Finding the Right Blank Goods Supplier for You
Blank goods are the items that you want to have your designs or logos applied to, which could include t-shirts, polo shirts, hats, bags, sweatshirts, aprons, and more. In order to produce a successful and profitable product, it is vital that you select the right blank goods supplier. There are several factors involved in the selection process beyond the obvious considerations of cost and quality.
Selecting the Right Fabric
Part of finding the right blank goods supplier involves selecting one that provides the most suitable fabric for your needs. Some people assume that good quality shirts and fabrics must be made of 100% cotton, but that is not necessarily true. One of the main considerations when selecting a fabric for your product is who your target customers are, what kind of climate they live in, and the ultimate use for the product.
Take t-shirts as an example. Are you targeting younger customers who live in a relatively warm climate? Then you might want to go with lightweight shirts made from a breathable fabric. Adults and those living in cooler areas are more likely to value a heavier fabric and may interpret the weight of the fabric as an indicator of quality.
Another major factor involves the type of customization that will be required. Different fabrics work better for embroidery, screen printing, or digital printing. For example, sublimation (which prints graphics all over the garment, including the sleeves) works best with polyester or poly blend fabrics. Screen printing, on the other hand, works best on a cotton canvas.
If in doubt, ask your contract printing company for fabric suggestions. They will be happy to tell you what type of fabric will guarantee the very best results.
Let us continue using t-shirts as an example. There are several major players in the blank t-shirt business, and you’ll probably recognize these name brands: Hanes, Gildan, Bella + Canvas, and Next Level Apparel. These are considered by many to be the top 5, but they be out of budget. Keep in mind that most customers of these brands purchase t-shirts by the thousands. The size of your expected production run will have a major impact on which supplier is your best choice in terms of price and available inventory.
If you are not aiming for a very large production run, you still have quality, cost-effective options. For example, check out brands such as Jiffy Shirts, Jones T-shirts, Blank Apparel, and The Deal Rack. Some of these brands also have physical stores where you can check out the products’ weight, appearance, and overall quality first hand, which is always a wise choice.
For online shoppers, do a Google search using long-tail keywords like “blank t-shirts” or “blank apparel wholesale.” If you’re working with a deadline, don’t forget to make sure that your blank goods supplier can fulfill your needs. An order for 5,000 blank items might be difficult for a smaller, local supplier to fill.
Foreign Made or Made in America
There are pros and cons to using foreign distributors. Some foreign distributors can offer extremely low prices, but that can come at a tradeoff in terms of higher shipping costs and longer delivery times. While you have far more suppliers to choose from overseas, there is a potential for delays and other issues involving customs and imported goods.
On the other hand, there is added marketing appeal for products that are Made in the USA, and the intellectual property rights protections are more robust in the United States and Canada. That said, American distributors don’t necessarily provide Made in America products. Using an American supplier, however, usually means faster shipping times and easier communication, and more likely than not, higher prices.
Always check the online reviews available for any supplier you are considering, and that does not only mean the reviews and testimonials they post on their sites. Tools like Google and Yelp can provide a wealth of knowledge about a potential supplier. Another excellent resource is referrals, including those from social media groups, which allow you to research others’ experiences with suppliers before contracting with any yourself. Your printing company is also a great resource—they may have relationships with trusted suppliers that they will happily connect you with.
Obviously, premium quality blank goods are more expensive, whether you’re working with t-shirts or hats or bags. You want to provide your customers with the best quality product possible while maintaining a healthy profit margin. Also keep in mind that buying in bulk will always give you the best price.
One Size Does Not Fit All
When it comes to blank goods suppliers, there is no “one-size fits all” answer (pun intended). Which supplier is the best for you depends on several factors, such as what type of fabric you need, how many items you are having printed/embroidered, whether you are looking for an American or an overseas distributor, and the profit margins you need.
Contact A.I.R. Conway!
When you are ready to embark on a project that requires printing or embroidery, contact A.I.R. Conway. We do quality embroidery, digital printing, and screen printing with over 30 years of experience. We offer quality insurance, free shipping, color assurance, state of the art equipment, and work with highly skilled technicians. We pride ourselves in providing outstanding customer care and on-time delivery with every order. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote!n quote!