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Hi Everyone...

I appreciate you reading my post and hopefully offering your help and advice. Personal help and advice is truly the most valuable part of interacting with like minded people on the same quest.

I'm starting up a new company and have read all sorts of articles from various sources. I've emailed other clothing/shirt companies both large and small. Very few have actually replied and they weren't very helpful. There has also been print/design companies that have been in contact with me and honestly I couldn't tell how honest they were.

None the less, I am here to ask for some collective information based on your experiences. By the way, I have read many posts here and done quite a few searches. To be honest it can be information overload so what I am hoping is to condense some of that collective info into my thread and hopefully it will help others seeking the same advice.

Here goes.

The brands I like to achieve similarities to Billabong, Quicksilver, KR3W, Ekco, Metal Mulisha, DC, LRG, OBEY, RVCA, Volcom, Famous Stars & Straps etc. The surf, skate, BMX, casual styles.

Question: I'm thinking regular screen printing with waterbase inks are best. Your thoughts? I'm on the Los Angeles/Orange County border. I'd like to stay local initially if possible. I will probably be starting with the lowest quantities possible to control start-up costs and test marketability.

Question: Do you know companies that supply the shirts of comparable quality? I have been told American Apparel is good. Your thoughts?

Question: How are you getting your artwork and what do you consider a reasonable cost considering the brand type/styles?

Question: Logo....I have a great company name but no logo. What have you experienced with successfully getting a logo created? I have been told the Freelance sites work decent for this and shirt designs? Your thoughts?

Question: What questions should I be asking when talking to someone about producing artwork and what is a reasonable cost? I know costs may vary depending on complexity and I'll probably be working with simple logo designs generally one color and no more than 3 colors. I appreciate referrals if you have them.

Question: Website options vary and I'd like to know what you use with success. I am in contact with a website creator that has created a several clothing company sites and I think they were very professional and nearly as fulfilling as the big guys. Your referrals are also appreciated here as well.

I know it's a lot of questions and as I mentioned at the beginning, your feedback is greatly appreciated as I am confident but very new to the process. I'm sure I will discover additional questions and I hope you will openly help with those too. If you feel there is something else I should know but didn't ask please feel free to include your thoughts.

Thank you all very much,

Brian
Southern California
 

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The brands I like to achieve similarities to Billabong, Quicksilver, KR3W, Ekco, Metal Mulisha, DC, LRG, OBEY, RVCA, Volcom, Famous Stars & Straps etc.
It's great to want to achieve the level of success of the brands you mentioned. But don't get too caught up in that early on. These brands have major funding, which leads to major exposure through marketing, sponsorships, endorsements, distribution, etc. What you see in these brands today is based on years of exposure. Their business model includes low production costs (due to high volume) and mid-to-high retail prices (due to national exposure). As a startup with low volume, trying to compete in that space will drive up your costs and you will end up pricing yourself out of your market. Focus on being what you are... a startup. Keep your costs in check and go to market at a reasonable retail price. You can always adjust as you grow.

I'm thinking regular screen printing with waterbase inks are best. Your thoughts? I'm on the Los Angeles/Orange County border. I'd like to stay local initially if possible. I will probably be starting with the lowest quantities possible to control start-up costs and test marketability.
I agree... Screen printing with waterbased inks are the best for a retail brand. You shouldn't have a problem finding a quality screen print shop in your area.

Do you know companies that supply the shirts of comparable quality? I have been told American Apparel is good. Your thoughts?
Yes, American Apparel is very good quality. You should also check out JS Apparel or Royal Apparel. It really comes down to personal preference. Order samples and compare them to find what works best for your brand.

How are you getting your artwork and what do you consider a reasonable cost considering the brand type/styles?
I am a graphic designer, so I do my own artwork. If you need to outsource artwork to a freelance graphic designer, the cost will be based on the experience of the designer and the complexity of the artwork you need. It could be anywhere from $50-$2000.

Logo....I have a great company name but no logo. What have you experienced with successfully getting a logo created? I have been told the Freelance sites work decent for this and shirt designs? Your thoughts?
Often times, you get what you pay for. You can find some good work on freelance sites, but you will also find a lot of inexperienced people as well. It's hot and cold. If you already have a brand name and just need someone who can create the artwork or logo based on your direction, you are better off working with an experienced freelance artist.

What questions should I be asking when talking to someone about producing artwork and what is a reasonable cost? I know costs may vary depending on complexity and I'll probably be working with simple logo designs generally one color and no more than 3 colors. I appreciate referrals if you have them.
Ask to see the designer's portfolio. If their quality and style fit what you are looking for, then they could be a good match. Pricing is based on what you can negotiate with the designer. Establish a budget and stick with it.
 
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