Melmarc recently introduced a full-package embellished T-shirt program dubbed “The $3 Basic T-Shirt.”

For more than 35 years, the Santa Ana, Calif.–based contractor has been embellishing T-shirts for manufacturers and retailers.


Under the new program, the company is offering two unisex T-shirt styles—a 20 singles ringspun and a 30 singles ringspun—in 14 stock colors. Melmarc will print an eight-color graphic on the front (up to 19 by 22 inches) and a one-color neck print (3.5 by 3.5 inches). The tees are shipped “retail-ready,” hang-tagged, folded and bagged. Once the graphic is approved, Melmarc can deliver the order in 10 to 15 days. Prices range from $3 per unit for a 6,000-unit order up to $3.98 for a 600-unit order with a colorway minimum of 300 units per design.

“Someone who understands the business of graphic tees, they look at this and say, ‘That’s Mexico pricing,’” said Melmarc sales executive Justin McKibben.

Melmarc is a well-known resource among action-sports brands such as Stüssy andBillabong, as well as large retailers such as JCPenney. The $3 Basic T-shirt program was launched for the smaller companies that might not be that familiar with Melmarc’s history, as well as companies that have been producing graphic tees offshore and are looking to bring that part of the business back to the U.S.

“We’re great for that emerging brand,” McKibben said. “We’re great for that licensed-product guy. But we’re also good for retailers. There’s no fabric liability, there’s no inventory commitment, there’s no overseas logistics. It’s ultra-fast. Speed is really Melmarc’s competitive advantage.”

Melmarc doesn’t design the graphics—the company leaves that up to the retailers and brands.

“We simplify your manufacturing process for graphic tees,” McKibben said. “The advantage to working with Melmarc is you don’t have to go to a bunch of different contractors to get what you need done. I’ve got your sourcing handled, I’ve got your inventory management handled [and] your product development.”

Melmarc employs more than 400 people in its Santa Ana facility, which operates 24 hours a day. The company’s sampling area has 14 machines and produces 30 to 40 pieces per day for customers. Melmarc’s production-side capacity is about a half million embellished units a week.

The $3 Basic T-shirt program officially launched in early October, but customers are already asking Melmarc to expand to new fabrications, new bodies and domestically produced blanks, McKibben said. The blanks used for the $3 Basic program are currently made in India and Bangladesh.

“All those things are options; we’re just not ready to necessarily scream it to the horizon,” he said. “I’ve got a million units on the floor of these two silhouettes, the 30s and the 20s. That’s a lot of inventory. I’m able to sell it, but that’s still a lot of inventory.”

For more information on the $3 Basic T-Shirt program, visit

Published Oct. 31, 2013 at