The Secret To a Great T-Shirt Blank
What is considered a good blank?
When it comes to what makes a great blank, there’s personal taste. And then there are facts.
Personal taste is vague and there are many answers for that depending on preference, demographics and culture (street culture, surf culture etc.). For example, the Venice Beach Abbot Kinney guy will probably show preference towards a fitted, soft and lighter weight fabric over a boxy tee in a heavyweight fabric. Compare this with the Urban or Streetwear afficionado that will prefer and see more value in a carded heavyweight cotton and oversized silhouette - this is a very popular look in streetwear right now btw. Just making what YOU (one person) likes and enjoys may be fun, but it is not an effective way to start a business. First and foremost, choose your target audience carefully, then research, research, research to learn all you can about them.
Facts Based on Knowledge.
When it comes to objectively determining what a great blank is you need to be asking the correct questions. Where is it made? What kind of cotton is used? How is it dyed? Does it have any treatments? Is the body tubular or cut-and-sew? Usually cut-and-sew, treated, garment-dyed blanks are preshrunk and the complexity of their production earns these blanks an elevated place for quality and craftsmanship. Blanks made in the USA are already a win since all production abides by strict FTC regulations and can give brands and start-ups peace of mind that their products are produced locally and ethically.
Sixelar is not a blanks company or a manufacturer. We are a brand. As a brand ourselves, our advantage is that we think as a brand as opposed to a manufacturer. Manufacturers and brands are each from different planets so to speak. Both have almost opposite points of view and goals when it comes to making their product. As a brand, we know what is good and what is relevant and are able to supervise the fit and the construction of a garment from a brand’s point of view. Whereas a manufacturer or even most blanks companies don’t follow trends and lack a brand’s perspective.
The main goal of a manufacturer is to make the cheapest product in order to gain the largest profit margins. They do this by making their products overseas (Mexico, China, Pakistan, India etc.) with poor quality cotton and basic designs. They are too far from the hype to know what is a good fit or a relevant product (meaning that they are usually in parts of the world that completely ignore trends and innovation by other brands). This puts them at a disadvantage to leverage a trend and they depend on brands for direction and creativity.
Brands, (the good ones) take pride in quality and innovation based on extensive market research in order to create a relevant product. The latest styles, colors or materials usually follow a forecast and the biggest brands lead these trends.
It’s The Boom of Brands.
There is Brand Fever out there and people wanting to build their own brand are desperately seeking answers on where to start. Some have limited or basic knowledge, maybe they’ve been doing graphics for someone and now they what to step out on their own, and some are starting at the absolute beginning. Unfortunately, there is so much info out there that you can easily be led towards making the wrong choices.
I was curious to know what some blank reviewers are talking about online and did a quick search. To my surprise I realized that most of the people you see giving advice on YouTube and many bloggers are in fact clueless. They have such basic knowledge themselves that people looking for answers can be easily misled. There were so many YouTubers and Bloggers that I found talking about traditional (old-fashioned) blanks companies such as Gildan and Fruit of The Loom. I have seen so many influencers reviewing the traditional brands like they are out there to be discovered. Those brands have been around for decades but this does not make them “classic”, it makes them dated. Most haven’t innovated or changed their products or manufacturing processes in decades. And yet they are being recommended to people dreaming to become the “next upcoming brand”? I was shocked. Is this the info that people with dreams of building a brand are getting? No wonder we see so many startups thinking they can print on a cheap, shapeless blank and think they have a brand. Many will go down this path, but you should stay away from it.
My best advice is not to take the easy road since it leads so many to the same failures. Do things right. Use the best quality so you don’t have to struggle trying to sell it. Let the product talk for itself. Nobody likes to listen to what you have to say or the amazing concept behind your brand if what they are looking at is sub-par. If you’re having to explain and try and convince people that your brand is great, then it probably isn’t so great. Keep it real. People will buy your product because it’s cool, relevant (meaning you are not the only one that likes it), has an amazing graphic or a special treatment or the quality of the cotton is amazing. Products have a voice of their own and being tangible and visual, they talk loud and clear even at first glance.
Now how will they know that the quality is great? Trust me. They will. True quality breaks many barriers even through your phone screen.
SIXELAR is the catalyst within the blanks industry since we strive towards relevance, innovation, and locally producing products of incredible quality. We’re not just your average, traditional blank.
We put in some serious hardcore engineering to get to our final products that we love. The only way to ensure your product has value is to do the hard work in order to stay relevant and be constantly innovating and creating. We’ve already done the hard work…so take advantage of it as a starting point for your own brand.