testing a print before spending a ton of money!

if printmaking is part of your business plan, you might want to test a new print with your audience before spending a large amount of money on a big chunk of your collection. I've been playing with different tee shirt prints in my past few seasons, and one of my most recent tests turned out to be very profitable. 


i started testing designs with a bunch of buttons/pins i made. i sent multiple designs to my buttonmaker and sold them individually. i got to really see what people responded to and which sold out first.  my "makeup face" was hands down my best seller. girls loved the way the eyeliner and lipstick print looked like a really fun, cute face. (it was also my self portrait- haha!) I sold my pins for $3 or 3/$8 and they cost me $0.50 each to make.

 I made myself a sparkly clutch with that same self portrait on it, and carried it around as my own personal, custom clutch. anyone who saw it in my pop up shop commented on it when they saw it against the already huge selection that i was already offering. i started making small quantities of that clutch style and it was always one of the first styles to sell out at my shop. these cost me about $5 to make and i sold them for $20 or 2/$35. 

once i realized that people loved this design, i tried it out on a sweatshirt. i got my sweatshirts printed at Panther Printing Co. in NJ (they ship everywhere) and spent $20/piece doing a large run of sweatshirts. the sweatshirt started selling immediately and i sold out of my first run in a couple months. now, i am expanding the print into other designs in the future (baby onesies?! more sweatshirts?! tanks?!) the future is full of possibilities, but knowing that my pre-existing audience 

tip: printmaking is priced by the number of colors you use, not how large the print is. you could have an itty bitty print with 10 colors and it will be much more expensive than a large print with 1 color. each color is printed onto the garment with a specific screen, and each screen is aligned with the others so that the print lines up. each screen costs money to set up, and therefore each color costs more money to print. 

Me, Julie, (hi!) wearing the cropped sweatshirt in Nashville!

Me, Julie, (hi!) wearing the cropped sweatshirt in Nashville!

ps. i'm currently wearing this sweatshirt as i nervously type this in turbulence on an airplane. i get so many compliments on this wherever i go and hope this one small example gives you lots of great ideas!!