As many of you will recall, there was a rather lengthy thread in November on the warmshowers.org Facebook page about t-shirts. As a result of that thread I researched warmshowers.org selling shirts and accessories.
Given that warmshowers.org is a virtual organization, managed by volunteers, with a budget that is dependent upon donations and with an international membership, the best solution is one that requires a minimum of management time once implemented and is sustainable, a minimum capital requirement (preferably none), and services our international membership.
With those criteria, my recommended solutions are:
1) Issue: Minimize day to day management on our side and be sustainable.
Solution: Outsource order collection, inventory management and order fulfillment, not just printing.
2) Issue: Minimize capital requirement.
Solution: Print on demand with DTG (direct-to-garment) print, no need to print and hold inventory.
3) Issue: Services international membership.
Solution: Service provider must have international fulfillment capability.
Using the above, I investigated several print service providers and the one that meets all three above requirements is http://www.galloree.com/. They offer end to end service, from providing our own storefront to shipping internationally. Galloree also appears to have a good reputation on print bulletin boards.
There are negatives to this solution:
1) Galloree's product offering is not cycling specific, so we would be able to sell t-shirts, stickers, tote bags, coffee cups, etc., but no team kits, casquettes, etc.
I know there are members that want to have cycling kits and such, but I do not see a solution addressing this that doesn't require us to buy a minimum quantity, then manage warehousing and fulfillment ourselves.
As we move forward and learn from t-shirts, taking "one step at a time", there should be opportunities in other products, such as jerseys, provided adequate processes can be put in place.
2) Per shirt margin would be less than if we screen-print a bulk quantity of shirts, which requires capital and storage. By going the DTG route, we can still make a good margin without having to buy a minimum quantity, hold inventory and manage fulfillment.
Galloree charges $10 for a one-sided (front or back) print on a Gildan Ultra Cotton Tee and $13 for a two-sided print (front and back) on the same Gildan shirt. They offer several other, more expensive tees, but this is the one I recommend based on cost and durability.
Other nonprofit cycling orgs (ACA, PeopleForBikes) charge $15-20 for shirts. Randy suggest we set the donation for our tees at $25. With a two-sided print, that would yield a $12 (25-13) donation, and if 10% of the membership purchase shirts in a year, that is in excess of $60,000 in donations for maintaining and enhancing warmshowers.org.
Jeff Beaulieu gave invaluable input and did an excellent work on the art for the t-shirts, examples attached.
I would also like to thank Dan Webb for his valuable input.
I look forward to your comments.