Our clients reach out to us in Boulder for our screen printing and embroidery services for all sorts of reasons, from needing custom t-shirts for a fundraiser, sports team, company event, or even as promotional products, but one of our favorite types of jobs to do is for apparel companies. This is because we know our custom apparel is part of a bigger picture — helping to build a sweet brand.


One thing we’ve realized over the years, though, is that many start-up, and even established, apparel companies struggle to come up with the right ways to portray their brand or don’t fully understand how to go about the t-shirt designing process, which can lead to many rookie mistakes being made. That’s why we’ve decided at Goodbye Blue Monday to lay it all out on the table for you by outlining the entire custom apparel design and production process, so go ahead and dig in!


Saving time and money is always a priority when it comes to custom apparel endeavors, so getting it right the first time is crucial. By following these steps when going about your custom t-shirt or other apparel orders, you can be sure that you get a quality batch of branded gear the first time around that will emphasize your brand image and be a hit with your customers. So take the time now to familiarize yourself with the process behind creating your own custom apparel!


Step 1: Choosing A Custom Apparel Company

Once you have a general concept of what you are looking for out of your new custom apparel order, you’re ready to find a printing company that can get the job done. Finding the best custom apparel producer is crucial for ensuring your products will be top notch!


Rookie mistake: Using the first t-shirt printing service you come across.

As with anything these days, you’ve got to do your research before diving in and investing with the first company that crosses your path!


Pro tip: Choose a custom apparel company that offers actual options.

These are the key qualities in which you should search out when determining which screen printing company to go with for your custom apparel order:

  • No order minimums for custom shirts
  • Intuitive design tools to get it just right
  • Streamlined communication for revisions
  • A wide range of printing capabilities (color range, etc)
  • Connections to a variety of apparel manufacturer


At Goodbye Blue Monday, our screen printing operation is capable of anything under the sun to give your design a unique and custom feel that has beautiful details and that grabs people’s attention.


Step 2: Picking Out Your Custom Apparel Products

Once you’ve found the right apparel printing company that suits your specific needs and offers flexible options, it’s time to decide exactly what type of apparel you want to create.


Rookie mistake: Choosing an incredibly basic t-shirt without exploring more custom apparel choices.

Don’t get us wrong! There’s nothing wrong with the classic crewneck t-shirt in our eyes, but this might not be what best conveys your brand’s image or message or be what your customers would prefer. You should always take an extra bit of time to decipher what type of apparel is best suited to the goals of your business. For example, you don’t want to be that one ski clothing company that’s selling tank tops, unless you’re specifically targeting the Chads and Brads of the slopes.


Pro tip: Think about what makes your brand unique, and bring it out with the apparel you choose.

This means considering the type of people who will be rocking your custom apparel and other gear. Who are they? What do they like?


Goodbye Blue Monday can give you access to just about every possible stock item on the apparel market – from any major manufacturer, in every style, size, and color available. If we find that your requested garment isn’t available, or better yet, doesn’t yet exist, we can locate manufacturers to cut, sew, and dye per custom specification. So let your imagination run wild!


Step 3: Creating Your Custom Apparel Designs

This is where the real fun begins, and it’s more than likely what you’re most stoked for when going about finding new apparel to sell for your company.


You may already have a design in mind that you want to bring to life, but if not all hope is not lost as you can have your custom apparel company create design mockups for you, assuming you chose the right company (hint, hint).


Rookie mistake: Going with the first draft of your custom apparel design.

We know you’re incredibly excited to get your hands on the finished product, but rushing through the design stage can defeat the purpose of all the care you’ve already put into ensuring you get the best custom apparel products made for your company.


While we don’t doubt your creative eye, it’s important to ensure everything is up to par with your design mockup and that it will truly represent your brand in the way you desire. After all, effective apparel design encompasses much more than just style!


Pro tip: Get Outside Input On Your Apparel Design

This means not just your close friends, but from people who you envision as your target market for your specific brand. Honest feedback and creative counseling (CC) is important.


While friends are without a doubt awesome, to say the least, your ideas and creativity can be stifled by their overly supportive feedback oftentimes.  Find opinions from a variety of people you know will be constructively honest and thoughtful regarding what you’re trying to accomplish with your apparel. The more honest feedback you can get on your designs, the better idea you’ll have on the direction you’re taking.


Overall, designs that feature modern graphics, minimalist compositions, and unique typography tend to be the most successful and popular in our experience with producing items for apparel companies.


Step 4: Placing Your Custom Apparel Order

The time has finally come to print your full order of custom apparel! Woohoo! If you’ve followed all of the previous steps to a T, then this part of the process should be a cakewalk for you.


If you avoid one last rookie mistake, that is!

Rookie mistake: Not taking into consideration all of your ordering options.

Since you chose a super awesome printing company for creating your custom apparel, you should have a lot of flexibility at your disposal for getting your order just right. These are some of the factors to consider when placing your order:

  • How many shirts to print
  • How many of each size to print
  • Shipping costs
  • Shipping duration


If you went with the right printing company, you can order as big or small of a batch of your custom apparel as you so choose!


Pro tip: We recommend determining roughly how many items you expect to sell, and then ordering a few extra on top just in case. The last thing you want is for your new product to become in high demand, but you aren’t able to provide it! Save the time of having to go through another custom apparel order and stock up now! After all, if you followed all of the other steps, your final product should be exactly what you’ve been wanting.


Are you ready to get started creating your new custom apparel?

Give us a ring at Goodbye Blue Monday to get the ball rolling and get a free quote today for bringing even your craziest apparel ideas to life!