What are order Minimums, and Why can't I order lower quantities?

At American Ink & Thread, we are a Screen Printing shop. What this means is that we are set up for Screen Printing, or what is commonly know as “Silk Screening”. This is a type of printing process that requires the most amount of set up, and break down labor for a print run.

Why does Screen Printing require so much time for set up as opposed to other types of printing?

Well, Screen Printing requires specially separated art files, film production, and then screen production, all before anything even gets set up on press. Once all of the screens are ready for press, they are each set up one by one, for each ink color in the print, into registration for production.

Each color in your print requires an additional screen to be produced and set up and then broken down once the order is complete. This takes time. More time than the printing itself often if the order size is not large enough.

This is where the order minimums come in. Shops need to calculate their overhead, time, and costs associated with setting up and breaking down certain numbers of screens. This is why each additional print color requires a minimum of another dozen shirts here at American Ink & Thread. It allows us to make sure the doors stay open for your next re order! If we spend more on overhead, and labor than we made on a job because it was too labor intensive for a smaller quantity, we’re in big trouble!

Other custom apparel options like printed transfer, direct to garment printing or even sublimation are all faster to set up and require no specific art separation, but have limitations ranging from washability with transfers, to less efficient production with direct to garment, and fabric limitations like polyester only for sublimation. This is why we stick with Screen Printing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *