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Now that it is summer, my business is looking to expand, i have posted this in other threads but my business consists of me and 4 friends, we are in high school and are working on a small budget, currently we have 45 shirts and about 190 dollars in cash. We have printed 4 different designs to date in various colors and such. So that is the background info.

Back to the expansion thing, tomorrow we are going down to the beachfront to talk to some local stores about stocking some of our shirts, maybe they will sell, maybe they wont' but I think it is worth a shot. But I don't really know how exactly to pitch this to the stores. Here are my thoughts.

Keeping in mind that we are rather small right now I thought we should ask for their permission to stock say 20 of our shirts in their store near the front and they can charge what they want for the shirts and then we take 10 dollars or so from them, we would negotiate that price. The only concern of mine with this is that we would need some kind of written contract to ensure that we don't get used or ripped off and to ensure that our shirts are kept in good condition.

The second approach we are thinking of is just offering the local stores the option to buy our shirts from us, the only thing I can not figure out is A) how much money does an average local T-shirt shop pay per shirt, and would it be possible to sell them our shirts for 8-10 dollars a shirt. I think this option is much more unlikely since I am assuming that any local Tee shop only pay 3-4 dollars a shirt.

Any advice would be great, I am hoping that something pans out in this venture of approaching local shops but I feel that it might be a long shot.

What would be the best way to expand based off of our very small nature, We have a facebook page, we have launched a preliminary website and hope to soon open up a shop online as well.

Also, we currently do not have an official business license yet, we will be getting that in November, so would that pose a significant problem in any expansion operations.

Again thanks for any help.
 

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So are you looking to sell the 45 shirts you have as inventory or take orders and do a new production run? If the latter, make sure you have the funds to cover new production. Retailers will expect to pay on delivery or even Net 30.

The best approach is to just make an appointment with the store owner or buyer. Then show them your samples and gauge their interest. If it goes well, ask if they would like to place an order.

Something to keep in mind is that most retailers do their buying several months in advance. So you will probably notice most stores are fully stocked with Summer wear. Now is the time that retailers are preparing to buy for Spring delivery.

Keeping in mind that we are rather small right now I thought we should ask for their permission to stock say 20 of our shirts in their store near the front and they can charge what they want for the shirts and then we take 10 dollars or so from them, we would negotiate that price. The only concern of mine with this is that we would need some kind of written contract to ensure that we don't get used or ripped off and to ensure that our shirts are kept in good condition.
This is called consignment. Use the search feature here on the forums and read up on the subject. It's not considered a good business practice. Unless you're desperate and it's the only offer retailers are making.

The second approach we are thinking of is just offering the local stores the option to buy our shirts from us, the only thing I can not figure out is A) how much money does an average local T-shirt shop pay per shirt, and would it be possible to sell them our shirts for 8-10 dollars a shirt. I think this option is much more unlikely since I am assuming that any local Tee shop only pay 3-4 dollars a shirt.
In the first scenario, you were getting paid $10 per shirt. In this scenario, you are getting $8-10 per shirt. What makes this much more unlikely?

Anyway, selling is a much better approach than consignment. It's hard to say what stores normally pay per shirt, all vendors and retailers are different. You need to price yourself based on your costs. So if it costs you $5, you should wholesale them for $10. And the retailer will double their cost and sell them for $20 (sometimes more, depending on the store). So make sure your shirts are worth $20+ to the consumer.

Also, we currently do not have an official business license yet, we will be getting that in November, so would that pose a significant problem in any expansion operations.
You should get your business license sooner rather than later. There are plenty of benefits. I'd be surprised if a retailer bought from you without needing to provide a Tax ID number.
 

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Alright thanks for the advice kimura-mma, we aren't necessarily looking to get rid of our current inventory, I mean that is the general goal but even if we can sell half that is good, we have enough cash to do another run of 24 to 30 shirts of one design.

So what I take from what you said is that consignment is not worth the trouble and that directly selling is probably the better option, but if selling does not work then do consignment? The difference between the two I see is that with consignment the store really takes on no risk, if the shirts sell, they sell, if not they don't. Anyways i would rather just sell the shirts so we don't have the worry of being used.

On the topic of business licenses, is it possible to acquire a license with an adult as the primary and then have that transferred over to me when I turn 18, the only reason we don't have a license is because none of us are 18 yet. I live in Virginia if that helps, where would be a good place to learn about the whole process of acquiring a license?? Thanks for any help.
 

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we have enough cash to do another run of 24 to 30 shirts of one design.
This essentially caps the orders you can accept. Just something to keep in mind, I guess.

The difference between the two I see is that with consignment the store really takes on no risk, if the shirts sell, they sell, if not they don't.
Exactly. You're giving up your product risk free. Great for the retailer, but terrible for you. Try selling first. If you can't, consignment is a fall back option.

On the topic of business licenses, is it possible to acquire a license with an adult as the primary and then have that transferred over to me when I turn 18, the only reason we don't have a license is because none of us are 18 yet. I live in Virginia if that helps, where would be a good place to learn about the whole process of acquiring a license??
To my knowledge, there is no age restriction on registering a business. Do a Google search for "starting a business in virginia" and you will find plenty of resources to help you out.
 

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alright, thanks for clearing that up.

Any ideas on other ways we could expand, based off of our small inventory/value. Where would be a good place to try to sell our shirts. We are hoping this local store thing pans out but what are some other options??
 

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With a small inventory and little capital, I'm not sure what you can really do to expand. My advice would be to get out there are sell your shirts direct to the consumer. Maybe there are some street fairs during the summer. Focus on rolling over your inventory. Sell your 45 shirts, take the revenue and get 100 shirts made, sell those 100 shirts, take the revenue and get 200 shirts made, etc. Once you build a nice following, you will probably have a better rate of success selling to retailers. Remember, the value of selling wholesale is volume. So get your brand to the point where retailers will want to purchase in volume.
 

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yeah we are realizing that size is our problem, however just as an update, today we talked to two shops and one agreed to do a consignment with 10 of our shirts, at 12 dollars for us, he plans on selling for 20, so hopefully something will come of it. If anyone else has some advice on expanding that would be helpful, thanks for any help.
 

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yeah we are realizing that size is our problem, however just as an update, today we talked to two shops and one agreed to do a consignment with 10 of our shirts, at 12 dollars for us, he plans on selling for 20, so hopefully something will come of it. If anyone else has some advice on expanding that would be helpful, thanks for any help.

keep us posted
 

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if you are in the US you have a few problems.

1) if you or your partners are not 18 you don't have the legal ability to contract.

2) you are not operating a legitimate business so being taken seriously might be a problem but you can operate as a hobby. the difference is you cannot write off your expenses against your income.

3) at some point the city and/or county will come after you if you don't have a license.

your online option might be the best for you. you can limit inventory and only expand once you have the orders to do so.

good luck.
 

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thanks for the info THX, we are now going to actively seek getting a business license, currently we are not worried about the city or state coming after us, since we are still "hobby" sized.

So I take it that we must be over 18 to hold a license in the US, i have been looking into this but haven't found a definite answer yet, I will make some calls to the local business center this week though.

Any other thgoughts?
 

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So I take it that we must be over 18 to hold a license in the US...

Any other thgoughts?
i didn't say that. i said you didn't have the legal ability to execute a contract.

here is an example: you go and buy a car from a private party (or a dealer) and sign a contract and hand over your money and drive away. you wreck the car down the road. you can go back to the former owner (actually, he is still the owner because you can't execute a contract) and demand your money back. if he refuses you can go to court and get it. he gets to keep his wrecked car.

the same holds true for anything else. you can get around this by forming an llc or c-corp ( corp is the only recognized entity for federal purposes) and have your company execute the contract. if you need to you hire an agent that is of age to sign the thing.

all of this means nothing if you can find someone to play ball with you but if you get big before majority you may run into problems with suppliers.

capisce?
 

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thanks for the info THX, we are now going to actively seek getting a business license, currently we are not worried about the city or state coming after us, since we are still "hobby" sized.

So I take it that we must be over 18 to hold a license in the US, i have been looking into this but haven't found a definite answer yet, I will make some calls to the local business center this week though.

Any other thgoughts?
Are theses shirts transfers or screened? If they're tranfers, especially DARK transfers, be sure the vendor knows it. If they DO sell & are returned due to laundering issues, which I guarantee 99% of the public doesn't know about, the vendor will probably freak due to the damage to his rep being put in question for an issue they knew nothing about. This will also ruin chances for sales to other vendors, or create the same issue for the 2nd vendor thus blowing your business plans before you get started.
 

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good stuff, i think forming a corporation or llc would be the best way to go. Myabe this differs state by state but in the US if an adult of age signs on our corporation then does that adult control the corporation or business? I will look that up but if anyone knows that would be helpful.

Yeah the shirts are screened, they hold up really well after repeated washes, they are printed on American Apparel shirts, which I think fade slightly after repeated washes but nothing major, quality is great for the price I think.
 
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