From a t-shirt idea to a geek badge of pride
July 14, 2006 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I've come up with the one geek/holiday-related T-shirt idea to rule them all. Its will just be plain text on a black t-shirt, not unlike the shirts. Where do I go from here?

I have done extensive research and have not seen any occurrences of this design. I'd love to have some shirts printed and distributed. Widely. I think a certain niche of sysadmins/unix/osx/perl/programmer geeks would LOVE this idea. I believe its unique, I've been watching the search engines for two years now and dont believe this has been done before.

I've heard of cafepress before but dont they take a nice chunk of change and copyright the idea?
posted by neilkod to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Where I live (Chicago) there are lots of little indy silkscreening places that will make shirts. You could go to one of those type places and have them make it for you. Then, you could sell it online.

If you don't want to handle all the logistics, why not pitch the idea to someplace like thinkgeek?
posted by rbs at 9:35 AM on July 14, 2006 I have used them... I have heard there are others.
posted by digital-dragonfly at 9:47 AM on July 14, 2006

Response by poster: rbs-does thinkgeek accept user submissions?
posted by neilkod at 10:13 AM on July 14, 2006

Check out the T-Shirt Selling and T-Shirt Fulfillment Services forums at A lot of good advice and vendor suggestions.

In addition to the above listed, there's also

All of these will handle printing, order fulfillment, and allow you to set up an online store. You'll want to read up on their copyright policies but I'm pretty sure most of these just handle logistics and don't care a whit about what you actually print.
posted by junesix at 10:22 AM on July 14, 2006

The way CafePress works is that they set a base price. For this base price they handle all of the printing and shipping and allow you to offer your design on about a zillion different things (t-shirts, mousepads, mugs, etc.) You add whatever profit you want to make on top of their base price to arrive at the price you think your customers will be willing to pay. I run my own shop through CafePress and am very satisfied with the quality of their products.

They do not get any kind of copyright on your work, although I believe they can use images of your designs in their advertising.
posted by MsMolly at 10:23 AM on July 14, 2006

Spreadshirt - if you're just making a shirt for yourself, it's like $25, so to get around that, make sure to set up a shop to sell, which lowers the price to $15. Just add a dot com to the end of the word.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:30 AM on July 14, 2006

You could get them printed by a real screenprinting shop. A place like Acme charges about 5-8 bucks per shirt for just black with one color and then you'd just need to make a website selling the shirt (and mail them out and stuff). You could use mefi projects to pimp the shirt.
posted by mathowie at 12:27 PM on July 14, 2006

Doesn't silk screening only work on light colors?

On dark (especially black), instead you'll get that icky rubberized stuff, which gets progressively more cracked with each washing. What's that image medium called, BTW?
posted by Rash at 12:52 PM on July 14, 2006

If you have the graphic ability you could just submit it to threadless. If they accept it you get about $1500 in cash and $500 in various credits and you don't have to lay out any money.

On the other hand you can just pay and print them yourself. I did two sided 3 color stuff from CustomInk for my venture and I think they ended up being about $7 each. That's with a 200 shirt order, though, and about $2300 in outlay.

If you're so sure it's something people would buy can you convince some friends & family to invest in printing some to sell?

Your big concern is marketing them. The best product in the world has to be put in front of people's eyeballs. Case in point - I've got a big box in the basement containing $7 rags that I use to clean things now.
posted by phearlez at 2:30 PM on July 14, 2006

@phearlez: MetaShirt? (MetaBay?)
posted by baylink at 7:15 PM on July 15, 2006

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