There are definitely instances in life when the cheaper item is the better choice. In-N-Out Burger. Kroger brand fruit snacks. The unidentified black ballpoint pen. In each case, I’m more than happy to recommend saving a few bucks. Unfortunately, this isn’t generally how things work. With most products and services, you get what you pay for.

No matter how you slice it, I believe quality is king. Despite the attraction of small price tag alternatives, higher quality items last longer and perform better. For example, many businesses like to create branded t-shirts to share with employees and customers. I’m a huge fan of them. They can be simple, adorned with just your brand logo. They can be playful, sharing a memorable joke. Branded t-shirts can be bold identifiers at a conference, easy and affordable uniforms, or given to reward success. They’re a darn handy way to promote your business.

Yet, when it comes to creating a branded t-shirt, businesses are always concerned about price. Who wouldn't be? In an effort to keep cost to a minimum, selecting a less expensive t-shirt can seem like good choice.

However, the cheaper shirts have their drawbacks. Rather than selecting a shirt made in China with a lower price point, I recommend my clients use American Apparel shirts even though they can cost 30-60% more.

I recognize these shirts cost more. But, my experience based reasoning has shown me customers are much happier with American Apparel shirts.

Why? Because American Apparel shirts don’t begin to ball up and look old after their first washing. They’re the t-shirt that works smarter. Their color lasts longer. They are cut better, providing a more flattering appearance for the wearer. And, their blended material is heavy enough to accept a screen print, but lightweight enough to be breathable. As an added bonus, you help support talented, hard-working folks of the US of A.

In the long run, the difference saves your business money (you don’t need to produce as many) and presents a better brand image.

Like I said, quality is king.