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I dig the layout and unified theme of the site. Very clean and professionally done.

If I had to nitpick, I would say you could tweak the following:

1) Homepage - I would add a little text intro and a couple pictures of your t-shirts on this page.

The text intro will help orientate people to let them know they're at the right place (and help with search engines). The t-shirt pictures will draw them into your site and give them some buying options right away.

2) Overall Navigation - The navigation is good as it is :) One thing I would add is plain text links. Not all users are savvy enough to know that your side menu is clickable since it is so seamless into your design. I would suggest putting some plain underlined links at the bottom of the page to the various interior areas of your site (this will also help with search engines).

3) T-Shirt Page - It looks like you're trying for a very clean layout and it's working. One thing I might suggest (although not all sites do it), it to put the name of the design in text (linked) underneath each picture:
http://govtissues.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21

4) Product Pages - These are well done as well! Not much to change there.

Maybe you could add instructions as an "alt tag" on the design images or under them to let people know they can click on the image to view a larger image of the design.

The sizing chart link could be closer to where you select the sizes so the shopper doesn't have to hunt for the link.

I would put your contact name/ phone number and address on your contact page (since it's already on the About page, people will be looking for it on the contact page).

Lastly, I'm not sure which shopping cart you're using (looks a bit like oscommerce). But you should look into an SEO or static URL module for it.

That way your links are easier to spider for the search engines. They would go from: http://govtissues.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=28

To something like:
http://govtissues.com/catalog/product_info/21/28 or something like that.

It would also help to have your t-shirt design title show up in your TITLE tags on each of the product pages. That will help you find more buyers from the search engines as well.

Ok, that's enough nitpicking :)

But seriously, your site is superfine as it is. It looks way better than my first t-shirt site and better than some of my current t-shirt sites :) The design layout is top notch.

If your current layout is cake, my suggestions would be like the sprinkles on top :)
 

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That's a lot of modifications to OS Commerce. Wow, great job! I believe there's an "Search Engine Friendly URL" option in the Admin CP that will change the URL to what Rodney said. However, if I remember it correctly, it also requires mod_rewrite to be installed, so check with your host.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
jdr8271 said:
The website looks good. But with the $38 price tag, Im not sure that it is going to matter...about $20 too high.
I guess that depends on the market you are targeting. In NY people spend a lot more than $38 on a tshirt that is different than something they can find just anywhere. I do realize that we will lose customers who cant pay that price tag, but I am not concerned to the point of cheapening our brand to compete with threadless and tshirthell. We are not them nor do we want to be.
 

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Rodney said:
Lastly, I'm not sure which shopping cart you're using (looks a bit like oscommerce). But you should look into an SEO or static URL module for it.

That way your links are easier to spider for the search engines. They would go from: http://govtissues.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=28

To something like:
http://govtissues.com/catalog/product_info/21/28 or something like that.
Rodney, care to elaborate? Haven't been keeping up with web design/search engine stuff.

Thanks. Susan H.
 

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govtissues said:
I guess that depends on the market you are targeting. In NY people spend a lot more than $38 on a tshirt that is different than something they can find just anywhere. I do realize that we will lose customers who cant pay that price tag, but I am not concerned to the point of cheapening our brand to compete with threadless and tshirthell. We are not them nor do we want to be.
I like your website, your designs, functionality (clean and intuitive navigation).
I was at Alternative Apparel showroom yesterday in LA and we were talking t-shirt prices. There are plenty who will pay more if they think it's special, with the right marketing, etc. To some shoppers, $38.00 is nothing. I'm frugal by nature so I'm not one of them.

Instead of not offering international shipping outright, perhaps suggest "international customers please send email regarding shipping". That way you don't turn away potential customers or can gather information for future mailings/annoucements.

What is your rationale is for not shipping to
international customers (besides Canada)? I have had very little problems since 1997 shipping to Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan using Global Priority Mail or regular air mail (Par Avion). I can understand the risk of package lost and credit card fraud.

This is just me, but I like to know where my stuff is coming from. So if you're in New York City, then I think that's a plus because of the reputation for forward-thinking fashion.

I like your url and Walmart line (but you're preaching to the choir with me).

Did you modify an OS template? We are in the process of modifying a bunch of OS templates.

Best of luck,
Susan
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Susan! The girl who designed my site did mention that she had modified the cart program, but to what extent I am not sure. I would be happy to ask if you had some specific questions.
I also agree on the pricing, and unlike a lot of people on here I would prefer not to be doing the bulk of selling. With an 18month old and another on the way, I am hoping to set up with some key retailers down in Soho, and for that reason I needed to up the retail price. If I make $38 on a shirt on the web, thats like 75% profit which would be amazing and wonderful but it is not my main focus. I have tons of discount codes in place for other message boards my husband and I frequent and will not expect the average joe to be paying full retail. But the people shopping on Bleeker Street who have seen us written up in Time Out New York (something I am working on) will have no problem shelling out the cash.
As far as international, I like your idea as far as not closing them off completely. Having been an ebay seller for years (not shirts) I just had one too many hassles with international shipping. I wouldnt have included Canada had it not been for my Canadian husband freaking out :)
I will at least open the possibility and if there seems to be a demand, I guess I should look into it.
Thanks again Susan, I really appreciate your time :D
 

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suzieh said:
Rodney, care to elaborate? Haven't been keeping up with web design/search engine stuff.

Thanks. Susan H.
Although search engines are getting better at indexing URLs that have variables in them (like product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=28)

It makes it much easier for search engines to index all the pages of your website if the URLs don't have question marks, ampersands and equal signs in them.

A static URL for oscommere would look like:
example.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/98
(just found this in google)

Not only is this static (without variables) URL easier for search engines to index, it is also easier for humans to share via email. Without the question marks, it makes it easier for someone to copy and paste the URL in an email to a friend and not have the URL break off into two lines (which would make the URL go to the wrong place when clicked in the email message).

The static URLs can usually be acomplished through a modification of the script (most shopping carts come with a "search engine friendly" option), and enabling something called mod_rewrite on the server (mod_rewrite is available on most hosting servers and just requires uploading an extra file to your hosting account. The extra file is called an .htaccess file)
 

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I have a slightly different take on the pricing issue. If you want to be taken seriously in the boutique market the $38 retail price may be too low. The high end boutiques need real gross margin dollars to operate. Remember.....a $49, $59, $69 t-shirt doesn't take up anymore room on the rack than a $19 t-shirt.

I understand the whole "make it up with volume" theory, and in certain markets that holds true. The high end boutique niche is very well defined.....as are their customers. The price of the actual product is secondary to the reputation of the store, store owner, etc. Many of these stores are considered "taste makers" and the people that shop there are interested in having products and/or brands that are considered "exclusive". I'm not defending $50-$100 t-shirt lines...just pointing out the facts. You can't, and won't, be considered "fashion" at $19.99.

That isn't to say that $19.99 t-shirts aren't a perfectly valid product, and in many instances, a more profitable part of the market.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Very Good point Jay, I actually had them priced at $45 but after some outside pressure I caved and went down to $38. I am going to see how my first week out there goes and adjust accordingly.
 

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Check out http://www.johnnycupcakes.com . This guy is sort of "in the middle" of being high-end shirts, and he's priced at $27.00 - 42.00 for the T's. He averages 300 shirts a week. He's developed very strong branding, and has opened a retail store too. I don't think that $19.99 a shirt has anything to do with it.

It's what you feel the shirt is worth, and what you would pay for it, if it wasn't yours. I also would give yourself more than a week to figure out where to make adjustments in pricing.

You should also ceck out : http://www.barkingirons.com . Kind of a similar "historical" theme to their shirts, and they're priced in the $60.00 range.
 

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kentphoto said:
Check out http://www.johnnycupcakes.com . This guy is sort of "in the middle" of being high-end shirts, and he's priced at $27.00 - 42.00 for the T's. He averages 300 shirts a week. He's developed very strong branding, and has opened a retail store too. I don't think that $19.99 a shirt has anything to do with it.

It's what you feel the shirt is worth, and what you would pay for it, if it wasn't yours. I also would give yourself more than a week to figure out where to make adjustments in pricing.

You should also ceck out : http://www.barkingirons.com . Kind of a similar "historical" theme to their shirts, and they're priced in the $60.00 range.

I would agree with most everything Ken has to say in this post. The only thing I would add is that it will be much easier to adjust pricing on your website than it will be in the wholesale market. If you show your line at price X this month, and then boost the price in 30 days you will have trouble. Retailers will get upset if they find out you are selling to competitors at a lower price. Once you start getting placement you really can't, or shouldn't, change pricing for a significant amount of time. The only exception to this would be if you literally can't keep up with production because of insane sales volume.

Johnny Cupcakes was at the Pool Show. I didn't get a chance to talk with them but they are obviously going after the boutique market. Barking Irons is a great brand that has developed a real following. Their stockist list is impressive.....and continues to grow.

I just want to be clear about the $19.99 t-shirt. There has been more money made selling $19.99 t-shirts than almost any other type of apparel in the history of retail. Entire retail chains have sprung up around the $19.99 shirt. My only point was that if you are targeting the high end boutique.......pricing and "Brand" are very important. These high end retailers CONVINCE people that your line is worth all of the money just by carrying it in their store. I'm not suggesting that you raise, or lower, your shirt prices. Just be clear about what you perceive your market to be.
 
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