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Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

5 Mistakes Brands Make

A brand is like a person — and just as likely to sometimes do something so facepalm-worthy you wonder if anyone is actually sitting at the wheel. Here are a few of our favorites.

#1 Being “good enough”

When you step back and look at your brand, you should feel proud of yourself. If it’s missing something, don’t send it to factory just yet. If you wouldn’t want to buy your product, your ideal customer — who should somewhat resemble you — won’t either. 


We’re pretty sure the designer said “Meh, it’s 5PM on a Friday… this is done.” 

This doesn’t mean you have to go in alone, though. Professional designers aren’t cheap but they’re excellent at interpreting ideas and turning them into the visual. They’re also free with every The/Studio order. That’s a couple hundred dollars in the bank. 

#2 Not Having Trim

Looking to sell your gear in person at events? Don’t be the guy with a bunch of t-shirts that look fresh from that t-shirt presser kiosk in the mall. Trim tells customers that you put time and effort into your brand – and that the price tag is worth it (Not sure what “trim” is? Here’s a quick list of other items that count as trim).

Trim isn’t free, but we think “it’s too expensive!” is a rumor started by folks who have already discovered how powerful trim can be as a seller. Ask one of our agents about trim pricing and you’ll be surprised how affordable upgrading can be.


Time to retire your old factory.

#3 Right Apparel, Wrong Season

T-shirts are great, don’t get us wrong. But some brands seem to operate on the assumption that we all live in Los Angeles. Seasonal fashion is the oldest rule in the book, but some brands don’t realize that they they can do more than summer fashion.


At least he’s … cool? 

Don’t be boxed in by So-Cal temperatures. The/Studio does long-sleeve t-shirts, knit socks, scarves and beanies so your customers don’t have to go without half the year. And for this springtime and summer, we make sleeveless tees, polos and flip-flops. Maybe help your customers crack a cold one with custom-cast bottle opener dog tags — and keep it cold with branded coolers.

To assure timely delivery, we recommend starting your order a full month before the first day of the season — but we’ve been known to make short work of rush jobs before.

#4 Too Much Brand


We’re all for an increased brand presence through subtle things like woven labels or well-designed hang tags — but when your appliqué makes it hard for wearers to even move, we think you need to reconsider that chest-sized logo. Our designers will let you know if any design elements might cause some discomfort, visual or otherwise.

#5 Not Shopping Around Before Agreeing to a Quote


At the end of the day, manufacturers (and especially custom manufacturers) are businesses, too. They drop a quote on you and pressure you to pay because they know your order is something near and dear to you. You don’t want it to get messed up, sent late or done wrong. Translation: you may be willing to your willingness to pay a higher price than might be justified.

Until you pay an invoice, you command all the chips. Manufacturers are eager to get your business and will likely go nudge prices down and bump completion dates forward if it means you’ll say yes, so set that bar high — you might be surprised to what extent your order can be done cheaper and faster than one person will tell you. But don’t be surprised when The/Studio comes out ahead as the cheapest and fastest option — with our free design, enhanced manufacturing techniques and free shipping, we cut to the chase and give you the best deal possible.


Not sure whether you’re ready to pull the trigger on your brand? No need to worry, and no need to commit to working with us just yet. Our free designers can help tidy up your logo and make suggestions as to what trim will work best with your apparel (and we can help make that, too, if you’ve already got the apparel taken care of).





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