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Sell This Product – Compressed T-Shirts

Filed under: Sell This Product

Compressed T-shirts can make a strong impression by presenting a popular item in an unusual way.

Originating in Taiwan, Magic Towels are towels compressed into shapes that grow into their full size when placed in water. They provided inspiration for compressed T-shirts, which perform a similar action in the washing machine and make a fun promotional product.

Tim Fruehe, president of Simply Smashing Inc. (asi/87425), says his company’s first compressed T-shirt was smashed into the shape of a postcard that was sold to tourists visiting Yosemite National Park. The T-shirts included a postcard insert and mailing label, so tourists could write a greeting on the label and mail it back home.

“A local resort liked the postcard T-shirt idea so much that they ordered them for their marketing department and used them for a direct-mail program,” says Fruehe. “It did not take long to realize that they were a great promotional product.”

Since that first postcard shape in 1996, the supplier has produced compressed T-shirts in over 300 shapes, including automobiles, geometric items, food, toothbrushes, cigars and cows. It can customize shapes to fit different industries and clients’ needs.

“In past years, automotive and bank-related shapes were big sellers. Now we see lots of consumer goods companies and entertainment-related shapes,” says Fruehe. “Any company wanting to do imprinted T-shirts is a good candidate for a compressed T-shirt promotion.”

Compressed T-shirts make a strong first impression as a promotional item by presenting something as popular as T-shirts in a more fun, creative way that can replicate a company’s product or logo.

“Offering a compressed T-shirt option when getting a request for imprinted T-shirts is a great way to increase profits on a normally low-margin item while adding value and impact to your client’s promotion,” he says.

When selling a compressed T-shirt, Fruehe suggests showing an actual sample with a client’s art or logo on it. Showing catalog images and virtual specs works well if clients are already familiar with the items. Distributors should also have some knowledge of screen printing, T-shirt brands and digital art.

Simply Smashing also offers a large collection of stock custom-printed paper wrappers, die-cut boxes and other containers that resemble actual product packaging to accompany the shirts.

“Our Meat Tray Series has been very popular, along with our miniature pizza box,” says Fruehe. “There really are almost no limits to how a compressed T-shirt can be decorated, and with digital printing technologies, the minimum is only 72 units.”


  • “When Sprint and Nextel merged, they utilized a custom cell phone-shaped, compressed T-shirt as a postcard and mailed 275,000 of them to their customers, announcing the merger,” says Fruehe. “We created a custom mailing label that included a bulk-rate permit and delivered the finished product to a pre-sort center for addressing and mailing. As a Sprint customer, I actually received one in the mail a week later. Now that’s a promotion that went full circle!””
  • Recently, we completed a 70,000-unit order for Chili’s bar in a custom Chili-Pepper shape. The insert card was printed on two sides, with one side featuring a coupon for free food at Chili’s,” says Fruehe. “The Chili Pepper compressed T-shirts were sold as a fundraiser at 1,300 Chili’s locations nationwide, raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.”

From the 2009 Advantages September Supplement.

1 Comment

  1. Custom T-shirts Says:

    If you are looking to promote your brand in a unique way or want to add that special touch to your gifting solutions, an ideal option is to use customized gifts like t-shirts, pens, mugs, bags which have your company logo imprinted on them.

    This looks very professional and will create your brand awareness besides being the best way to add a personal touch to your special occasion or event.

    Monday October 12, 2009

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