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Ordering T-Shirts - How many of each size?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Nate74, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. When you order shirts for your band, what's a good ration of M/L/XL/2XL to order?

    Our demo is probably 30+, so probably not much demand for S or XS... ;)
  2. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    We've sold way more woman's shirts than any thing else. S and XS. As far as guys go, XL has been the most popular.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  3. Great pix :)
    Thanks for the advice. Maybe we'll get a few baby doll type shirts. We do mostly private parties so don't have tons of opportunities to sell merch, but as an Irish band, we're coming up on our busy season.
  4. Runlikegregg


    Dec 31, 2011
    get more smalls and mediums
    blindrabbit likes this.
  5. Found a site that has pretty good prices and has some girl shirts too. Wife says gotta get girl shirts...
  6. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Good question -- I had to order about 350 t-shirts. We found that women tend to want mediums and maybe larges. The ones that needed bigger ones than that were sensitive about it, most. Buying L, XL and XXL was very important as these were the most common sizes. Here is a distribution by country you can use. Just multiply the percentages by your total order quantity.

    You’re buying the wrong size t-shirts for your team or event (and it’s costing you money!)

    If in doubt, go larger, is the slogan.

    By the way, our keyboard player showed up at rehearsal with an embroidered version of our logo. It looked GREAT, and she could them in one-off's. She got a trial version of embroidery software that did it for her. We are still looking into the feasiiblity of doing our own in small batches. Get the T-shirts ourselves and use her machine to get the embroidery on the t-shirts. Not sure yet, but being able to sell in small volume is a hugely great idea.

    There is also a site called Bonfire where you can buy shirts in low volume.

    How Bonfire Works | Bonfire

    They will make you set up an account to get started, and you need to hit a minimum order of about 5 t-shirts to get started, which you can order yourself. As a business person, I'm a firm believer in testing ideas before I go full scale with them, so even buying 5 and selling them at a bit of a loss is cheap market research. You will find out what kind of person likes to buy them, how they react to say, a single size, whether people even buy them, and what they think of them. After you have some good data in hand, you can decide whether this is a good idea, what quantities to buy, etcetera.

    And with bonfire, you can do an online promotion to all your friends for your next CD, for example. treat it like a fundraiser....if you are that kind of band.
    Nate74 likes this.
  7. Thanks man. Great article. I tend to forget that not everybody is 6'-5" and 225lbs... This is a huge help!
    Dominic DeCosa likes this.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I think you need to get an idea on male female breakdown. When I got shirts for my baseball bat company (mostly male), I should have gone 50/50 L/XL, if not 40/60 -0 mediums. People can wear larger shirts, not smaller. Even females prefer them bigger.
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Get some small and medium spaghetti strap tanks for the ladies. Get the rest in mostly XL, quite a few L and don't forget a few XXL and XXXL if you can.
    electracoyote likes this.
  10. Imaginary Pony

    Imaginary Pony

    Aug 29, 2014
    You get a recommend just for the photos... Nice job!
  11. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    Are you from USA? I would suggest just ordering XXL and XXXL, and a free KFC for every ticket sold.
  12. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Keep in mind that shirt sizes will depend on the quality of shirt that you're buying. Good quality shirts are more true to size, while 50/50 and similar tend to run smaller than advertised.

    Women's shirts also tend to cost more (for us it was $2 more per shirt,) even though there is less material. For us, we stopped ordering Women's shirts after the first batch because our goal was to sell at a certain price point (target was $10, except for XX sizes.) Our goal was to sell to advertise the band, not to make this a revenue generator.

    It really all depends on your audience. If the photo you posted is an indicator of your audience, you'll probably do well with Women's shirts. If they are a bit older, Men's shirts typically work fine, and your inventory will be far easier to manage.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  13. Won't women be buying them?
  14. We ordered 100 tees with our band logo on it, and I posed this exact question to the experts at customink.com

    And now I have lost their answer. It may be in the FAQ section of their website, or your tee shirt printer may have that information. There is a composite percentage estimate out there that seems pretty accurate.

    It is important, unless you want to have some of these tees hanging around forever, and I recall the answer was a little surprising to me, I never would have guessed it. And don't short cut the small sizes too much, because some girls like 'em tight and some people buy them for their kids. XL and 2XL seem to be more popular than you might expect, some big guys like them a bit loose and comfy and the option of throwing them in the drier without shrinking up and becoming unwearable. M and L are not as popular as you might think.

    EDIT: Found my break down of sizes.


    Hanes 50/50, I tell people they will shrink a bit.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  15. b-bottom


    Dec 18, 2006
    Knoxville TN
    it depends on your demo graphic. We're a hard rock three piece and our demographic are XL to XL+ dudes. So the last time I ordered shirts I got mostly L, XL, XXL.
    The first run of T shirts that I ordered were all mens so this time I ordered a few womans and I haven't sold a single one. Which is no biggie, but they did cost like $2 more per shirt
  16. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Girls and boys small-medium always seem to be in short supply whenever i want to buy a shirt at a show. XL's+ are always the last ones left.

    I'm a 5'9" lanky fellow .. medium mens and larger are always too big and boxy for me.

    And I suspect a lot of those shirt printing places run their sizes a little larger. Maybe when garments are destined for America, they assume fatter is the norm :thumbsdown::unsure::whistle:
    Aberdumbie likes this.
  17. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    This seems like a similar break down from when we made shirts a couple years back. But we did ladies in S-XL, dudes M-XL, and we sold out of the ladies S and M in a heartbeat, as well as the mens XL. Wives/GFs snapped up the smaller sizes, I think they still have some of the mens M several years later.
  18. Kygr


    Feb 6, 2017
    Phoenix, AZ
    In order of how which sells out first for me: L, XL, M, S
  19. Aberdumbie


    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    Funny how time gives perspective. I was gigging in the 70's-80's when folks weren't quite as health conscious. I still have some small and medium band tee's from back then..... Well, maybe I can offer them up as "Nostalgia" or "old school" wear now.
    catcauphonic likes this.
  20. It really depends if you have separate women's and men's shirts.

    If you do, order a lot of smalls and mediums of the women's, and a lot of XLs for the men. If you don't have separates, order a ton of smalls and quite a few extra smalls, plus a lot of XLs.
    blindrabbit and catcauphonic like this.

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