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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II

Rodney said:
I would emphasize that:

1) before you print your first t-shirt (or get it printed), that you should have a clear idea WHO your target market is and HOW you plan to reach them.
ok, this is the point I'm at right now....researching and deciding upon a niche market. However, I don't want to pay 3000.00 for a report so i'm hoping I can get some ideas from the community here or a link to a free or cheap research resource .

ok, for either of these markets my focus will be on funny-offensive humor, sexual innuendo, funny-offensive takes on current events(that are of interest to the particular target market)

niche market # 1- the college market. This seems to be the largest part of the "funny-offensive" market. However, there seem to be more and more of these sites all the time. This is supposedly a very lucrative market for the top sites. I'm wondering if this market is in danger of becoming saturated?

niche market # 2- the gay market- As I tried to find gay t-shirt sites I feel like I have found an opportunity OR maybe this is not a huge t-shirt market? It seems like most of the sites I came across were using cafepress(which makes me wonder if people are making any money....are they using cafepress because they aren't selling enough t-shirts to justify creating a website?) However, most of these sites are the more typical gay pride, rainbow design, type sites.....which is not at all what i would be doing.


I have thought before maybe I could have different categories such as gay, college, etc......but then all i'm doing is complicating my marketing efforts and trying to appeal to two different markets that don't have alot in common....what is it they say? "Marketing to everyone is marketing to NO ONE"

Any insight to these markets in relation to buying "funny-offensive" t-shirts would be greatly appreciated.

I'm excited to move forward again, but I need to research and plan alot better than I did when I first had this site created!


 

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Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II

SlogoMogul said:
niche market # 1- the college market. This seems to be the largest part of the "funny-offensive" market. However, there seem to be more and more of these sites all the time. This is supposedly a very lucrative market for the top sites. I'm wondering if this market is in danger of becoming saturated?
It already is - but so is the t-shirt industry in general. That doesn't mean you can't suceed there, but you may have to work at it more.

SlogoMogul said:
niche market # 2- the gay market- As I tried to find gay t-shirt sites I feel like I have found an opportunity OR maybe this is not a huge t-shirt market? It seems like most of the sites I came across were using cafepress(which makes me wonder if people are making any money....are they using cafepress because they aren't selling enough t-shirts to justify creating a website?) However, most of these sites are the more typical gay pride, rainbow design, type sites.....which is not at all what i would be doing.
I would wager that most gay folks aren't going to search for "gay t-shirts" or anything like that. There will be a few, sure, but it's not going to be a major category like 'funny' or 'christian'; people will search for the shirts they want reguardless of orientation I imagine.

SlogoMogul said:
I have thought before maybe I could have different categories such as gay, college, etc......but then all i'm doing is complicating my marketing efforts and trying to appeal to two different markets that don't have alot in common....what is it they say? "Marketing to everyone is marketing to NO ONE"
There are successful shops in both areas - some target everything, some target things very specific; there is no "right" answer. Those two would make ridiculous generalized cateogries though, in my opinion ;)

SlogoMogul said:
Any insight to these markets in relation to buying "funny-offensive" t-shirts would be greatly appreciated.
If you're worried about saturated markets, I would worry more about 'funny-offensive' than 'college'. I don't think of seen any genre more widespread in t-shirts than offensive humor stuff... of course, this implies that they are popular products as well, and there's always 'room for a little more' so to speak.
 

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My market in general is the auto show crowd. Within that market is a very wide variety....Lifted trucks 4x4, slammed mini trucks, classics, custom bikes and choppers, Nascar and associated groups, Drag enthusiasts, Import tuners, custom audio folks and the Drift crowd. At large events you will generally have a mix of everyone and makes it harder to target the market. To stock shirts or transfer designs for everyone is a bit daunting. My specialty market is the Import tuning and Drift group with the audio subgroup. I started with vinyl graphics and it is the bread and butter but the shirts do well in this specific group. I do the large events but make better profits at specific niche shows.
 

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T-BOT said:
actually i read somewhere that successfull retailers are the ones that sell to wide age groups.
Maybe. That whole something for everyone angle. The problem is there is very little that everybody needs (above example notwithstanding), though I guess t-shirts are getting closer than most products.

I think with a wide age range of products, you would still prune down your marketing. Marketing to mothers for example, where one person may buy a product from every age range you have.

The problem with wide marketing (other than it simply failing to find a target) is that you run the risk of alienating buyers. In the examples above, the college market is often very homophobic, so if you have a site split into gay and college markets you might deter some of your buyers (and while we could well say good riddance to bad rubbish, it won't make you a living).

If you market to young and old, you run the risk that the old will think the store is not selling the kind of clothes they would wear, and that the young will think it's uncool.

If you can appeal to a wide age range, obviously that means more potential revenue. But like everything else it's a risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
T-BOT said:
haha :)

actually i read somewhere that successfull retailers are the ones that sell to wide age groups.

But, how many of those "successful retailers" actually STARTED selling to wide age groups? How would you suggest marketing a product for people 0-100? I would imagine that even if your product was desirable to that wide age range, your marketing efforts would be much more successful if you only focused on one segment of your market at a time. Do you think a 15 yo girl and an 80 yo man would respond to the same marketing message?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II

Twinge said:
I would wager that most gay folks aren't going to search for "gay t-shirts" or anything like that. There will be a few, sure, but it's not going to be a major category like 'funny' or 'christian'; people will search for the shirts they want reguardless of orientation I imagine.
It's not always about the sheer number of people looking up search terms. It's about the amount of people searching in relation to the amount of competing sites. There may not many people searching out funny-offensive- gay t-shirts. But if I was one of the only existing sites that had that product and that was ALL I had, I would get ALOT of business from people searching that term. If I wanted people to find me under funny-offensive-t-shirts It would take a miracle because of all the competing and established sites

Twinge said:
There are successful shops in both areas - some target everything, some target things very specific; there is no "right" answer. Those two would make ridiculous generalized cateogries though, in my opinion ;)
One question I will put out there: How much MORE successful would the sites be that target EVERYTHING if they focused their efforts on one or two niche markets?:confused:


Twinge said:
If you're worried about saturated markets, I would worry more about 'funny-offensive' than 'college'. I don't think of seen any genre more widespread in t-shirts than offensive humor stuff... of course, this implies that they are popular products as well, and there's always 'room for a little more' so to speak
that's why I was trying to narrow my market by contemplating "funny-offensive-sports" OR gay, or some other NICHE. I am going to do some investigating via wordtracker.
 

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Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II

SlogoMogul said:
niche market # 1- the college market. This seems to be the largest part of the "funny-offensive" market. However, there seem to be more and more of these sites all the time. This is supposedly a very lucrative market for the top sites. I'm wondering if this market is in danger of becoming saturated?
Well, that's true the market is saturated. Not only in the t-shirt industry. It's everywhere, movies(be it comedy or horror), cars, jeans, etc. For sure, each of these have their own context, but we(I say we because we are all concerned about that) have to come up with new original styles. Maybe you guys know about the designs using the Coca-Cola logo font. It started with a 'Cocaine' t-shirt in the '70s, then we had 'Sara-Jevo'. These two examples were based on the same concept but different ideas. I personally think, whether saturated or not, the target audience will always be looking for new stuffs and also new design concepts. I'm 100% optimist about that. And that's what makes the t-shirt business so challenging and 'life-threatening', it's about being among the best.
 

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Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II

SlogoMogul said:
that's why I was trying to narrow my market by contemplating "funny-offensive-sports" OR gay, or some other NICHE. I am going to do some investigating via wordtracker.
I'm not sure "gay t-shirt" is a niche in anything like the same way that "offensive shirt" or "sports shirt" is. What exactly is a "gay" shirt? Who exactly searches for a "gay tshirt"? I suspect gay people, like all people, are *far* more likely to be searching for a *type* of shirt. It's very different from, say, a cultural shirt (such as "rasta shirt").


I'd also advise against just throwing a dart at a board to pick a niche. Do something you like, or something you wear. If you have the fashion sense of a shaved goat, you're not going to be great at making fashionable shirts. If you have zero sports interest, you're going to get very bored making Grand Prix shirts. If you have no sense of humour (a tricky one, as everyone presumes they have, especially those who do not), you're not going to be selling many funny shirts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II

monkeylantern said:
I'm not sure "gay t-shirt" is a niche in anything like the same way that "offensive shirt" or "sports shirt" is. What exactly is a "gay" shirt?

I guess I didn't do a very good job explaining what I meant, though I did enjoy Rhonda's interpretation of a "gay shirt" ;) After doing some research, MOST of the t-shirt sites I've come across aimed at the gay market are "gay pride" type of t-shirts(rainbows, pink triangles, equal rights, etc). What I've decided to do is target a different segment of the gay market and focus on sexual innuendo type humor ie: "Pitcher" or "Catcher" type t-shirts. Basically, alot of it is just SEXUAL INNUENDO type slogans for guys to wear.

As for the sports market....I have decided that It would be frustrating having to adhere to STRICT guidelines in licensing agreements. I would actually LOVE to be involved in the sports industry, but alot of what I like doing is coming up with "offensive humor" concepts. In terms of ever licensing logos from existing sports teams, that really LIMITS what I could do since noone wants to offend people with their sports logo....and considering alot of "families" attend games or watch sports on TV, I understand their point of view.

So I'm actually NOT throwing darts to figure out which market I want to develop products for. I've thought about both of these markets for a long time. Even though "sports market" and "offensive gay humor" are two very different markets, I believe the gay market(outside of pride wear) is relatively untapped compared to the sports industry and allows me MUCH MORE creative freedom.

I hope that explains things a little better! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Start Ups- Niche Markets Part II- gay t-shirt

Twinge said:
I would wager that most gay folks aren't going to search for "gay t-shirts" or anything like that. There will be a few, sure, but it's not going to be a major category like 'funny' or 'christian'; people will search for the shirts they want reguardless of orientation I imagine.
Well Twinge, after some researching into the matter it looks like you are RIGHT. I found one VERY successful company who obviously caters to the gay market.....but nothing on the site actually uses the word gay....very interesting. Maybe it's because many in our culture(US) perceive it in a negative light.....but that's a discussion for another board. The following is a great example of what I meant by "gay t-shirts" but I guess the politically correct term to describe them is "contemporary men's t-shirts" LOL :rolleyes: http://www.universalgear.com/istar.asp?a=3&dept=01&class=01
 
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