Organizing my T-Shirt Business


#1

I’ve been spending all week looking at Airtable and trying out options. I’m very impressed and excited to use its features. I’m also impressed with this forum. Many knowledgeable people here.

I am needing some help and I think those more experienced might be able to point me in the right direction. I don’t mind putting in the hard work and learning it, but this is so robust I don’t know how best to start.

To give some context, I design t-shirts. I currently have about 500 live designs between three different POD’s (Print-on-Demand) companies. I plan to start scaling up to around 2000 (or more) designs this year and I foresee Airtable really helping me stay organized.

I only need to worry about design and uploading the artwork. They handle all the printing, ordering, shipping, etc. That means I can create one art file and use that same file for several different t-shirt printing platforms. I don’t have to worry about tracking multiple files of the same design.

Currently, my thought it to set it my airtable like:

  1. Main table to display all my designs, with some key dates and data between all three POD platforms I use.

  2. Three additional tables (one for each POD) that link to the main table with the data I choose to see (keywords, titles, SEO tags, brand names, date uploaded, has it sold, etc).

  3. For each POD there are a multitude of shirt styles (standard, long sleeve, sweater, hoodie, tank, coffee mugs, etc) and color options. As I make sales, I’d like to log that info so I can track which designs and colors are selling the best so that I know which other platform to upload to.

  4. A 90 day countdown timer. If a shirt doesn’t sell in 90 days, give me a warning so I can make changes or remove it.

Currently I am a one man show, but I plan to hire a couple local designers so that I can better scale this business. They will also be given access to input data as they complete designs.

My struggle is knowing how best to organize/set up my airtable data. And I think linking table data is probably a good solution, but I might be limiting myself.

For example, I don’t know if I should be using tags (one for each POD), versus linking tables versus an option I may now be aware of. I’m trying not to over complicate it, but frankly, it’s a complicated problem to solve.

I would love any help, tips, resources that may help point me in the right direction, especially concerning the set up process given my goals.

Thanks in advance for any help.


#2

Hi @adrian_butler, I think Airtable can be a great tool for you. There’s a lot of info in your message and I do have some general suggestions.

First, is it mandatory to create a seperate POD table for all three of them? It can simplify a great deal if you use only one table, and make sure that you indicate which POD is involved. It also will prevent you from editing 3 tables when changes need to be made.
Unless of course, each POD needs way different fields .

Second, I seem to stay away from Multiple or Single Selection fields as much as possible. I like the option to create a seperate table for situations like that. The main reason is that you can type wrong info in a selection field pretty easy, and you cannot prevent this. Selecting an option from another table gives you a little more control while inputting data. Also, when you want to use ROLLUP and LOOKUP options, linked fields are the way to go.

Third, you may need to go a little deeper into what you would like to register in your main table. Are finances involved with each design? Also in the POD table(s). Are you intending to link an amount ($) to options like “long sleeve”, “tank”, and so on? I can imagine that those amounts differ.

Fourth, the 90 days countdown, will that start counting from the date you created the T-shirt? Or, the date you registered it in the database?

Again, I would like to help, thinking along with you. I do think Airtable can do the job for you.

Regards,
André


#3

First of all, thanks for your thoughtful response. I realized after I posted that I really put alot of info out there, so you were courageous to respond!

Regarding your first question, no it is not mandatory to have a separate table for each. I also want to edit/input data as little as possible, so your question is a good critical one that I need to consider. The data in the table(s)(descriptions, keywords, tags, titles, etc) between the three POD’s is similar, but not the same, since each have their own unique SEO’s to consider.
But to answer your question, no, each POD is not greatly different, but I don’t mind have unique fields for each POD in one table (if I am visualizing correctly what you are describing)

As for question two, I didn’t consider having a second table for multiple selections. That makes a lot of sense (mostly, I need to mess with my current table to see if I can accomplish what you mention). But I really like that suggestion.

On question three, ideally I would like my main table to show me any given design, which POD’s I have and haven’t uploaded to, the colors, size and style I have available and how many have sold of any given color, size and style (i would log this info in daily). Lastly, the price data would be very helpful for each unique shirt/style. You are correct, hoodies are vastly different in price than a standard t-shirt.

Fourth, I figured out the formula, so I am good there (it was the date that I registered it in the database).

I am going to work on your suggestions. I suspect I’ll have more questions, but I feel better prepared to tackle this.


#4

I’m curious how your database will develope. Good luck!