Is It Worth It to Pay More For a Retail Quality Shirt?
Tips & Tricks
min read

Is It Worth It to Pay More For a Retail Quality Shirt?

Learn the difference between retail quality and standard shirts here at Real Thread.

There’s a huge difference between retail quality t-shirts and standard t-shirts. Retail quality shirts are some of your favorites - the ones you might find at places like Urban Outfitters, J.Crew, etc. They fit well and they’re super soft. (Pssst… retail quality shirts are our specialty and we can guide you in getting started!). Standard shirts are usually something more basic. They tend to be boxy and fit really loose. These are the shirts that some companies will hand out for free that you don’t really want because you know you will never wear. They are typically not comfortable or stylish. (Let us just note, there might be a time and place to use a standard shirt depending on it’s purpose.)

There’s a clear difference between the two shirt styles, so it’s important to determine how much value you want to give and get. We understand there are budgets (we have one!), but it’s important to not just look at the final cost of the t-shirt, as the value can extend well beyond that point.

Here are two examples showing the value of choosing a retail quality shirt over a standard shirt

We would argue all day long that quality is a key component to creating a great shirt that will actually get worn. As tempting as using one shirt over another, from a cost standpoint, it might not pay off long term.

It’s important to look at your investment from a cost per impression (CPI) standpoint. Think of impressions as the number of times your shirt is worn and how many people have the opportunity to see it. Now, the more someone wears your shirt, the less your CPI is. Basically, you’re getting more for your money. Let's take a look this example:

SHIRT A (standard t-shirt)  = $4.80 per shirt 
SHIRT B (retail quality t-shirt) = $5.39 per shirt

Let’s say someone only wears the "lower quality" $4.80 shirt 2 times because it’s not all that comfortable. Each time, 20 people took note of the shirt. Therefore, 40 total impressions were served. The cost per impression is then $0.12 ($4.80/40).

$4.80/40 impressions = $0.12/per impression

Now, take the $5.39 shirt. Let's say these people love their shirt and it’s so soft they wear it all the time. They wear it 5 times (and this is probably very conservative). Each time, 20 people take note of the shirt, so you now you have 100 total impressions. The cost per impression is now just $0.05 ($5.39/(5 * 20). The cost per impression is now less than half that of the “cheaper” shirt.

$5.39/100 impressions (5 * 20) = $0.05/per impression

Although, there was initially a $0.59 difference between shirt cost, it was a well spent $0.59 in marketing. You could almost look at it as that extra $0.59 got you an extra 60 impressions and you’re really only paying $0.01/per impression on the next 60 after the first 40. From a marketing approach, this is a really, really inexpensive way to grow the impressions on your brand for years to come!

Here’s a quick outline of the benefits of choosing better quality t shirt brands:

This might seem like it only applies to “marketing experts”, but if you are trying to promote, grow, expand, get your name out there, or just have people excited about getting another one of your shirts, this is for you. You are the marketing expert of your own brand.

It applies to you if you are:

Which high quality clothing brands you should consider investing in:

You’re probably wondering which t-shirts are considered “better quality”. Here are some of our favorites:

All of these shirts come in a number of styles and colors and some styles have tear away tags that can easily be pulled out and replaced with custom labels. Next Level and Canvas offer great alternatives to the more expensive American Apparel blanks, but if you’re looking for American made, AA is the way to go!  

If you’re interested in learning more about why t-shirts will be your best marketing strategy yet, check out this article. It will help continue to guide you and your brand in the best way on your path to making great t-shirts.

Ready to get started? Experience a great product and excellent customer service by easily choosing your shirt, uploading your artwork and submitting a quote!

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