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Re: How Long till you're successful? Marketing Tips?

How much have people spent on their start-up marketing? Like flyers...sending samples to magazines. Google adwords etc. I'm just wondering if you need a larger budget or would that depend on how much cash you have initially? I'm looking to start online and then sell to retail stores in hk later.

Thanks,

Nick.

(P.s It's always good to vent frustration about marketing or any issues....it helps you see more and you learn so much from the great advice on offer.)
 

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Re: How Long till you're successful? Marketing Tips?

I have started with "free advertising.'' Based on many years as a reporter, I know that one little free brief in a newspaper or magazine is priceless, especially if the readers match your niche.

What I've done:
Sent press releases to newspapers with a large population of my niche. (Hispanics)
Sent press releases to newspapers that do briefs on new websites, new shopping products.
Sent press releases, e-mails to shopping blogs, marketing blogs, trending blogs, t-shirt blogs.
Added site to free link sites.
Asked friends who blog to add my link to their sites.

Gave away t-shirts (counts on taxes as "advertising")

Sold tees to some friends for wholesale plus tax. Got them out around the country that way.

Sent samples to a few magazines who asked for them. (No point sending samples if they don't ask..and don't bother sending samples to newspapers.)

Wrote a "friends and family'' letter and e-mailed it. Offered free shipping. Asked for payment by check.

Now about to send releases in time for holiday gift guide stories in newspapers (already missed window for most magazines)

Also going to inquire about how much small ads will cost in newspaper holiday gift guides in targeted markets.

And, about to sign up with Google Adwords.

So, so far I haven't paid for any advertising and I have gotten national press in a handful of newspapers and in two magazines. In consideration for two other magazines.

Free advice: If your tees have a particular theme that can be linked to a season, event, trend then get your information to a paper or magazine or blog several weeks in advance.

For example: The amazing skull tees we've seen here lately can be linked to a Halloween shopping story. Tattoo tees can be linked to a national tattoo convention story. (What town is hosting the convention? Send release to them)...Etc. Sell Urban tees? Pitch a story to your local paper about not just your line, but say "Hey, look at all these new lines that are targeting this niche and your readers are buying them.'' Etc.
Newspapers are much more likely to write a story about a "trend'' than about one guy selling these one tees online.

Or this: Find several people selling on CafePress or Zazzle or selling online who live in your area and pitch a story to your local paper about these artists, entrepreneurs, creative types who are making money, or trying to, this way.

Or, pitch a story about "independent fashion designers.'' Go out to small boutiques in your area and find clothing and accessories made by people in your area. Talk to them, find out if they have interesting stories to tell and then contact a small business reporter or a features writer. They're looking for these kinds of stories as the holidays near.

There's more, but the cupcakes for the 2-year-old need to be taken out of the oven. :)
 

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LaMamaHen ~ You are a jewel. For some reason, I thought your last line was some kind of metaphor along the lines of: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Then I realized you really have a 2-year-old. I know you'll understand the reason for my dopey confusion: I have 3-year-old twins and I badly need a nap.

Anyway, I also have a media background and totally get how invaluable media coverage can be. Here's my question: how/where do you get all of the addresses for papers/mags/morning shows across the country. Years ago, one of my bosses purchased Bacon's which, you probably know, is an incredibly expensive and extensive list of names/faxes/emails etc. etc. of media.

But I certainly don't have $2,200 to spend. And it's probably way more know -- that was 10 years ago. So, what do you use to access the email address to send your releases.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write out this response.

Alicia
 

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LaMamaHen ~ One more question, if you don't mind. My market is moms 28 to 42 or so and I have had a very hard time finding quality blank shirts that run true to size and fit my mom market.

I really don't want to buy a blank shirt that requires a size 8 mom to buy an L or XL just to get the shirt to fit.

Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,

Alicia
 

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Alicia said:
So, what do you use to access the email address to send your releases.
Alicia, yes I really do have a 2-year-old. And twins for you, oh my!

Your question: I am still working off of my own personal/professional contacts. I have former co-workers who now are working all over the country. I operate from the everybody knows somebody standpoint.

Wish I had Bacon's too, but the second best thing would be this:

Spend time in your public library in the periodicals section. Go through the papers in your city and in other big cities. Look at each day of the week, and look at the sections they publish.

Do they have a day of the week devoted to shopping? Do they have a lifestyle magazine? Is there a briefs section devoted to new products, fun websites? Is there a columnist who might write about your kind of product? Is there a small business reporter who writes about start-ups?

Write down the names of reporters you think might write about your stuff. Call them. It's OK to call. Reporters can be grungy louts and off-putting, but it's OK to call. Ask them whom they would refer you to if they're not interested.

E-mail, in my opinion, is second best. Easiest, but second best.

Newspaper online sites don't really give you a full scope of everything they publish, so you need to see them and get a feel for them.

RE: t-shirts for mamas. I am in the same boat on sizing. We want to do a mom shirt and I have concluded that we're going to have to relabel.
I just got some Article 1 tees and really like them. Will relabel them a size larger than they are sized. I bought a Gocco printer and will do some printing in the label that way. I don't want to have labels made because these are really just a test.

Norm: Yes. :)
 

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Thanks LaMamaHen ~ I told my husband about your relabeling idea and he loved it, but said it must cost a ton of money. How do you do a rel-label?

Also, (you're awesome for giving me all this info. I promise I'm not a competitor) can you tell me where to look at the Article 1 shirts you mention? I've never heard of those. I would so love to buy a blank shirt that moms would actually buy and wear.

What I've done for my first run is to buy St. John Bay shirts from JC Penneys. But they are not set up for bulk buying and it's a pain. I would love to buy wholesale through a blank shirt distributor.

And your library idea is excellent. Yes, it will be time consuming. But quiet time in a library while my husband watches the kids? I think I could handle that!!

Thanks again,

Alicia
 

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LaMamaHen,

I read your article right before my wife found out that we are having a baby girl. I even pointed out the article to my wife, and told her that we would have to get some of your stuff for our new girl.

I have been screen printing for a few years, but your article inspired me that I can make my brand happen if I keep it up.

How does one go about ordering your shirts?

Thanks,

n o r m
 

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Alicia, 1,500 labels can cost $350 to $400, give or take. My manufacturer charges .30 each to sew them in. I am going to price relabeling in my hometown with "sewing contractors'' to see if I get the same or better deal. No one will quote a price over the phone and I haven't yet gone in person.

Also there are threads here about other ways to label, like using a heat press or a Gocco.


Norm, I am glad it provided inspiration, something I look for daily, and congratulations on your baby girl. The story still makes me cringe because I am not used to being on that side of the notebook.

The tees are at www pio pio dot biz
We are launching new designs in early September and redesigning the packaging. The tees still will come in the egg box, but the informational paper surrounding the box will have different designs and no kiddie pictures.

:)
 

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I just want to jump in here to say I have twin daughters too. So I can understand how you may feel a little tired!! Twins are alot of work! Mine are 12 now though and I can tell you, the "work" may be easier, but the "drama" is still there! Have fun with your babies though, they are precious at that age! My youngest baby girl is only 2 1/2 and a redhead too.... !!
 

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LaMamaHen ~ I know I'm repeating myself: you are a jewel for this forum. An eggbox??? That is sooo cute and creative! Can we get a link to the article? I won't copy your idea, but I love the idea to use something different in packaging. Also, I have a friend who is preg. with her second and would probably love a tee from you -- two friends now that I think about it!!

Skullshirts ~ As you know, only another twin mom totally knows. Except maybe a triplet mom. But at 3, the dust has settled. The first 15 mo. were sooooo hard. Congrats to you that you made it to 12!!! And it must be precious to have a single 2 year old. I'd love to do it again, but I was not a happy preg. lady, plus not enough money, plus I'm kind of old!!!

My understanding is that red hair is a big deal in the personality dept!
 

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Wow, all of these multiple births! My goodness!

Alicia, I agree about the mother of triplets. My mom had triplets when I was 10 (I was an only child until then!), so I know how hard you have to work. I did my share, believe me.

I also agree about the different ways to package, and I love the eggs Carrie uses, it just seems hard to do with pricing. I had thought of some specialty boxes, or something like that, but it just seems like it would eat into profits too much. Especially with the postal service offering free boxes with priority shipping.

Carrie, how do you handle shipping the eggs? Do you place them in a box, and if so, what size? How much does it cost you to ship one? Any info you care to share would be great!
 

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The article is not live on the magazine Web site. It's a July/August issue and I don't think they put it up until the next issue comes out.

We spent many, many months researching packaging. We knew we were going to be a gifty item, so we wanted something to put the tees in.

The egg box is a joy and a curse, actually.
I took nearly 1,000 tees in their eggs to a show in Miami in May and if not for my very supportive parents who drove them down and back for me, it would have been cost prohibitive to ship them.

Greg, I buy 6 x 6 x 6 boxes. (The egg is 5 x 2 and I can get up to three in one of those boxes) Pack them with peanuts or paper, put the egg in bubble wrap and send Priority Mail. Minimum is $4.05. (Greg, since we live in the same area, I buy boxes at American Paper and Twine. Great prices). The wood is the same as used in unfinished craft boxes you buy at art stores. It is sturdy but can crush, hence the overpacking.

The egg boxes come from China... We had them made for us. Low minimums. I am really thinking of phasing them out as I sell out of the latest shipment. However, since I sell mostly as a gift, buyers like it and the gift stores do too. So, not sure yet what will happen with the egg.

And of course, there would be more money in my pocket without the egg...but the other side of it is, would the tees be as attractive as baby gifts? We're going to have to figure that out.
 

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And, Carrie, will you share what your tees say? I saw your cute site but of course don't speak Spanish. I have two friends who are fluent: one who is preg. w/ her second and one who has a three year old. Love to buy for them.

You know, people like me are a market for you. We don't speak Spanish, but we have friends who do speak Spanish and would love your tees. So my suggestion is that you somehow state in English what each tee actually says in Spanish.

Thanks for sharing all your great media experience-insight.

One last question: how does one do "product placement" with the mags. I totally know how to write press releases and send them to reporters, but this is the first time I've done PR that's product oriented. Is product placement in mags just automatically paid for?

You're awesome. Thanks again. ~ Alicia
 

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And, Carrie, will you share what your tees say? I saw your cute site but of course don't speak Spanish. I have two friends who are fluent: one who is preg. w/ her second and one who has a three year old. Love to buy for them.
Let's try to keep this on the topic of start up marketing :) Although I'm sure Carrie would be happy to follow up with you on this via PM.
 

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Hi Carrie ~ I hope you see this. I tried to respond to your private msg. this morning and don't think I did it correctly. I'm new at most of this site stuff.

I'd love to "talk". Can you send me a private msg. w/ your email and I'll email you back.

Thanks, Alicia
 

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I have tried Adwords but i dont think the results really justify the costs. Should also look into the PPC services offered by MSN and Yahoo as they tend to be cheaper.

For interenet marketing I would suggest getting a good ranking for your keywords. T-Shirts isnt really a very hard market to get 1st page rankings for alot of nice keywords which will bring you a more permanent source of customers.
 
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