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Best Places on the Web for Custom Products Makers

Sponsored by ColDesi

Home and business-based makers of every kind are flocking to custom products creation. The custom products industry is wide open for business right now! There are dozens of unique machines and systems available to create or embellish just about any item you might enjoy making.

And while you can find tons of information on the web about the different brands and types of equipment (with any number of people contributing their opinion). What’s hard to find is the best place to look for excellent content. Content like:

  • Financing your equipment
  • Marketing tips
  • How to set your pricing
  • Best business practices

What you’ll find here is a list of places to start your education on these topics and more. While some are geared toward specific technologies, the lessons and information can apply to your maker business, no matter its customization focus.

Customization Equipment Financing Questions

When you’re looking at that first big potential purchase and looking at T-shirt printing business equipment—direct-to-garment printers, white toner transfer printers, sublimation, etc.—don’t leave financing out of your decision-making process.

Custom T-shirt business

What many people don’t know is that financing is available for systems as cheap as $1,000 and up to as expensive as you would like to get. And in many cases, an equipment financing deal for your business will not impact your personal credit.

Here are some great places to start your search for financing:

0% Financing an Embroidery Machine GOOD Idea?: This article applies to anything, not just embroidery machine financing)

Financing Your Printer: Again, this applies to any printer, but this takes a simple look at financing a white toner printer.

Equipment Financing Options: Here’s some information from a leasing company in the business.

CAS Podcast Website
(Image courtesy ColDesi)

Custom Products Marketing Resources

Where many maker businesses need the most help is in marketing their custom products. You might start by asking: “Where can I learn more about marketing my custom products business?”

The short answer is podcasts. They’re hugely popular and particularly useful if going to trade shows and events are still on your activity list. You can listen anywhere you like with whatever time you have available. Podcasts are a great way to learn and do other things at the same time. Here are some of the best:

Custom Apparel Startups Podcast

At this publication date, there are about 136 hours of podcasts devoted to, mostly, the custom T-shirt and embroidery business, but the marketing education applies to any business. Mark Stephenson and Marc Vila draw on their combined small business and marketing experience to deliver great advice on starting your business and making sales.

The podcast is free, but there is also a “How to Start a Custom T-Shirt Business” course available on the site as well.

Shirt Show with Bruce Ackerman

Printavo software founder Bruce Ackerman hosts the podcast. Since Printavo is a popular shop management software, there’s a lot of useful information about that. Ackerman also draws on years of screen printing experience to educate his listeners.

2 RegularGuys Podcast

Aaron Montgomery and Terry Combs are both customization industry veterans and bring that knowledge, and that of some high-powered guests, to the customizing public. Their backgrounds in custom apparel and promotional products often help provide proven marketing gems.

The Business of Making Custom Products

Are you looking for better ways to operate your business, save money, or propel your business to the next level? These are the best articles on the web for you:

T-Shirt Business Turnaround is all about looking at your current business like you’re a buyer. Imagine you’re getting your business ready to sell it, and then use whatever changes you may come up with as your custom road map for going forward.

6 Ways to Grow Your Awards Business is specific to UV printing and the awards business as far as examples go, but you can apply the lessons here to anything.

Custom trophies

Starting a Direct-to-Garment Printing Business is a quick read that gives you the Reader’s Digest version of business planning. Niche markets, necessary skills, and working out your ROI are covered.

Shop Planning Tips helps with your workflow and determining how long it takes your business to produce a custom product.

The only resource on our list that is not free is the course on How to Start a Custom T-Shirt Business. If T-Shirts are what your maker passion is, this course is the best. It’s 100% online training that takes you through everything you’ll need to know to get started in any custom product business. The course also does a brief description and demonstration of the different customization machines. It’s great market research to add to any business plan.

Pricing and Profits

How to price embroidery, custom Ts, signs, vinyl stickers—or any customized product—is incredibly important.

There are standard formulas or industry rules of thumb, of course, but just because many people use a particular method doesn’t mean you have to. You need to have pricing systems that work for your unique situation(s). Check out these articles for guidance:

How to Price Embroidery goes deep into the cost method and market pricing methods and how each can impact your business.

How to Raise Your Prices Video is all about raising your prices the right way. Many first-time business owners, especially ones that go from hobby to pro, don’t charge enough. It has more to do with emotions and how they feel about the price than it does about business.

Selling custom T-shirts

How Much Can You Make Selling Custom T-Shirts is another quick read for people just getting started. It’s useful for getting the general lay of the costing land.

Heat Transfer ROI explores the how, and how much, you can make selling heat transfers.

Resources for Makers

This list is a small summary of all the resources available, no matter what kind of customized products you choose to make. It is specifically a list for “makers,” though. It is for the entrepreneurs and business people that won’t settle for just using drop-ship tactics or contract decoration companies, and that want to bring their visions to life with their own hands or on their own shop floors.

If making is on your agenda and you are searching for the right equipment to do so, visit www.coldesi.com.

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Mark Stephenson

ColDesi

Mark Stephenson is the director of marketing at ColDes, a provider of customization equipment including UV printers, T-shirt printers, and embroidery machines. Mark is also a co-host of the Custom Apparel Startups Podcast.

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