T-shirt Basics By Pat Gaines - Part 2

Continued from Part 1

As promised in the last issue of Airbrush Action, here are 12 great, low-cost standard designs to add to your display. Falling in the $12 and under retail price range, these designs will increase your portfolio as well as your income.

These types of designs are categorized by the fact that they can all be painted in approximately 5 to 12 minutes and use a one-piece positive or negative stencil application to complete the picture. They are very simple and meant to target specific customers.

Along with name designs seen in the last issue of Airbrush Action, the designs shown here will constitute nearly one-half of all sales in most airbrush T-shirt shops. A low-cost standard display is more than just a hodge- podge of quick, inexpensive designs.A great deal of effort goes into this type of display at successful airbrush T-shirt shops.

At West Coast Airbrush Stores, we consider these factors in laying out a good display:


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The display must include all categories of low-cost designs including name designs, boyfriend/girlfriend designs, original cartoons, sports designs, sceneries, and lettering phrases.



When considering designs for each of the categories, the proper ratios of each subject matter should be considered. For example, within the sports category, a display should reflect the customers’ interest for which sports are most popular. Thus, a display should include more baseball, basketball, and football designs than golf or tennis.



Always keep up with the changing interests of your customers. In this regard, keep an eye out for popular colors that seem to pop up on hip consumer goods and add them to your design display. New and trendy clothing styles are indicators as well. With the resurgence of the 60s hippie styles, we have added peace signs, environmental designs, and other 60s culture designs to our display.



Always remember that the best sellers in the low-cost design category are often the ones that can clearly be seen as a gifts. More than two-thirds of the designs you sell from this category will NOT be worn by the purchaser. This can be seen most clearly around the December holidays, Valentine’s Day, and Mother1s/Father’s Days.A good airbrush artist will suggest and showcase these images as the perfect gift for anyone.


How many of these designs should you have?As many as possible, as long as you do not duplicate designs and are sure to organize them in an appealing manner. At West Coast Airbrush Stores, we display our $3 to $ 1 2 standard designs on pennant felt squares on wall display ateas, T-shirts, and flip racks. (See Airbrush Action’s November/December ’98 issue.) This way, the designs are seen in many ways by many people at the same time.



You don’t have to be the greatest airbrush T-shirt artist in the world to be successful. Spend time mastering your airbrushing skills. Work hard to improve your lettering, line quality, and smooth application of color. Remember the basic art fundamentals of composition, balance, and color. With these abilities and an understanding of business fundamentals, fair and attractive pricing, and being in the right place with good potential customers, you’re well on you way. Now go out, and just do it!


Looking ahead to my next article, we will start covering the other 50 percent of what you will need represented in your shop to complete your overall display. We’ll look at designs from the low-price custom category which should represent 25 percent of your overall sales and fall into the $ 13 to $25 price range.

no fear



Continue to Part 3



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