Buying Custom T-shirts Local versus Online

Custom T-shirts Local vs online

Buying Custom T-shirts Local versus Online

Advantages of buying custom t-shirts local versus online is more than what you might think. I’m guessing most people who read this are not actually that familiar with the custom t-shirt printing process and all of the steps that need to take place from the time the order is placed until the finished product is produced. That’s okay, you don’t need to because this article is geared towards the common custom t-shirt shopper.

People tend to buy online because that’s what they know. Generally they buy a lot of things online and it’s just easy. There are two kinds of online custom t-shirt shops out there that offer two completely different experiences when you compare custom t-shirts local versus online.

Buying custom t-shirts local versus online – ONLINE

The first online store is geared like any other web based business and that’s to serve customers strictly who buy online. They are bigger businesses yet don’t seem to offer the customer service people crave. You can spot these types of places easily because their who mantra is displaying ship dates. The one major down fall to these types of online custom t-shirt shops aside from customer service is that they never actually see the finished product. They take the order an actually ship there boxes to a printer than is generally in the local vicinity of the order placer. The order is sent to this more centralized printer and printed and then shipped to the customer. So the people you are actually paying for your custom tshirts never actually see your custom t-shirts. So there can be a mystery as to what you are actually getting because you have a printer with one source of quality control and the people you are paying with another. In addition buying custom t-shirts local versus online means you typically pay much more per shirt and while they claim shipping isn’t free, we all know shipping isn’t really free. So at the end of the purchase you end up paying more for your t-shirts then if you chose to buy locally.

Now there are companies out there like our company, Kirkwood Trading Company, who are geared toward a local customer base but do ship shirts across the country. This business model is a more cost effective model for the consumer because with these types of smaller companies you are actually paying the company who is doing the printing. You will pay a little more because there are shipping costs but you will drastically save on the price per shirt because the shirts are getting shipped to the company to print and then shipped to the customer. There is no contract printer getting a piece of the pie. You will also experience a faster turn around time.

Buying custom t-shirts local versus online – Local

When you buy local the root of that experience is supporting a company that supports the community. Just about all local companies have a design online feature so if you like designing your own shirts that is still an option with a local screen printer. Typically local screen printers are smaller businesses so if you want to show up and talk to someone or pick up the phone and call them you’ll typically get a live voice you can speak with, ask questions to, and get a more personalized experience. Buying locally means you save money because there are no ship charges and again using a local screen printing t-shirt company means they are printing the shirts on site. So the turn around is faster and the customer service and quality control is better as well. The overall experience and buying more cost effective custom t-shirts is the biggest advantage to buying local.

So the best part is you have options. Buying custom t-shirts local versus online will save you the most money, give you the fastest turn around time, and the best overall customer experience. So if you are in the market for custom t shirts, look online locally and see what options you have.

New Custom T-shirt Colors

New Custom T-shirt Colors

Kirkwood Trading Company offers Gildan t-shirts

New Custom T-shirt Colors are something everyone should check out if they are wanting to make a splash with their next custom t-shirt design. Whether you are in marketing, branding, or you simply want a unique colored t-shirt for your next family reunion, these new custom t-shirt colors are worth the look.

Mint Green is by far the most popular new color and the proof is in the fact that multiple manufacturers have now come out with a mint green once Gildan launched in this year. It’s a great color that allows for many compliments of various ink colors to be printed on it. It comes in a lot of styles now and even the fashion brands like Next Level are on board with their own varation of mint green.

Another popular new custom t-shirt colors are the oranges. While the neon safety oranges will never go out of style, especially thanks fo OSHA, but orange is always a popular color for fall. Now you can add Sunset which is a blended orange and lighter colors of thread giving an orange heathered look. Another orange shade is the antique orange which is your basic orange thread blended with a dark thread. Both colors are popular mostly because they are new.

Other new custom t-shirt colors are gravel, a solid grey, cobalt, a rich dark blueish purple,old gold which is a rare find, and coral silk which is a heather coral. Coral has become a popular color over the past couple of years and now it’s just a heathered variation sure to make the coral color trend last.

Now, when it comes to picking the right t-shirt color something new is always a strong way to go. Something that you don’t see everyday is sure to catch some eyes which means you message will be seen prominantly. When it comes to picking a color you definitely want to have a complimentry ink color to give the shirt maximum pop. Something that is ethically pleasing obviously garners more looks than something that just blends in. At Kirkwood Trading Company we help you match ink colors to the shirt color of your choice so you get maximum exposure. That’s the point right? To get people to see your t-shirt. That’s where we come in. We’ll make sure that when we print you custom t-shirts that your message pops.

Hooded Sweatshirt trends

hooded sweatshirt trends Cool custom sweatshirt screen printing[/caption

Hooded sweatshirt trends for 2017 aren’t all that different from last year with the exception of more options and more colors. The basic hoodie will always be a staple because it’s traditional, affordable, and fits no matter the cause be it our door use for company employees or team sweatshirts for a team sport. They are available in various weight and a ton of colors. The traditional cotton poly blend hoodie is here to stay.

Sublimated hoodies are coming on strong. These are a hooded sweatshirt trend that is just now taking off in the midwest. The have a textured look or pattern that is created through a dye sublimation process. These are typically made of a performance polyester moisture wicking material and some are light weight and others have a great lining to add warmth and weight. These come as a full body design or sometimes just the sleeves have the patterned design. A truly great sweatshirt. The only downside to a sublimated hooded sweatshirt is the pattern and how it affects a graphic. Certain colors and graphics might blend with the hoodie pattern and be hard to see. The whole purpose of custom hoodies is to market something so depending on your purpose these might not be right for you.

Performance poly sweatshirts either solid colored or with contrast piping or accents. These are great for marketing a brand and team sports. They have a very classy look and with crips dimensions have a professional look that is great for being causal while looking sporty. Because of their performance properties they are popular among team sports as a marketing piece for athletes to wear to and from games and in just use while bopping around town. Since these are solid colored in nature printing any graphic or message in any color works fine. With the performance material does come a price increase.

Full zip light weight soft hoodies are an ever growing hooded sweatshirt trend. Especially among women who don’t want to fuss with their hair a full zip eliminates all the hassle. These are light weight and fashionable that come in both solid standard colors and a few unique colors as well. Actually popular among men and women because that present more of a light weight jacket purpose than a full blown swaetshirt. Easily printable but to keep expense low a left chest print works best as opposed to a design that spans the zipper.

The technology is making great strides in the apparel market and now consumers have more options than ever and can choose between newer colors, newer materials as well as newer styles. So when it comes to hooded sweatshirt trends there really is an option for any ocassion. We custom print hoodies for just about every type of industry. While team sports is the largest buyer, outdoor service businesses like tree services, lawn services, pest control services, and other types of businesses that have employees out in the elements are the 2nd largest buyers.

Kirkwood Trading Company specializes in screenprinting custom logo wear. We carry a full line of these hooded sweatshirt trends and will be happy to discuss options and pricing with you to see what makes the best fit for you needs.

How custom t shirts are printed

how custom t shirts are printed

Kirkwood Trading Company custom t-shirts

How Custom T shirts are printed is a unique process that takes a few quality steps that need to be precise in order to print the highest quality custom t-shirt. These steps take time and contrary to popular belief we cannot simply snap our fingers and “Poof” here is your t-shirt order. These few steps take time if done right and some of them are time sensitive steps which makes the process that much more challenging.

How custom t shirts are printed – artwork

A quality custom t-shirt starts with the proper artwork. This is really the corner stone of every great t-shirt because if the artwork isn’t right nothing that follows will be successful.

Ideal artwork will be in a vector format which would be a file created in Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Vector artwork is scalable and doesn’t pixelate and can be color separated by a keystroke on the computer. Photoshop has gained in popularity but the output is still raster. Raster images can best be described as flat. They can’t be scalable without pixelating and they can’t be color separated. File types that are raster are jpeg, bitmap, tiff, and png in most cases to name a few.

The imporance of vector artwork is that the output on the custom t-shirts has crisp lines and no detail is lost.

how custom t shirts are printed – film positives

Once the color separations take place on the computer the artwork is then colored black and then printed on vellum paper or laser film. Film is ideal because images come out more black and they are more durable for cataloging for ongoing clients. On the film you want the image to be as black as possible.

Once the film positive is print the next step is to burn the screen.

how custom t shirts are printed – screen burning

burning the screen is a very crucial step in the custom t-shirt process because the artwork and ink determine the correct mesh for the job. Most t-shirt companies will have screens that has a mesh count ranging from 35 microns to 305 microns or more. The lower the number the more ink gets pushed through the screen but less detail. The higher the mesh the less ink gets pushed through but more detail is exposed. Good screen printing shops know which screen is right for the job and a lot of times that can be tricky when a job calls for white ink. White ink is the thickest ink and needs to go on thick to prevent garment color from showing through the ink. So a low mesh is ideal but sometimes a customer has a design with high detail and wants white ink on a black shirt. Knowing the right screen mesh that allows both ink saturation and detail is crucial to having a happy customer.

To burn a screen the film positive is attached to the bottom of the screen. The screen has been coated in a light senstive emulsion. The screen is then placed on a light table for 2-6 minutes depending on mesh count. The black image on the film is then unable to be penetrated by the light while the rest of the of the emulsion is hitting direct light. When the mesh is burned the screen is then taken to a washout booth where it gets hose off. The black image on the film that prevented light from shining through then breaks down and is washed out of the film leaving the graphic exposed.

How custom t-shirts are printed – printing press

There are two kinds of screen printing presses. Manual presses and automatic presses.

Manual presses mean the the printer is pullling the squeegee over the screened image by hand every print on every shirt. An automatic press means that a machine is pulling the squeegee of ink of the screened image.

A manual operater is responspible for placing the shirts on the press, printing them, then taking them off the press and putting them in the dryer. An automatic press operater is responsible for setting the shirts on the press and taking the shirts off the press and putting them in the dryer. Manual presses are a slower operation with a more historic detail to every shirt and are the most cost effective and popular presses. Automatic presses are built for speed. They can print exactly what a manual press can so there is no limits to how many colors are in a design or detail, an automatic press just does it 4 times faster.

Once the shirts are printed they are sent through a conveyor dryer where they will reach temperatures of 330 degrees. This cures the ink and bonds it to the shirt. Screen printing is the most durable printing method for custom t-shirts and the largest manufacturers output their brand using the screen printing method.

It’s a fun business and Kirkwood Trading Company has been printing the highest quality custom t-shirts in Saint Louis Missouri for over 20 years. We print both small order runs of 12 shirt minimums and larger runs of shirts of a few thousand. If you are in the market for custom t-shirts you can contact us anytime and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or provide a free price quote. We also offer our customers the option to design their shirts online.

Thanks for reading.

Cotton versus polyester custom tees

Kirkwood Trading company

Cotton tees vs polyester tees with screen printing

Cotton Versus Polyester custom tees

That is the question and I’ll start right off by saying cotton tees are presently the most budget friendly shirts. So if you bottom line is cost, then let’s just get this out of the right right here at the beginning, cotton shirts are the way to go and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and you would be in the majority.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s look at things like value, performance, and general use for your custom t-shirts.

Cotton printed custom t shirts – cotton versus polyester custom t shirts

Cotton is a little different than it was 10 years or longer because now companies offer their shirts in a “preshrunk” cotton which means while you still get some shrinkage, it’s down to 3-4 percent compared to what used to be an automatic 10 percent. However, depending on your laundry habits the 3-4 percent is not set in stone. Cotton is the most cost effective material out there for custom t-shirts and it’s the majority of what our customers buy. It’s a cost conscious choice and it still appeals to a broad audience. Now days companies are offering more ringspun options for softness and cotton polyester blends for comfort as well. Regarding the screen printing aspect cotton is where it began and continues to remain. All inks for every day use by screen printers are generally formualated for cotton. Inks not meant for cotton are inks that had to be specially formulated from the norm.

In regards to marketability and general use, cotton is still the major player because it makes a great cost effective options for kids going on a field trip, selling your created brand shirts, company shirts, team sports shirts, and really whatever your need for custom t-shirts would be, cotton would be suffice.

In recent years as the trend has gone to lighter softer more tapered custom tees, a lot of cotton blends have gained in popularity with the ringspun cotton by itself, cotton poly blends as well as cotton poly rayon blends. These shirts have a higher price point and are a significant option depending on you marketing plan.

Polyester printed custom t shirts – cotton versus polyester custom t shirts

Polyester is a performance fabric which means it takes the moisture or sweat your body creates and speeds up the evaporation process leaving you with a dryer shirt when you are sweating. This technology is real and why the demand for poly shirts has gained traction. They are very soft in their own right and their performance properties make them a great option for team sports, a classy professional look, and when outdoors when temperatures are hot.

There are people on both sides of the cotton poly fence. Most people like both while others either love one and disregard the other. The cotton versus polyester custom t shirts will always remain an option that has opponents and proponates.

Kirkwood Trading Company can look at your specific need for custom t shirts and give you options and make recommendations. Contact us for a free price quote through our home page. We can assist in design, color combinations and making sure you custom tees are perfect.

Custom Dri-Fit Performance shirts

Custom Dri-Fit Performance Tees

Kirkwood Trading Company St. Louis provides custom dri-fit performances tees.

Custom Dri-Fit performance shirts are really a 100% polyester performance t-shirt with moisture wicking properties. The term Dri-Fit is actually a trademarked term by Nike and has become the staple term for apparel that wicks moisture away from the body keeping your cool when it’s hot out. We carry Nike Dri-Fit Golf shirts for your business casual needs but in this post we are talking about the popularity of the t-shirt which we will refer to as a performance t-shirt.

Different companies have their own term for a performance t-shirt. You have Dryblend, Stay Dry, Cool Dry to name a few. What do all of these have in common with the custom dri-fit performance shirts? They are all either 100% polyester or a blend that includes polyester. For a true performance t-shirt where sweat gets wisked away and evaporates the more poly in the garment the better job the wicking performs.

The current trend on custom t-shirt screen printing is performance apparel. It’s lightweight and it’s soft and it performs. Peformance apparel is comfortable to wear for all occasions. Whether it’s intramural sports, team jerseys, promotional shirts for a 5K run, or simply a style you offer in your schools spirit wear. The performance poly shirts are big sellers and a big hit with consumers.

When the performance shirts hit the screen printing market in mass about 8 years ago they were expensive and for our company, Kirkwood Trading Company, they made up less than 5% of the apparel we printed for customers. Fast forward to 2016 and custom dri-fit performance shirts make up around 35% and climbing. The ever popular 100% preshrunk cotton shirts still make up the bulk because at the end of the day they are the least expensive shirt, have mass appeal, come in hundreds of colors, and are cost effective for most custom t-shirt needs. Shirts that don’t fall into the cotton or performance category are some sort of blend containing ringspun soft cotton and polyester where you get the light weight and usually more tapered shirt.

Kirkwood Trading Company has been screen printing custom t-shirts for over 20 years in Kirkwood, Missouri. We can educate our clients and help you decide whhich is the right shirt for your custom t-shirt needs. We are a small family owned business where you can actually talk to a live person who answers the phone. Give us a call for your next custom t-shirt need here in St. Louis and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free price quote.