Hints and Tips

It can be tough to make that initial investment. The looming question always is: “I have this money, should I waste it on t-shirts? What if I sell none?” Then there is the other question: “What do I put on it? Do we go for a gazillion colours and huge print, or small and subtle?”

Where nobody’s case is 100% the same, there are some basic things that you can do to make it a profitable venture, either way. 

Here are some tips: 

Selling Price for success: You want to be able to sell t-shirts for £5. To some this means you have to order thousands (those that have high numbers of colours), but for most of us it means you have to be smart with the designs you sell. If you can keep the cost of the shirt down, you can mark it up to sell for £7 at gigs, and drop the price to £5 for special occasions and still make money. After all, it’s less than 2 pints of ale – or one fancy drink, for those who are that way inclined. 

Cost:  There are many things to consider, so allow me to give you a quick breakdown:

  1. T-shirt colour and type. Ladies fitted shirts might sound good, but it costs more than standard unisex shirts that can be ordered in smaller sizes and isn’t limited to half of your fanbase. White shirts are cheaper than coloured shirts.
  2. Print size. So you’ve seen these gigantic printed designs that run from edge to edge and thought that would be pretty cool and won’t be that expensive. Well, think again. This is a completely different printing method, essentially meaning that unless you are having the material printed and then manufactured into shirts, you are looking at high costs or high volumes (thousands.) A3 is essentially like opening a magazine and having both pages side by side. A4 is like one sheet of printer paper.
  3. Screen charges. Well, we have negotiated that there are no screen fees. That doesn’t mean that these can just be forgotten. It is just worked into the suppliers costs of time, rather than keeping the screen for you and charging you a fortune for it. Dovetail gets a discount because of the volume of bands that use the service, so it’s free to the bands.
  4. Print colour: You do not want to have more than 2 colours on a t-shirt. The simple reason is that if you want to keep your shirts high-quality, but at a sellable price, then you will just be cutting your profit. This is of course fan-base-dependant, but our experience says that single colour prints on coloured shirts always sell well, regardless.
  5. Avoid the temptation to print anything on the back! We live in Europe, people wear jackets or coats most of the time, so it isn’t seen and doubles the cost of your print. 

It is easy to get carried away with trying to make your shirts look like your favourite bands, but it is important to remember that your favourite band is ordering it in massive quantities, something which isn’t always easy to do when you are first venturing into it. 

So here are a few ways of cutting the costs:

Shirt: Unisex, mixed sizes, minimum of 50, white or coloured. (Any less and you run out of the popular ones before you have recouped the original costs.)

Print: A4 or A3. Screen printing gets heavy so the A4 size is perfect for band logos.

Print colour: Keep it simple. 1 colour is very useful, as you can use the shirt as a second colour, for shading etc. By the same logic, 2 colours becomes 3, if you use the shirt colour.

Lastly, it is important to remember how the industry works. In the sixties bands got all the profit from merchandise. Since then the record companies have cottoned on to the large volumes bands make from this and is no longer immune from profit-sharing. So embrace merchandise as a part of what it is you need to do to get and stay ahead.

We have a simple ideal at Dovetail. Selling merchandise enables you to expand your fans, make extra cash from your fans and cultivate a deeper relationship with them.

You can do a quick quote by clicking here.

And remember that our advise is free and we will help you complete your designs without additional charge. 

Good luck!