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Discussion Starter #1
So here is the problem, I am trying to break into this market, but there are a few things holding me back.

1. I am brand spanking new to the actual "making your own shirts" endeavor.

2. I don't want to make them myself, mainly because I have no exp in doing so, and i think it would just be a waste of time and money for me to do that.

3. I'm on my own.

I am thinking of either teaming up with a printer to make a line, or just getting a mentor possibly that has been in my shoes b4 to guide me.

I have a lot of exp in marketing and business overall as I already operate a couple myself, I have everything planned out as far as how to market it successfully, I honestly do not think it would be a problem at all at this point.

My only issue is the actual creation of the product line in the most cost / quality effective way.

I guess my question is, has anyone ever teamed up with a printer, or you as a printer teamed with a marketer? Any pros and cons to going this route?

If no personal experience, possibly some hypothetical advice? I appreciate the help with this guys. Have a good one!
 

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Re: getting started.. the strange way...

Hi Brian. You may possibly find a printer looking to move into other directions. You'll find that most will just want to give you a quote for printing them up though. There are a couple of online fulfillment printers, but that does limit your options somewhat.
 

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Re: getting started.. the strange way...

By "teaming up with a printer" do you mean paying a printer to print your shirts and then selling them, or trading services (i.e. trade marketing for his business for shirts for your business)?

I think most printers are going to want to do the first one, and not the second one. The reason is that you're new, your sales are unproven, and they wouldn't want to spend their $$ to fund your startup without any guarantee that they would get anything out of it.
 

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Re: getting started.. the strange way...

Well not really trading services, no. I mean "team up" by saying "you print them, I get rid of them, we split cost and profit 50/50". That is more or less what I meant by teaming up.

In other fields, this is advantageous to run the cost of production and sales WAY down for both parties. That is why I was considering that route but I was not sure if this was common in this industry.
 

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Re: getting started.. the strange way...

Well not really trading services, no. I mean "team up" by saying "you print them, I get rid of them, we split cost and profit 50/50". That is more or less what I meant by teaming up.
Yeah.. you're going to have a hard time finding a printer to do this. The reason is that if they wanted to be in the "selling shirts" business they could do it for much cheaper.

IF your company was established and you could show them proof that you can make sales, that would help a great deal.

Good luck with it but I think you will need to have a backup plan. :)
 

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Re: getting started.. the strange way...

Well that wasn't my plan per say. It was an option, but not the end of the road. I would not mind actually subcontracting a printer myself, I just assumed to start, it is sometimes easier to go the route I mentioned in some industries. I do see your points though and glad to take your advice.
 

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Re: getting started.. the strange way...

1. I am brand spanking new to the actual "making your own shirts" endeavor.

2. I don't want to make them myself, mainly because I have no exp in doing so, and i think it would just be a waste of time and money for me to do that.

3. I'm on my own.

I guess my question is, has anyone ever teamed up with a printer, or you as a printer teamed with a marketer? Any pros and cons to going this route?
There is nothing strange about that combination. Many people have started that way, including me.


Instead of thinking of "partnering" with a printer (which will be an uphill battle since they have their own business to run and they tend to want to focus on just printing), you just need to switch the way you're thinking about it.

a) you work up a business plan

1) You have a design idea.

2) You either design it yourself, or you hire someone to design it for you.

3) You take that design file and you get some t-shirts printed up from a printer (no "partnership" needed. You just pay them to provide a servcie: printing t-shirts)

4) The printer ships you your t-shirts

5) You setup a website to sell those t-shirt designs.

6) You market and advertise that website.

7) You process orders ship out the t-shirts to your customers.

8) When you run out, you order more t-shirts

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

It's not complicated at all. People are doing it everyday :)

You don't have to be a printer, you don't have to have a personal relationship with a printer, you don't have to have a printer business partner, you don't even have to be in the same state as the printer to start your own clothing line.

Many people here do want to learn printing, some want to "cut out the middle man", but that doesn't mean everyone does. Outsourcing production is a very common practice.

Now there's a lot of ways #3 can happen. For example, you could have a lot of designs and then find a DTG printer who will print your designs on demand as the orders come in.

Hope that helps :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: getting started.. the strange way...

Hey Rodney, thanks for that post.

I am however not really looking for a retail type startup, more on the terms of being a wholesale / manufacturing company.

That is why I was leaning more towards a partnership, just because the fulfillment would be much easier, and there would be no overhead aside from what they normally carry in materials (no extra shirts after orders are filled) and overall the production cost would be much lower.

On a different note, I do have designs and everything in place. I have the brand, the plan, the designs, the everything really, all I need to do now is figure out exactly how to execute. I never rush into anything, I like to make sure I understand everything I might run into and look at all my options before I "hit the button" so to speak.

Great advice though guys. Can never get enough :)
 

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I am however not really looking for a retail type startup, more on the terms of being a wholesale / manufacturing company.
On a different note, I do have designs and everything in place. I have the brand, the plan, the designs, the everything really, all I need to do now is figure out exactly how to execute.
1) So, just so I understand, your plan is to wholesale your clothing line only to stores and not do retail yourself?

2) Or are you saying that you are looking to sell printing services for other people's designs?


If it's #1, then the steps are just about the same as I outlined above :) You still don't need a "partnership".

A store buys 100 t-shirts from you wholesale with design X, you order 100 t-shirts wholesale from printer X and deliver them to the store.

Wholesale or retail, it doesn't have to be as complicated as a partnership :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
1) So, just so I understand, your plan is to wholesale your clothing line only to stores and not do retail yourself?
That is correct. There could be a possibility for online retail sales later if the brand were to get some kind of recognition to make the online sales a little more "obtainable" without having to market that aspect to much since most of the marketing effort will be set to other areas, but for the most part, I'm looking more towards the wholesale aspect, not so much individual small orders.

I do see the points you are stating. I am about 98% sure that is the route I will be taking since it does seem that this is not common place.

My whole argument for it though is it does make the process exponentially easier and cheaper on both parties (provided the printer wanted to do it in the first place)

No big deal though. I just wanted to scratch the surface on this to see what possibilities there are.
 
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