image of bridesmaid shirts blue and white

Job Cost Analysis and ROI for Bridesmaid Shirts

Wedding season is in full swing!

And that makes for an excellent opportunity for custom apparel businesses to create custom tee shirts for the wedding/bridal party.

image of bride t-shirts and girls walking

Brides and maids of honor are looking to create a memorable experience surrounding the wedding. And an experience completely unique to them. Which is why custom shirts are a great idea for your bride tribe.

Following up on the bride shirt step-by-step instructions we gave earlier, we wanted to take that same job and break it down for you.

We’re going to break down the cost and profit of creating custom cut vinyl shirts for a bridal party. This will show just how profitable it can be for your business.

List of the Bridesmaid Shirts we printed

To start off, let’s look at the cost of the shirts themselves. Here’s a bridal party job for Stephanie’s Wedding which had 14 custom cut vinyl shirts.

  • $3.94 – Bride – Stephanie – XXXL
  • $3.94 – MOH 1 – Monica – S
  • $3.94 – MOH 2 – Heidi – XL
  • $3.82 – MOH 3 – Kassie XXL
  • $3.94 – Bridesmaid – Tamara – M
  • $3.94 – Bridesmaid – Nikki Nicole Mohammad – S
  • $3.94 – Bridesmaid – Lily – M
  • $3.82 – Mother of the Bride – Jovanna M
  • $3.82 – Mother of the Groom – Joy – L
  • $3.82 – Step Mother of Bride – Sheryl – XL
  • $3.82 – Jr Bridesmaid – Lillian – Xs-xCh
  • $3.82 – Jr Bridesmaid – Sophia – M
  • $3.82 – Flower Girl – Angelina – Blue Kids 4/5 S
  • $3.82 – Ring Bearer – Christian – Kids 10/12 L

The total cost of bridesmaid shirts came to: $54.20 + Tax= $57.99

These garments were purchased from Walmart. Not what the typical business owner would do.

If you purchased a system, they sales rep will help you set up wholesale accounts which will save you big $$.

We like Sanmar.  For example, we found similar ones on Sanmar, an apparel wholesaler, for $2.10 each.

Going this route would give you nearly a 50% savings: 14 bridesmaid shirts for $29.40 (plus any taxes and shipping).

Bridesmaid T-shirt Cost Analysis

Next, let’s break down the cost of the vinyl.

  • Glitter White: All Bride ONLY Lettering.
    18” Used @ 39.95 for 5 Yards = $4.00

  • Opaque White Vinyl – All letters on Front/Back except bride and names on back
    62” Used @33.95 for 5 Yards = $ 11.31

  • Glitter Silver: Used for Shells/Sea stars/Fins/Names on back
    43” Used @ 39.95 for 5 Yards = $ 9.54

Total cost of vinyl: $24.85 

Adding up the Labor Costs

With anything you do, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of including the labor cost.

Your time has value and you need to pay yourself a wage. To give you a better sense of the overall time needed for this project we’ve broken it down into the different areas of production.

  • Art Creation: 2 Hours
    • From scratch gathered stock art and letters – vectorized – worked on placement and Design Appeal considering all sizes of garments. Also conversing with the bride/bridesmaids, making decisions, changes in art, picking apparel, etc.

  • Cutting: 45 Min
    • Took some time to layout names and similar items to maximize use of vinyl.

  • Weeding: 3.5 Hours
    • Weeding all designs (14 spiral shells, 13 mermaid tail and shell bras, 14 front designs, 14 back designs, 14 names).

  • Prepping: 30 min
    • Laying them out & cutting up – Ensuring I don’t have anything missing.

  • Heat Pressing: 1 hour
    • Placement on heat press – each layer. Plus cool peel on glitter vinyl and threading garment on heat press to press on the other side each layer again. Times 14 garments.
Total time: 7h 45m

Your Time is Valuable

You can see that the project took approximately a day’s worth of work.

A few things to keep in mind with these numbers is that we don’t do vinyl apparel daily and our time was occasionally interrupted by walk-in customers, calls, and inquisitive onlookers.

So your estimates for time might be lower if vinyl is your main business and you are able to work uninterrupted. If you’re new to vinyl, you may take more time to finish your bridesmaid shirts.

When figuring out your overall profits, calculate your time on each task. This will help you see whether you’re charging enough for each of the bridesmaid shirts.

It will also help you to see how your profits have increased over time as you become more efficient at each step.

Overall, this project (with 14 shirts) can be completed within a day or two.

What about the Shirt Costs?

What would these shirts cost to buy online or at a local shop?

We surveyed 4 stores online and found the average price for a 2 color, 2 sided (with glitter) shirt to be about $29/each.

$29 x 14 shirts = $406 retail value

As a business owner, how much profit would you make off this job?

If you purchase shirts from Walmart:

Supply cost = $24.85

Garment cost = $57.99

Total cost = $82.84

If you purchase shirts from Sanmar:

Supply cost = $24.85

Garment cost = $29.40

Total cost = $54.25

How much is in profits?

$406 retail value, minus $82.84 production cost = $323.16 (Walmart shirts)

$406 retail value, minus $54.25 production cost = $351.75 (Sanmar shirts)

To calculate the gross profit per hour:

$323.16 / 7.75 hours = $41.70 per hour (or $45.39 with the shirts from Sanmar).

What about if you have someone in your shop helping you? And they put in ½ the work, 4 hours.

4 hrs x $15/hour = $60 in labor

Taking that into consideration your new numbers would be:

$323.16 original gross profit, minus $60 in labor = $236.16 ($291.75 with shirts from Sanmar).

Since you cut your personal time in half, your new gross profit per hour can be calculated as:

$236.16 / 4 hours = $65.79 per hour ($72.94 with shirts from Sanmar).

Why hire someone to help your business?

First of all, in the example above, you see that your hourly profit increases by $25 hour. Which more than compensates for their hourly wage.

You can then use that extra time to market your business, sell more product, fill more customer orders, or just work less.

You can have your assistant cutting the vinyl for the next project while your heat pressing another. Meaning two jobs are being completed at the same time.

Why order from a whole sale distributer?

From the numbers above you can see that there is a significant increase in profit when order shirts from a wholesale supplier as opposed to a company like Walmart. Especially cumulative!

Let’s say you fill 10 bridal party orders. With $2,917.5 versus $2,361.60 there’s a $600 difference in profits.

How to Break Into the Bridesmaid Shirts Market

Creating bridal party shirts is a great opportunity to expand your niche market. Creating that custom wedding experience that every bride wants. Using the numbers above you can see how this can be a profitable niche for you. 

Also, at a retail cost of $29/shirt it’s not an expensive investment for the bridal party.