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T-Shirt Basics by Pat Gaines – Part 3

Continued from Part 2

Up to 25 percent of a T-shirt airbrush artist’s income will come from low-cost custom designs. These are categorized by designs that take from 10-25 minutes to paint and range in price from $13 to $25. West Coast Airbrush’s sales strategy is to always offer customers a choice in how we create a design and the price we charge for it.

Why, you may ask? It’s very simple: PEOPLE LIKE CHOICES. You will be very surprised to see how many of your customers will spend far more money on designs than you would ever expect if given choices and a chance to make up their own minds. Granted, giving customers choices does take a little extra time but, if planned right, the trade off is the higher prices you’ll charge for the artwork, or the multiple shirt orders you’ll get from groups and business people.

Here’s how we sell a customer on a low-cost custom design at our stores. A customer comes to our booth with that, “I-know-he’s-going-to-buy-something-look.” He starts off by saying, “I’m Joe and I own a pizzeria. I need some staff shirts for my employees; you know delivery people, waitresses, and maybe one for my wife and I. We went to a silk-screen shop and they said we had to order at least two dozen shirts and even if I did do that, the cost for one or two colors was just too much. Then, I went to a place that did embroidery and while I knew that the prices would be high, I didn’t know they would be that high. Anyway, I thought of your shop and now I’m here. What can you do for me?

I start by saying, “Your situation sounds familiar and I be the silk-screen and the embroidery people didn’t even give you much of a choice of what they could do for that high price, did they?” Joe replies,  “Nope they didn’t! They just shoved it in my face as though they were saying, ‘Take it or leave it. We don’t have time for such a small order.”

“Imagine that,” I continue. “Well, I’m going to give you plenty of choices. I’ve got a shirt for every person on your staff and a great idea for a special shirt for you and your wife.”

fig 1

I invite Joe to look at my low-end custom example photo album featuring samples of lettering, designs from simple to complex, and clip-art that I have collected. First, I show him example photos of designs that are made up of lettering only. I explain that this type of design would be well suited for delivery people; something inexpensive so he could afford five or six of them. The price on this type of design would range from $6 to $10, depending on how elaborate he wants the design to be. I show Joe three examples of lettering designs (Figures 1, 2 & 3). I also explain that with a multiple-shirt order, he will receive a discount of a least $1 off the price of each blank shirt.

fig 2

From experience, I know that Joe is most likely going to choose a lowcost design for this category of employee, but he’s not finished yet, and I don’t want him to feel pressured into something he’s not comfortable with.

fig 3

Joe makes his first order of six shirts with the $6 low-cost lettering design. The total cost so far i s six shirts at $6.95 each totaling $41.70, plus 6 designs at $6.00 each totaling $36.

Next, we look at the type of design that might be suited for his counter help and waitresses. I still suggest he might prefer to stay with lettering-only designs, but note-that many designs include ‘ pictures. Joe remarks, “Pictures! That sounds good, what can you do?” At this point I go for my life of restaurant and food service clipart. I pull up all of the drawings of pizza shop stuff and let Joe (with my help) pick out his favorites.

fig 4

We settle on a design of a pizza chef holding a steaming hot pie. I bring Joe’s attention back to my low-end, custom photo album example book and show him how I can customize the design for him. I begin by showing him how, for between $13 and $15 (figure #4), 1 can include a drawing along with some simple lettering. I then move to another example in my album that shows a design with a larger, more detailed drawing and more premium lettering for around $1 5 to $20 (figure #6).Finally, I move to my best example which includes a large, detailed drawing with color vignette background and elaborate lettering for $20 to $25 (figure #6).

fig 5

Bringing Joe back to the discussion of the shirts for his counter help and waitresses, I tell him he has a lot of choices to choose from. He ponders over his choices over and, knowing that he’s not spending too much on the delivery shirts, he decided to go ahead with the $13 design for his other employees. Six more shirts at $6.95 totaling $41.70, and six more designs at $ 1 3 totaling $78 onto the special shirts for Joe and his wife. When he goes for the first class $25 design, it doesn’t surprise me a bit. At this point, Joe feels totally in control of what he is spending. He’s had plenty of input and lots of choices.

fig 6

Two more shirts at $6.95 total $1 3.90, and two designs at $25 each equal $50. The grand total so far is $261.30. Doing great! I then tell Joe that i f he decides to put these designs on the back of the shirt, I would put a small pocket name design on the front of all the shirts for free.

Without pressuring, I inquire if he has ever given any thought to his staff wearing visors. A lot of fast food restaurant employees wear them and I could make him a good deal on a few of them. “How much?” he asks. “Only $3.95 each plus $2 for “Joe’s Pizza” written on them in colors to match the shirts”, I reply. You never know what some people will spend when they feel comfortable and in control. All you have to do is ask or make a simple suggestion. Twelve visors at $3.95 each total $47.40 and twelve designs at $2 total $24.

The grand total of $332.70 makes the average price per shirt $17.42. This is much cheaper than embroidery and he could never have clotten a small order of only 15 shirts silk screened with designs of up to 6 colors and personalized with names at that price. Joe feels good about his he will be back as a return customer, and that is what really counts for the future of your business.

The bottom line remains, give your customers choices, give the value for the money they spend, and be a friend to your customers. It will always pay off. So get started and just do it!.

Next time, in part #4 of Tshirt basics we will find out how high end custom “WoW” designs play an important role in your over all display and, believe it or not, I will show you how this category of designs can still be done in the $1 -a- minute format.

Continue to Part 4

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