Thanks so much for the kind words and help
I realize that over the past few weeks that I, along with about thousands of
others, all try to sell a relatively similar product to an average customer. I
have seen T-shirt websites rise and fall in the brief time that I am in the
silk screening industry. It taught me an important lesson. Unless you can be
different in marketing and promotion, you can not survive. A t-shirt is a
t-shirt; there is really no discernible quality difference between one company
and another, at least not to an average customer.
I have seen t-shirt websites that last for
barely a month before it has to close down and the owners has to reconsider
their future. I feel like the t-shirt website that are opening up today all
uses the same formula; start with 5-15 designs, stock the items, and pray it
will work. The truth is that is no longer viable. Websites like Threadless.com
and Customink.com relies on innovative business concepts to build customer.
They are the pioneers of this industry and others website like Tshirthell.com
relies on brilliant marketing and a strong community based customer who
eventually grow a sort of attachment towards the website.
I do not want to start an average website.
I know in my heart that it will die eventually. No matter how good of a design
I print, if no one sees it or knows about it, I simply can not sell it. So I
though about everything there is and the process is simple, I am just selling a
t-shirt to someone who wants to buy it. But I want to make the process unique
and like no others and I think I can.
So my goal is that if I do have a website,
I want it to survive and be successful. A website is powerful marketing magnet
itself and it can attract a new customer base and empower the business.
Another key in this is having the store.
One of the more personal reasons for me having a store is that I am simply
running out of room to work in my house. The size of my house is relatively
small and most of our rooms are occupied. My parents have been kind enough to
empty out our office room and let me work in there. But with the size of the
machine, it getting to be a huge hassle since the machine doesn’t fit very well
in the room. And I can never sort of use it to its full “potential” to due the
size limit. Also the t-shirts supplies that I order are all crammed up in a
corner in the living room and my parents get slightly annoyed whenever someone
comes over and they have deal with columns of boxes. I tried to rent a storage
room to keep all the supplies in but the nearest one is such a long drive that
it is not worth the gas money.
I know a few silk screeners who live in North Carolina and they
have been great technical help ever since I started it. One of the keys they
stress is having a store front. A store might be much more expensive than a
website will ever be, but it carries another intangible value in marketing and
reputation. I tried to sell my products just to friends and such by showing
them the designs but it is not working very well. I live in Chapel Hill, heart
of North Carolina,
one of the great towns with a huge college population. There are 2 other silk
screeners that I know of in this town. And the biggest one by far is business
with a very small store front but they generate a huge amount of capital from
the lack of competition. There are no other reputable silk screeners within 50
miles. My other competitor works out of a warehouse type of building off a
backstreet in a rural community just outside of the city limits. The last I checked,
he isn’t doing very well for obvious reasons. The store that I have in mind
will combine high quality and volume silk screening with retail of clothing
products. I think most silk screen stores are too one sided; they primarily
focusing on using the storefront as a workspace only and not unitize that space
for retail. I might be wrong since I only have limited contact with stores
solely in my area. I also found a niche of the market that has been
continuously ignored and I think I can make most of that. I also thought about
staffing and it shouldn’t be very hard since I live in a college town and the
students are pretty desperate for jobs as they are not a lot available. I
already tried once to sell the shirts on the street, I almost got arrested. We
have a pretty strict city ordinance about selling stuff on the side of the
But in the end that is what I have been
thinking and I think $25,000 is in the range of what I am envisioning right
now. How to get that amount is a completely different matter. I made an inventory of all the materials I
need to have a website and a store and its cost of rent and etc and that is
amount I came up with. Of course, the more the better, but I only have about
1/10 in my pocket. The investor I been talking to made a verbal commitment
although i have yet to receive anything yet. I guess I will just keep finding
more investors in the near future and present them with this plan but in more
detail. My family is not rich at all, we are just an average family with nothing
special and I know for a fact that there are no ways to get $25,000 out of my
parents. I checked with some of my friends already and they are not rich enough
to contribute much and the amount they did give has been really great if them.
I just need a way to find more local investors and I am having a really hard
time doing that. And I read 10 step plan cover to cover and it is really great
and I am still exploring all the great features of this site.
So thanks for all the encouragements and I
will keep trying. I don’t give up very often and I don’t plan to now.