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Discussion Starter #1
Our company website is Stand Up, Stand Out, Be fAMAS!

My goal for this business was always to sell online. We have some local designs when it comes to high schools in the area, but our other designs are for anyone, everywhere. We do Christian designs, some colleges etc. The business was started by my husband and I and he is the artist. He does every single design by hand first (meaning he actually draws it) then he colors it in photoshop. After that, it's passed over to me to add lettering and then I print it and press it onto shirts. We have been selling some here and there locally, but the main goal is to sell online.

How in the world do we do that? Right now we have a merchant website through yahoo that we are paying for, but has not made ANY sells yet. We've had this site since September. We are at a point now where we HAVE to make money as my husband was laid off and we have 3 little ones 3 and under at home and its been hard for him to find a job so far, so we'd like to get this going FINALLY.

If I can figure out how to get people coming to our site and buying, things would be much better! Our goal is 3-4k per month profit.

How can we advertise to our target market on a shoe string budget?
 

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I know its depressing not making any sales but hang in there. We have had hits and misses to our site as well. And when we first got the site up we were not getting any hits at all really so you just gotta stick it out and keep it positive. And just because someone visits your site it does not translate into a sale so again you just got to stick it out. Try looking into SEO settings and such via the search tool up top and see if this is something that your missing. I dont know much about Christian designs and what the market is like for them so I dont know how they sell but your goal per month I think its unrealistic (especially just starting out) and I dont want to discourage you but I am only judging off of personal experience and giving you my personal opinion. Everyone is different so I am curious to see what other people say but for us, our site has been up a few months longer than yours and we dont make anything close to you're goal per month. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Hi Octavia, welcome to the forums.

It is very difficult to sell tees online, because there is so much competition. It takes a lot of money to market your site to gain enough exposure and demand enough market share to make the profits you are looking for.

John made some good points about SEO. You can also try social networking like Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, there is a bigger issue. Your football and college shirts, as well as the transformer shirt, are infringing on intellectual property. You can't use team, player or school names without license or permission. Even if it seems like it's no big deal, it really is. Licensed t-shirts are a multi billion dollar industry and I would hate to see you get sued over this. To be on the safe side, you are better off just selling your original designs.
 

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Just like I tell people about running a business in person, if you just sit there and wait for people to come, you're going to get minimal response. People need a reason to come to you, people have to be reminded of you. You have to keep your self on their minds one way or another, this doesn't always include money, there are lots of free things that you can do with just invested time for preparing it. I checked out your site and the art work is pretty good...... but I can't discern who you're targeting. You just have shirts posted, aside from the school ones, who are the other one's for? Maybe you should think about that and push what you got up to those couple of people while you and your husband sit down and really home in on a market and a way to approach it.
 

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Hey Octavia

Like Tim said it is very difficult to sell shirts online as there is so much competition. Doesn't matter how many social networking sites you participate in, this takes TIME. These sites are also rammed with competition!

I would suggest focussing on selling offline & by word of mouth while also building your online following . You have to literally put the product in the consumers face & if you are 100 percent confident with your products this will be easy. Doesn't matter what tee **** niche you are focusing on the clothing game is saturated & it takes a lot to make sales online even if you have a professional website. When starting out you will make 100 percent more sales by selling face to face rather than online.

Once you create that following people will start to take notice. Then that offline following will start to develop into an online following. Then a friend of a friend of a friend will place an order and so forth. Its rare that complete random's will automatically flock to your web store and place orders just because it's something 'new'.

Basically things take time & in this day and age know one can can sit and wait..you have to actively be pushing forward EVERYDAY on all the networking sites online and then offline. Put in your time & people will start to take notice.

If it was that easy to make profit from selling tee shirts, the game would be easy!

What are you doing now to promote your site?!

Also, in situations like this..add your signature..people always click:))
 

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Think about how you can market your designs to the youth groups at churchs. Do you have any private church affiliated schools in your area.
 

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Your site is really nice, designs are great but I would be very careful about using the Cowboys logo & the Drew Brees name unless you have permission to do so.
 

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Unfortunately, there is a bigger issue. Your football and college shirts, as well as the transformer shirt, are infringing on intellectual property. You can't use team, player or school names without license or permission. Even if it seems like it's no big deal, it really is. Licensed t-shirts are a multi billion dollar industry and I would hate to see you get sued over this. To be on the safe side, you are better off just selling your original designs.
I've got to agree with the above statement, you're asking for issues using images and names that are copyrighted. Unless you have licenses for all those images and names you are asking to be sued. Even if the design is unique, the names and images aren't, which means you could be liable for legal action. That is definitely something you should investigate.

Other than that, you've got a o.k. basic site. It isn't cluttered, which is good. I think the individual designs could use a little more description and I have to agree with those who've said they're not sure who your target market is. Your about us page reads kind of like you're shooting for the school/college market and oh yeah, we've got you covered if you're religious too. The first thing you need to do is figure out what market you want to target.

If you're looking for school business, you're probably better off going local. In that case, you'd need to join local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and cultivate other business owners in the local community.

If you do want to pull most of your business online, then you have to point out why someone who is buying school spiritware would want to buy from you versus someone local. Do you have better designs? Are you prices better? What's your unique selling proposition?

If you want to target the Christian apparel market, you could start by networking with local churches and church youth groups. You also would need to figure out where your target demographic, Christians in this case, goes online, and make sure you have a presence in those places.

It isn't enough to put a web site out there. You also have to spend a lot of time jumping up and down and shouting "I'm here". Even the guys who sell a thousand shirts a day are doing that. Most big companies have Twitter and Facebook accounts, and some have blogs as well, not to mention putting out press releases, going to trade shows and sponsoring events. People make purchases from names they know, so you have to make sure they get to know you.
 

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I completely agree.

My t-shirt site ( ilovenuggets.com ) has been in business for about a year. We sell online as well as in select stores throughout the US and Canada. We are looking to go global, however it requires alot of hard work and dedication.

Slowly but surely people will catch on!! You really do have to make sure you do your research and are legally protected.

This forum is alot of help too!! Good Luck!! :)
 

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Forget about making a ton of money on the web...do a google on 'tee shirt printing' and you will get 6,800,000 hits!...as the rest stated..focus on local sales, service..any web traffic can be icing on the cake. Forget using ANY national logo/name...unless you have a ton of money to spent on attorneys.. There is always room for excellence but in a local arena first
 

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I can honestly tell you that you are whatever you say you are. Not in a bad way or anything so don't take it personal. But the majority of us humans have very big dreams that we never implement or try for that matter...

Read this thread i hope it helps in some way, he's actually asking a question similar to yours. Good luck to you and god bless. http://www.t-shirtforums.com/member-introductions/t110770.html
 

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Like my dad always tells me: "It's a sinch by the inch, hard by the yard". Tackle the small things & it will eventually lead up to the big picture. Try local/nearby events (car shows, carnivals, parades, sports games, etc.).
 

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Like my dad always tells me: "It's a sinch by the inch, hard by the yard". Tackle the small things & it will eventually lead up to the big picture. Try local/nearby events (car shows, carnivals, parades, sports games, etc.).

That's exactly my point here. The selling online thing was my last resort to earn even more extra money.

My focus was to find business outside here in the real world and start making money fast!

So start outside, find some real business and then expand online. This is just the way i started and my personal opinion, others might think differently. Goodluck
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi Everyone!

I am soooo sorry for just now responding! I had our first son around that time and have been very busy with him!:)

Ok Let me answer some of your questions.

#1 We took down the Transformer design, as you were right.

#2 As far as local schools and colleges, we have permission for those.

#3 The SUper Brees is a caricature and I was told is not copyright infringement, but we will look more into it as we have the burning bush as well!

#4 our "who dat" shirts we found out were within our local state rights. We were told we can not use the word "NEW ORLEANS SAINTS" and we do not!

#5 The cowboys shirts, we were told we could not use Dallas Cowboys, instead we say "boys". But we will investigate even further on these shirts to make sure. But I am a 2nd generation screen printer (tho I specialize in heat pressing transfers) and this info was passed on to me as they've been printing since 1985 and they are in very good with the local authorities etc.

#6 I've since changed the website around to really promote our Christian designs but I still have links to the local design for the people we solicit locally!

#7 We have since started approaching local churches and we are getting good results.

#8 I have lowered my starting goal of $3k-$4k per month down to $500-$1000 per month. I would like to consistently sell 10 shirts per day ONLINE. If I can do that, I will be extremely happy!

#9 We are on facebook now so please visit and like our page!!!

#10 And we are now looking into SEO's and will target under Christian Tees, etc!

Ok, I think I covered everything except for a signature. And I am going to figure out how to do that! I thank you all for your input, it really helped me to make sure we are doing what we should.

Stand Up, Stand Out, Be fAMAS! You can find the revised version here!

Thanks again everyone!
 

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As far as local schools and colleges, we have permission for those.
Out of curiosity, for the colleges, do you have permission direct from the school or through the Collegiate Licensing Company?

The SUper Brees is a caricature and I was told is not copyright infringement, but we will look more into it as we have the burning bush as well!
Correct, there is no copyright infringement with either the Brees or Bush designs. But there are trademark infringements, right of publicity violations and licensing violations.

The Saints logo and Lombardi Trophy are property of the NFL and require a license to use legally.

Right of publicity grants each person the exclusive right to profit off their own name and likeness. You need permission to use someone's image, even if it's caricature and your own original artwork.

Reebok is exclusively licensed to create NFL caricatures. So yours is a violation of their agreement with the NFLPA.

our "who dat" shirts we found out were within our local state rights. We were told we can not use the word "NEW ORLEANS SAINTS" and we do not!
But the usage of the Saints logo infringes on NFL intellectual property.

The cowboys shirts, we were told we could not use Dallas Cowboys, instead we say "boys".
The "star" logo and Lombardi Trophy are property of the NFL. The shirt is clearly a reference to the team and it requires a license to sell NFL merchandise.

Even if you think you are doing little things to avoid legal issues, you are not. The league wants companies to pay for the right to produce and sell official merchandise, not find loopholes to avoid licensing fees and royalties. The league has a responsibility to their paid licensees to prevent non-licensed companies to continue.

But we will investigate even further on these shirts to make sure. But I am a 2nd generation screen printer (tho I specialize in heat pressing transfers) and this info was passed on to me as they've been printing since 1985 and they are in very good with the local authorities etc.
My advice would be to consult an intellectual property attorney to get professional legal advice on the subject. IP laws extend beyond local authorities and printing experience.

I know your intention was to get advice about selling online, so I apologize for focusing on the IP side of things. I truly wish you luck with your business!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It's really no big deal to us on the football designs because as I said before our main deal is with Christian tees! So they can easily be taken them down as no one has really been going to our site (YET) anyway! And its very easy to edit any of those designs.

Also, we don't have to sell those designs, but they are used in my husband's portfolio which is perfectly legal.

Moving on from all of that, our bread and butter is our Christian designs which we are currently working on more to add to our line and to the site!

Yes it would have been nice to at least answer the thread. Because as I mentioned several times in my response, we will investigate and research more about licensing, permission etc on those things and remove what is illegal We are in business to be around for a long time and to do that, you must stay legal. But, I digress and Ive gotten the info I need!
 

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I don't know what your profit margin might be, but if you're having no sales, you might think of going to a POD site (print on demand) such as "Zazzle". Your designs will get world wide exposure while being able to utilize a separate Christian category. There are numerous styles of shirts for everyone; adults, kids & infants as well as all types of products you can apply your designs to, not just t-shirts. It costs nothing to open a store, & everything is done for you. You have no inventory to be concerned about, all the printing & shipping is done by Zazzle. When your product sells, you get a percentage of the sale of the item. You automatically get 10% but you can adjust the sale price by using any percentage you choose. All products have a base price such as $12.95 for a plain white basic t-shirt, colors are more, which is for the finished product. You may then increase the price to whatever you wish to increase your profits. For example, I usually charge $19.95-$21.50 for a basic white t-shirt depending on the design. That's just an example. I've seen the designs on your site & I don't mind saying they're MUCH nicer than most at Zazzle so you may want to give this a try rather than paying for a site until your designs are exposed for a while. You can also link back to your site from your Zazzle store. BTW, the printing is DTG, not transfers. I hope this might have given you some help with your issue. Be Well, Mike.
 

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I'm not trying to bring you down... but I just want you to be aware that the products your selling could get you sued and/or fined thousands of dollars. It's not worth the risk... especially if you're not making any sales.

I don't believe for one second that you got approval to sell those LSU Tigers shirts. There is no way the CLC would approve them.

I suggest visiting The Collegiate Licensing Company : The Collegiate Licensing Company are read up on licensing. You have to file an in depth application to become an authorized manufacturer ... and another application to sell the items. Each design has to be approved by the licensing agent for that school. It costs thousands of dollars for the application process and very few companies get approval. Your designs are nice, but it's clear as day that they are not officially licensed.

I suggest sticking with Christian tees. I would imagine that bible verses, etc are not copyrighted and there would be no licensing issues with using them.
 
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