Teemill Updates

What’s the difference between DTG and Screenprinting?

This article is a comparison between screen printing and DTG (digital direct to garment  printing). Our bulk factory screen prints for some of Europe’s biggest brands, yet for all but a few of the top Teemill sellers, your on-demand fulfillment will be via DTG. How do the two print methods compare?

Firstly, lets talk over the reasons there are different print methods in the first place. Screen printing is a low cost, high quality way to print high volumes of shirts where the design on each product is the same. It costs very little in ink and time per print. However, the set up costs to cut the lithographic screens, mix the inks and process the art is seriously time intensive. It can take hours to set up for a job. It’s only really suitable where you’re printing 50 or more tees of the same design. The average order size for screenprinting at our factory is around 2000 units, for example.

Compare that to Teemill print on demand fulfillment, where the customer gets a free online store and sells their designs online. We print each order one at a time and ship the same day with your branding. Doing setup on each order just wouldn’t be viable.

Digital printing is different to screen printing, in that the print head prints directly onto the fabric like a paper printer. Screen printing machines put one colour down at a time.

That means that there’s almost no set up – in fact, our technology automates all this. So we can print on demand, and in as many colours as we like!

Teemill Digital Printing
2 Colour Screenprint

Print quality comparison

The look, feel and capability of the print differs with each technique. Screen printing produces thick, punchy block colours which are slightly more vibrant and saturated.

The blacks are blacker, the whites are really bright, whereas with digital printing the inks are mixed differently and have slightly less pop. But digital has many advantages.

Screenprinting is limited to block vector graphics with a limited number of colours, and the artwork is much harder to prepare. DTG in comparison is a breeze, you can upload a simple jpeg photo and get the print out in full colour.

Washability

The print wash-care of both methods should really be comparable, especially when you follow the wash-care instructions – wash cool, hang dry. However, our feeling is that screen print inks have the edge in long-life wash-care scenarios, but only just.

 

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How to choose a Brand Name

You’re ready to start up a brand but you don’t know what to call it? It’s a common sticking point but these 5 steps will help you find a name you can build a business around.

Before you can build a Teemill store and connect to our print-on-demand factory, you need a name. And unlike your URL and logo, which can be changed fairly easily, your name has some fundamental links to your products that make it very difficult indeed to change later. This is also true if you have any documentation, bank accounts, trademarks or social media accounts. A re-brand is a breeze. A rename is a nightmare. If you want to build a successful brand on Teemill with a free print-on-demand factory pass, our advice is simple: Work on a good brand name – and stick with it.

Luckily, when you know how, it’s easier than it sounds.

1. Discover your Key Word

Firstly, we must remember we’re in 2017 and you’re a new brand. That means you are likely to do almost all your marketing on the internet – as you’re new, you’ll need new customers to be able to find you, using search engines.

The format for a search engine is to type the right words in for what we’re looking for. New brands have an amazing advantage over the old school high street names in that we can pick brand names closer to the internet search terms that the next generation of customers are looking for.

Start with a word-cloud to write down all the words relevant to your brand and products. Experiment, and try to build a name around some of them.

If you want search results from people who’ve never heard of you but are interested in your brand themes, avoid abbreviating beyond recognition. A brand called “BVHC” is meaningless to a new customer, even if it means a lot to the creator.

2. Keep it punchy.

Brand names often start longer and get shorter, and more punchy as the brand matures. Like the sound of Woodcutter Apparel Co? Try shortening to Woodcutter.

In “the social network” Sean Parker, of Napster, tells Zuckerberg – “hey one more thing… lose the “the.” And in that moment, The Facebook became Facebook.

A lot of junk is put around the brand to try and make it sound better – the reality is that great brand names are simple, and confident. Mercedes. Nike. Ferrari. Just one word, if you can. Keep the name simple – let the imagery and designs do the talking.

3. Laughter fades. Meaning lasts.

The temptation is to be clever with a brand name, which is cool – but don’t joke. Joke brand names lack the trust, authenticity and longevity that growing businesses need to keep customers coming back time after time.

Unless you’re looking to build a flash in the pan, avoid a joke name. A name that’s clever is cool, but often the best brands are something simple, neutral and authentic.

Land Rover is a great example. Well Hung Signs is not.

5. Names arent everything!

If you’re still struggling, remember, names aren’t everything! Ask yourself what McDonalds really means to you. At the end of the day, it could have just been called Smiths.

Brand names grow as the products develop, along with the logo, identity and colour palette. The name stays consistent in 99% of cases.

Whatever you do, the most important thing is to pick one – and make sure that nobody else has trademarked it already. It’s your responsibility to check that and you will end up in hot water if you haven’t taken steps to make sure your name is not infringing someone’s intellectual property.

We already check your name against other Teemill stores: We recommend searching thoroughly online and if you’re in the UK, you can use the very handy IPO Trademark Search Tool.

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Charity Fundraising Online Campaign

In the age of the internet, selfies and the hashtag, it’s never been easier to pick up massive support online – forget expensive advertising campaigns. What an excellent set of ingredients for a charity fundraiser. Yet judging by the stats, fundraisers haven’t yet found the right mixture to get results for their charity.

Perhaps we’re using an old thinking in a new world. The idea of just a donation might not be enough for an online demographic. Millennials are brand-literate, internet-centric people who expect even charities to excite and amaze them with their content in return for their traffic and support online. They want more.

We’ve been working with some of the UK’s biggest charities to solve this problem: What can we do online to reward support without eroding the revenue, or actually boosting it? Can we at the same time find a way to naturally share and spread a cause online? By mixing fashion and charity, Teemill lets fundraisers do just that – the catalyst is the humble t-shirt. And with new technology, we have been able to help charities do it for free.

Campaign t-shirt as a selfie catalyst

Katharine Hamnett was perhaps the first person to leverage the power of a t-shirt to align national support: She wore her bold “58% Don’t Want Pershing” t-shirt to a meeting with Margaret Thatcher and the photos that spread across the country did more than any editorial counterpoint ever could.

Pictures of people actually wearing a cause beat words, every time.

With a fashion-conscious, ecommerce economy there’s never been a better time for charities to leverage this idea than today, by making t-shirts with their cause or campaign print available. The outcome is not just profit, it’s the thousands of photos and selfies shared online in support and the subsequent reach, which can become self-sustaining.

Selling t-shirts online can be messy and very expensive. We must invest loads, store all the stock, pay for expensive and often unsatisfactory coding – that’s before we even try and compete with what’s “cool” out there at any one time. Most attempts fail.

At Rapanui, we solved this problem during our mission to become the UK’s top sustainable fashion brand. As well as having a young team of designers, we have invested a lot in the technology behind sustainable fashion – by making all of our products from organic materials in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory, and developing traceability tools, allowing consumers to see where their clothing comes from, and how it’s made. All of that is great, except we still ended up with a load of stock on the shelves at the end of the season – which isn’t sustainable.

We wanted to solve a waste issue, both financial and fabric – and developed the technology to print our t-shirts on demand, the same hour the order is placed, and ship them the same day. It worked, and we built a supply chain around it.

It’s this technology that powers the t-shirt fundraising campaigns of some of the UK’s top charities – the software that makes it all happen is called Teemill. It includes a professional ecommerce package to plugin to their website and the outcome is a fully automated supply chain.

All profit, no cost

The charity comes up with a design, uploads to their Teemill and when one sells, we print it and ship it with their branding – we’re an invisible partner. It costs the charity nothing, and around £5 per sale is all net profit, along with the steady stream of fan photos supporting the cause on social media, ready to be engaged for future campaigns.

Established charities have embraced this technology to give their supporters a memento and galvanise long-term support. Chris Hall – Marine Conservation Society marketing team:

“Setting up our Teemill store has enabled us to provide a flexible, cost effective ethical product for our customers; we’ve increased our reach, gathered new supporters and raised vital funds for our charity”.

Others have built new charitable campaigns around the technology itself. Help Refugees was set up in 2015 to allocate support for the Syrian and Calais refugee crisis, they collaborated with fashion designer Katharine Hamnett and adapted her infamous ‘Choose Life’ design to ‘Choose Love’, gathered celebrity support, took some photos and told the press about the collaboration. The charity has witnessed explosive growth, with a national profile and donations of goods, services and financial donations. The charity launched t-shirts last year and are still selling hundreds per week.

This kind of technology is super accessible for all charities, large and small – as represented in our clients from RSPCA, Crisis and WWF to conservation charities like Buglife and Butterfly Conservation, who all use our systems to raise funds and reach.

Solving a problem that every charity has

It’s never sounded easier to reach an audience online – we need some great content that costs nothing and makes us money. Print-on-Demand technology like Teemill might just be the answer to that modern day charity fundraising conundrum.

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The 1 Hour Marketing Plan

Marketing is a big word when you get down to the specifics. Studying how the most successful Teemill stores go about marketing on limited time and budgets reveals a pattern – and a plan.

Marketing all comes down to one thing – the customer seeing, watching or reading your content. What or where that is can be anything, anywhere. A pay-per-click ad on Google is as valid as a branded clothes peg clipped to someone at a bar, to be discovered later.

Whatever marketing you do, the marketing rule of seven says one thing: Do more of it. The number one reason why customers don’t shop from you is because they haven’t heard of you.

With the world’s population exploding with billions of potential customers,  42% of them online, and Teemill getting you years ahead of the game, there’s never been more potential for you to build a business on the internet.

To reach all those people, you’ll need to post a lot.

There’s no set way to make a marketing plan – we’ll share our method and recommend you adapt it to suit you. First, think in weekly stories. Weeks are a natural way for you to build a rhythm and a structure. First we would like to recommend a product, Teamweek. It lets you schedule tasks per day, at a weekly (or monthly) resolution, and it’s free.

Each week set a key story, and make that your headline. We recommend your big story on payday should be an offer – luckily at Teemill we do a free offer for store owners to use, keeping you in sync. Find another story for the other weeks – a new product, a new collection even, or some amazing blog content, event or photoshoot you’ve done. Write that as the week’s “headline.”

Weekly headlines, smaller stories daily

That headline will form the top story in your database newsletter. Make sure you get that newsletter written and out every week. At the same time, write and schedule a quality post introducing that story.

For the rest of the week, try and come up with one post idea a day. It could be a featured product, photo, or relevant story in the press your customers might like. Schedule all of these, and make sure to invite customers to hit your URL for more. Use these posts for the smaller stories in your newsletter, under the main story.

Great photography makes life easy

One of the most common things to realise at this stage, when you’re ready to take marketing seriously, is that having a bank of amazing photography to hand really helps bring all your marketing to life. Some photos are so good they don’t even need any words or reason to post them: The fact they are a great photo is enough.

If you’re finding generating content difficult, it might be a good idea to get some samples and sort some great photos.

Plan out the next month with this framework in Teamweek, but no more – each month it’s important to stop and review what’s working, and what’s not – and check your hypothesis with your analytics.

You should now have a framework and a month’s marketing plan – a clear idea of your next 30 posts, and 4 newsletters. If you wanted to supercharge your sales, why not start writing all of them now, and scheduling for delivery?

Take Action

Tell the story of your brand in a week to view marketing plan, build a story arc, stick to it.

 

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Turn Stats into Sales

Having all that data at your fingertips is one of the most exciting parts of using Teemill to build your business on. There’s a whole range of statistics for you to draw on, and it’s important to stay focused on the outcome: How do we turn insights into sales?

There are many web statistics packages out there that allow you to track and monitor activity on your website. Teemill has its own built in, and on the face of it, appears more lightweight. Like most things in Teemill, there’s a reason.

Web analytics often consume a lot of time but leave more questions than we started with. These stats are meant to give us answers, and lead to actions.

By looking at the resources that our analysts use most regularly, we built a custom analytics tool that takes the confusion and unnecessary detail out and leaves the simple, powerful insights. It means that people who build a store on Teemill and connect to our print-on-demand supply chain have a curated set of data that more clearly helps them achieve their goals.

First understand your goal

Before diving into the data, we recommend first focusing on your goal. Why are you using Teemill and what is your objective? This helps lead to establishing our top level goal.

  • Maybe you want to build profit, and therefore profitability is most important.
  • You might want to build reach and audience, therefore you might care about volume.

From here, we must establish a heirarchy of statistics, to help us place all of the data in some structure.

Example Workflow

First is our goal, let’s say profit. In the heirarchy, we move a level down to establish what influences that. It is the number of sales, and the profit per sale.
This leads our line of enquiry: To boost profits, we need more sales or more profit. Lets assume the user has used white t-shirts at a recommended price. Clearly profit is strong, so sales becomes our focus.

Organising stats into a heirarchy, (what x what = what) gives you some structure. Start with your goal and work down the heirarchy to zone in on the KPI that you need to change the most.

Organising stats into a heirarchy, (what x what = what) gives you some structure. Start with your goal and work down the heirarchy to zone in on the KPI that you need to change the most.

Next, we look at what influences sales volume. It is two statistics, traffic, and conversion rate. We can influence conversion rate with great photography, improved descriptions and quality design. If this is strong already, we must look at traffic – by investing time in SEO, PR, a newsletter or similar marketing.

Through this methodology, we can apply a constant improvement process to using analytics – for which everything you need is in Teemill already.

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