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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK... so this might sound crazy! I own a cool adventure inspired line of tees and am tired of sitting at home waiting for things to happen. I want to get out on the road, buy a cheap RV and travel around the country selling tees. I was thinking that maybe someone out there also has a brand they would like to promote on the road. Of course you have to have something that sells. I am ready to do this, build a business by going to the people. I'm thinking music festivals, fairs shows, the beach etc.

I am not a young wippersnapper, so if you are not at least in your 30s and think you might want to do this, we probably wouldn't have much in common.

Cheers,

Rob
 

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I don't know for sure where you live but there are likely many shows and festivals within a decent drive time to you. Unless you're selling thousands of t's then to think you can just live out on the road is a little unrealistic. This is coming from 6 years experience of doing these type shows with other products. Shows are not a guarantee of sales, sometimes you're doing good to make your booth rent. Yes you'll have an RV so you think no hotel costs but you still have a hook up fee many places. And you'll have the initial cost or payment of the RV.
I would just suggest starting with some shows that you can do close to home and see how they go, then as sales increase you can start going further and further. As you hear of good shows then it's worth the risk of all the expenses involved.
 

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jeanne pretty much hit the nail on the head. try local first, say within fifty miles. that'll be an adventure in itself.

sure, your 'plan' sounds like a blast, and if you're comfortably retired, why not? but, while you're out on the road, where do you plan on having product shipped to you? certainly you're not going to haul around 500 shirts and hope for the best, eh? i mean, that stuff takes up a lot of room when space is limited. of course, you may want a small trailer to take with you. (i've met people that did the antique circuit, and some of them will haul a small car around with them for when they have errands to run... like buy groceries, do laundry, etc..)

if gas money isn't an issue and you can figure the logistics out, sounds like something i'd do. :)
 

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Since many distributors have warehouese throughout the different countries, you could plan on picking up blanks while driving by.

You could also have them shipped when you leave one location and planning on getting to the next location within a certain time from.

Many stores in the states sell t-shirts too. They're usually the 5 ounce t-shirts, but that's not bad.
 

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true, you can buy blanks. but, how are you going to put an image on that whilst cruising the countryside? when you're king of the road, it's easier when it's something like antiques: you sell what you can, replenish along the way (and these guys typically have some kind of storage unit waiting on them back home).

this is not a business plan, it's a hobby venture. fun, no doubt, but as it stands there's likely to be little to no money to make after the expenses. indeed, most lines fail even when they have relatively static expenses, not adding gas and festival fees to the mix. all told, i put 200 miles a week on my trailblazer to and from work and that runs me roughly $50. you're likely to spend that a day galavanting around the country....

dunno, sounds like a ridiculously expensive thing to do when you could spend that money elsewhere and with better results. i mean, if i had an adventure line, what in the world would make me think that art shows and festivals are the places where my market is going to be at? just because i'm there?

but, i'd love to be proven wrong. :)
 

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Well how do you think people sell when they go to Fairs and Craft Shows. They carry a heat press.

Many people set up RV's with screen printing equipment, heat presses etc.

What about people who set up at conventions? How do you think they set up for those?

If he has a predetermined design, he just brings so many screens with the design. He can put the screens in a plastic bag so he doesn't have to clean them out.

He can also use transfers. He didn't say screen printing.

If he sells the t-shirts for $10 each, and sells 100 per day he just made $1000. Now add that to a 3 day event and he just made $3000 providing he sold 300 t-shirts for that weekend or 3 day event.

What about all those Mobile Service Companies. They drive around all day doing service calls. They buy gas daily, and pay their mortgage etc. Bread, Chip, Candy Route Drivers, etc., also drive all day. They make about $100,000 a year.

He could live in the RV, and barter Professional Logos, and T-shirts for any work done. I know many people that do this in the states.

One person, sold their home, bought an RV, and travel from show to show all year round.

I spoke with a guy in Virginia that Rigged his RV years ago. He includes signs too. He was selling his now older RV and buying a new one. He only drives around the North East.
 

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OK... so this might sound crazy! I own a cool adventure inspired line of tees and am tired of sitting at home waiting for things to happen. I want to get out on the road, buy a cheap RV and travel around the country selling tees. I was thinking that maybe someone out there also has a brand they would like to promote on the road. Of course you have to have something that sells. I am ready to do this, build a business by going to the people. I'm thinking music festivals, fairs shows, the beach etc.

I am not a young wippersnapper, so if you are not at least in your 30s and think you might want to do this, we probably wouldn't have much in common.

Cheers,

Rob
May 18th, 2010 May 18, 2010 5:55:27 AM - #1 (permalink) -
uk2la99
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Take a road trip to sell your line!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am new to the forum and the apparel business. Over the years I was quite successful as a product developer and marketer, but lost it all in this recent downturn. I decided that my passion is developing a clothing brand, but like most am pretty cash strapped.

Over the last 6 months I've come up with a killer brand name, cool designs and am close to completing my first run of shirts and hats. I was inspired by learning of Johnny Cupcakes who took his shirts on the road and am ready to do the same. I'm curious if anyone has done that, or if there is anyone out there who has the balls to join me? I am planning on traveling around America doing shows, visiting stores and boutiques and generally taking my line to the people. I want to video the whole trip and post it on youtube as well as do some other viral marketing along the way.

I am also a good sales person, a Brit and would be interested in being a rep for a line that has legs, as long as we can agree on terms. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who done this or anyone interested in doing it.

Looks like you have been talking about this idea since your first post two years ago......
 

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Terry, in his defense, many people do that. That's why he's looking for someone to join him, imo.

Isn't that true for many people who tell us they want to start a business? They keep talking about it for years before they actually start one.

I hope he finally does. Many people just don't know how to get started. They don't realize that there are many markets within each industry.

He needs to just start one. People will come to him and ask if he does custom work as you know. If he's smart he'll say yes, and as he's on the road between fairs, events etc., he could screen print local business t-shirts.
 

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Ugh, back when I used to make a product that would appeal to horror fans I briefly entertained the notion of doing a year or two hitting all the major conventions in the US. I was never really serious about it but I did do some research. Just the thought of dealing with maintaining a tax ID in every single state you plan to visit (unless they offer a temporary vendor's license which most states do not have) was a horror film all on its own.

More power to you if you do it, though! I am terrible at keeping records.
 

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you can't compare a traveling salesman with samples and sells out of a catalog or contracts with someone hauling around equipment trying to make a living off of the actual product in their RV, can you? how do the antiques people do it? they're selling higher dollar merchandise and are on a consistent circuit, hitting their target market. just taking stabs at fairs, festivals, events, etc., and you're not necessarily hitting your market (he said it was an adventure brand. you might as well be selling horror tees next to grandma peddling her home crocheted doll clothes. and this indicates potential sales of 100 shirts per day to you? hmmm, not to me, it doesn't, not by a long shot. look, if you're not selling to your market, you're going on a fool's venture, it's as simple as that.)

yeah, johnny cupcakes inspires a lot of people. and a lot of people forget that gas was half the price of what it is now. they also forget that he had an awesome design and tons of people who wanted that design based on the fact that he was in a band that toured nationwide, so thousands of people saw the product for hours on end. all most people take out of that story is that he sold shirts out of the trunk of his car, ne'erminding the supporting evidence that made him a success.

as far as attending conventions and setting up there, again, it's no comparison. in fact, that's a ludicrous comparison. these companies don't support themselves selling just to people at a show. if they did, they'd be out of business. they traipse about *demonstrating* their product, much of which requires financing. often they sell their products/equipment at a discount at the end of their run just to get rid of it as not to have to haul it back as it's now used.

of course, you're probably referring to ppl that sell shirts at a show. sure, they'll bring their stuff. again, though, it's apples and oranges. you're comparing a more-or-less set circuit of events with a market that's more likely to buy with hitting whatever place you can scrounge up along the way that has nothing to do with your product whatsoever. too, the OP makes it sounds as if this is an extended venture, whereas those attending events take breaks, skip a show here and there, and it's sometimes a seasonal thing anyway. i have salesguys i only hear from at certain times of the year ~ when it's appropriate for them to do so.

selling 100 shirts per day is a heckuva goal! what happens when you're rained out? bad sales because you're stuck on the fringes where people are too tired to walk to by that point? or just simply no one buys because your product doesn't fit in with the sauerkraut festival crowd?

can you find exceptions? sure, you can find exceptions to anything, but it doesn't prove anything other than something is conceivably possible *if*.... that's my point, there are a lot of 'ifs' here that's not adding up to a successful outing, imo. just hitting the road with a product, regardless of whether or not you're able to actually produce it, with no plan whatsoever would be calamitous to 99% of the attemptees.

i mean, what fool *wouldn't* try setting up at local events, the kind he plans to travel to in a second-rate gas-guzzler, first before doing this to see even if he could sell ten shirts? this may be going out on a limb, but i'm betting those provided examples knew they could sell their product before heading out on the highway. in other words, they had a plan, not a whimsical adventure scheme, a dream, and some hope. i also view examples like that with a jaundiced eye, as there's invariably a lot of the story that's being left out... usually by the people telling the story, usually to make themselves sound more adventurous than the truth of the thing, lol.

without knowing if whether or not you can even move enough product to support yourself while on the road by trying it locally first, this is just a bad idea. others do it because they have a plan and years of experience with a proven product.
 

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I would start an advertising campaign with the hotels. I'm sure they have them there already, but contact the manager or GM. Make sure they make money and you get a free ad. Put a good looking book together that shows Restaurants, Printers, Mechanics, cleaners, in the local area. Find the price to print the total book and one per room. Include your full page Ad.

Another way is to ask the local newspaper what it would cost to include a one page insert in the newspaper. See how many areas. Create an Ad and sell eight spots per page or side. Enough of a fee to cover 15 spots leaving one free ad for you and maybe even a little cash left over.

Print the pages on like GotPrint.com and deliver them to the newspaper just in time for the next delivery.

One of my friends here in town does it. He's the printer so he creates the ads, sells the spots with quite a few local businesses. Many of them buy either several spots or multiple days.

Good companies know they have to advertise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow... I haven't checked in for a week and now see that there is a a lot chatter about my post. Here's what's new... I packed up my SUV and moved to Huntington Beach... arrived today - Surf Capital of Cali! It's funny that a lot of people assume I have no business sense. It's true I don't have much of a plan. I've build a few successful businesses without a business plan and start up money. I lost most of my entire net worth a couple years ago and that's when I went traveling and dreamed up Bondi Buddha. I did start on this in 2010, but completely ran out of money and had to work for a while. I never stopped creating and now have about 60 designs. My idea of traveling around the country in a motor home, selling shirts was a thought, but I was hoping to hear from people who had actually been successful at doing just that. I know there is a couple of guys that are permanently on the road and sell shirts out of a camper... very successfully. Someone told me about the brand a while ago, but I don't remember what it was.

Anyway... this is a general reply to everyone that posted comments. Thanks for your input, I would love to hear from anyone who actually has been successful with a unique brand. Now that I am in Huntington Beach, I hope that I will find a great audience for my clothing. I am finally going to dedicate a lot of my time and effort into making this happen. I know it won't be easy, but I believe I have a real brand and something that has legs.

Rob Thomas
Founder of Bondi Buddha.
 
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