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BodhiGear said:
I am thinking about a t-shirt business and have some questions for everyone...
I'll be brave and try to go through the list :)
  • How long have you been in business?


  • 10 years next year.

    • What portion of your day/week/month do you spend on your business (in other words, is this your primary source of income, a hobby or are you striving to make this your primary source of income)?


    • It is my primary source of income since about 3 years ago. Before then, I either worked full time and went to school full time and did the internet business full time (yep, all 3 is a lot of "full times" :) ) or I worked full time and did the internet business full time (40 hours+ a week at both).


      • How do you market your shirts -- face-to-face, over the internet, both, other?


      • At this point, 100% online with some help from the offline media. However, I'm hoping to do more offline stuff next year.


        • To whom do you market your shirts? How do you define and identify your target market?


        • To anybody that will buy them :) I mostly use search engine marketing, word of mouth, viral marketing, and product branding. I also done an ok job at getting my site(s) noticed by the offline media like newspapers, radio, magazine, tv, etc.



          • How do you advertise? What is your most successful form of advertising?


          • I use my sites for advertising :) I actually get customers that tell me they found my site at t-shirtcountdown. I also have an affiliate program and I've used Google Adwords/Yahoo Search Marketing. The most successful has been media mentions (free), word of mouth (free), and search engine marketing (free).

            • How are you organized -- sole proprietorship, corporation (C or S), partnership?


            • I'll probably incorporate next year.

              • Did you have any business-ownership experience before you started?


              • Not really :)

                • If you are in the US, what do you do about sales tax? How is the collection of sales tax affected if you sell face-to-face vs. over the internet vs. a combination?


                • Not sure what you mean by this? You should probably talk to your State Board of Equalization if you have questions about how to collect sales tax.

                  Either way, you have to collect for any customers in your state of business and file/pay taxes either quarterly or once per year. When you get your resale permit, they'll tell you all the details.

                  • Why did you start your business?


                  • Somebody asked me if they could buy a t-shirt before I had one made.

                    • How much money did you have set aside when you started?


                    • $0

                      • What is/was your breakeven point -- how many shirts did you have to sell before you started to make a profit?


                      • My first batch of 25 shirts.

                        • What else do I need to know?
                        Thanks!
                        You may want to break up your questions into separate posts over time. People are more likely to answer a post with one or two questions than a 12 question survey/interview :)

                        Good luck with your business!
 

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laylaazure said:
So what's your storyline, Rodney??
Different journalists have different storylines. It's all up to the different media outlet how they want to present a story.

What's more important than my storyline, is the idea that in order to get noticed, you have to have something that is original/unique/funny/weird/over the top/wacky/relevant/useful/interesting and be able to be found when someone happens to be doing a story on it.

You can't just have a commercial site selling shirts, there's got to be more to it than that (which not every t-shirt site can do or should try to do). So not every t-shirt site is going to get media attention. But if you have a different site that meets the criteria (original/interesting/blah blah), and you're easy to be found, it's more likely that you may sometime, somehow have a story written about you.

Think about the recent hype about "Cyber Monday" being the largest shopping day for online sales. It was on lots of radio/internet/print/tv media as a true story with all these "facts" behind it when it was actually just a spin campaign by a bunch of online marketers. They had an original/different idea "take the black friday biggest shopping day of the year, and make something similar for online sales" and they figured out how to make it in the news by putting out a press release, creating an angle, etc.
 

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BodhiGear said:
Rodney,


Thank you for your answers and I apologize for the 20 -- uh, 12 -- Questions.

How did you start with $0? Who did you use for your fulfillment service?

Thanks again!
Well, I started with $0 because I used my credit card to buy the first batch of shirts :)

When I started, there were no fulfillment companies (which sounds too much like "back in my day we had to walk to school uphill"). I just put up a picture of the t-shirt on my website and had a printable order form you could print out to place an order.

And where are your shirts? What is your URL?
Although this is not top secret information, I do prefer not to post my retail t-shirt sites here :) Mostly because I don't think it's necessary for the discussions of the t-shirt business.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
Rodney, I agree that it may not be necessary for t-shirt business discussion, I do think there would be people that don't know that would be interested in what you are selling and more of what you are about. I don't know if you could just have a little part of the site about it or what? It could be tricky to go about on the forums, but I don't think there is anything wrong with it at all. I think it would even be a good thing. They would be able to see that you not only provide a place for people to talk about the t-shirt business(and do quite about of contributing yourself), but also why. Because you also are in the same boat that most of us are in and really care about this forum, the t-shirt business in general, and those of here that are trying to learn and be successful.
Well, my goal is to make sure that comes through in the content of my posts :)

I'll have to think about the idea of an "about me" type page for the site (especially since I don't want this site to be about me :) )

Like I said, it's not totally top secret. I mean, my t-shirt was on the cover of the Wall Street Journal :) But for the purposes of this forum, I'm happy to answer the "where's your t-shirt site" question via PM.
 

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monkeylantern said:
I originally found this site through the Wall Street Journal :)
Which is neat because this site wasn't mentioned in the article. The cool part about that article was how it seemed to increase the "general awareness" of selling and buying t-shirts online.
 
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