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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just discovered this forum this week, I've spent countless hours soaking in the info, thank you guys so much. Now it's time to get some detailed information that can help me get started in the design and selling business. Here's where I am in the process.

1. I have a business plan developed and some reasonable seed money to get started but not exactly certain on a few points that I will List below.

2. I have incorporated in my home state

Question-- is that good enough or is there some kind of national incorporation that I need to seek?

3. I will begin the trademark process for my company name shortly and later for my logo when it is complete.

Question-- do I just apply with USPTO directly or do I need to spend the cash to do a search first? Any recommendations on who to use if I do the search first as I've seen several options with various price points?

3. I have my logo and my A ton of shirt designs sketched out but I'm a terrible artist just full of ideas.

Question-- where do I find someone to turn these drawings into actual mock ups and to professionalize my logo? What type of person am I looking for and where do I find them? Additionally what should I expect to spend on this task? I know it's a broad question...

4. How do I go about finding a company to print the shirts for me? There seems to be many options locally (south Florida) and across the country but when I look to find a partner what should I specifically be looking for?
 

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I have incorporated in my home state
Question-- is that good enough or is there some kind of national incorporation that I need to seek?
Businesses are registered at the state level. So if you have done that already, you are all set. You should also look into getting a Tax ID Number and Resellers Permit.

I will begin the trademark process for my company name shortly and later for my logo when it is complete.
Question-- do I just apply with USPTO directly or do I need to spend the cash to do a search first? Any recommendations on who to use if I do the search first as I've seen several options with various price points?
It's not mandatory to pay for a search before submitting a trademark application. But the application fee is non-refundable, so make sure you do plenty of research. If you are comfortable doing the research yourself, that's fine. You can just submit the application when you are ready. If you feel you need help, consult a local IP attorney. If you want to use an online legal service, LegalZoom is very reputable.

I have my logo and my A ton of shirt designs sketched out but I'm a terrible artist just full of ideas.
Question-- where do I find someone to turn these drawings into actual mock ups and to professionalize my logo? What type of person am I looking for and where do I find them? Additionally what should I expect to spend on this task? I know it's a broad question...
You need a graphic designer. You can find them here on the forums... check out the Referrals and Recommendations section. Or you can submit a project on sites like 99designs.com. Or you can place an ad on Craigslist. There are many ways to find graphic designers.

Prices depend on the experience of the designer and the complexity of the artwork you need. You could pay anywhere from $50 to $2000.

How do I go about finding a company to print the shirts for me? There seems to be many options locally (south Florida) and across the country but when I look to find a partner what should I specifically be looking for?
Your best bet is to work with a local print shop. Ask for a price list and samples of their work. Just communicate with them what you need and get a vibe whether you think they are a good fit for your needs. At the end of the day... price, quality and service is what you're looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Outstanding advice Kimura, greatly appreciated.

When I hire a graphic designer, should the designer have experience in t-shirts or is that irrelevant? Also in what format must they provide the designs so I can turn them over to a printer?

I dont know what style of printing I need or would prefer at this point if that matters.....

Also do the designs need to placed on a t shirt mock up and spaced perfectly and all that or is that something teh printer can assist in getting just right?

Last ? (for now)....if i have incorporated and trademarked my logo and name, do I need to take action to protect each individual t shirt design as well? How does that piece work?

Thanks so much to anyone with feedback it really is awesome to have this resource from experienced folk.
 

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When I hire a graphic designer, should the designer have experience in t-shirts or is that irrelevant?
It helps if they have experience in designing for apparel. But it's not mandatory.

Also in what format must they provide the designs so I can turn them over to a printer?

I dont know what style of printing I need or would prefer at this point if that matters.....
Yes, it matters what print method is being used. It also matters what print shop you use. Each shop has their own specifications and preferences. So when you choose a print shop, ask them how they want the files set up. An experienced designer should be able to give you what you need.

Also do the designs need to placed on a t shirt mock up and spaced perfectly and all that or is that something teh printer can assist in getting just right?
You should supply the art on a shirt mockup as reference only. The color separated art that the printer will use will just be the artwork itself (no shirt or background... just the art). You should communicate to the printer where it should print on the shirt... and be as specific as possible. You can include this info on a purchase order that you submit to the print shop.

Last ? (for now)....if i have incorporated and trademarked my logo and name, do I need to take action to protect each individual t shirt design as well? How does that piece work?
The shirt designs are eligible for Copyright registration. Technically, your designs are copyrighted once they are in fixed form. But for official registration, you need to file with the US Copyright Office (U.S. Copyright Office). If you plan on releasing new designs on a regular basis, I wouldn't worry about protecting the individual design. By the time someone steals it, prints it and gets it to market long enough for you to notice and take legal action, you should already be releasing new designs.
 
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