Stain Removal 101: How to Remove Almost Any Clothing Stain

We never know when or where it’s going to happen, but it inevitably will. Clothing stains haunt us no matter what we might do. But stains don’t have to spell the end of your favorite piece of clothing.

Before we get into how to address specific types of stains, here are some common questions and stain removal tips that can help you address stains of many types:

  • What is the stain from? (wine, coffee, grease, etc.)?
  • What kind of fabric has the stain absorbed into? Always check clothing labels for specific fabric care directions. Know the differences between fabrics so you can better understand what kind of temperatures and treatments might work best or against your removal efforts.
  • The faster you address a stain, the easier it will be to get out.
  • Never rub stains. Always blot excess with a clean cloth or clean water. Similarly, you can run the stain under cold water. Use a fabric under protein-based stains or oil-stains to absorb further excess.
  • Carry a stain stick or wipe in a bag or in your car so that you can pretreat stains as they occur until you can better address them at home.
  • When in doubt, always wash stains in cold or tap water. Remember that heat sets stains.
  • Avoid fabric softener when washing a stained or pretreated garment.
  • Don’t put your item in the dryer. The heat will likely set the stain – and then it’ll be there permanently. Air-drying may be your safest bet.
  • If the stain is large enough or particularly set, sometimes soaking your stained garment overnight in the tub or in a bowl with cool water and an oxygenator, like Oxo-Brite (eco-friendly) or OxiClean (contains bleach) can work wonders. However, make sure the product you use is color-safe and doesn’t contain unnecessary brighteners, which can leach color and break down the fibers of more delicate fabrics like silk or linen.

**Note: Never mix bleach with ammonia, since the mixture creates a dangerous gas.

Stains can generally be broken down into three types: oil-based, water-based, and protein-based. Here are some more specific remedies from Clothing Shop Online on how to treat these stain types:

 

Oil-based Stains

Whether from cooking grease or make-up, oil stains take some patience. Blot gently with a clean cloth to remove excess, and then sprinkle some baking soda or corn starch (yes, really) on top of the stained area. When the powder starts to ball, it is properly absorbing excess oil. Simply shake off the remaining powder. Next, pretreat the oil stain with a touch of Dawn before hand washing in cool water. If it’s good enough for scientists to treat animals involved in major oil spills, then it might just help lift that wicked stain from your favorite t-shirt. Rinse with water before washing in your machine. Distilled water is preferred at this point as it is “softer” water.

Chocolate

Chocolate stains set with time and heat. Rather than blot excess immediately, pre-treat the stain with a small amount of detergent or ammonia, and then soak the garment in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes. Repeat the soaking process if you don’t see improvement or, for extra reinforcements, add OxiClean or enzymatic cleaner to the water and leave to soak. Then wash normally with no softener.

Paint

Oil-based paint is particularly difficult to remove. As a gentle suggestion for next time, consider using water-based or acrylic paints for your project since these alternatives are not only more eco-friendly but also fabric friendly. That said, read the paint directions for guidance on removal. Sometimes they recommend particular solvents to lift stains. Once you’ve figured out which solvent to use, you’ll need to ventilate and use gloves, since solvents are particularly caustic and can burn your skin. Don’t use a dish or detergent soap since they can set these types of stains. Put a clean cloth beneath the stain and blot the solvent onto the stain from the other side. Then remove as much of the solvent as possible with soapy water since solvents can become flammable in the dryer.

 

Water-based Stains

Coffee, tea, juice, and water-based inks, among other liquids, qualify as water-based. These kinds of stains require the least amount of work, but still, need to be blotted and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes or more. You can use a pretreatment on these stains like Dawn or Oxo-Brite before tossing in the washer.

Coffee

On the right fabric, a coffee stain can be bad enough to make you want to give up coffee (or perhaps just wear black). To remove a coffee stain, you can blot the stain gently, then soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Another approach is to carefully pour hot water over the stain. Then launder as usual.

Wine

Cover a wine stain in salt, which absorbs excess and color, and then soak the garment in cold water with enzymatic laundry detergent overnight. Repeat as necessary and wash according to fabric care directions.

Paint

Water-based paint is a lot easier and safer (for your health) to clean than oil-based paint. Simply blot, add cool water or ice, and pretreat with detergent or soak in an enzymatic cleaner for at least a half-hour. Then, wash according to fabric care directions.

Dye

Dye stains most often occur from washing fabrics that have bled color with whites. To remove these stains, soak the affected garment in OxiClean or Oxo-Brite for at least eight hours. Repeat as necessary and then rinse in cool water before laundering as directed on the garment label. You can also apply a color run pretreatment specially formulated for removing dyes that have bled. However, if the fabric is delicate – made of linen or silk – avoid oxygenators all together. In this case, the dry cleaner will be your best bet to prevent damage to fabric fibers.

 

Protein-based Stains

Sweat, blood, mud, egg, vomit and grass stains fall under this category. What’s particularly important here is to not add heat while treating the stain or washing such stains.

Grass

You can use several approaches for grass stains. First, you can pretreat with laundry detergent on the stain, rinse with cold water, and then launder. If the grass stain appears on cotton, you can also blot with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the other side of the stain, let stand for ten minutes, and then launder according to fabric care directions.

Blood

If the stain is fresh, blot immediately with cold water and soak in cold water for 30 minutes, then rub liquid detergent and rinse. If the stain is stubborn, soak in 2 tablespoons of ammonia per 1 gallon of cold water, and soak again with detergent. Launder as usual with an enzyme detergent, which should break down the protein stain.

Sweat

Pretreat the stain with a paste made from 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/4 cup warm water. Rub the paste gently into the stain. For bad stains, let the paste sit, then rinse and soak in a bowl of cold water and two tablespoons of Oxo-Brite or OxiClean. Then launder according to directions; however, for delicates, it’s advisable to take straight to the cleaners if the stain has been there a while.

 

Other

Sharpie

These markers tend to be alcohol-based, which makes them waterproof, but soluble in alcohol. Blot with rubbing alcohol upside down on paper towels or a clean cloth since the ink will bleed through. When the stain is faint or removed, rinse well in cool water and launder as required by the fabric care label.

Nail Polish

Simply blot a nail polish stain from the other side of the fabric with nail polish remover until the stain starts to lift. Then rinse in soapy, cold water and launder as usual.

Almost every type of stain is treatable with the right approach. We hope that these tips are helpful in addressing the stains that seem to be an unavoidable fact of life!

Trend Alert: 5 Top Athleisure Trends in 2020

The athleisure trend has taken the global fashion landscape by storm, invited by consumers interested in high-end comfort. Athleisure is the fastest-growing category in fashion, in part driven by celebrity endorsement on social media and a growing wellness culture. Partly inspired by streetwear with a nod to the 80s and 90s, the athleisure market is expected to double in 2020, exceeding $83 billion. According to Allied Market Research, by 2024 the global activewear market is projected to reach nearly $547 billion.

Athleisure typically consists of hoodies, fleece, joggers, yoga pants, sneakers, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. Celebrities like Beyonce and Kanye West have adopted the trend and exploded it into the luxury clothing market as designers. Others like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and Rosalia also sport the trend across their Instagrams wearing athleisure trends that will dominate in 2020. Less dictated by runways and more by streetwear, athletic wear has even caught the eye of historic fashion houses like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Lanvin, launching their own lines of luxury athletic wear, logos emblazoned across garments.

However, brands like Bella + Canvas, Champion and Russell Athletic have entered the athleisure scene with more affordable, but still luxurious, options focused on high-quality fabrics that offer a more tailored look than the baggy tracksuits of previous decades. These brands, though more accessible to buyers offer luxurious comfort at a price most can afford.

Streetwear Apparel Styles

Frequently athleisure styles have become more unisex not only in cut but also in color, more brands choosing to blur the line between men and women’s styles, especially for street fleece and joggers.

Whether we’re talking about men or women’s fashion, athleisure has blurred the line between what was once thought of as popular for either. More men are wearing leggings and bicycle shorts, as well as joggers that accentuate the leg, while more women are wearing joggers in place of leggings. Women’s street fleece, or sweatshirts, and over-sized t-shirts can be cropped and paired with joggers or leggings, though sleeves remain long and baggy.

 

Oversized or Rounded Drop-tail T-shirts

Dictated by streetwear, 2020 trends in athleisure emphasize oversized everything, particularly t-shirts, which women, like Eilish, have been buying in extra-large sizes rather than the fitted versions that were more popular in the mid-90s. While women’s t-shirts have also become more boxy or cropped, men’s t-shirts have adopted a rounded drop-tail bottom hem, like the ones Bella + Canvas makes through their 3006 Long Body Tee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Logos Everywhere, Architectural Technical Patterns

Logos have also spread across t-shirts, from Adidas to Champion, each brand riffing on the trend with bold letters appearing across clothing. Not just projected across the front of the clothing, different brands have printed their logos in unexpected directions, as stripes down the back of sweatshirts and sides of t-shirts.

Consumers will also see more embroidered, custom designs or large screen-printed graphics, which can be paired with joggers, yoga pants or tight bicycle shorts. Fabrics will continue to reflect designs that are indented or embossed into them. They might also feature subtle structures, architected into the fabric, like honeycombs or futuristic technical patterns that layer different types of fabrics to offer special effects.

 

Luxe Fabrics

No longer made of the frumpy fabrics of yesteryear that would pill after one wash, today’s athleisure features elegant drape and softer fabrics made of new poly-blends that didn’t exist before. Because consumers are wearing luxe athletic wear even into boardrooms beneath blazers or in place of them, they expect fabrics that transition from the office to home, or from day to night. For example, Bella + Canvas’ signature sponge fleece fabric is made from high-quality combed and ring-spun yarn that’s mid-weight, but still soft.

 

 

 

Neutral or Neon Colors

Speaking of unisex, consumers’ growing tastes in athletic wear, though still focused on classics like black, have graduated to more neutral colors like sand, cement, light gray, rust, brown and burgundy in both men and women’s athletic wear. Brands like Yeezy, Isabel Myrant, and Supreme all offer similar colors to these, among other brands. Bella + Canvas offers a whole range of similar hues that speak to

Neutral colors look particularly striking when paired with vintage white or monotone colors; for instance, a sandy top coupled with cement bottoms. Vintage white, a slightly off-white version of the classic white t-shirt, also dominates where black used to reign supreme, whether in hoodie or jogger form, offering a fresh, even futuristic look when paired with neutrals and lace-free sneakers.

Athleisure has also made poppy and neon new again across both men’s and women’s styles. In 2020, expect to see neon and

poppy increase in use not only across sneakers but also across oversized t-shirts and sweatshirts, recalling retro styles that millennials grew up with through brands like Fila and Hilfiger.

 

Sustainable athleisure

More companies are choosing to incorporate sustainability in the luxury athleisure sector as consumers grow more concerned about where and how their clothing is produced, as well as how their clothes contribute to greenhouse gases. Part of the wellness movement, sustainability has become a mark of several clothing manufacturers. More companies are becoming transparent about how they source and manufacture garments, taking into consideration the environmental and human impact of those choices. Some companies are even making clothing from upcycled, artificial fabrics that feel luxe and are dry-touch, breathable, and lighter than previous athletic wear fabrics. Adidas recently came out with a high-end sneaker made from recycled plastic trash from the ocean. Many clothing manufacturers are starting to create sustainable athleisure pieces that are gradually dismantling fast fashion.

The luxe athleisure trend is sure to continue to dominate the fashion landscape in 2020. To keep on top of these trends and how to style them, consider these insights from Clothing Shop Online!

What Do Clothing Measurements Mean?

Clothing measurements seem to differ between labels, countries, and even stores, making it challenging to understand which size to pick. Since the early 2000s, studies have shown a marked increase in online clothing sales. While a 2019 report by First Insight suggests that “71 percent of all shoppers surveyed spent [an additional] $50 or more when shopping in-store” when compared to shopping online, the current trend can’t hide that millennials make about 60% of their purchases online, this includes shopping for clothes. As malls across the United States shutter their doors for good and retailers shift clothing sales online, having a clear understanding of what clothing measurements mean can help consumers make better decisions.

However, buying clothes online has drawbacks. Despite generous online return policies, trying on clothes in person offers benefits beyond the ease of trying clothes on in private, at-home. Trying clothes off the rack means consumers know what fits without the hassle of returning clothes that don’t fit. Long gone are the days when your size in one store was the same in another store. As a result, it’s hard to predict your size across different companies; you likely have a range of sizes in your closet.

In the United States, clothing sizes tend to be more general to accommodate a wide range of people. This is why American sizing depends more on sizes that range from Extra Small to Extra Large rather than European and international sizing, which usually depends on precise measurements. American companies typically offer clothing size scales on their website or in-store to help consumers translate sizes from Small to Large into specific body measurements.

That’s why it’s essential to understand your body measurements to navigate clothing sizes with more ease regardless of where you shop.

General Rules of Thumb

Taking accurate body measurements is straightforward and easier than most people realize. All you need is a cloth tape measure, keeping the tape level and firm, but not too tight. Make sure to measure over bare skin or tight clothing, but never over loose clothing.

Sizing Differences for Women and Men

Measuring for women’s clothing requires bust, waist, and hip circumference, while men’s clothing measurements emphasize chest, waist, and hip circumference, in addition to neck size, arm length, and potentially shoulder width, if measuring for jackets and dress shirts. Some of these measurements can apply to women’s clothing as well if shopping for a suit or tailored dress shirt rather than a typical blouse.

In contrast, unisex sizing refers to clothing that can be worn by either women or men. Unisex sizing occurs when a label or clothing seller offers the same cut of a style in the broader size scale than typically offered for men or women exclusively. For example, rather than just ranging from Small to Large sizing, unisex sizing typically includes XXS-XXL. Women usually buy clothing in the lower range, men in the higher, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

How to Measure for Clothing Size

Chest: Measuring the chest area will be slightly different between men and women. For men, measure firmly underneath your armpits and around the widest part of your chest. For women, the chest area refers to the flat part slightly above your breasts, which requires a separate bust measurement, where the chest is fullest. If you’re a woman, bring the measuring tape directly under your armpits, but make sure to place the tape above your breast area.

In either case, make sure to keep your back straight and arms relaxed for the most accurate measurement.

Bust: Measure at the fullest part of the bust and measure around the body, from your armpits and shoulder blades back to the front. Keep the tape snug but not too tight. Pro tip: wear a non-padded bra for more accurate measurements.

Waist: Measure the waist where your body bends. This is usually located about 2 inches above your belly button. To check, bend side to side to figure out where the body creases. Pro-tip: Don’t suck in your stomach, which will only give you inaccurate results, providing a too-tight fit.

Hip: Stand with feet together, making sure to keep your back and pelvis straight. Measure at the fullest part of your hips, usually around the buttocks, roughly 8 inches below your natural waist. Pro-tip: For slim-fitting pants or dresses, take a second measurement, about three or so inches below the waist, for the high-hip area.

Inseam: Measure the distance from the uppermost inner part of your groin to the bottom of your ankle. Pro-tip: Ask someone to help you. If no one is available, measure the inseam on a pair of proper length pants that you already own.

Shoulder Width: Measure from shoulder to shoulder with your back straight, wrapping the tape around the circumference of your body.  

Sleeve length: Measure from the top of your shoulder to the cuff of your sleeve, or where your wrist is.

Neck: Measure at the base where your neck connects to your shoulders, right below the Adam’s apple, for men. Look forward and stand relaxed. Pro-tip: Place a finger between your throat and tape to make sure the collar won’t be too tight.

Clothing measurements don’t have to be complicated; they require some patience (and a little bit of help). With Clothing Shop Online’s guide to clothing measurement insights, you’ll be better equipped to find the perfect fit in any store!

Clothing 101: Guide to Different Fabrics

It can be challenging to know which fabric is appropriate for what purpose. That’s why CSO’s Fabric Guide is here to make it easier for you to choose.

Whether you choose natural or synthetic fabrics, different types work better for some needs than others. Beyond knowing which material to choose when making clothing, proper fabric care can help your garments last longer, stretching your dollar.

In warmer climates or under high activity, synthetic fabrics (certain tri-blends, jersey) perform better than some natural fabrics (cotton, linen). This is because natural fabrics can cause skin irritation and chafing with lots of movement because the material doesn’t stretch easily. However, natural fabrics are more breathable and are best for low-activity, warm weather. In cooler climates, you’ll need to consider insulation and moisture retention with your clothing choices, since moisture retains cold.

To help you to choose the right fabric for your project, consider these 8 common fabrics below:

Cotton

Prized for its softness and breathability, cotton is a beloved fabric. It’s often used in favorite tees, baby clothes (particularly GOTs-certified organic cotton), pajamas, and clothing used in warm weather; however, it’s less commonly used in athletic-wear because it can cause some skin types to chafe under warm weather conditions or high mobility. Screen printing on cotton can be a little tricky, but likely, your favorite tee is made of it, since it wears better over time. Cotton softens with age if it’s been cared for properly – washed on cold and dried on medium heat.

Polyester

In contrast to natural fabrics, polyester is more stretchable and doesn’t wrinkle as easily. From athletic wear to fine clothing, you can find polyester in most clothing types, even in higher-end dresses and slacks. This is because unlike silk or linen, polyester is more durable and can withstand some beating, perfect for work clothes or uniforms. There are also several kinds of polyester – from polyester/cotton to polyester/viscose – which all have different challenges when screen printing on polyester.

Tri-blends

One of the newest fabrics in this list, tri-blends, consists of a 50-25-25 mix of polyester, rayon, and spun cotton. Tri-blends are more expensive than cotton but are extra soft and wick moisture. They’re perfect for athletic clothing, particularly yoga tops, because they drape better than pure cotton. Tri-blends are also used in higher quality band t-shirts and some office clothing, particularly women’s blouses. Screen printing on tri-blends is particularly challenging because, if you choose a design that requires flash cures, the rayon in tri-blends may melt under heat. To print on tri-blends, use a wet-on-wet approach.

Fleece

Fleece is ideal for cold weather, such as in sweaters and jackets, because it wicks moisture and is highly durable while providing wool-like warmth. Initially, fleece was a natural fiber derived from longhaired goats or domestic sheep. While natural fleece exists, it’s more expensive; polyester fleece has all but replaced its more labor-intensive cousin. Today, polyester fleece is used in hiking and outdoor clothing, as well as blankets, because it’s as warm as wool but much lighter. To screen print on fleece, you’ll need to budget for more ink and simpler designs.

Polyester fleece derives from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, used in plastic bottles. Polyester fleece has contributed widely to plastic pollution in water sources. To launder polyester fleece safely, as with all synthetic fibers, make sure to use a Guppyfriend or Coraball and wash on cold. You can also retrofit your dryer with a special filter.

Jersey

Since Coco Chanel introduced jersey to high fashion at a time when it was associated with underwear, jersey has become highly popular due to its stretchiness and lightweight. Jersey is most used in leisurewear, sportswear, undergarments, and even dressier clothing, such as dresses, because of its drape and softness. A type of cotton knit, jersey, was once made of wool but is now made of synthetic fibers. Jersey drapes well, like tri-blends, and resists wrinkling, making it ideal for traveling. It also tolerates hot water and ironing when laundered, so it’s not delicate like silk.

Knit

Knit fabrics, unlike those that are woven, are more flexible, making them ideal for small items like socks, scarves, hats, and mittens. It’s also still used for cool-weather dresses and light sweaters. Knits are made of either natural or synthetic yarn, which can be thick or fine, depending on how much you’d like any item of clothing to drape. While Coco Chanel elevated jersey knit in 1916, it’s still used today in elegant suits and dress, particularly in wrap dresses, cardigans, and light sweaters, which stay in place due to knit’s heavier drape.

Rayon

While technically a natural fiber, rayon is chemically processed from natural fibers, or cellulose, into lyocell, viscose, and modal. Because rayon exists in so many grades, it can imitate the feel of natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk, or fine wool. As a result, rayon is ideal for women’s clothing, particularly dresses and tops, as well as any fine clothing that resembles artificial silk. It’s also used in scarves meant to feel like silk or stockings. Unlike its silk, rayon lacks the same delicacy and is more durable, making it also ideal for exceptional workwear.

Spandex

Because it’s so strong when stretched, spandex is best used for leggings, undergarment compression wear (such as girdles), underwear, athletic wear, hosiery, dance clothing, and nightclub wear. Dupont Textiles originally conceived spandex to replace rubber in clothing. Given its strength, spandex is ideal for swimwear and bras. When laundering spandex, you should always forgo fabric softener, wash on cold, and air dry.

While choosing the right fabric for your clothing project can be difficult, consider these fabric guidelines from Clothing Shop Online!

The Foolproof Clothing Gift Guide for the Holidays

‘Tis, the season for gift-giving, and to be honest, finding that perfect gift for that special someone can be a challenge. This is only doubled when you are considering giving clothing as a gift. While there is a high risk of gifting clothing items, there is also a high reward when you get it right. But how can you prevent performing the faux pas of the receiver not cringing at the sweater you just bought them?

Well, we are here to provide you with a foolproof clothing gift guide, so that there is no chance that they will want to return or exchange it!

Know Their Style

The first thing you should ask yourself when buying clothes for someone else is, what is their style? While you may like the shirt or dress you picked up, you have to ask yourself whether this reflects the recipient’s style. When flipping through racks of clothes, consider the following things:

  • Lifestyle: Knowing the lifestyle of who you’re giving the gift to is incredibly important. Whether they are active and athletic, always traveling, or spend their time in meetings, knowing this will provide you with a much better idea of what will be a fitting garment for their day-to-day life.
  • Personal Style: Are they interested in comfort or looking for high fashion in their garments? Take time to learn what their specific style type is and use that as a guide when shopping for them.
  • Personal Needs: Whether they have said out loud what they need in their wardrobe, or you’ve gleaned something from your open observations, it’s always good to ask yourself whether they need this garment in their life. While a piece of clothing doesn’t have to be a need-based buy, it would be great if it was.

Finding the Perfect Fit

The next tip in finding the perfect piece for that special someone is making sure it will fit them. While some clothing measurements are pretty simple to follow, others are a bit more difficult. For example, t-shirts usually run from XS to XL and can also come in unisex sizing, which makes it even easier to purchase since unisex sizes are generally more universal in fit. On the other hand, pieces like dresses, pants, and workwear usually require more detailed measurements to be known, such as waist, shoulder, and arm measurements.

This is why you should be knowledgeable of the gift recipient’s measurements and sizes before you go in to purchase clothing for them. If you do this, then there is a much lower chance of them having to return the gift and ensuring that they have a comfortable fit.

Stick with Classic Pieces

While we all want to give those unique, out-of-the-box, wow-factor gifts, sometimes it’s great just to stick with the classics, especially when it comes to clothes.

Here are a couple of great classic pieces that will be a perfect addition to anyone’s closet:

The perfect piece of clothing doesn’t have to be the highest fashion piece that you can find. It’s more meaningful when you give those great basics and/or closet staples that they can wear every day.

Give the Gift of Great Accessories

Maybe buying pieces of clothing just seems a little too ambitious. Between finding the right size and fit and making sure that it won’t shrink the first time they wash it, it can easily be overwhelming. But you still want to give them something that adds to their own unique style. How about accessories?

Accessories are perfect because they are usually one-size-fits-all, and you can buy more of them. Also, there are so many to choose from! From scarves and beanies to gloves and even fun pairs of socks. Accessories are for sure what makes an outfit, and they will be over the moon if you give them some to mix and match.

So if you want to venture into buying clothes as gifts, don’t fret, and follow these tips. They will have whoever is receiving them incredibly happy.

If you’re looking for more creative gift ideas outside of apparel, take a look at our DIY Gift Guide here!

5 Places to Sell Handmade Craft Items Online

Less than twenty years ago, sellers of handmade crafts were limited to expensive brick and mortar stores, local craft fairs and flea markets to sell their products. Since that comparably pre-historic age of eCommerce, online stores selling handmade craft items have flourished into a multi-billion-dollar industry. According to the Association for Creative Industries, a 2016 product study revealed U.S. “creative products industries are valued at $43 billion.”

1. Etsy

Perhaps the most well-known online craft site, Etsy offers brand recognition and straight forward shop setup. Etsy claims to have more than 30 million online buyers, who in the last year alone spent nearly $3 billion on goods listed through the site. Sellers list their handmade crafts for pennies on the dollar and pay Etsy a commission for the final item price. However, Etsy’s popularity has created a crowded online handmade craft space. With over 2 million fellow sellers, it’s more difficult to get your products noticed. Also, big-name brands have begun to list their items on the site as well, making it even harder for small handmade craft operations to garner attention.

2. Bonanza

Bonanza markets itself as an alternative to Etsy claiming, at the time of this post, that it requires “no contract, no listing fees, no setup costs” to create an online craft store. The site’s marketing tools were created to drive repeat traffic to individual craft shops “free of charge.” Unlike Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, listing craft items is “always free” and those listings never expire. Bonanza also offers the ability to import listings from other handmade craft websites to theirs. Like other major handmade craft sites, Bonanza offers photography help, marketing assistance, sales analytics, an online storefront, and general support.

3. eBay

One of the first websites to sell handmade items online, eBay is another website with major brand recognition that users trust. It claims to have over 160 million online shoppers. It’s Seller’s Hub offers simple set up and tracking tools, and it won’t cost you to list until you hit 50 items. Unlike other handmade craft websites, eBay sells more than just craft items, so sellers will be competing with thousands of other, non-craft items for an audience seeking cheap deals. As a result, a seller’s craft items may not sell online for as much as they hoped.

4. Handmade at Amazon

Most buyers are still learning that Amazon has also taken a bite out of the online handmade craft industry. Knowing people are increasingly purchasing online, Amazon has capitalized on yet another area of sales. Handmade at Amazon offers a variety of handmade craft items, from jewelry to accessories, and much more. However, handmade craft sellers must apply to have their goods sold on Amazon and not all applications are accepted. Amazon, an already crowded selling space, has a separate tab under their drop-down menu, so it may be more challenging for sellers to get their crafts noticed. It is crucial that photographs are clear and descriptions are well written in order to be successful here.

5. ArtFire

Headquartered in the Tuscon Arts District, this online marketplace specializes in both vintage and handmade products, as well as in craft supplies and the digital arts. Unlike other online handmade craft websites, Artfire doesn’t show ads on its site and allows up to 250 active listings for pennies per listing. However, sellers must pay a monthly fee to keep their shop open and pay more to unlock special features that drive more online traffic to their craft webstore front.

However, if you want to get around paying large companies many fees and are confident in your own marketing abilities, creating your own website might be something to consider. This does come at a cost, as you need to purchase a domain name, consider an online store builder like GoDaddy’s GoCentral Online Store (make sure the builder has an SSL certificate to encrypt customers’ private details), and build a site with a content management system like SquareSpace or WordPress.

In the end, it depends on what arrangement fits the needs of you and your business. People selling handmade crafts online have more options than ever, so take advantage and start crafting!

 

The Essential Fall Capsule Wardrobe Planner

The end of summer means cooler weather, which also means it’s time to transition your wardrobe from tank tops and shorts light jackets and full-length pants. If you don’t know where to begin with transitioning your wardrobe from summer to autumn, we’ve got four go-to tips and tricks for creating the essential fall capsule wardrobe!  

1. Clean Out Your Closet

The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe for fall is to clean out your closet. Whether you are using the KonMari method, coined by organizing consultant Marie Kondo, or your own unique method of organizing, clearing out your closet should always be your first step when transitioning to a new season. This allows you to reassess what needs to be packed away for summer and what you need to stock up on for the coming cooler months while discarding any excess that’s been weighing you down.

A few pro-tips for cleaning out your closet for Fall:

  1. Take all the clothes out of your closet and lay them on a flat surface
  2. Organize your clothes by what should be stored away for the winter, and what can be used for the colder months
  3. While organizing, also check and see if there are pieces that are too worn out or you just don’t love wearing anymore.

If you’re looking for more closet revamping tips and tricks, head over to our blog post, The Wardrobe Detox, and get some need-to-know tips on cleaning!

 

2. Planning: Color Scheme and Fabrics

When planning your capsule wardrobe, you’ll want to start by prioritizing color. While bright colors are perfect for spring and summer, Autumn is all about warm muted tones, like brick, ochre, and harvest gold. If you’ve got the time, and money, and an extreme passion for shopping, you can, of course, go out and buy a whole new set of clothes in these colors. But if you have a job, and family life, and anything less than all the free time in the world, you can easily build a fall wardrobe based on the colors you already have in your closet.

Start off by prioritizing your basics such as basic neutral tops in white, black, gray, and denim blue. Then layer on pieces that provide Fall-toned accent colors for a pop in your wardrobe.

Eliminate anything sheer, lightweight, or breezy, in favor of heavier fabrics for the colder weather ahead. Out with the linen, satin, and lightweight cotton. In with the fleece, tweed, and wool.

Additional fabrics that will keep you cozy from fall to winter include:

  • Flannel
  • Velvet
  • Cable Knit
  • Denim
  • Corduroy

3. Wardrobe Staples

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing staples that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits throughout a season. It can be difficult to style a capsule wardrobe full of statement pieces, so focus on simple pieces that can be used again and again.

Here are some closet staples that you simply can’t live without this Fall:

While a short sleeve tee may seem counterintuitive for Autumn, it’s actually a must-have for your Fall capsule wardrobe (as well as for any and every season). For Fall, tees are the perfect choice to layer under sweaters, jackets, or long sleeve button-downs. Read our blog about how to style a t-shirt for colder weather, and discover even more ways to warm up this wardrobe essential.

 

4. Styling Fall Clothing

When putting together the perfect fall wardrobe, the #1 thing to focus on is layering. Autumn weather is notoriously fickle, so make it a priority to wear outfits that can be restyled throughout the day.  

The perfect formula for layering can be found in, our blog post, How to Layer Your Clothes. Every outfit should include, a base layer, a main layer, and an outer layer for flexibility throughout the day. The base layer should include your lightest items, like t-shirts and long sleeves. The main layer should consist of light sweaters or flannels, and the outer layer is usually comprised of sweaters and jackets. When prepping your closet for Fall, focus on layering an everything else will fall into place.

Whether you are getting ready for colder weather or just looking to shed some weight your closet, these tips will get you ready for Fall fashion in no time.

How to Buy Clothing Wholesale

Locating the right wholesaler takes some research and negotiation. Whether you own a screen-printing business or another kind of clothing business, buying in bulk can help to stretch your budget. Bulk buying can also increase your profit margins by lowering your overhead costs. As a result of not overpaying for wholesale clothing orders, you’re more likely to hit your margins in order to keep your business going.

There are several ways to buy clothing wholesale. Here are five suggestions from Clothing Shop Online:

Wholesale Websites

There are several different ways to approach buying in bulk. There’s no right way for all businesses, so consider your specific clothing business needs when researching how to buy wholesale clothing. Choose, first, if you want to buy from a wholesaler that represents multiple brands or wholesalers that sell just one brand in bulk, like Hanes. While you might have some brand preferences, buying in bulk from a wholesaler offers several benefits. For instance, if there’s a global supply chain issue with one brand or a specific fabric, you can buy another brand in a similar fabric that’s already in stock. If you don’t have a brand preference, a company that sells several brands can help you to experiment, enabling you to find the right fabrics and pricing for your creative and financial bottom line.

When comparing pricing across wholesale websites, first make sure that the websites are legitimate. While this may seem like an obvious suggestion, hundreds of websites masquerade as legitimate in order to steal credit card numbers for orders that never arrive. Creating a website that looks genuine has become easier than ever, making it challenging to tell real websites from scams.

To know if your wholesale clothing distributor is genuine, here are some internet hygiene tips:

  • Confirm that the wholesale clothing distributor’s domain name matches the store’s name, ideally one that you recognize.
  • Make sure that the website has an SSL certificate.
  • Never make purchases on a public network, such as at an airport, hotel, café, or university. Public networks often lack basic security protocols, and it is easy for a hacker to spoof a website you are attempting to reach if they are on the same network as you.
  • Make sure your internet router is secure.
  • Research internet reviews to make sure that not only is a website real, but also to hunt for any negative complaints. No company can make everyone happy all of the time, but negative reviews can help give you insights into what to expect, understand your risk tolerance, and potentially avoid a problematic business relationship and economic investment.

Besides the big single-brand wholesale companies like Hanes or Champion, several legitimate and established wholesale websites include:

Clothing Shop Online not only offers the biggest brands in bulk, whether you need a few dozen or hundreds of blank tees, but we also maintain a transparent bulk discount policy that we’re happy to discuss by email or phone. Clothing Shop Online’s bulk discount policy offers:

  • 5%    |   $100-$174.99
  • 10%  |  $175-$249.99
  • 15%  |  $250+

 

You can also use an online directory to locate domestic U.S. wholesale vendors, such as Maker’s Row or ThomasNet, among others.

How to Contact Wholesalers

Typically, a good wholesale clothing company will work with you to meet your needs. However, approaching them in a professional manner is key. Part of that includes communicating what you want to ask for rather than hoping the vendor will know what you need. Contacting wholesale vendors in the U.S. is straightforward, just email or call them. But before you do, here are some tips on how to approach a wholesale supplier:

  • Know your sourcing strategy before approaching. If you don’t want to dropship and don’t want to private label your own products, then you want to buy wholesale.
  • You’ll need a seller’s permit or business license. U.S. wholesalers typically have few requirements and will meet you where you’re at – whether you need a few dozen or a few thousand t-shirts. Some vendors won’t even ask you for a permit but have one or a license may help you purchase tax-free depending on your state’s tax. However, having one will help show good faith that you’re working as a legitimate business yourself.
  • Ask about their purchase requirement. If it’s higher than what you need, ask for vendor recommendations.

Shop eBay, Amazon or Department Store Sales

Before going this route, know that eBay and Amazon sellers are not well-vetted, so confirm that your seller not only has a legitimate selling history but also a website, if possible. Reviews are often faked or bought, so in this respect, you can’t rely on them alone. Otherwise, Amazon and eBay both have many venders that offer quality bulk clothing. Several Asian markets sell internationally through these kinds of websites as well.

Sometimes department stores have year-end deep sales, like Dillards.com, which offers extensive sales on quality products on the first of January each year. As well, Costco, Sam’s Club, Big Lots, Target, and Walmart might also offer massive savings for quality bulk clothing, especially during seasonal changes. This approach could also help to close the clothing cycle loop by saving hundreds of pounds of textiles from being offshored abroad, wasting fuel and energy.

Closing Stores

Bankruptcies, auctions, and other kinds of store closings also offer big savings on bulk items. In recent years, Sears, Macy’s, Service Merchandise, Kmart, the Gap, Victoria’s Secret, and even Neiman Marcus, have closed hundreds of stores, either due to bankruptcies or downsizing – to the benefit of wholesale buyers. Local vintage or thrift stores may also have lots of clothing their trying to unload, so don’t overlook those either. Don’t be afraid to contact sellers directly to negotiate a better bulk price. You might be surprised to find how motivated they are to earn your business.

However you choose to buy in bulk for your business, several options may fit your business needs at whatever stage you’re in. Consider these tips on how to buy clothing wholesale for your online business from Clothing Shop Online!

Building Company Culture: Steps for Every Small Business

Company culture, more than a buzzword, has become one of the deciding factors job candidates consider before taking the plunge for a new job. Candidates, no longer limited to a single position for forty years, have become increasingly interested in company culture, even over potential earnings. Knowing that we spend about a third of our lives at work, these candidates have changed the ways that companies attract and retain new employees.

For some companies, their culture is reflected in more than just HR practices, but also in “amenities” like yoga and massage breaks, mountains of snacks, and generous parental or sick leave policies. Even if your company doesn’t have the operating budget of Google and Facebook, company culture is more than trendy ploys offering “bread and circuses.” Whether you’re a small family business, a startup, or more established, here are some suggestions on how to build the right company culture:

  1. What does your company value?

Culture is always set from the top down. If your employees don’t think you embody the culture that you preach as your own, it can quickly become meaningless, so it is important to make sure your culture is authentic and it is something to which you can commit. Here are some suggestions on how to identify the core values of your company’s culture:

  • What’s your company’s mission?
  • What does your company believe?
  • What differentiates your company from competitors?
  • Does your company value internal relationships? Organization? Integrity? Creativity? Communication?

Once you’ve determined your values, it’s important to live by them, and over time, even evolve them as your company grows.

  1. Align your hiring practices with your values

Building a culture for a new company is often more straightforward than adjusting an established one. Ingrained habits are hard to undo once they’ve been in regular practice, but adjusting your hiring practices and developing transparency can help you to better identify the right fit for your team. Here are some suggestions on how to improve hiring practices:

  • Invite colleagues from different company levels to interview candidates to cover more ground. In this way, you’ll learn more about your job candidate through an array of interview questions and will ensure that more of your team has contact with a potential hire to determine fit.
  • Create clear onboarding processes. The onboarding process is an opportunity to not only get new employees up to speed on best practices, but it also introduces them to fellow employees, building comradery. Offer plenty of onboarding reference materials, but also frequent, small workshop environments in which new employees can receive guidance, have some fun, while also feeling free to bring up questions or ideas. Culture should be a consistent theme throughout onboarding.
  • Prioritize transparency in the hiring process. Be clear to both existing employees and interested candidates about why you are hiring for a position and the values of the company that you expect them to support. Without addressing culture head-on during the hiring process, you are at risk of hiring someone who isn’t the right fit.

It is crucial to align your hiring process with your culture to ensure that new employees are supporting and enhancing it, where a bad fit would undermine it.

  1. Find new ways to reinforce your values

Creating a company culture is about more than offering perks, it’s about making your employees feel like they are contributing to something greater than driving revenue. There are a number of ways you can embody your defined values while also rewarding the employees who support them:

  • Recognize employees who perform well and exemplify your culture through peer nominations.
  • Volunteer together as a company towards a cause that aligns with your company’s mission.
  • Offer lunch workshops that support aspects of your culture that you’d like to highlight.
  • Find new ways to measure if your company culture is effectively engaging talent. Trust people to do the job you hired them for.

However, you choose to shape your business culture, feel free to adjust and renegotiate it over time as you learn what works and what doesn’t for your team. Your business culture may also evolve over time to include new ideas or principles, so don’t limit yourself to your original plan. Whether you’re just getting started or your business is long established, create a business culture that’s true to your mission.

Consider these insights on how to establish a business culture for your online business from Clothing Shop Online!

8 Graphic Designs For Your Custom Baby Onesie

If you’ve got a little one on the way or have a baby shower coming up, it’s time to start shopping for adorable clothing and accessories for the little ones. First things first, onesies are an absolute must to have in a baby’s closet.

Sure, you can grab a generic onesie from the mall, but there’s nothing sweeter and more personal than a customized design. If you’re looking to create your own custom baby onesies, we’ve got eight charming designs that are sure to make you go “aw.”

 

The Snuggle is Real

This is a pretty cute play on “the struggle is real” –– especially for a newborn that spends most of the day curled up in a ball. Celebrate your little cuddle bug with this cute, clever design. Pro-tip: print the graphic on a super soft onesie to ensure the perfect snuggle every time.

 

 An Adorable Animal Face

If your little ones are inseparable from their stuffed animals, they’ll love animal designs on their onesies. Print a cute animal on their favorite onesie, so they can sport it at their first outing to the zoo.

A Classic & Fun Saying

“Oh, Baby!” takes on a whole new meaning in this tongue-in-cheek onesie design. The catchy phrase is the perfect addition to any rambunctious infant’s wardrobe.

 

Your Little One’s Happy Place

Because home is where the heart is, there’s no better way to show off your little one’s happy place than with this cute graphics. It’s the perfect design for a onesie or pajama set they can wear around the…you guessed it…home

 

For the Sweet & Tiny Human

Let everyone know just what your little one is with this graphic. “Sweet and Tiny Human” is a heart-warming and silly description of your toddling bundle of joy. Have the text printed on a simple onesie, then pair it with some striped leggings or colorful shorts for a fun look.

 

 

Welcome Your Little One to The World

This “Hello, World” graphic is great for a newborn baby. With its simple design, it can be adapted or resized to fit even the tiniest of infants.

 

A New Baby Bear

If you’ve ever thought your kiddo is as cute as a teddy bear, then this onesie graphic is a perfect choice. You can even design matching Mamma and Papa Bear tees for you and your partner. Wear them every day or save them for a family portrait. Just imagine the holiday cards!

 

For the Adventurous Toddler

If you’ve got an adventurer on your hands or simply can’t wait to travel with your little one, this Happy Camper design is perfect for the budding nature lover. Fun fact: this versatile design works with any onesie color or sleeve length.

 

The best part? All of these graphics allow you to complete customization of the final look. If you’ve been dreaming of your little bundle of joy outfitted in the cutest custom pieces, DIY is the way to go.

Download these designs for free and choose which ones you want to feature in your baby’s closet. Clothing Shop Online has a diverse selection of quality discount baby onesies you can print your custom designs on. With a wide range of top brands and flattering, yet durable styles, you’ll be able to find the perfect look and feel for your favorite little person in no time.