What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Crazy Idea for the Week and Questions

What is it? I can't tell you, at least not yet. But I can tell you it was one of those ideas that put me on automatic on the drive home as my brain worked through the parameters. If I pulled this off it would be a lot of work, lots of contractual issues, and probably small margins. And I can tell you this, it involves t-shirts and other promotional materials.

Now you all may know that I love designing things and making cool things that go out into the public sphere (much of what I do is limited to very small audiences). I've always loved designing posters and t-shirts as well as other consumables. I've often toyed with creating my own lines of t-shirts. And now there are several services that handle this kind of low volume work:
CafePress
Zazzle
Skreened

A few friends have used all these services to create store or individual t-shirts for programs, etc. Has anybody used these stores to order products? And if so, what's you're impression of them (quality, durability, cost, customer satisfaction, etc)? They all have similar pricing schedules (although Zazzle seems to have slightly lower prices).

The next question is, how much would you be willing to pay for a graphic t-shirt? I'm a cheap bastard so I'm not a good judge. The last graphic t-shirt I bought at full price was $25. But I'm not sure what a good price really is.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to be able to do this thing. It would be a lot of work. However, I'm interested in your experiences.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
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WendyB_09 said...

Depending on the volume of sales you're projecting, try your local vendors first. With times as tough & tight as they are, many small or family-owned shops in your area may be willing to match on-line pricing just to get the business, and you'd have more control over the process.

I used to do promotional day of event sales for several charity groups, so cost v. quality was always an issue. Did both screenprint & embroidered shirts, depending on the event. Best results I ever had on embroidered goods was a couple that bought a used machine and did all their own work to make a little extra retirement income. I have yet to wear out the sweatshirts or the hats I got from them 10+ years ago.

And I never had any problem getting $15 for hats or $15-$25 for shirts or sweatshirts. I always specified a quality weight & range and looked at their samples.

Where are you located? I have contacts still in some parts of the country that do good work as well.

Steve Buchheit said...

WendyB, see, I have those connections (I still do some work and have looked at it for some lines. Also I've done the circuit for my wife's businesses and it's not a lifestyle I really wanted to embrace (of travelling, setting up tables, selling six or ten things, etc)). I may still do it for some lines, but I don't expect most to sell more than a hundred of each for most of them.

And yes, the quality of the product is most important.

WendyB_09 said...

Yeah, nix on the travel and set up and not sell shit. Been there, done that.

Actually did the letter design & sewing on those fraternity sweatshirts you see for a time. Some friends started up a logo business for the fraternity we're in, and I was their supplier. Got talked into doing sales too at a couple of events.

(that's what I get for answering my phone in the middle of the night and responding in my sleep to what I thought was a drunk roomie's question!)

Venture didn't last long though (too many chief's syndrome). But I still see my sweatshirts on folks from time to time, so I know they held up over the years.

Steve Buchheit said...

Wendy, if I had a nickel for every time I got involved in something like that, I'd have a pretty good stack of nickels.

Most of what I've done in the consumer market have all been phased out (tool packaging mostly). It's still a kick when I do programs for events and people point them out to me (knowing I'm a designer), not knowing I was the one who did them.

I'm going to expose some of the idea and say I have definite plans of doing it for my own stories.