How to start a fashion brand: Part 2 – Print On Demand vs Print Up Front

This is part 2 of our How To Start A Fashion Brand series. In it, we share helpful hints and tips on everything you need to start your own business selling t-shirts (or other garments). In part 1, we started with an introductory overview that covered all of the aspects of running your own fashion brand, from now on, we’ll look at different areas separately, and in more detail. In part 2, we will make a comparison between Print on Demand and printing up front.

So what is Print on Demand?

To quote a well known brand of DIY products, Print on Demand does exactly what it says on the tin. You print (or have printed), your products, on demand. It involves the picking of a garment, printing on to it, and shipping it direct to the customer (or to you).

What is printing up front?

Printing up front is the more traditional method of purchasing garments. You buy a number of garments up front, and then begin to sell them through whatever sales channels you use. This allows you to take advantage of economies of scale: buying larger quantities results in larger savings.

Why is Print on Demand good for a fashion brand?

At the start of any business, managing cashflow is vital. Print on Demand is helpful for managing a cashflow as you’ll only be buying products when you sell them. It reduces the risk for your business as you won’t have any stock that you can’t sell.

However, Print on Demand is a little more costly. This is because you’ll always be buying single quantities, and it means that you won’t benefit from the discounts that printing up front can provide.

Why is printing up front good for a fashion brand?

Well, it’s the opposite of above. You’ll have to buy up a certain quantity of stock up front, this means savings, which can make your products more profitable. If you’re selling to shops, or you plan to sell through other offline methods, then you’re going to have to print up front.

So, which method should I choose?

Well, it is down to personal choice, and the size of your appetite for risk. The very simple risk/reward balance of economics is evident here. The greater risk you are prepared to take, the greater the reward you receive if you succeed.
The print method you finally decide on will also depend on the types of designs that you’re looking to print. We will cover this in more detail in another part of this series, however single colour designs are suited to vinyl transfers, whilst multiple colours can be printed through either digital transfers or direct to garment printing. However, there are some limitations for each of these.

Want some more information?

If you would like more advice on whether Print on Demand, or printing up front is right for you then you can contact us here or you can call us on 01244 456110

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