There are a few styles of decorating t-shirts today thanks to modern technology and the use of the internet to streamline the process. Depending on the process of how each company applies graphics to their garments, there is one main factor that is crucial for all...PRICE. The next Main Factor will be Product Material.
PROCESS & MATERIALS
DTG: Usually 100% Combed Cotton Garments with thinner sewn hems and panels to lay the garment flat works best so specific styles and manufactures are used.
Ring spun cotton garments will be the best due to it's flat & smooth texture along with absorbability for the inks used during the print process. At this time, Spectra Tees is the leading T-Shirt manufacturer for this style printing industry; however most ring spun cotton shirts across the board will be just fine to use.
SUBLIMATION: 100% Polyester is needed for best results since this style garment is decorated by a heat transfer process. Thinner hems and sewn panels are also necessary for full garment decoration.</p>
SCREEN PRINTING: Most garments will be appropriate. Since material types, technology and industry regulations push for better ways to decorate most garment types, the possibilities have become endless on what you can apply to most surface areas as well as the materials they are created with.
Plastisol - This ink goes well on pretty much any blank distributor but ring-spun fabrics always create the best results so find the best cut and feel you like. Just make sure your printer uses a Poly Blocker ink for you shirts with blended or full Polyester fabrics.
Waterbase/Discharge - Most brands print well and most companies now use reactive dyes but not all of them do well. A few of my favorites are: ePacific, Spectra Tees, Canvas by Bella, Next Level Apparel and Gildan. Most of these brands have great dischargeability with their poly/cotton blended shirts too and the price point is great.
The remaining factors are 1. Availability of product style, 2. size and 3.color as well as 4.Timely Delivery of products once ordered.
Some business models order product in advance (INVENTORY OVERHEAD) before an order is placed. Some benefits to this business model would be to receive free shipping from their distributors once a certain amount has been spent and with the right volume, be eligible for top tier pricing or even NET 30 payment terms. Since there is no guarantee what was ordered will sell through or how fast you may go through your inventory, the business is ultimately using up valuable cash resources that could be used elsewhere.
Other models that hold no inventory may be located closely to one of these distributors where they can pick up the garments daily or on scheduled dates after orders have been place. The only cost will be the time it would take to have it picked up as well as a small amount of gas needed to pick the products. This model might cost a bit more in the short term, however, if they are not holding on to unused inventory, there is no real loss and the cost of the garment is still transferred to the customer who is ordering a custom shirt
Regardless of which model of business you are buying your products for, each business should have a solid relationship with their distributors and strive to receive top tier pricing which is always in their benefit. The biggest challenge to either business model will be receiving consistent products from the manufacturer's to avoid sizing variances, dye lot variance, low to no quantities, etc. Working with a distributor that has confirmed knowledge of what the manufacturer is providing and is able to make sure what they offer remains the as well as keeping enough product on hand to fulfil their orders at any given time is key when choosing the products to offer on any custom T-Shirt website business.