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Hi All,

I am going to be doing an NYC street fair in the next few weeks selling (surprise surprise) t-shirts. This one in particular is fairly popular and in a great location (for those familiar with NYC, it's on Madison Ave from 24th to 26th). I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with any of these street fairs. I know that sales depends on the design, but in your experience, how did you do? Is it worth it to pay the booth fee and all of the other expenses? I'm really looking to break even on what I'm investing because the exposure is what I would like. But any thoughts that anyone may have, please chime in. Thanks in advance!
 

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Thanks for asking for an update! It's coming up in a few weeks! Preparing as we speak! There is so much to do...... :confused:

I will definitely post an update when it's over. June 6th is the date.
 

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So here is my update on the experience that I had at the NYC street fair.

It started off pretty early, getting up around 6 to do some final organizing and loading of the cars to get everything into the city by 9 for set up.

While we were setting up, I noticed 2 competitors that were from California that I know were very successful in this niche t-shirt area, so right away I did not feel too good considering this was our first crack at selling T-shirts EVER!!!!

The fair was scheduled to start at 10, but set up by the festival promoters took a little long so we started maybe a half hour late. At this time, people started trickling in and as I look to my left and right, I see that our competitors are already SELLING!....while we were there looking at each other. However, maybe 20 minutes later, we had our first customer and for some reason, it did not stop. We had waves of people here and there, but for the most part, we were selling at a consistent pace.

In terms of pricing, we initially were going to sell each individual shirt at $20 but found that (as expected) people started looking for a deal. So my partner, almost out of the blue, proposed 1 for $20 and 2 for $30. This, we found, was amazing because about 90% of our sales were multiple shirts per sale. We heard "we might as well get 2", which quite a few times, became 3-4 per sale.

So overall, in an 8 hour day, we made about $2000, which I think was pretty great considering this was our first time out and our designs were (in all honesty) slightly inferior to our competitors' designs. That works out to about 16 shirts per hour and in our eyes, a good success.

Anyway, I sort of had to cut this short because I have to get back to work and it's a little late. But if there are any additional questions you may have, I'll be happy to answer them!

Thanks.
 

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vajoaquin,
Gald to hear it worked out for you.I have a couple questions.....How much did your booth cost?Did you get a chance to look at the other shirts?I know alot of people here are worried about copyright infringment...did you see any of this going on?Are you going to do more shows?What would you do different this time? Thanks
 

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vajoaquin,
How much did your booth cost?Did you get a chance to look at the other shirts?I know alot of people here are worried about copyright infringment...did you see any of this going on?Are you going to do more shows?What would you do different this time? Thanks

All great questions. The booth itself cost $1000, so that really sucks. With the cost of the booth and the cost of making the shirts, we made a small profit, but I think the value came from getting our name out there. We made a few business connections which we are following through with, and what really feels great is knowing that there are people out there wearing something that we made.

In terms of copyright, no, I did not see any of that from the other T-shirt sellers. Everyone pretty much had good original designs.

We are planning to do another street fair at the end of the month in Jersey City, NJ. Smaller market I think, but we'll see how it goes. We're hoping those same competitors are not going to be there.

What would I do differently? I would have a larger selection of designs. We only had 5 different designs, so I would expand that by 2 or 3. I would also like to play around with the pricing to see the upper limit of what people would pay, whether or not we have discounted pricing. I would also engage our customers more about our services in custom apparel and hope that some business comes out of the relationships we build and not just the banner that we put up. That is to say, people may think that we just make shirts and not know that our main business is making custom shirts.

Anyway, let me know if this answered your questions or if you have any more.

Thanks.
 

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vajoaquin-

Thanks for your posts about the NYC street fair scene--I know you initially were looking for help but I found your posts to be helpful. A couple of questions: how many t shirts in each size did you have? Did you run out of anything? Why would you add 2 more designs? Did you have people interested but not finding exactly what they were looking for.

I agree with you on the upper price point --I haven't started selling but I have started research prices and I think in NYC you could maybe push your price higher than $20 (I looked at your shirts on your site--they look good!).

Anyway, I hope you can help me. Thanks,
Helen
 

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Hi vajoaquin,

I bet I know the companies that showed up, I have a store in the same market, mine started in 2001.

So far I think the major players are trying not to step on everyone else's toes, though there are some that are debateable. Glad to hear your fair experience went well. I've only done local ones but when I see those other guys' setups it makes me think about traveling far!

Oh, I do suggest bringing more designs, even if some are just samples, it gives you a reason to hand them a card for more exposure!
 

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So here is my update on the experience that I had at the NYC street fair.

........................
Hello,

First off, I'm glad that went well for you. What you did is an inspiration to me, and I'm sure to most of us here as well. I have a couple quick questions, let me please list them below:

1) You did not need a vending license issued by the city to get a booth and sell your shirts right? The fact that you bought a booth was basically like buying a license, except it was only 'good' for that day/festival.. is that right? So.. if that is true, then anyone can pay the $1000 and get a booth for the day and sell?

2) How do you think that shirts that were a little 'edgy' go over? Do you think there would be much censorship at those types of fairs? I guess a better question would be, "how far can you push the envelope and still get a booth?"

thank you very much for your help..

ps - how did the festival in New Jersey go?
 

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Thread bookmarked. Fantastic.

I get 2-5 people per week asking me about custom shirt selling online. I tell them forget it -- sell local.

Fests can be great. Selling in boutiques. Local concert events. State fairs.

Find a niche, you can charge more. The shirts we sell for $9 online sell for $25 in person.

Get a square credit card reader and an iPad 3G and make even more.
 
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