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t-shirt sales forecasts?

2211 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  thecustomkinguk
Hi all, I’ve been pulling together a financial forecast for a lifestyle clothing brand business plan I’ve been working on and would like some perspective on how realistic my projections are. My business model is similar to that of Howies in the UK being fairly high end (£23 a t-shirt) and organic.

Initially the product range will consist of screen printed t-shirts and hoodies. Sales will be online in the UK only at first and I have assumed that I will not be doing any wholesale in the first two years as my costs are too high to make this work.

Marketing will be via an associated blog, other social media and word of mouth.

I have assumed that by the end of year two I can be retailing four hundred and fifty t-shirts per month. Does anyone have any perspective from a similar business model that could assist with some realistic forecasts?

Of course there are lots of variables at work here but I think I have a strong concept and have been optimistic. Any friendly advice would be gratefully received.

Thank you
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How did you arrive at the figure of 450 per month?
Hi thanks, for the response. Basically its where I want to be in two years for this to be viable for me. I've assumed 0.06% share of my target market which is male & females, ABC1, 25 – 40 with an interest in watersports.
I'm sorry to say but I can pretty much guarantee you won't be getting anywhere near 450 per month, you'd be lucky if you get a 10th of that, IMHO save your money and do something else, the market of brands like yourself is so jam packed with people now that the majority don't get anywhere and shut within 3 months max, I'm pretty sure people like Abandon Ship Apparel only just reach 500 sales a month but they now have a huge following, massive online store, 2 of their own stores in London and Glasgow and they sell on asos and all sorts of other chain stores!

Good luck on your quest, go ahead and prove me wrong in 2 years but I'd put money on it not lasting longer then 6 months
Purevinyl, we don't put people down on this forum. The biggest mistake one can make is not trying at all. Be encouraging, not discouraging.
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Thanks for the honest feedback. I guess there's no real answer to my question and you'll never know whether you can create the next big thing unless you try.
Thanks for the honest feedback. I guess there's no real answer to my question and you'll never know whether you can create the next big thing unless you try.
That's the outlook Humabrom! if every entrepreneur listened to naysayers no body would start new businesses. I had so many people (some even who I respected) tell me not to start my print shop and 3 years down the line my press is in use 6 days a week.

It's good you're crunching numbers and thinking about your strategy, I've printed for too many people who just decide to start a clothing label, get the t-shirts printed and expect them to sell themselves.

One piece of advice I would give you is to be ready to adapt your strategy and you branding according to your customers. Take notes of what sells and what doesn't. Find that niche which sets you apart. Good luck!
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Hi thanks, for the response. Basically its where I want to be in two years for this to be viable for me. I've assumed 0.06% share of my target market which is male & females, ABC1, 25 – 40 with an interest in watersports.

Effectively your are talking about a surfware brand?

The problem that you will have there is that surfwear is an aging market in the UK. The kids aren't interested because of the number of 40 something 'old farts' wearing surfwear. Brands like Animal and Quicksilver have taken over from the Marks and Spencer jumper as 'safe' middle class, middle age casual wear.

You can't rely on the internet to build a small business. You will have to take your product to the customer first and build an online store from there. The obvious market place would be VW shows. But the going rate for own brand shirts there is £5 for t-shirts and £15 for hoodies.
Encouragement is all well and good but sales forecasts need to be realistic. Humabrom is using almost random criteria to vindicate what he would like to achieve. I totally agree with purevinyl in urging caution.

Unless you find a new market (which in an industry which has been around for so long is unlikely) then the level of sales you predict must come from an already well supplied market. This begs the question what would you be able to offer your intended customers to buy "humabrom".

In over 25 years of writing business plans and building cash flow forecasts, I have learned to opt for caution and perhaps even pessimism. The consequences of getting it badly wrong could cost you lost investment and loss of credibility with whichever financial institution you care to deal with.

So, I would advise you to start small and grow as the tide takes you. Forecasting expenditure can be very successful....forecasting sales is more of an art than a science.
I find this interesting too.

I'm a brand new start up in the niche and already run 3 other businesses, but this industry is new to me.

I'm spreading my sales across eBay, Amazon, a Shopify shop and hopefully in-person sales.

I'd be hoping for around t-shirt sales 10 per week, but I have no idea if that's realistic!
There's no magic answer to 'realistic'. Too many criteria in the mix. To make matters worse, the criteria are as perceived by your potential customer base and not by yourself.

Quality, service, price, choice, location (demographics), desirability of product, advertising, word of mouth, to name but a few, will all shape the way your income develops.

Trading for a period makes forecasting easier. You can then look at, say, first year experience, and extrapolate forward based on recent trends and even gut feeling.

My very first cash flow forecast (in a construction industry related trade) was almost perfect....but the reality is that the assumptions I used to predict first year sales bore little resemblance to what actually came about. Essentially, I had assumed 'x' number of smaller jobs, whereas we got far fewer jobs but of a larger size.

Forecasting is just a more acceptable way of saying best guess.
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You make a good few points there.

I suppose what I term as 'realistic' is based on traffic figures, past experience of other businesses etc.

I know the blanks are good quality, I know the designs have been market researched by myself (using 250 random people from my demographic) and the print quality will be good.

Now it's a question of putting the products in front of the potential customers!

I'm lucky in the sense that I'm not relying on this as a full time income - my other businesses take care of that for me. I'm certainly not in it to lose money though!

Current investment is £1250 so far. I'm hoping to return that almost twice over within 6 months!
Humabrom there is no wayt you can do a forecast as but the nature of tees, you may get 12 sales in a day for 5 days, but you will never know if that is just because weather, promotions, just coincidence and after all with tees people tend to buy a couple then wait a while, never regular which is where you cannot give an accurate account and i think pure vinyl is right although maybe worded wrong but the essence is that. you cannot rely on Surf Wear as when its winter who will buy it??? you need to box clever and make a whole all rounded tees and such like so when one is slow the other may work, but your not relying on one type and if you do i think you will lose faith and shut up shop as to speak, just get a few out there and see where it takes you, spot a bit of the market that you can do, them smash them, i try and smash several markets just to get it out there, different times of year is different things and im not going to say it here cos i learned these things, but when you spot them it will be magic.....
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SHoyles ..... that estimation again may work some weeks other wont, its good you spread it around these places but this is where everyone places it so your a small fish in a big pond, unless you have thousands to use as marketing then fine ....... again know your end user and tailor those, if say the surf wear for instance then instead of hoping someone looking for that pops up on your site, you need to box clever, there are lots of people just doing it for fun and not knowing the industry which really is bringing down the industry as a whole, so know your stuff, know your market, learn how to do it probably, dont undercut people cos uyou dont mind making £1 profit per shirt, and work hard then your cooking on gas .... and the second part wasnt aimed at your per say but i thouyght it as i was writing so i thought id say my peice!!!Good luck though bud
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