Premium vs. Standard T-shirts: Is it worth it?

September 3, 2016

Screen printing is expensive no matter how you look at it. However, it’s even more expensive to pay for shirts that no one will ever wear!

There is a pretty big difference between premium quality shirts and standard shirts. Premium quality shirts are made from high quality cotton that is so soft to the touch that you can’t help but rub your face on it! Premium quality shirts are also better fitting, the way the shoulders are seamed are more comfortable to wear, and a lot of premium brands feature side-seams for a tailored look. Standard shirts are usually something basic. They tend to be stiff, and end up being loose because you have to size up or the collar will choke you. Standard shirts are not very stylish… They do have their place! But that depends on their purpose.
You have to determine how much value you want to get from your purchase. It’s important to not just look at the final cost of the shirt, but the potential return on your investment.
Look at your investment from a cost per impression standpoint. Impressions would be the number of times your shirt is worn and how many people have the opportunity to see it. The more someone wears your shirt, the less your cost per impression is – so ultimately you’re getting more for your money.
Let’s say your customer wears your standard Gildan shirt that cost you $5.50 a shirt. They average twice a month for one month and then they lose it (this happens more than you’d think!). In those 2 times they wore the shirt a total of 30 people saw it close enough to become a valid impression (15 impressions per day worn). The cost per impression becomes $0.18($5.50/30).

Now, let’s take a premium shirt like Bella + Canvas, at the same quantity cost you $7.50 per shirt. Since this is such a comfortable shirt your customer is less likely to lose it, and more likely to wear it often. Say they wear it 5 times a month, and in the first month have a total impression count of 75 people! (15 impressions per day worn) The cost per impression is now $0.10($7.50/75). By the second month (and you know there will be a second month with these shirts!) you’re looking at $0.05 per impression!
***These numbers are a very rough estimate

Any marketing expert will agree that the long term benefits definitely outweigh the initial costs. The ultimate reason to have people wear your t-shirts is to grow brand awareness. You NEED people to wear your shirts so that more people see your brand.
In case you’re not sure which shirts are considered premium quality, personally we use Bella + Canvas, but there is also American Apparel and Next Level.

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