Can I relabel my printed apparel?

Super Secret T-shirt Marketing Tip: Neck Tags

Picture this scenario. You’re all set up at the local music festival, selling your fantastically-designed t-shirts from your swanky, well-branded booth. Wait, what’s this? You have a sale! Someone just walked away with your well-crafted tee and paid you real money for it. High five, you!

They get their new tee home and what’s the first thing they probably do? Yep. Rip out the tag. Because… itchy.

A couple years pass, and they’re still wearing that awesome shirt you made. So cool. Someone stops them at the grocery store.

“Hey, that’s a cool shirt, where’d you get it?”

“Uhhh, I don’t remember, it was some booth at Stinkypaloozachella last year.”

And that’s how that works. You made one sale and that was the end of that. Hey, cool story.

But what if that one sale made you more sales over the years without you even doing a thing? The secret, which is actually not so secret and which you probably guessed by now because of the ginormous photo I threw up at the top and maybe also the title, is tagging.

Rather than sewing in labels (which can be ripped out), I’m talking about actually printing your own branded label on the garment itself. Not only does it go everywhere the shirt goes, it can’t be ripped out and it’s a subtle reminder to your customer that you exist beyond that sale. If you want to be seen as a premium brand, relabel your tees. It’s one of the best marketing tools you could utilize for your apparel brand. Before you go willy nilly tagging your tees, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Laws and Stuff

Yes, there are actually laws about t-shirt labeling. I know, right? There are people not using their turn signals when they drive in front of me and this is a thing? But yes, it’s thing and it’s serious.

If you look at a (correct and legal) t-shirt label, you’ll notice that they list a few things:

  • Manufacturer
  • Country of manufacture
  • Origin country of fabric
  • Size
  • Fabric content
  • RN number

By federal law (in the U.S. anyway), those facts must be somewhere on the garment at the point of sale. After the sale, it doesn’t matter. Same as your mattress, you won’t go to jail if you rip off the tag once you own it. True story.

So what if you want to sell your tees without that annoying manufacturer’s label hanging off the neck? Well, you totally can. All you have to do is relabel the tee with that same information. You can replace the manufacturer’s brand name and logo with your own, but you must use your own RN number or keep the RN number the same.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer (was it obvious?) and I’m not advising you in a legal capacity, but here are some links that will help you with actual legal requirements: 

RN NumberRelabeling Garments

How to Tag Your Tees

The most obvious place to tag your tees is the inside back collar. You’ve seen this on t-shirts in stores, right? It’s fairly straightforward for your screen printer to do. You might consider other areas of the garment to tag, just to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. If your tag is designed well (and I mean very well), you can even put all that info on the outside back collar area and make it part of the whole garment design.

You also have the option of doing a very faint tag or something bold (like in the photo up top). It’s really personal preference, but try to think of your t-shirt designs as holistic. Remember that you’re designing a whole garment, making it premium. If you slap a bunch of info on it to suit a legal requirement, you risk looking cheap.

Other Thoughts

If you really want people to remember your brand, you might consider sewing in embroidered labels on the sleeve or one of the lower sides. See Triple V Clothing, or brands like Super Dry that do this well.

If there’s ever a legit time to make things all about you, this is one of them. Take advantage of your options, don’t let people forget about you once they walk away.

As always, you can ask me any questions in the comments below or get in touch directly!

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