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I recently started a screen printing operation -- mostly my own designs, with the occasional contract job for a friend or non-profit. I have a "real" job as a software engineer, so screenprinting is more of a creative outlet for me than a full-on career at this point (not that I would complain if I could make a living at it).

I stumbled across this fine site while searching for some info on how to market shirts to retail outlets (currently I sell through my website and word of mouth only). Any tips you old timers might have for a newb like me would be greatly appreciated.

- JP
http://www.viciousvectors.com
 

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Hi JP, welcome to the T-Shirt Forums!

From what I've read here, tradeshows and good ol' fashioned sales calls have worked for people to help get their designs in stores.
 

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That goes without saying, but as with anything else, the devil is in the details.

For instance, before blindly traversing the country attending trade show after trade show, it would be helpful to know which trade shows are worth attending for someone in my position, and which ones would be a complete waste of time and money.

With sales calls, you only have one chance to make that crucial first impression. In order to make the best impression possible on your prospects, it's wise to develop a profile of the person you need to target. What, typically, is the job title of the people you are targeting? Do these people typically prefer face to face contact, phone calls, or direct mail? Do they even deal with independents, or do they only work with some type of agent? What are the dos and don'ts to be mindful of when dealing with these people? Cold calling prospective retailers without answers to these questions is only going to impress upon them that you are a bumbling jackass (which would be a fair assessment), as opposed to the intended goal of generating a sale.
 

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That goes without saying, but as with anything else, the devil is in the details.
Not everyone would know even the basics (tradeshows and sales calls), so I started there since you didn't give specific details on what you were looking for :)

There are quite a few threads and topics here at the forum that go into those topic in more detail, with posts from people with experience with both. Just trying to help point you in the right direction for your research :)
 

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Hey JP, welcome to the boards. Out of curiosity, how long have you been selling variations of trademarked/copyrighted designs? And have you copyrighted them yourself? (I'm looking at your Superman and Harley Davidson designs in particular)

I'm definitely not trying to bust on you, I'm curious because I'll be doing the same thing for my niche market when I launch next month and I'm wondering if you've run across any problems. (i.e. Cease and desist letters)

-chris
 

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Discussion Starter #7
RAHchills said:
Hey JP, welcome to the boards. Out of curiosity, how long have you been selling variations of trademarked/copyrighted designs? And have you copyrighted them yourself? (I'm looking at your Superman and Harley Davidson designs in particular)

I'm definitely not trying to bust on you, I'm curious because I'll be doing the same thing for my niche market when I launch next month and I'm wondering if you've run across any problems. (i.e. Cease and desist letters)

-chris
I've been operating for close to a year now and have not received a single cease and desist letter to date. I imagine I'll have to deal with it sooner or later, but no headaches thus far.

As far as copyright, I don't think you'd have much luck enforcing copyright on a derivative work.
 

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Bet me.. you just opened a can of worms here. There are a lot of people here who are not just in the biz but in the biz big time and they are the ones that could make your life miserable.. When I was in the Video Buisness in a small store in San Jose and disney had a problem way back then about video stores renting their movies.. (early 80's) guess what I had a visit fro a disney rep.. you just never know. I had to remove all my disney movies I was renting and then the board of equilization came in just a few weeks later.. mmm Checked every transaction going back 6 months. So there you are.. how many shirts did you sell? What do you owe the owners of those copyrights.. Just be careful my friend. There is always someone out there to get you.
 

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Those shirts really haven't sold too well for me. So, at this point I'm not too worried about how much I might owe the copyright holders should they decide to come after me. I haven't sold enough shirts (ones that might infringe upon any copyrights, anyway) for them to pursue any serious course of action.
 

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viciousvectors said:
I've been operating for close to a year now and have not received a single cease and desist letter to date. I imagine I'll have to deal with it sooner or later, but no headaches thus far.

As far as copyright, I don't think you'd have much luck enforcing copyright on a derivative work.
thanks for the info
 

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viciousvectors said:
...I stumbled across this fine site while searching for some info on how to market shirts to retail outlets (currently I sell through my website and word of mouth only). Any tips you old timers might have for a newb like me would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome aboard! In browsing your site, I can tell you are very creative and have a great sense of humor. Niching your market is critical to success in this day and age. For instance, if your interest is in pursuing the Hog Wild segment, you need to get involved in some of their rallies and fairs, particularly those for charitable causes. Your potential opportunities there are not only as an exhibitor but as a promotional partner (go for a contract for some of the event promotional products, including the t-shirt). When you pick a niche market (typically spawning from your own areas of interest), learn all you can about your target's habits and interests that would relate to the designs you envision creating before pursuit.

On a side note, I have had dealings with the Harley legal staff in the past. I was involved in the operation of an online bulletin-board service for Harley riders based in New York. Didn't use "Harley" in anything but the name of the board was "Hog Wild". The BBS never made money but the H attorneys didn't care. Not pretty. Best to get some legal advice on some of the designs you have come up with before posting them on the Internet. Best to do your test-marketing of those offline until you are satisified with legal counsel.
 
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