For apparel, everything comes down to turnaround time, availability and price.


In the world of online apparel stores, the three pillars of success are turnaround time, availability, and price. But when it comes to printing and stitching techniques, the landscape is as varied as it is complex.

Let’s start with Direct to Garment (DTG). Think of it as a shirt printer. It’s a great option, but some places struggle with printing on black fabric. Then there’s Screen Printing, not suitable for intricate designs, but a classic choice for simpler ones.

Dye Sublimation shines on polyester material, offering designs that are soft and smooth, though it’s not the best for cotton. For small orders, Heat Transfer Vinyl is often used, especially for team sports shirts. Similarly, Heat Press is a common sight in many t-shirt shops.

And let’s not forget about Embroidery, perfect for hats, polos, coats, and more.

While there are numerous options for custom one-off printing, these can be pricey and not ideal for bulk orders. This is where understanding your specific needs becomes crucial.

My process? It begins with understanding the quantity, sizes, and materials required. Then, it’s all about the number of print locations and colors for each. After designing and getting approval, the hunt for the right provider begins, balancing availability and ability to meet deadlines.

Local providers like Snider Custom Apparel are invaluable for quick turnarounds, whereas online platforms like Spreadshirt integrate easily into online stores but offer lower margins.

For bulk orders, Queensboro and are go-tos. And when it comes to purchasing blanks, forming a relationship with a local printer is key, as they will need to agree to print on the provided materials.

Stickers, poly bags, and certain t-shirts come from Sticker Mule, while Uprinting handles bulk printing needs for banners, packaging, and more. For business cards and postcards, Psprint and Moo offer high-quality options.


Finding the right apparel source for your online store is a nuanced process that requires a careful balance of quality, cost, and speed. By understanding the different printing and stitching options available, and knowing where to source each component, you can create a product line that stands out in the crowded online marketplace.


Online and Local Resources


BULK ( more than shirts )



Sign up our newsletter to get update information, news and free insight.

Latest Post