Not so quick FAQ
|What is Foxtrot Custom?
A business that helps folks like you do things like screen printing custom art on t‑shirts and hoodies.
So you’re just another online t‑shirt printer?
Many companies put ink on fabric, few care enough to listen and help. That’s sad. We’re in business to actually help you, so printing custom shirts can be a happy experience.
What’s your minimum order?
Our minimum order quantity is 25 items per print run.
How do I order?
Shop the website, drop us a note, hit us up on chat, or give us a ring at 1‑877‑874‑4781.
|Do you sell blanks?
Only samples, we’re not a wholesaler.
Where’s your store?
We’re only online. This is it.
How long before I get my order?
7–10 business days after your order is finalized.
Do you ship internationally?
No. But if you have a US address, we can ship there.
Not so quick FAQ
Ordering: Starting Out
I want some awesome, custom‐printed shirts . . . what do I do?
You’ll need art, shirts, and ink. But really, you just need to call us with an idea . . .
Sometimes we get an order with perfect artwork and all the details buttoned up. That happens about 1% of the time — we call them unicorns.
Most of our clients start with a rough quantity, a loose idea of shirt style, a budget, and the question “Will this art work?”.
Give us a call or start a chat to pick our brains, work through options, ask all your questions, and let us help bring your vision to life.
Ordering: Order Process
So what does the order process look like?
A flow chart:
Consultation → Approval → Delivery
You want a few more details? No problem.
We look at your art (or idea), your apparel needs, and what it will take to get the two together. We answer questions and explain options while collecting all the details we need.
You owe nothing until we get your approval. And we desperately want your approval.
Specifically, we send you two things to approve:
- A final, no‑surprises estimate
- A digital art proof created with production ready art files
Once we get your approval, you will receive a typical screen-printed apparel order within two‑weeks. Happiness delivered!
How long does it take?
Once we have your approval, about two weeks.
For a typical order, two weeks is all we need.
It can take a little extra time if you need us to create artwork, need to see multiple pricing and production scenarios, want samples of the blank apparel before making your final choices, want us to source some unusual apparel, or require special finishing.
If you need your apparel on a certain date, let us know. We’ll work to get it done.
And if you don’t have time to wait, we can expedite shipping and/or put a rush on the printing. You will be able to approve any rush charges before we begin production on your order.
Ordering: Minimum Order Quantity
I’ve got an awesome idea for a shirt . . . how much is it to print my awesome idea on one shirt?
We’re sure it is an awesome idea.
In fact, we think it’s so awesome that you should print at least 25.
For putting ink on fabric, we only do screen printing. Screen printing needs a lot of set up. So on short‑runs, screen printing gets really expensive. That’s why our Minimum Order Quantity is 25 pieces.
But to answer the original question, for your awesome idea, expect that one shirt to be expensive.
Ordering: Pricing and Volume Discounts
How does your pricing work?
We’d be crazy to tell you. Here you go . . .
Our prices are based on what it costs for us to deliver your order. There are four key variables that will affect your pricing.
- The quality of the fabrics and the complexity to manufacture drive the price (along with brand recognition in some cases)
- Unisex styles tend to be less than companion youth or women’s styles
- Fabrics that get further from cotton tend to be more expensive
- 2XL and up cost between $1.50 and $3.00 more per piece
- Adding smaller shirts (unisex XS, youth sizes, women’s medium, etc.) to an order requires a smaller board to be installed on the press, which is $40 per print run
The print locations
- Each location is its own print run.
- Front chest and upper back are easy, and there is no extra cost compared to other locations (sleeves, etc.).
- Other locations require special set-ups and slow the press, which adds 20¢ per piece for each location.
Number of ink colors per location
- More inks mean more cost. Each unique color requires its own custom screen to be made, and reduces the efficiency of completing the overall job. More materials, more time, more cost.
- Often, we can help make your art look just as good with one or two fewer colors
Total number of garments
We have volume price breaks!
- The more shirts you order, the less each shirt will cost. For example, a one-color single location print on 25 total Next Level 6210 CVC T-shirts costs $14.29 each, but only $11.19 if you order 50.
- The hard costs (screens, inks, etc.) are “spread” out over more items, thus reducing the cost per piece. Similarly, the soft costs (labor, press time, etc.) are able to be run more efficiently on larger print runs since we are not setting up, tearing down, making adjustments, etc. – just making magic the whole time!
And then we have some extra services you can ask for, covered in the next FAQ.
Ordering: Extra Services
What else can I pay for?
So glad you asked!
We get asked to do little extras for our clients all the time. Here’s the most common ones.
Typical extras you can add to your order:
|If you or your artwork need extra help getting an idea ready to print.
|Custom Mixed Ink
|We have 37 stock ink colors. Colors not on that list are mixed special for a nominal fee.
|Printing on both light and dark shirts? We can press pause to switch the ink color for money.
|Between rush production and expedited shipping, we’ll find the most affordable way to make your date.
|Have a last minute addition to your order? No problem (assuming the order isn’t in production already)!
Ordering: Payment Due
When do I pay for my order?
After you approve your order . . . when you are sure we’re going to do it right.
For online orders, email orders, and phone orders, the process follows the same three steps:
- Consultation: You tell us what you want, and we make sure everything is ready for your order.
- Approval: We give you our final estimate and art proof. After you approve your order you pay us.
- Delivery: We give you beautiful, custom‐decorated stuff.
Online orders take your credit card info when you place the order, but we don’t run the transaction until after you approve your order. Orders through our customer care team receive a payment invoice after you approve your order with a link to our secure online payment portal.
In case you missed it — it’s after you approve your order.
Ordering: Payment Methods
How do I pay for my order?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, or Discover.
And we can set up terms and take checks in very special cases.
Can I get samples of the shirts I’m considering?
We love informed decisions!
You can order our standard sample pack, which shows a range of fabrics and styles, or ask us to pull together a custom sample pack for you to purchase. Custom sample packs are great for letting a group pick their sizes before their order, picking the best color for their brand, or getting up close and personal with some styles not in our standard pack. Just reach out and let us know what you need.
Note: There are a few brands that don’t allow us to send out samples without decoration on them. We apologize on their behalf.
Apparel: Special Orders
I want something I don’t see on your site . . . can you get it for me?
You’re special. For you, we can totally help.
The items featured on our site have the great availability, take decoration extremely well, and help most clients find exactly what they need.
We have accounts with some of the largest blank apparel and accessories distributors in the world. If you want polos, we can get polos. If you want organic cotton, we can get it. Want some Ogio backpacks with a laptop pocket and a mesh water bottle pocket, we’ve got you covered. Need totes for your event or retail store, we can do it!
If what you ask for can’t be decorated well, we’ll let you know and give you some alternatives too.
Apparel: Apparel Brands
What brands do you carry?
We feature some and can get a ton more!
Gildan ($) is the most purchased brand in the t‑shirt game. If you need a wide selection of sizes and colors in basic, no‑frills t‑shirts at a low price point, the Gildan 5000 is our first choice.
Next Level ($$) has great prices while elevating the classic tee with stylish details and top-quality fabrics. The Next Level 6210 is our top seller.
Bella+Canvas ($$) leans into modern fashion with their fabrics, fit, and colors. Their 3413 Triblend Tee is our second best seller . . . it’s so soft, you’ll fall in love at first touch.
American Apparel ($$$) targets the cool kids with their unhappy and oddly sweaty looking models and a style between urban and hipster chic. But they’re more than just image, with super‐high‐quality products like the ever popular TR401W.
Independent Trading Company: We seriously love what these folks do with fleece. Nobody wants a boxy hoodie that loses its cush. ITC has fabulous designs with incredible fleece. Check out the PRM33SBZ — it’s simply brilliant!
But there’s so many more we can (and do) get our hands on, just take a look!
If you don’t see the brand you want, or need a little advice, just call us at 1-877-874-4781, or hit us on the chat. We’re here to help!
We’ve limited our online selection to feature the shirts we trust most. They consistently print beautifully and make happy clients. Here’s a rundown of those brands.
What’s with all these fabrics?
They’re used to make shirts.
It’s worth learning a bit about the basics.
- Pre‑shrunk Cotton is just plain cheap. It feels like wearing kitchen towels, looks like a tent. Example: Gildan 5000
- Ring‑spun Cotton has tighter, longer threads which improve the feel of a cotton t‑shirt, while still being super affordable. Example: Next Level 3600
- Poly/Cotton Blended t‑shirts are a huge step up in softness, and last longer than 100% cotton shirts through multiple wear/wash cycles. Example: Next Level 6210
- Tri‑blends add rayon into the mix, making all of the benefits of the poly/cotton blend even better. They are so smooth and soft, light weight, and really breathable. Tri‑blends are the choice if you want a sophisticated take on a classic shirt. Example: Bella+Canvas 3413
Our Standard Sample Pack includes one of each of these shirts to help you feel the difference between the fabrics and make the right choice to balance cost versus quality for your needs.
Apparel: Picking Sizes
What sizes should I get?
Everyone and every one is different.
Each style is cut in its own unique way. Each person receiving your shirt is cut different, too.
We include the manufacturer’s guidance for sizing on every product page.
If getting the right size is super important, it’s a great idea to buy samples ahead of finalizing your order.
If you are building an inventory of t‑shirts for your retail store, Etsy shop, restaurant, bar, band, or fund raiser, you won’t know how many shirts you’ll need in each size. Good starting place is:
- 20% Small
- 24% Mediums
- 24% Large
- 24% XL
- 8% 2XL
Apparel: Women’s Sizing
What’s the difference between men’s and women’s sizes?
In the decorated apparel game, we call men “unisex”.
As general rule of thumb, a Women’s Medium will be somewhere between a Unisex X‑Small or Small. But that’s only kinda helpful, and occasionally not even true.
Men have it easy. They just have less going on. The sizes are fairly consistent, the cuts are simpler. So there’s way less variation between styles and brands.
Even though it can be harder, women look and feel great in clothes not made for some boxy man. Ladies’ sizes offer a combination of features — typically sleeve and body length, tapering of the sides, shoulder shape, and neck shape — that allow the shirts have a more stylish fit made for a woman.
Every “body” is unique. We have the measurements from the manufacturers on the product pages, but they are really hard to translate into real life. If you really want to get it right for your group, we can build a custom sample pack for most brands in the style and sizes of your choice. Just reach out with a message, a call to 1-877-874-4781, or on the chat.
Apparel: Size Considerations
What if I need a variety of sizes, from toddlers to linebackers?
What about toddler linebackers?
Let us know what you need, and we’ll let you know what options you have. But if you prefer computers to people, these answers might help.
Not every item comes in all sizes.
The manufacturers have a more limited selection of colors and styles available in the larger and smaller sizes.
Putting a number before an XL is more expensive.
The manufacturer’s charge more for 2XL and above. So there is an upcharge of between $1.50 and $3.00 per piece.
Smaller Sizes are special.
Infant, Toddler, Youth, Ladies’ sizes, and Unisex‐size X‑Small (lovingly grouped together as our “Smaller Sizes”) add a little complexity to the process. Here’s three things to consider for your cute, little shirt order.
- Board Switches are $40. Shirts go on boards to give the press something to press on. Smaller Sizes need smaller boards. The boards literally warm‑up before printing, and if that happens in the middle of a print run that includes larger sizes, that takes time. Our charge covers the extra press time.
- Smaller Sizes Need Smaller Art: We have a max‑width of 12 inches per location. But that’s too large for Smaller Sizes. Check this table of max‑widths for the Smaller Sizes, and look at our Printable Areas FAQ for more detail.
|Max Art Width
|Youth, Womens’, & Unisex X-Small
- Artwork can’t be shrunk on press for Smaller Sizes. You have three options to handle the size of art across your order.
- The cheap option: just drop the Smaller Sizes
- Slightly more expensive: size your art to the smallest apparel, only paying for the upcharge in needing a Board Switch
- The fancy option: split the order up with different sized artwork for each size group – essentially placing two or three lower quantity orders
Apparel: Apparel Colors
Why are the available colors different from one shirt style to another?
It’s mostly chemistry.
A shirt starts its life as a white to dirty‐dishwater color. It then gets dyed, allowing particles of pigment to attach to the fibers of the garment through a chemical bond.
How the pigment attaches depends on composition of the fiber. For instance, ringspun cotton will have a flat appearance because there is only one type of chemical reaction bonding the pigment to the garment. A blended shirt has multiple types of fibers, and thus, multiple reactions of varying strength. That’s why they can have heathered colors — a color that looks textured across the shirt.
Even within one style of shirt, there will be variation in how much pigment bonds to the fabric based on the relative time in solution, temperature, and agitation each shirt experiences during the process.
We could go into more factors affecting covalence of a solute across different media, but I need to reapply the tape on my glasses.
Apparel: Not a wholesaler!
Do you sell blank apparel?
Only small orders of samples.
We sell sample packs of a few shirts at a time to help clients learn about the different fabrics, colors, and styles. We’re not a wholesaler. So stop calling, Dave!
Apparel: No “Outside” Apparel
I’ve got my own shirts to print on.
First, that’s not even a question. And second, sorry, we just can’t . . .
So much can go wrong. What if it’s damaged? Or dirty? What if it’s lost in shipping? What if it’s made out of 100% viscose with a super loose knit that won’t let the ink lay properly?
The terrible things in our imaginations prevent us from printing on apparel we did not buy ourselves.
Artwork: File Transfer
How do I send you artwork?
For online orders, you can click a link to upload an image while choosing your sizes and ink colors.
For all other orders, email works brilliantly. If it’s too big to email, we’ll work something out, just let us know.
Artwork: File Formats
What types of art files can I give you?
We aren’t picky.
PDF, PowerPoint, PSD, AI, SVG, TXT . . . we can work with almost anything, even your child’s drawing on the fridge. Here’s what you really need to know:
- We are magic and can create amazing artwork from anything. Or even nothing.
- Our presses are not magic. We use our magic to make things that work on press.
- Magic doesn’t care about file types.
Sometimes magic is fast and free. Sometimes it takes time and money.
- If we can easily get your art press ready, it’s free. Even PowerPoint files. Magic!
- If it needs extra magic, we let you know right away, along with what it would cost.
Really, the file type matters less than the design. So just send us what you’ve got. We’ll tell you what works and what should change. And if you want us to do the work, we’ll do that too.
Artwork: File Specs
What are your file specs (resolution, support file and color space)?
Oh, you know design magic!
We use a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop for final production files, depending on the artwork and job specs. Any file that can read into those will work for us. Here’s our preferences:
- Target 300+ dpi for rasters
- Small vectors hold ok, but not perfectly — anything under 1.5pt shouldn’t be essential to the design
- The Adobe fonts included with Creative Cloud are fine, otherwise fonts should be outlined.
- We use spot colors (no CMYK inks) — grouping layers or artwork by ink color is SUPER helpful, and if you want to make all the colors spot colors, BONUS!
- To get a clean print, art needs to be at least .75‑inches from all seams
We probably don’t need to tell you that you can’t fake design magic. Every once in a while, we get a cruddy JPEG in a .ai file, as if that made it a design that will work on press. Don’t sweat the file type, work to get the cleanest looking art at size. And when in doubt, ask. We love helping.
Artwork: Printable Areas
Can I get you to print off the bottom edge of the shirt?
No. That makes the presses messy. Ick.
Here’s our basic print limitations . . .
- Our max-print area is 12 × 15 inches, so keep your art boards or image files at that size or less.
- We need a smooth surface to print on, which means we can’t get closer than three-quarters of an inch from a seam.
And here’s more detailed specs . . .
Standard print locations:
Special print locations:
Artwork: Special Effects and Treatments
I have my art mostly done, but there’s some stuff I don’t know how to do — can you help?
We’d love to help!
We routinely add that extra touch to client’s artwork. Distressing textures, halftones, extra font choices, color conversions, tricky cropping . . . they’re all in a day’s work for us.
Most of those extras we can kick out really fast, at no charge. If it is complicated to do, or it takes multiple rounds for you to get it just where you want it, we let you know right away what we think it will cost.
Printing: Ink Colors
What ink colors do you have?
We have three types: stock, custom, and specialty.
- Stock inks have no extra cost to them (see below for the selection)
- Custom color mixing is $15
- Specialty inks — like neons or metallics — are also $15. Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll let you know if we can get them to work on our presses.
Foxtrot Custom Stock Inks
Printing: Printing Options
I have a shirt with print so bright and thick it looks like a bumper sticker, and another that looks and feels super soft. Which way do you print?
We do both. It’s our Standard Ink and Vintage Ink options.
We really try to make it easy for our customers to get just the look they want in their custom screen-printed items. So we came up with a way to describe how you want the ink to look on your shirts.
Standard Ink matches the printing technique that most printers offer, a heavy layer of ink to get the colors as bright and pure as possible. It lets you get vibrant colors and helps any custom ink mix get as close as possible to the intended match. It’s a great technique on dark shirts or bold artwork. To really get those colors to pop, invest in a layer of white ink under the art to block out the color of the shirts.
Vintage Ink uses a thinner coat of ink that actually allows some of the shirt’s color to come through the ink. It creates significantly a softer feel, an awesome look, and is able to print much finer detail. We love the look of a darker t-shirt with a Vintage White ink or doing tone on tone color combination with Vintage Ink.
If your more concerned with the look and feel than brightness and color, Vintage is the way to go. If you really need your art to be read from across the room, go for standard ink.
Printing: Color Matching
Will the colors on my shirts match my business card?
Printing on a shirt isn’t printing on paper.
If you give us a Pantone number, we can match it (see our ink color FAQ above). But the fabric type, fabric color, artwork, and printing techniques will usually cause the ink to look very slightly different once it’s placed on your apparel. If you crave perfection in color matching, it requires test prints.
To get a precise color, we need to do a small print run before your main order to create a customized ink mix for your order.
We want you to hear that this could be very time consuming and potentially cost prohibitive. That’s the price of perfection.
On a small to medium sized order, most clients are happy not spending the time and money to correct a color difference that’s hard to perceive — but it’s available, and free for 1500+ piece print runs. Just let us know you have the time, and we’ll get the process started.
Printing: Color on Color Printing
How does color ink look on a colored shirt?
It looks different.
Have you ever known someone with hazel-colored eyes who could get their eyes to look blue or green depending on the color of their outfit? If not, just accept that it’s a real thing. The color of the shirt will mess with your perception of ink colors, too.
Sometimes it’s very subtle, sometimes it’s extremely pronounced. It’s part physiological, part psychological, and all relative to the individual person. In general, people can’t tell the difference from memory. They need the side by side comparison. Like these examples of a color shifting based on the shirt color:
Printing: Oversized Prints
Can you print a design that covers the entire shirt?
We could, but we don’t.
To do it right, you either need to print on the fabric before it gets sewn together, or size and position the art uniquely for each garment size, which is super time consuming, adds a lot of extra costs, and complicates the entire order process. You don’t want that.
We like making it easy to do cool things. Oversized printing just isn’t ever easy.
Printing: Photographic Printing
Can you make a print a shirt from a photo?
And not like the schlocky iron-on from the drug store . . .
We don’t do full color printing, like you get from an ink jet printer. Going onto apparel, it just looks weak.
We convert your photo to spot color(s), using either line art or halftoning techniques. Which gives you art that looks like this:
Not every photo is a great candidate for a shirt. Having the subject in high contrast to the background or cut out completely makes a big difference. Having an image where there are fewer key colors also makes it easier to print without adding a lot of added expense.
Depending on the source photo, the technique you want to use, and number of colors you choose, we may need to charge you some art fees. But don’t worry, we’ll let you know how much work it will take and what it will cost before the work starts.
GENERAL FOXY BUSINESS
Foxy Biz: The Name
Seriously, what’s with the name?
Two guys, a dorm, and really bad name.
It all started in 2004 because of a t‑shirt order that went wrong & the belief by two college kids that they could do better than the company that messed up.
In the beginning, everyone called our founders, Bill and Ryan, “The Tshirt Guys”. So they named the business “My TShirt Guys”. And when most of your clients are colleges and students that learn about you through word of mouth, it’s actually a great name.
But as the company grew and the guys moved out of the dorm room, they quickly realized that My TShirt Guys didn’t stand out or represent the spirit of the company to the broader world. So they started brainstorming.
The name needed to convey the dorm room heritage, be memorable, and represent the spirit of our most important difference — our Customer Care. It was decided on Coed Monkey, and remained that brand until 2020 when Coed Monkey was brought under our parent company’s umbrella – Foxtrot Marketing Group.
While we are the same company as Foxtrot Marketing Group, we still operate under the same business model that Coed Monkey did and sort of require our own “lane”.
Thus, we arrive at Foxtrot Custom.
Foxy Biz: Philosophy
How does a fox represent customer service?
It’s so painfully obvious.
Foxes are quick. Foxes are creative. Foxes are intelligent. And, the Foxtrot (dance) requires in-step partnership.
Best of all, a fox won’t just go throwing ink around. You know, like an octopus.
Foxy Biz: Clients Served
What type of clients do you have?
What types don’t we have?
Foxtrot Custom started with making custom printed t‑shirts for colleges and college student organizations, and that’s still important. We have a lot of nonprofits, from large research foundations to small fundraising groups . . . mega‐churches to mathletes.
We have screen-printed shirts for a lot of Small and Medium Sized Business Clients in a ton of sectors: Law Firms, Management Consulting, Real Estate, Craft Distilleries, Restaurants, Industrial Manufacturing, Retail, Packaged Goods, Software Developers, Marketing Agencies, Event Planners . . . We also do a lot of work for tech GIANTS – but not through some giant contract. A lot of those orders are department level swag, internal events, and team building orders charged to the company card.
We also have a lot of orders for everyday people; someone with something to celebrate, from a reunion to a marriage to a group vacation.
All of them care about quality, all of them want helpful service, all of them want to enjoy getting an awesome shirt.
That’s what type of clients we have.
Didn’t find an answer you needed?
For your great effort to reach the end of the page, we promise to do our best to answer any other questions that you have in your quest for customized apparel. Just drop us a note, hit us up on chat, or give us a ring at 1‑877‑874‑4781.