Saturday, November 02, 2013

Allied Shirts: A Review!

A couple of weeks ago, the fine folks at Build-a-Sign (the company that provided my blog bumper stickers that many of you have received in the mail at some point) contacted me to say they were launching a new website.  The new site?  A place where you can design (and order) custom t-shirts called Allied Shirts.

They agreed to send me a free t-shirt in exchange for my honest review - so here goes!

When designing a t-shirt, the first step is to choose a type of shirt.  For my review, they only gave me the option of the lowest quality shirt (called a budget shirt) - but once the shirt was in hand it felt perfectly fine to me.  I'm not one who wants silky smooth shirts (but if you are then you might want to upgrade the shirt quality).

Next, you choose a color.  Since my t-shirt was going to be a gift for my youngest brother (as you'll see in a moment), I selected a lovely shade of green.  After picking the color, you move on to a new page where you pick an image (either your own or one of the many images that Allied Shirts has on file) and any text that you want on the shirt.  You can also add names and numbers (like a sports jersey) to the back of the shirt if you desire (though I didn't do such things).

If I were still in college, I could see my buddies and I ordering a bunch of shirts for our various intramural teams (assuming we had enough money to afford them - a poor supposition if I'm being honest)!

Once you've selected your image (if any) and text, you click on "finish" where the site gives you your pricing options (after choosing the size and quantity of your shirts).  For a single shirt, shipping is free (at least for now) but the shirt itself will set you back a bit over twenty bucks.  If you are good at designing shirts, that's actually a pretty decent deal - especially considering the fact that Allied Shirts is making your own custom shirt.

After I placed my order, all I had to do was wait for the shirt to come.  Quite frankly, I felt the shipping time was a bit too long - but that could be a problem with the USPS as much as it might have been with Allied Shirts (after all, I've been having issues with the USPS lately it seems).

In the end, here's the shirt I designed:

I've already mailed the shirt off to my brother (I had to delay the review a bit to make sure he got it in the mail before seeing this post)!

You might be wondering why I chose that design.  I went with it once I saw the turtle image on the Allied Shirts website.  From there, it was easy!  My brother is currently in a Ph.D. program in the midwest where the major part of his research is dealing with turtles (a lifelong love of his).  As such, this seemed absolutely perfect - and I can only assume he'll wear it on the day he goes up for his thesis defense (or something like that).

As for Allied Shirts, my overall opinion is quite positive.  The actual process of designing a shirt is incredibly simple (but you can still do a lot in terms of design flexibility).  The ordering process was also simple, though perhaps a smidgen too pricey if the company hopes to attract the likes of a college crowd making intramural t-shirts (an an adult softball team for that matter).  I would have liked to have been able to also get a "high end" t-shirt simply to compare the two shirt qualities but I can say that I was perfectly satisfied with the shirt I got.  The shirt was shipped to me in a standard plastic shipping bag (the shirt was placed inside a clear cellophane bag to keep it nice and clean which was appreciated).

For those that have ordered shirts from similar vendors in the past, I can say that the print on this shirt is incredibly sharp - there's no color bleeding or fuzzy edges like some companies (another great thing for Allied Shirts).

Since I'm a numbers guy, here are my final rankings:
Ease of t-shirt design:  9.5
Image selection:  10
Price:  7.5
Shipping time:  7.5
Overall:  9

As I said before, the price was a couple of dollars too high for my taste but otherwise I cannot complain.  Twenty plus bucks for a budget shirt seems high but you have to keep in mind that it's a custom printed shirt - and in that sense it's a good deal.  If Allied Shirts included the option to have a sports jersey printed (on a sports jersey material rather than simply cotton t-shirts), I could see my co-ed softball team ordering team jerseys from Allied Shirts in the future!


Allied Shirts Recommends: BuildASign.com and Printcopia

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