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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a graphic designer looking at early retirement from federal gov't this fall (I can't take the idiocy anymore). I live in a tourist-oriented market with 4 cities/towns within a 45 minute drive. I also have 3 major cities/markets with a 5-hour drive at most. Most stores in my area are resellers of other products and are very generic. I am considering heat-press transfers at this time and am still working on my business plan.

My products are unique and satirically humorous. I see very few products of their kind online.

My initial strategy is to sell personally at events. I would also like to have a simple web presence. Another track might to be to sell wholesale to these local stores (I prefer not want to sell on consignment if this a standard way of doing business).

I will not be able to truly retire so I am looking for comments on anyone who has adopted a similar strategy. I would be happy with making $60K a year if that sounds reasonable.

Thanks for any feedback.
 

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I see very few products of their kind online.

You really need to be doing more extensive research than that. We all think we have unique designs that folk are going to be clamouring for but in reality things often prove to be quite different.


First steps are -


Market Research.


Business Plan.


Sourcing suppliers of raw materials and machinery required to produce your items at the right price.


Learning curve - where you will need to set aside money for stock you've ruined while learning.


If selling from a website, how you are going to steer traffic to your site.


Money for ad campaigns and email autoresponders to build up your business to the expected level. You mention $60k. Is that gross sales or net profit?
 

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"I'm considering heat press transfers..."
That is a smart decision. Very low cost, variables greatly reduced. shortest learning curve.

Ok, now you need to decide what business you are in. Are you whole selling, or retailing? To whom? What will be your margin? How much of what do you need to sell at what margin to get to $60,000 a year?

As you have become aware, creating a business plan is critical to laying out the path to follow.

So, in your business plan you choose to exploit your existing resources to give your embrionic idea an advantage.
IF you have a great big list of govm't employees email or phyical address or cell phone number, you must realize you have a portal of direct access for your 'Dilbert' satire. And these folks will propagate your satire to those employees you don't know. This is a huge opportunity. Before you leave, start collecting and soliciting 'non-government' email addresses. Of course...so you an stay in touch.

Now, those shops you have walked into, what are they selling. Cotton? Poly? Hoddies? Athletic wear?

How were they made? transfer, sub, Direct to garment, silk screen, vynal?
How willl these compare to what you intend to make?

Test your market. T-shirts are made to be read. Exceptional T's make folks do stuff. So, slide yourself into your new T and take it for a walk where there are lots of eyeballs. Did they do what you wanted them to do? If the answer is yes, you've just identified what will seperate them from their money.
I've gone so far as to include a URL on the T. What do you think the vaue is of knowing how many looked and how many of them went to the website? From this you can measure how urgent creating or leveraging a 'online store' will be for you.

There are a number of companies selling stuff to t shirt decorators who have published videos titled 'How to start a t-shirt business." YOu wil find them exteremely beneficial.
 

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You can make a lot more than $60k if you do it right, and a lot less if you do it wrong. Market research is the key.



As for the heat transfers... it depends on the type. Not all transfers are the same.
 

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I would assume that your biggest expenses witll be equipment, inventory and the cost of transfers. You could end up with a lot of money invested with money on the shelf. Possibly you could find a way to give your graphics exposure with minimal investment. And, why limit yourself to your locality. If you do find an interest then you will need to decide your printing method, screen, transfer, DTG and figure your cost with relation to turn-over. Inventory can eat you up. Often it is possible to hand part of the business over to an outside entity and concentrate on design and marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate all the answers about starting a business but maybe I didn't my intentions clear enough. For that I apologize. I am doing my due diligence and am working through my local university (with a business dept) that has a small business office.

I want to work the event circuit and am trying to find out if this a viable way to net $50-$60K a year. The website would support this effort. If wholesaling locally would add easier income I'll consider it. I am not looking to become the next apparel giant. I want to make a fair living and have fun with it if I can. I'm looking for responses that involve experience with the event circuit. Thanks again.
 
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