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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize that this may not be relevant to everyone here but here are somethings that I wish I had know from the start that probably would have saved me time, money and a lot of frustration.

I'm trying to start a new mid priced skate and snowboard clothing line.

Research EVERYTHING I thought I had done as much research as I possibly could, but just when you think your done there's something else.


Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start dive head first into the t-shirt/clothing biz.

- How much will it cost me to start my business?

Once you have a number add another 1-2000 dollars onto that.

-What type of printing method do I want to use?

I went with heat press and I like it, but now I'm kinda wondering if I made the right choice.

-Are you going to order things from overseas?

I'm getting hats and have had a few other things made overseas. Count on getting samples made and paying a lot for shipping.

Also make sure that you make your address VERY clear. I've waited and waited for packages only to find out that for whatever reason the address got screwed up and it was sent back to China. This has also happened to me right here in Canada from one province away!

-What type of blanks do you want to use?

I wish I had used my time more wisely and ordered blanks from all over the place in advance before I got my transfers. Instead of just rushing out and buying whatever was close to me and cheap.

Order lots of different types from different places and find the one you like before you get started that way when you do get going you know what you want and where to get it.

-If you are applying for a government grant

I applied for a young entrepreneurs grant. I got the run around from day one. If you really want to use the government be prepared to jump through an ton of hoops. I've been working on getting a grant for the last 4 months and still won't get a penny until I'm fully operational for 10 weeks.

-how are you going to fund this new venture?

Lucky for me I have parents, family and friends that believe in what I am doing and want to loan me money. Like I stated before find a number that you think it will cost you to get going and add at the minimum $1000-$2000 more. I figured about 4-5K I'm now approaching 6K and still need more money.

A few other little hints,

Test your product before you put it out there. I thought this was common knowledge but to some people not. Once you have product make 2 of the same shirt, keep one unwashed and new, and wash the other one 20 times and put it through the dryer if you want (i personally hang dry all my shirts) but test it out and see what happens.

Don't get frustrated if things don't always go your way, if you really want this you'll always be thinking of other ways to make things better for you and your business.

Don't get pissed off if your not rolling in the dough over night. Things take time and most new businesses take 3-5 years to start making any kind of profit.

Don't forget that the money you make in sales isn't all yours for the taking. You'll probably be broke for the first little while due to investing every cent back into your new company but persevere and things will fall into place.

Ok this is the last thing I'll tell you don't do. Don't forget that this is supposed to be FUN!

With all this said I hope that this will help someone not make the same mistakes I have and give you somethings to think about that you may not have otherwise. :):):)
 

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Everyone always seems to talk about start up relative to printing, designs, blanks etc... Consider this.

When you talk about start up capital, there is no cookie cutter formula. We have considerbly more for our start up funds because we have rolled out 35 designs in one fell swoop and needed to start out with an inventory of 5,000 shirts. You all know how much blanks cost, for us we use Comfort Colors which are pricy. Your start up cost are dependant on your busines plan, there is no easy answer. In addition to the aforementioned, to start up you may want to think about the following.

1. Incorporation
2. Trade marking
3. Fax and phone lines
4. Storage, shelving - bins
5. bags
6. Web site
7. Merchant accounts
8. Business insurance
9. Credit card equipment
10. Stationary and business cards
11. Order forms
11. Marketing materials
12. Shipping account (FedEx etc..)

That is for selling product only. If you are printing then you have the equipment and supplies for that. Just some things to consider because they are often overlooked and can be expensive. How
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Everyone always seems to talk about start up relative to printing, designs, blanks etc... Consider this.

When you talk about start up capital, there is no cookie cutter formula. We have considerbly more for our start up funds because we have rolled out 35 designs in one fell swoop and needed to start out with an inventory of 5,000 shirts. You all know how much blanks cost, for us we use Comfort Colors which are pricy. Your start up cost are dependant on your busines plan, there is no easy answer. In addition to the aforementioned, to start up you may want to think about the following.

1. Incorporation
2. Trade marking
3. Fax and phone lines
4. Storage, shelving - bins
5. bags
6. Web site
7. Merchant accounts
8. Business insurance
9. Credit card equipment
10. Stationary and business cards
11. Order forms
11. Marketing materials
12. Shipping account (FedEx etc..)

That is for selling product only. If you are printing then you have the equipment and supplies for that. Just some things to consider because they are often overlooked and can be expensive. How

I was just going to add all that too! You are so right there isn't a set formula for this or any other business but I thought it might give other people who are just starting out a heads up on things. I wish I had a list like this before I started out. Again though it all comes down to research.
Let's keep this thread going so that we can maybe compile A semi complete list for newbies!
 

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I was just going to add all that too! You are so right there isn't a set formula for this or any other business but I thought it might give other people who are just starting out a heads up on things. I wish I had a list like this before I started out. Again though it all comes down to research.
Let's keep this thread going so that we can maybe compile A semi complete list for newbies!
I've got one. When you have a new idea, like starting your own business, there will be a lot of impulse decisions that come. Understand that good things take time, some times lots of it. By thinking things through and asking all of your questions before you invest money into your idea, and especially before you quit your job, you'll save money, and a lot of unneeded stress. All I could think about in the beginning, which wasn't very long ago, was getting my business started and getting away from my family's business. I made a lot of quick choices and purchases that I very quickly realized that had I taken the time to do some extra market research, and read a few more posts, I could have kept myself from spending some money that I didn't need to spend, and had a little less stress from "having" to find new sales, instead of "getting" to find new sales.
 

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One that is very very important is to get all of your business license and tax registration in order and learn the tax laws for your state, or you will be very confused come tax time and trying to figure out how much you owe your state or if you need to pay back to other states because of sales made there. Never charge tax to out of state customers as it will be really confusing come tax time. A little lesson I learned hehe.

Bobbie
 

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A few things I've learned from the 2 business (not t-shrit business) that I own.

1) For all purchases decide if you need the item now or if you can hold off 3-4 months or more. With my first business we jumped into purchasing a few items we thought we had to have to start and ended up not needing them for quit some time. If you hold off it will really help with your cash flow.

2) If you have partners in the business, make sure they are the right ones. My first business started off with 3 people - we soon realized one of them was the wrong one to be in business with. Lucky for me it was an easy separation, but had he not wanted out, it would have been very difficult.

3) Try and pick up a few sales before you quit your job. If you can manage providing top quality service and still hold down another job you will be alot better off then if you quit too soon.

4) Expect suprises - you find plenty of them. When they come just remeber that it is part of owning your own business.

5) Being your own boss is great, well, most of the time. It definantly has some downsides. Biggest one I can think of is that sh*t runs uphil (not down) - when something goes wrong customers & employees want answers from you.

6) Understand your operating costs (fixed & direct), profit margins, estimated avg. sale for your industry and all other financial items (don't forget the cost of your time). Then understand how many customers/sales you need any given month to cover your costs/make a profit. This will help you understand what it will take to get the sales.

Hope this helps someone.
 

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Just adding a message to be in the loop od any updates... great info by the way and exactly what I've been doing. I started experimenting and am really researching everything I do and meeting people and just getting my head around it all and making sure I get the best quality/etc.

Treating it as a long term project is imperative I feel as those rash and impulse decisions become obsolete because like mentioned... it gives you a chance to take a step back and analyze it from different perspectives to see what your final decision on that matter is.

One thing I have noticed is that people are always trying to hurry you up and get the business i guess... best bet is to not be impulsed by anyone else to make a decision on the spot you hadn't even thought about. PeacE!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
great post derek... thanks.

why are you not sure about heat transfers?
I've put a ton of money (like over $2000) into heat transfers and press. I think it may have been more cost efficient for me get my shirts and that screen printed. Also I bought some stock and I have about 30 girls shirts I can't sell.


(To Rodney: You must have some pearls of wisdom. Let's hear them.)
 

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I've put a ton of money (like over $2000) into heat transfers and press. I think it may have been more cost efficient for me get my shirts and that screen printed. Also I bought some stock and I have about 30 girls shirts I can't sell.


(To Rodney: You must have some pearls of wisdom. Let's hear them.)
Managing your money and making the best purchases is huge. When I first heard about sublimation, I just knew it was the ticket to my success. I rushed out and bought an epson1280 and a bulk ink system for around $1200. 3 months later after I realized that my market was not going to support the costs of sublimation, and also realizing the headaches that come with the bulk ink system, I sold the system for $450. Immediate loss of $750. I should have gotten a catalog, ordered a few sample items and gotten conde to print them for me. Then I could have taken those items around having invested about $50 and figured out that the market wasn't here. Will I ever do sublimation again? I don't know, but I definitely won't make any major purchases without doing the proper market research first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't think that i made a completely wrong choice. On the plus side I don't have hundreds of shirts pre made that I can't sell. I can make custom shirts and charge a bit more money. If I have blanks I don't want I can always try and sell them and re coupe some of my money.
 

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Hey DMM thanks for the post, I have been playing around with starting my own clothing line as well. I got most of the stuff down, like labels, tax id and inc. as far as equipment and materials where do you go? How do i found quality shirts or even better, like american apparel? Would you recommend any system in particular, in the 5k price range. Where in China did you get your hats?

Thanks for the help...

Fel Star
KODAC713
Please post questions about "starting" up as a separate thread. You can find a lot of information and answers by using the search.

Let's keep this thread on the topic of posting "things you wish you would have known from the start" :)

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I've made the mistake of buying equipment to produce a new product line when I really should have subcontracted it for a while. The problem is that I'm real anal about maintaining control over the entire process from ordering raw materials to final shipping. Nothing worse than getting reamed by a customer for something that was out of your control.

I'm setting up for sublimation now, but I'm going in knowing I have no local market. Sales will be strictly internet and on-site via my mobile operation.
 

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Something that has been true for me:

"That deal is not as good as you think it is."

For me that's particularly meant buying secondhand equipment that didn't really meet my needs. In some cases because it was cheap and there and I was impatient, in some cases because I intended to sell some of it off at a profit... and inevitably couldn't be bothered.

I think this could apply to all sorts of things though: the blanks you're buying, that deal you got at the printer, the online business card printer, and yes, in particular, any major equipment purchases you are making both new and secondhand.

The fact is when you're new you won't know as much about what's worth buying and what isn't, and what things are worth (no matter how much you think you do) as you will when you have more experience. I plan on making some more equipment purchases soon, and 1) I'll be putting a lot more thought into it, 2) I'm sure that in a year or two I'll realise I made a dumb decision anyway.

So the advice in all this is, make sure you really really think about any major purchases, the deal is not as good as you think it is, and you don't need it as immediately as you think you do.
 

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The problem is that I'm real anal about maintaining control over the entire process from ordering raw materials to final shipping.
You have to let go of some things. If you do everything yourself, you'll burn out quick. By subcontracting, I save loads of time and I'm definitely not as stressed as if I were doing it all myself. When you really get started get someone else to take care of your books as well. It's relatively inexpensive and will help you out a lot in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here's another pearl of wisdom!


Before you buy any blanks, if you are having them shipped to you. Find out who they are shipping through first. Then find out if they will send it by air or ground.

Once you have that established call the company they said they were going to use and find out how long it will take to get your package to your doorstep.

I just ordered from Techno sport out of Quebec and they told me that if I had my order in before a certain time they would ship the same day and I would get my package in one to two days.

I called the shipping company they use (purolator) and found out that it will take 4 working days to get my package. Monday being a holiday I probably won't get it till next week Wednesday. I was hoping to get it by today or even Friday at the latest because this weekend will be HUGE for me.

Now I have to make another order with my local guy and dole out a whole bunch more money and probably won't get my money back from Techno sport.

Oh also they put the wrong postal code on the package so I might not even get the package at all! Man I'm F%$*[email protected] PISSED!

Sorry I had to vent. But seriously do all of the aforementioned things to make sure you don't get shipping headaches like me.


 

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I feel like I am in the same situation. I started trying to get my t-shirt business up and running about one year ago. There has been lots of learning and challenges.On of the most challenging is realising how many people are not honest in their dealings. I have been burned a couple of times.

But perserverance pays off.

Great forum !

thanks from Canada
 
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