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Tee Shortages - Thinking Outside of the Box

Written by Erika Cappa


Posted on September 17 2021

One of the most common woes I hear from shirt shop owners is the perpetual state of tee shortages.  Here are some ways I have thought outside of the box in my retail shop to limit how the shirt shortages impact my businesses.

1. Offer a slight discount if your customer allow you to pick a color.  I give my customers $2 off per shirt if they let me pick the color... but I do allow them to list three colors they do not like.

2. Offer a similar color or brand as a back-up.  For example, last week I posted our tee of the week as being Heather Military Green but the back up color would be Military Green if the primary color wasn't available.  Set the expectation with your customer so if they receive a similar option then they aren't surprised.  It also limits the back and forth which can get messy.

3. Think outside of the box when it comes to marketing new products that are available.  If Bella Canvas tees are showing out of stock but there is plenty of inventory for Next Level Raglans, do a special featuring those tees.  And customers especially love when you show a real life photo of you sporting the shirt!

4. Order a bunch of different blanks and have a live pressing party.  You can either pull up the mockups of designs you have on hand or print them out, then on your live video show your customers the available designs and then go through the color/style options.  My retail customers love our live pressing parties.  It allows us to connect with them on an entirely new level as well as with other customers in our group.

5. Don't be afraid to try something new.... a new brand, a new style, etc.  Ask your customers if there are styles they would like to see featured and then take a poll in your group to see if others are interested as well.... I have learned some really interesting styles that I would have never thought my customers would be interested... then turns out they love it (the elbow patched long sleeve tees are a prime example!).

Shirt shortages suck.... but it doesn't have to be detrimental to your business.  Use it as a way to connect with your customers, try new products, and grow even more.