Your design is complete, you're ready for screen printing, but you have some questions as to how many shirts and what sizes you should order. We'll walk you through how to best make an educated decision on your first order based on our experience with thousands of clients.
Push Towards Larger Sizes
For the sake of simplicity, let's assume you're ordering 100 shirts to get started marketing your brand, selling at an event, or promoting the better mousetrap you announced at the last board meeting.
Typically, t-shirt buying patterns in the U.S. follow a simple bell curve slightly skewed towards larger sizes. I recommend following this pattern for two reasons: First, Americans tend to be a bit larger than the global average. Canada and Mexico also generally follow this North American standard.
Secondly, a shirt that's too small for someone will sit in their closet forever, whereas a shirt that's a bit too large may still be worn. In general, it's better to get a shirt that's maybe a little too large for someone rather than too small.
If you're ordering 200 pieces or more, I might recommend throwing in a couple of XSs in place of some 2XLs if the garment style/color choice offers them.
Track Your Sales
When you get to 1000+ piece orders, the initial curve changes very little. You may throw in a few 3XLs and larger if you think people will want them. However, by this point, you should have worked out what sizes your fans prefer and order accordingly. How do you do that?
Everyone's audience is going to be a little different. Once you have shirts to sell, pay attention to what sells out first and second. Order more of these next time and fewer of the sizes that don't sell as quickly. After a few cycles of sales tracking and re-stocks, you'll have a custom size distribution curve that should fit your market exactly.
I hope you found this guide on sizing distribution helpful.
If you have questions or need more detailed guidance on sizing for your next project, don't hesitate to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org