Custom T-shirt Labels and Tags

So I am close to launching my t-shirt website. In a previous post, I discussed that I plan to print the t-shirt designs myself using a heat press and a vinyl printer. To increase my brand awareness, I plan to replace the existing t-shirt tag with a label that included my logo. While researching the market, I found that I have multiple options. I also found that the Federal Trade Commission has a rule (The Care Labeling Rule) that requires manufacturers and importers to attach care instructions to garments.

The blank Gildan t-shirts that I purchased contains two tags – the first displays the Gildan brand name and the other tag displays the size and care instructions. I had to decide whether to remove both tags or just remove the Gildan branded tag.

Clothing Labels

There are quite a few companies that provide custom labels for clothing. With most of the companies, I must provide the artwork for the label (Illustrator, PDF, etc.), but some companies will create the artwork for you (for an additional fee, of course). These companies provide a variety of types – woven, printed, heat transfer, etc. I checked out the pricing for ClothingLabels4u.com and DJS Labels. Both seemed reasonable. My primary problem with using these companies is that I would not receive the labels for a couple of weeks and I am ready to launch in less than a week. It is poor planning on my part, but I had to find an alternative.

Tagless Labels

The other problem that I have with a custom label is that I did not want to spend the time sewing labels on t-shirts. There are enough moving parts with a t-shirt business and I don’t want to create additional work for myself. I found a company, CircleRPrinting, that will sew the labels on for me, but it is an additional expense that I do not need. So I began to look into tagless labels. With tagless labels, the care instructions can be placed directly on the garment.

After some research, I found that Pad printing is the most efficient technology for tagless labels, so I looked at some pad printers on ebay. The pricing for these machines vary greatly, but I decided that this was not something that I wanted to invest in.

Tagless Heat Transfer Labels

I then began to research creating tagless labels using heat transfer sheets. I looked into iron-on inkjet labels, but I read that the labels did not last long – and many will crack over time. The thought of cracked labels itching a customer’s back did not appeal to me.

I finally decided to purchase custom heat transfer sheets. I can use these sheets with my Heat Press. Before I purchased the vinyl cutter, I had planned to purchase these sheets for my t-shirt design. In fact, now that I have researched the process (and prices) a bit more, I think that I am going to sell the vinyl cutter and opt for the heat transfer sheets. Although it probably more economical to use the vinyl cutter, I do not like the time it takes to separate the vinyl from the backing. I have been told that it would get easier over time, but I do not want to take the time.

I found a company (F & M Expressions) that will print 1-color heat transfer sheets for 15 cents each (plus $20 setup fee). At that price, I can print 500 tagless labels for less than $100. You can’t beat that.

I will probably remove the Gildan branded tag and keep the tag with the care instructions and then use my heat press to place a tagless label (my logo and website address) on the inside of the shirt.

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