T-shirt Basics By Pat Gaines - Part 1

By Pat Gaines

An artist can display all o f the high-cost, high-quality artwork they want in a T-shirt shop. But, the bottom line is that nothing will ever replace the low-priced, quick designs that include a name and a simple black outlined drawing with color. This is the stuff that pays the rent, the “bread and butter1′ of any T-shirt shop business.


Upwards of 50% of an entire store’s display should be made up of low priced designs . One of the most important, yet simplest, areas in this category is the name design. Pictured are a number of good selling name designs chosen from our Design Portfolio.

Customers should have a wide variety of this type of design with many different letter choices and color combinations. Simple name designs should be kept inexpensive not only to attract customers but because they are a great add-on sale to a shirt you may paint with a larger more detailed design on the reverse side.


Let’s say you’ve just painted a car on a shirt. When the customer comes to pick it up, tell them that for only $3 more they can add a name to the back of the shirt. Tell them to pick one of your 25 or so name designs and that you will change the colors to match the colors of the car. The customer will think this is a real deal, only $3! Just for asking the simple question, you’ve made an extra three bucks.


Maybe this doesn’t sound like much, but if you ask this question every time you sell a shirt like this, over a year’s time it really adds up. You could add thousands of dollars to your income. And, nothing could be any easier than painting simple name designs. All you have to do is ask.


The trick is to have a good selection and to display them very prominently close to your cash register. We call this a “point-of-purchase” sale. It’s the same idea used by grocery stores putting candy and other inexpensive, appealing items along the check out lanes. Did you ever wonder why they do that? Well, now you know.


Name designs are also very popular around the holidays. We display a number of children’s shirts with big, bright name designs painted on them. A sign, posted close to the register, advertises the inexpensive price. This appeals to the customer who may have a lot of family to buy for. These customers will purchase 4 or 5 T-shirts or sweatshirts at a time. This is where the phrase “one-stop shopping” comes from. Having these selections on you; display during the holidays, when shoppers can afford to buy in quantity, is not only a winner for your customer, but for you as well.


Another big seller is always sport-oriented designs, not only on T-shirts but also on license plates and other accessories where the addition of a name or simple picture can make all the difference. These inexpensive name designs and designs with small pictures shown from our Design Portfolio are the cornerstone of any airbrushing business. Give your customers a great choice of designs from which to choose and just stand back and watch them sell.

Looking ahead to my next article, I turn the spotlight on designs from other categories of a low-cost standard display including boyfriend/girlfriend designs, cartoons and sceneries from the West Coast Design Portfolio that you can copy for use in your own display. Don’t miss it! Until then, “just do it”!

Continue to Part 2

Leave a Reply

Airbrush Action Magazine's November - December 2015 Issue is now available -- Print and Digital Edition!

AIrbrush Action Diamond Collection: All Issues from 1985-2013