Cinderella Tutu

Cinderella Tutu

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Custom Rhinestone Shirts Are a Big Hit!

I had a feeling when I decided to start creating and selling custom rhinestone t-shirts that they would be very popular and so far I haven't been disappointed.  Oh, I haven't been selling so many of them that I can't keep up but I am definitely keeping busy.  I think a lot of people see the freedom being able to create your very own message brings, they know that rhinestones are extremely popular right now, and the value is pretty awesome. So I am getting a lot of messages about pricing and quite a few orders.  It's definitely changed the way I view my shop.  I've always said I make tutus and other little girl's accessories but most of my shirts have been for women and I'm starting to sell about as many of them as I do tutus.  Maybe it's not a tutu shop anymore, maybe it's finally just a boutique. . . .
Making a custom order is pretty time consuming.  I have to make sure I have all of the supplies that I need, including the right color of rhinestones.  If I don't have enough of the right color and size of rhinestones, it can be a big problem because it takes a couple of weeks for the rhinestones to arrive once they've been ordered. I also have to make sure I have the right size t-shirt in the right color.  So far I haven't had to worry about not having enough transfer tape but that's another consideration.
Once I have the order, I enter the design phase.  I want to make sure the shirt is exactly what the customer wants so I ask a lot of questions. I need to know what font the customer likes, what color of stones, what size, how many lines, how thick, if they want a picture or scattered rhinestones, if they want it centered on the shirt--so many things!  I haven't had any problems yet with asking too many questions, most customers don't mind because they want it to be perfect, too.
A template I designed for a customer last weekend. Not sure what it means but it turned out super cute!

Next, I make a template.  I usually make it in Microsoft Paint because it's the easiest to manipulate.  I usually draw up a few versions and send that to the customer.  Once the design is approved, I print it out and turn it into a pattern for the rhinestones.  This can be really tricky if it's a complicated pattern. Once I've laid down all of the rhinestones, I usually send another picture to the customer for his or her approval before I actually apply the rhinestones. Once the customer has approved the rhinestones, actually applying the rhinestones is the easiest part. Then, I package it up and ship it off!  The whole process can take anywhere from 3 hours to 20, depending upon how complicated the design is.  Laying the rhinestones is tedious and difficult.  It's hard to get them all in the exact right place,especially if they are touching or if they are the smaller size rhinestones.  But it's also extremely rewarding. It's like putting a puzzle together or completing a work of art.  I know it's easier for big rhinestone companies to create templates because of the tools they have but I don't think they can get people exactly what they want as quickly as I can.  I also don't think many of them will apply the transfer for you.  With all of the shirts I've done I've only ever had one complaint and that was that the shirt was too small--even though it was the size I said it was when I posted it--and I'm very proud of that because it's a very complicated process and I pour a lot of heart, soul, time, and energy in to it so I want people to absolutely love the completed product.
Before I apply the rhinestones, I get the customer's approval.  Another interesting saying!
Very popular shirt recently
Tis the season for the luck of the Irish!
I'm watching the Daytona 500 as I'm watching this and I think I'm going to have to make myself a bling t-shirt with the number 5 on it. I'm pretty certain that I could sell a few 88's and 10's too.  Danica is the first female to ever start on the pole of the most popular race in motorsports. Pink bling for Ms. Patrick?  I think so!
(And Kasey just wrecked--grrr!)
The possibilities are endless and I can't wait to see what interesting ideas customers bring me. They are always more creative than I am!

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