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Hello everyone,
I'm brand new to this industry/craft, but I've been building a small portfolio of T-shirt designs while working on a degree in Graphic Design.
I'm almost finished and have an internship with a small Digital Animation/Visual effects studio. To help pay the bills during this internship, I have been mulling over the decision whether to attempt to sell my designs to a large apparel company (who usually deals directly with large retail chains)....or start out small fry, and try to market to those same retailers as a small vendor (they may have exclusive agreements or sweetheart deals with larger vendors that shove me out of consideration).
The designs are for the Christian/Patriotic segment of the market, and I aim to be a cut above the norm with these designs...usually 2-4 colors and fairly elaborate in scope and message (without being too busy or gaudy). While I am training to work in 3D animation and visual effects, the tools I use make for some serious creative power
that can be effective in creating eye-catching T-shirt designs as well as other print mediums.
So, all of that leads to this question:
Should I attempt to sell the designs to large apparel companies (perhaps on a commission basis) as a freelancer at this "start-up" stage (I don't even know if they are open to that or not), or brave the waters as a tiny fish?
The thing that freezes me from selling the designs is that I have no idea at this point what fair market value would be for them, assuming they have potential to be great sellers. By going with a company like PrintMojo, I'd at least have some reference as to what to charge, and what it will cost me. But the former approach leaves me "flying blind."
I'd be glad to hear your input.
 

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AbnRanger said:
Should I attempt to sell the designs to large apparel companies (perhaps on a commission basis) as a freelancer at this "start-up" stage (I don't even know if they are open to that or not), or brave the waters as a tiny fish?
You'll probably get biased answers here since most of us are running (or trying to run) our own business. Personally I'd say brave the waters (and consequently make more money if you're successful/have more creative control, etc.). If you find it's taking too much time away from other things you can look into other options then.
 

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I'd also suggest doing it yourself; you'd be kicking yourself later if one of your designs really made it big :)

As far as getting a perspective or price range on the other option, though, there are websites out there that deal in connecting designers and people (either general, or there is at least one that is t-shirt specific). There has also been some previous discussion on this aspect (though usually from the 'buying' side) in earlier posts; try to search a bit. If I recollect correctly, I think the "norm" for a requested design (someone makes a design to your specifications) was around $150-300.
 

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I would imagine a lot of the large apparel companies have inhouse designers. Several years ago I worked for a watch company (swatch look-a-like) when the plastc watches with designs were really big, we did the majority of designs in house, they would pay very little to external designers unless they had a big name already (so the watch could sell on the basis of their name). What they would pay a large amount of money to was fashion houses who would prepare mood boards and offer predictions on where fashion was moving and the type of designs and colours we should be producing. I would imagine large t-shirt producers are pretty similar?
 

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I'm also a designer and I've posted a Discussion on the same topic. I'm also looking to sell my designs but I think I will try to do it myself and brave the waters as a tiny fish like AbnRanger said.

I do not know what to expect from the business but it worth trying.

I could go for cafepress or other similar sites but they don't offer to much options for designers. I mean that you can only put your design in the middle or pocket of the t-shirt and that's not to great for me. So I preffer to sell my designs individually.
 

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Or just try my version....build yourself a website....promote the site and sell the designs by download with a small price... to a lot of people or individualy with a higher price.But i am at start also...so i dont know if this is the right way of geting into the great sea, but at least is a try.
 

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A designer my friend has used did a design for a brand cant think which one it was well end result they didnt pay him for the design, I tried telling him that he may be able to do something but him being from australia he didnt feel it was worth it. So there may be a few brands who welcome freelancers.
 

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Hello everyone,
I'm brand new to this industry/craft, but I've been building a small portfolio of T-shirt designs while working on a degree in Graphic Design.
I'm almost finished and have an internship with a small Digital Animation/Visual effects studio. To help pay the bills during this internship, I have been mulling over the decision whether to attempt to sell my designs to a large apparel company (who usually deals directly with large retail chains)....or start out small fry, and try to market to those same retailers as a small vendor (they may have exclusive agreements or sweetheart deals with larger vendors that shove me out of consideration).
The designs are for the Christian/Patriotic segment of the market, and I aim to be a cut above the norm with these designs...usually 2-4 colors and fairly elaborate in scope and message (without being too busy or gaudy). While I am training to work in 3D animation and visual effects, the tools I use make for some serious creative power
that can be effective in creating eye-catching T-shirt designs as well as other print mediums.
So, all of that leads to this question:
Should I attempt to sell the designs to large apparel companies (perhaps on a commission basis) as a freelancer at this "start-up" stage (I don't even know if they are open to that or not), or brave the waters as a tiny fish?
The thing that freezes me from selling the designs is that I have no idea at this point what fair market value would be for them, assuming they have potential to be great sellers. By going with a company like PrintMojo, I'd at least have some reference as to what to charge, and what it will cost me. But the former approach leaves me "flying blind."
I'd be glad to hear your input.
From my experience, no large company will pay you on a commission basis for anything unless you have a bonafide success rate with proven sales. Even then, they will probably not be interested, as they have their own in-house designers. It's a rough world out there! Maybe you look for a job as an in-house designer.
 

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Hi my name Matt Anderson I have a large base of designs looking to sell as prints if anyone's interested or could help with companies to contact on facebook Matthew Anderson or by email [email protected]
Do you have any with "eyes" as the sole design feature. I own a trademark for "ARE YOU WATCHING?"® for T-Shirts and other clothing items, like dungarees. I may be interested in any design that incorporates eyes. I may also consider selling and/or licensing my trademark.
 

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A designer my friend has used did a design for a brand cant think which one it was well end result they didnt pay him for the design, I tried telling him that he may be able to do something but him being from australia he didnt feel it was worth it. So there may be a few brands who welcome freelancers.
Key Phrase: "...they didn't pay him..."
 
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