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Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 3:58:29 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

So I've been selling shirts online for a few years, I use DTG fulfillment and drop shipping services because my designs are mostly aimed at Americans and I live in the UK. It seems that fees and costs have increased while I've kept my prices stable ($25 t-shirts seem high enough as it is).

Doing my finances, I'm realizing this year that I'm just making everyone else money and barely making any myself. Amazon fees, printing costs, Paypal taking a cut, bank fees for international payments, advertising. Just an example from what I can tell last year, I brought in about $61k and paid out £52k. Like, at least it's a profit but it just seems to be dwindling and my business has gone from something that can support me to something that takes up a lot of my time and is essentially failing. Is this just how it is?

I know things would improve if I owned my own equipment but as I live in the UK and 99% of my customers are in the US.

NSFW: Adult Language - My website is www.beefshirts.com if anyone is interested.

Last edited by Kelmorgan; May 12th, 2017 at 02:45 PM..
 
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 5:25:28 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

All the companies you mention specialise in people like yourself who want to run a low risk business. Your share of the revenue is about the norm, probably made worse by the fact that all of your customers are in the US.

You need to speak to an accountant soon. If we come out of Brexit without a deal with the US then you will probably be trading on WTO terms. Costs and tariffs could rise making your sales drop.
The worrying thing from your point of view is that in three years time you could be paying UK tax on this years profits. If the business has got worse or ceased trading, you will have to find that out of your own pocket.
 
Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 5:45:33 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

It's hard to make a profit on $25 shirts using DTG fulfillment.
Can any of your designs be screen printed?
A one color print can be done for $5 a shirt on Gildan 2000.
These can then be shipped directly to Amazon for FBA.
When I first started out all my shirts were multi color and jobbed out to a DTG printer.
I got sick of giving all my money to them so I started creating one color designs I could do in house.
These are either done with vinyl or transfers I have printed for 50 cents each.
Just some ideas to look at.
Good luck.
 
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 5:57:41 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

My original ideas involved multiple color shirts, and up to 8 variations on the designs themselves so customers could have more choice. I know screen prints are cheaper but for me it didn't make sense because I literally had thousands of different potential designs/colors choices. Maybe I should rethink my approach.
 
Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 6:09:52 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelmorgan
My original ideas involved multiple color shirts, and up to 8 variations on the designs themselves so customers could have more choice. I know screen prints are cheaper but for me it didn't make sense because I literally had thousands of different potential designs/colors choices. Maybe I should rethink my approach.
My top 20 sellers are 1 color designs.
And I sell more than I ever did when it was full color.

Everything I did when I first started was multi-color.
And it all had to be printed by DTG.

I used to offer all my shirts on every color possible.
Then I read somewhere that too many choices actually reduce sales.
I now offer my designs on 3 color choices and sales are great.

People really do respond to simple designs.
That's why it's called GRAPHIC design.
I try and design my stuff so that it can be easily read at 10 feet.

Follow the money.
 
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 8:26:46 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

This is what you get when dealing with a fulfilment company. They take all the money cause they know you can't afford to buy equipment and they make it so u can buy it off there money to.your better off finding a printer to work with and cut the ff company.making $62k and only getting $9k is getting robbed. No way I would ever be doing business with a ff place. I brought my own equipment and like posted above 1 color is my top 25 orders .my tshirt colors range a little more but its still good.

Everything I do is in house from design,software,rip,halftones,distressed,film positives,burning,coating and printing. I can go do a screen and be printing in 10 minutes.

Try and save up and do your own printing and stop making them fulfilment companys rich off ur designs.
 
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 9:41:11 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

whatever happened to decency in polite society?

i can't stand swearing/graphic sex talk/violent gore talk around children,
why make shirts for the public arena that contain one of those elements?

having said that,
all your deigns could easily be done with a vinyl cutter, vinyl and a heat press

start a thread asking for an american member to partner with,
guaranteed you will get a far superior return than with your current arrangement
 
Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 12:13:05 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by into the T
...
start a thread asking for an american member to partner with,
guaranteed you will get a far superior return than with your current arrangement
^ That might be a good idea. You get a lower cost of production whilst avoiding trans-Atlantic shipping. Your partner sends the stuff to Amazon for FBA. Too bad Merch By Amazon is so backed up ... that would be a more direct way of doing exactly what you are now, so you wouldn't need to hold inventory.

Amazon is probably the most expensive venue you could find, but obviously you have achieved an enviable level of sales through them, so I would chalk that extra expense up to advertising. I haven't tried Amazon (yet) myself. Just reading their terms makes me want a custom shirt from you featuring their name and a big F#$%.

You mentioned advertising. How much of your gross goes to that? Once established on Amazon, do you really need a substantial ad budget? (asking because I want to know, not expressing an opinion )
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 12:40:05 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Yeah I've applied to Merch by Amazon ages ago and not heard back, annoying.

Not a lot has gone to advertising, I use the campaign manager with Amazon and have it set pretty low cost per click and I've had decent success (I've tried raising my cost per click and it hasn't really affected sales so I keep it pretty low). I haven't had much success with Facebook or Google Adwords.
 
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 1:07:27 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by into the T
whatever happened to decency in polite society?

I can't stand swearing/graphic sex talk/violent gore talk around children,
why make shirts for the public arena that contain one of those elements?
I agree with T here......I wouldn't want my brand or business associated with printing that garbage, but for what it's worth, if your customers are in the USA...those shirts go for 6 - 10 dollars here all day long. Why not change the theme to disrespect the Queen and England, maybe the French...they are wide open to ridicule.......then you can sell locally? That could solve a lot of overhead?
 
Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 2:15:17 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

You CAN make a reasonable profit by using a U.S. fulfillment. Look around. If you have your own advertisement mode, all you need is a printer near your customers to reduce shipping costs.
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 4:26:47 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viper Graphics
I agree with T here......I wouldn't want my brand or business associated with printing that garbage...
Except his brand is a big F-bomb on purpose, and it obviously has a market if it is grossing north of $60k. If he wanted to sell "Jesus Loves" shirts, that would be done as an entirely different brand unsullied by this particular niche. We shouldn't run down someone's brand just because it is not to our tastes.
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Old May 11th, 2017 May 11, 2017 5:04:33 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoXid
Except his brand is a big F-bomb on purpose, and it obviously has a market if it is grossing north of $60k. If he wanted to sell "Jesus Loves" shirts, that would be done as an entirely different brand unsullied by this particular niche. We shouldn't run down someone's brand just because it is not to our tastes.
Not "running it down" or trying to start an argument....just stating an opinion.....the comment was made about "public decency"...wearing that crap around children is more than tasteless...it's vulgar and obscene.....by the way, it appears he cannot even wear this in his own country, so there on the "tastes" part. Also then why aren't there F*ck the Queen Oh...just found out why....across the pond is a little different.
Can you be arrested for wearing an 'offensive' T-shirt? Police charge man over Hillsborough slogan - Mirror Online
On the business side of it....If you want to print that stuff and people want to buy and wear that "stuff", more power to ya....sell all you can, find the best prices you can and get rich....
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Old May 12th, 2017 May 12, 2017 3:45:43 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

When I started 10+ years ago, I started with DTG fulfillment and was only making a couple bucks per tee. As I went on, I kept looking for ways to make my tees quicker and cheaper.

You can make your tees a lot easier with a vinyl cutter and heat press.

So, the fulfillment is one reason you're barely making anything.

I think the other reason are (like Viper and Into the T) your designs. What you decide to put on a tee is your choice. However, there's probably a fairly small market. People might think what you have on your tees and, nowadays, might even say it in public, but I think very few people would walk around town all day wearing a tee that says F this or that.

And I highly doubt that Amazon Merch is going to host you. You can be annoyed all you like but they get to choose what in their cyber-store.

(edit: Ok, I went to Amazon was amazed to see 7 pages of F*** tees. Most of them were F*** Cancer but there were other choices. I'm not sure how well they sell though.)
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Old May 12th, 2017 May 12, 2017 10:25:22 AM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overheads so high I'm barely making anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by into the T
whatever happened to decency in polite society?

i can't stand swearing/graphic sex talk/violent gore talk around children,
why make shirts for the public arena that contain one of those elements?

having said that,
all your deigns could easily be done with a vinyl cutter, vinyl and a heat press

start a thread asking for an american member to partner with,
guaranteed you will get a far superior return than with your current arrangement
his designs have a distressed look to them so vinyl wont work. but man the F#$k is out there.
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