If you have no experience at all – we will train you 100%! Training is no extra charge and we’ll walk you through how to embroidery Polos, caps, bags and the very simple maintenance routine for your GS1501. Just go online and search for embroidery businesses in your state – 100% of the people that started those businesses, work in those businesses, didn’t know embroidery at some point… and they didn’t have Pantograms’ 45 years of experience behind them!

Question #3: How Do I Find Customers? What are my Markets?

Most people that get this far, to the point of investigating an embroidery business or custom t shirt business, have an idea already of how they’ll get customers. If you don’t yet, here are a few ideas:

  • Friends and Family referrals – everyone works somewhere and those businesses need custom apparel
  • Church and Charities – mission trips, charity runs, fundraisers, and seasonal tees for holidays
  • Interest Events – dog shows, horse shows, boat shows, gun shows, coins, stamps, comics, movies, local festivals (strawberry festival, wheat festival), county fairs.
  • Sports – football teams, baseball teams, swim, tennis, lacrosse, softball, bowling, soccer jerseys
  • Fan and Booster wear – baseball mom, football mom, soccer sister, elementary school, high school, kindergarten, bags, shirts, pant legs
  • Exercise and Gym Clothing – yoga studios, karate clubs, MMA fighters, kickboxing, muscle heads, personal trainers
  • Cheer – anything and everything cheer
  • Dance – anything and everything dance

You can access these markets in some simple ways to begin with:

  1. Let everyone know what you do – don’t be shy. Most start up businesses rely on word of mouth so the more people who know you and what you do, the more business you’ll get.
  2. Find one or more of those Events mentioned above in your town and GO. If you haven’t gotten started yet then just attend. Pay attention to the vendors that are there, what the attendees are wearing and what you think is missing. Then rent a table for next time.
  3. Make a business Facebook Page – this is a GREAT marketing tool especially if you don’t have a website. Put some pictures up there of your work, your customers, etc., then ask all your friends to share.
  4. Get in your car and drive – make a 5 or 10 mile circuit around where you live or work and just look at the number of businesses that are there! Which of them might need custom apparel? Once you have your business cards and a sample, just go in and introduce yourself and leave a card.
  5. Chambers of Commerce – in just about every town there are a few different chambers that do nothing but promote local businesses. Join. Participate. Watch the business roll it.

More Questions: ______________ ?

You should have at least a few answers now and might be ready to talk to a real pro about the numbers, the investment, and how you can get started with Stich & Print, GS1501 or the OKI920WT to power your new business. Just choose the right next step for you below:

You knowSchedule a demo buttons and Contact us button