Some of you are wondering why we chose print on demand instead of going for screen-printing which offers lower production cost. Here’s why.
Against the commercial approach
With print-on-demand, we do not sell anything – instead we offer a service: you choose your image and apparel type and we print it for you. This business model prevents becoming a “t-shirts supermarket” and completely eliminate overproduction and waste.
Print-on-demand¬†makes it technically possible to offer an endless choice of different designs since this production model requires no investment, unlike screen-printing. It also allows us to offer a wide variety of different types of clothes, colors and sizes. Holding no inventory makes it possible to constantly change our catalog to try new designs and remove those that never gets sold.
In addition, this business model allows us to have t-shirts for everyone, with designs that represent as many struggles and ideologies as possible, even the lesser known. On the other hand, screen-printing would force us to keep only the best selling t-shirts since we would have to invest a lot of money to print them in large batches. We prefer variety rather than popularity, even if a large part of our catalog have very low sales, some t-shirts even end up never being sold.
A question of budget
This is the main reason that guided our choice: on-demand printing requires no investment and minimizes the costs associated with our operations.
The primary purpose of the shop and its only reason to exist is to be able to raise funds for activist causes. If we multiply investments and loans, we would spend more time repaying our investments and debt rather than raise money to make donations – therefore we would become a capitalist business like any other.
A question of investment
We currently offer a selection of over 3000 different designs available on 10 types of clothing and about 10 different colors. To get a good price with a screen-printing company usually requires to print at least 100 t-shirts at $5.00 each.
Imagine the investment it would represent: 3000 x 10 x 10 x $5 x 100 = $150 million !
It means we would have to invest a minimum of $150 million to maintain our current inventory (and that’s without calculating the higher price of hoodies and other expensive clothes). Not even talking about the costs related to the storage of so many clothes …
The shipping factor
Another factor that significantly influenced our decision to opt for on-demand printing is our partnership with a printer located in USA – postal services in the United States have very low prices for international shipments. It would cost¬†more than double of the current fees to ship the t-shirts from Canada or France.
So even if we lose money due to the higher production costs, it allows us to offer¬†lower shipping prices.¬†
For us, this choice also has some disadvantages, mainly its higher than average production cost. Since each shirt is individually printed, we pay a production cost on a per-unit basis, unlike¬†screen-printing which provides wholesale price.
Our projects for the future
Not having the financial means to buy our own machines, we opted for a partnership with an american printing company. In the long term, we aim to self-sustaining our production means by buying our own machines (DTG on-demand digital printer and Flex printer).
But this represents an investment of several thousands dollars and we refuse to get a loan from a bank that would contribute to the capitalist finance mafia through the interests. We hope to be able to start saving money to raise the amount needed in a couple of years.