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  1. #1
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    Which blanks to offer customers?

    Good evening.

    I have been thinking about Blank items and which ones to offer to customers. Should I just be choosing a few options or just offer everything my supplier offer because they are available.

    I am thinking it is best to offer a limited option but if a customer is after a different blank that I do not hold, I would obviously say that I can get hold of that item as my supplier has them. This is what is causing the confution... if im going to end up saying.. We dont stock those blanks but we can get them.. I may aswell offer everything the supplier offers.

    Can anyone provide some insight on this matter?

    This is in relation to clothing blanks.

    Hope the above makes sense.

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    We've been having the exact same discussion here. We need to expand our range a bit (currently we only do mugs and coasters), but aren't really sure what to offer. The trouble with offering everything is that you either have to keep an awful lot of stock (which we don't have the space or the money for), or you're committed to ordering at short notice which invariably means a big bill for carriage. We haven't got a solution either, so I too will be interested to see what others think.

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    There is no reason not to offer your customers the full choice from the suppliers catalogue, but you need to direct them in the best direction with a carefully selected 'core range' of samples. To expect the customer to choose from 100 catalogue pages of t-shirts is unhelpful.

    You need to offer the basic entry level garments as standard, with a range of better quality garments available as well. There is no point in basing all of your print pricing around a premium t-shirt when all of your customers are basing theirs on the Fruit of the Loom Valueweight. You will look unnecessarily expensive.

    Unless you have regular business holding stock is too expensive. The chances are that even when you have stock you will rarely have the full size scale the customer wants. You might as well order when you need it - everything is available next day.
    If you only need small occasional amounts of garment stock a general supplier like MDP Supplies can be useful. Their garment prices are competitive, and because they stock other products (vinyl etc) it is easier to get a regular weekly order together to offset the postage.
    When your requirements grow look to the specialist suppliers such as BTC, Ralawise etc.

    Pick a handful of samples from each garment catagory - t-shirts, polos, hoodies, sweatshirts etc. Use better known brands such as FOTL,Gildan, AWD etc.

    Postage can be a problem if you only need one or two garments, but it rarely goes over £10. If you can get a 10 garment order together that is £1 per garment - that should be more than covered by the premium you charge for lower print quantities.

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    Maidiniceland (04-10-2017)

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    Thanks pw66. I was considering just placing an order as and when needed, as like you say, it is usually next day delivery or at the most 2 days. During which time I can prep the screens and design. The only thing I would have to be careful of is offering something that is out of stock at the suppliers but that can be avoided by making sure it is in stock before the customer has approved the final artwork on a digital representation.

    It doesn't make sense to have all that money tied up in stock unless you know the work is coming in cosistantly.

    I suppose I could advertise the most popular, and like you say, the basics like a value, medium and high quality options, along with any others that I like and think would be popular. I can then just make them aware that if they are after something more specifc, they can get in touch and I can try and source it.

    I was also wonding if I would be able to use the suppliers images, obviously woth their permission first. It would same me a lot of time and money not having to get them all photographed.

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    Companies like BTC Activewear, Ralawise and Pencarrie show accurate 'live' stock levels on their website. MDP don't, but they have a lot of branches and a limited range so they are rarely out of stock.
    If you are screen printing you will usually be ordering enough to offset the shipping. When I screen print I usually order a couple of extras in each size - the spares I put on a rail to offer to customer who want a vinyl print at short notice, those that want a size or colour I don't have on the rail wait until my next order.

    It might be worth holding some stock of your basic white sublimation shirts, as these tend to be the things that customers come in for in small quantities.

    You are correct in questioning the sense of holding stock, as a small printer. Even if you pick eight core colours, in six sizes you have 48 sku's ( per garment). How many do you stock of each - 1?, 6?, 10?, 12?. You could end up with 400 pieces of a t-shirt and still need to order because you are one item short. Maybe different as you grow, but even then warehousing costs often outweighs the extra price you pay for ordering daily.

    Most brands have images available on their websites for you to use. Fruit of the Loom have images and PDF spec sheets available if you register for their 'Fruit Club', most other brands have a drop box.

    The bigger suppliers have links to their catalogue that you can put on your website - Without their branding, and either priced or unpriced - or a flip book link. These are good for showing the entire range, but shows a bewildering amount of choice. You need to thin things down a bit by showing the 'best' lines on your website. Best not to use the pre priced version of their sites, because they tend to show the stock at very high prices. High prices are ok if you are dealing in small quantities, but if you are chasing larger screen print orders you will out price yourself.

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    Maidiniceland (04-10-2017)

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    Hi, If you are looking for some different ideas on your Blank items view our website at listawoodtradesupplies.com to see our full product range.
    We offer a next day delivery service so no need to keep stock (subject to availability).
    If you need any further assistance please do not hesitate in getting in touch.

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