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5 Tips to Approach Schools for Custom Tee Shirt Orders

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Do you make tee shirts or apparel with your Silhouette or Cricut? As a new school year is about to start, have you considered selling shirts or other gear to schools? If selling to schools interests you, here are 5 tips on how to approach schools with your products.

How to Approach Schools for Custom Tee Shirt Orders

  1. Reach out via phone. Starting to work with schools can be as easy as picking up the phone and calling the office number for more information. Once you get someone on the phone, simply introduce yourself and ask who you would need to talk to for more information. For example, “Hello, my name is Christine and I make custom tee shirts. I’m looking for the contact person to discuss the shirt needs for XYZ School.” Once you get that person on the phone, try to arrange an in person meeting to show off the designs you’ve made for the school. These could be physical samples (shirt made with heat transfer vinyl, rhinestones, etc) or high quality photo mockups. Need help with mockups? See this post.
  2. Contact through social media. Most schools have a Facebook or Instagram page. Again, reaching out is as easy as introducing yourself and asking for contact information. Don’t forget to search for the school’s PTA/PTO page, as it may be separate from the main schools social media accounts. If you don’t score a deal with the school itself, you may be able to work out something for the PTA/PTO to buy directly.
  3. Talk to your child’s teacher. If you have a child at the school already, you’ve already got a foot in the door. You can ask your child’s teacher for the contact information of the person in charge of buying shirts or other apparel. To take this idea further, you could gift a sample shirt to the teacher when you are asking for contact information. Once the teacher wears it – you’re likely to at least get orders from other teachers.
  4. Make a sample and take it to the office. While it may cost you a small amount of money to make a sample, the benefit of people seeing your work in person is priceless. Simply drop into the office and leave the sample shirt along with a business card and ask that they get given to the person in charge of purchasing. Personally, I think it is best to attach your business card or custom tag to the shirt so that they don’t get separated.
  5. Don’t go for the “top”. Most schools are likely to have a deal with a screen printer/embroiderer that currently provides shirts for the school. Consider approaching teachers who head up clubs, groups, or sports. For example: the yearbook staff, the art club, the chess club, the drama group, the French club, and so on. It is likely harder for these smaller clubs to get shirts because they won’t meet the minimum order amounts for larger wholesalers – but will need large enough orders to make it worth your time.

What happens after you’ve got the school’s interest?

In some cases you’ll need to request the permission of the school, district, or school board to use their logo(s). You’ll want to keep a written record of any permissions or licensing given to you. Also, don’t be surprised if the school wants to pay through a purchase order written directly to your business. This is pretty common. It does mean that you’ll need to be a registered business to be able to get paid.

And don’t forget – shirts aren’t the only thing you can sell to schools. There’s headbands, shorts, sweatpants, hoodies, decals, and more! The methods above will work for any products.

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5 Tips to Approach Schools for Custom Tee Shirt Orders - Silhouette and Cricut Business - by

Jerri Dyke

Thursday 27th of July 2017

Great info Christine. Especially the part about the clubs, they have a tough time coming up with where they're going to get their stuff. Thank you again for all you do!


Thursday 27th of July 2017

My pleasure!

Yeli Corby

Thursday 27th of July 2017

Love reading all your posts. On this one "approaching schools to sell custom t-shirts, I would like to do what you say, gifting a shirt to the teacher, but I'm at a lost as to what to put on the shirt? Should it be something with the school's name or mascot? Or something teacher related? Thanks


Thursday 27th of July 2017

If you are looking to drum up interest for school shirts - I'd probably use the school's name or mascot in the sample gift.