Monday, February 22, 2010

HYPE TIME! It's T-Shirt Season Again

As March approaches, once again I remember -- I'm a screen printer! Yup, I'm still in the T-Shirt business.
The economy is pretty slow, but Manx Media Custom Screen Printing is still whipping out shirts at a semi furious rate. I'm running the office, handling sales, marketing, and graphics, and my long time press operator David Perkin is in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Oregon handling production. David works on the six color manual Workhorse press, a quality machine capable of perfect registration.
Our main clients are Haight Ashbury T-Shirts, where we print thousands of shirts each year for designer David Boyer, whose classic retro hippy designs are the top sellers at the store, and Sarah's Science, the great kids science educator and proprietor of fantastic summer science camps for kids in Oakland and Berkeley. Sarah's summer camp is called This Land is Your Land, and we have adorned many thousands of T-shirts and hoodies with her banana slug mascot.
Other clients we have served include Sony Music Distribution, Margaret Cho, The Residents, Apple Computer, and many schools, clubs, bands, cartoonists and more.
We can handle jobs 1 - 6 color, on any type of t-shirt, hoodie, or sportswear item, and we do runs from 50 pieces and up.
We have plenty of production capability left over for new clients, so email me for a quote, or call me at 503-213-3671.
Happy T-Shirts!
Steve Lafler

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bughouse Makes the Top 100

Bughouse ranked #22 -- top 100 comics of the decade.

Rob Clough, writing for the Comics Journal, ranked my graphic novel Bughouse at #22 in his list of the top 100 comics/graphic novels of the decade.
Well hell, what an honor. Thanks Rob!
Click here to read the list.
Here is the cool thing, it's on sale cheap at Daedalus, click here to buy it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

How to Start a Custom Embroidery Business

How to Start a T-Shirt Embroidery Business

The market for custom embroidered T-shirts and sportswear is strong. According to Impressions, the decorated apparel industry trade magazine, the industry is recession-resilient. With a commercial embroidery machine and a strong marketing plan, you can start a successful embroidered T-shirt business. You can fill custom orders, and also create your own line of designs.
Step 1
Purchase an embroidery machine. Choose from leading brands such as Tajima or Barudan, known for their reliability. Attend an industry trade show to see the variety of machines offered and to try them. Check on the ISS trade show nearest you (see Resources for a link). Decide whether to buy a single head machine, or one with multiple sewing heads.
Step 2
Set up your shop in a garage, spare room or small commercial space, with an eye towards keeping overhead low. File a business name at your county courthouse and open a business checking account. Consider purchasing liability insurance for your business. Practice with your embroidery machine, loading it with digitized designs, placing T-shirts in the clamp, loading thread and sewing.
Step 3
Create a price list for your embroidered T-shirt services, and include sweatshirt, sportshirts, caps and the range of imprinted sportswear. Components of pricing are cost of blank shirt, 50% markup on the blank shirt, and embroidery charge. A run of 100 T-shirts with a small design could be billed at two to three dollars per shirt for the embroidery charge.
Step 4
Target your market for custom embroidery services, for example restaurants or schools. Compile a list of potential customers for embroidered T-shirts. Contact potential customers via phone and personal visit. Market your services with postcard mailings, blogs, a website, order forms, and business cards. Craft a simple message with a call to action: "Custom Embroidered T-Shirts, top quality at great rates, call now for a quote."
Step 5
Write a detailed work order when a client places an order, have the client sign it and pay half the fee up front. Produce a sample for the client to OK prior to production. Upon sample approval, produce the job. Collect the balance of the fee from the client when they pick up the job. Extend payment terms such as "net due in 30 days" to trustworthy clients.

Have a look at Impressions, the trade magazine for the imprinted sportswear industry. This is a link to their embroidery page.

This article was written for an online client who rejected it. I admit I'm not an embrloidery technician (I'm a screen printer), but I have sold and produced at least $25,000 worth of embroidered hats and shirts in my career.