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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know there is a lot of competition, especially with cafepress.com, but I'm thinking about starting up a small clothing company. I'm not looking to get rich, I'm just looking to be able to break even and cover my costs with the possibility of making a profit. I would be 100% satisfied if I only covered my costs. I'm doing this more for the "business venture" than the actual profitability, but everyone likes to cover their costs ;)

There's always new fads, new clubs, groups, music bands, new forums :p etc that are looking for custom stuff. And there's always those high school kids just looking for something different.

I will have a brand name with my own T-shirts that customers can buy, but I will also make custom ones for people who do not want to purchase my brand.

What does everyone think?

What kind of licenses would I need?

I would assume I need a Business License, Copyright Registration, Trademark Registration. Anything else? Someone mentioned to me an exporting permit, but I dont think I need that to ship T-shirts to the United States.... do I? I could send a t-shirt to someone in the U.S. right now and I don't have a permit. Doesn't quite make sense to me...

I wont be setting up shop, this will mainly be an online thing with ebay, facebook, twitter, as my advertising/selling helpers.

I will have my own website domain, as well as email domain.

Any information/suggestions/criticism would be appreciated.
 

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This is nothing new, I can go in town and have a custom shirt made locally for $15-20 or print a lower quality one myself. There are illegal immigrants and other countries making custom shirts for next to nothing.

What is your edge on the competition such as http://www.cafepress.ca/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know its nothing new, which is my biggest fear.

The only edge I would have on something like CafePress is lower prices and a new brand name.

But like I said, I just want to break even... I don't need to make thousands.
 

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What would the Dragons say?

Personally I think this will end up being more hassle and effort than it's worth. If it is so easy to get into, everyone will be doing it. Everyone wants to have this stuff made overseas for cheap, consumers are addicted to cheap prices. You can break even by simply doing nothing. For that reason, I'm out.
 

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Opps I didn't even see you already mentioned cafepress

There is an episode of "Dirty Jobs" about making T Shirts which makes me wonder why you'd do it for free. The experience is always good though

I had a side venture in school making videos of special events. I already had the cameras and DVDs cost pennies. Some I put no effort into and basically charged nothing but they still got high quality raw footage. Some I put a lot of effort into and it was easy to make as much $$ I needed for my time when the bottom line is that low. I never even knew of any competition and there was basically more work than I could keep up with. If you were good at it you could make a lot of $ just by word of mouth, and no out sourcing countries could replace it :) Going legit is always a profit killer - hard to make a good video without using copywritten music!
 

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The idea of of going into a business with trying to break even as your goal is disturbing to me.

Why don't you have a nice little fire with your money instead? This way you'll save yourself some time and headaches.

No one in their right mind would ever start a business without some expectation of profit - being in business is hard, there's tons of upfront cost and lots of hard work.

Find a business you can make money at:)
 

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go for it. if you think you will enjoy it and learn from it, then it will be time well spent. not everything is about money, be wary of those who don't see the whole picture!

I just call it tv time. why would you invite dragons to your tshirt business? wouldn't they just burn all the inventory??
 

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A "Serger" to make T shirts at any sort of respectable pace is about $250,000
A printing machine another $250,000

To try to compete with offshore tshirts would be silly.

Labour unions and some charities might pay a premium for a Canadian made T, but that's a small market, and the one or two T shirt companies left in Canada have it sewn up. :)
 

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great idea cal i'd wear one.

what if armies of DIYers wearing CMF t-shirts suddenly started roaming the streets busses subways and banks yes BANKS of every canadian city.

we'd have to think of a slogan.
 

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One question to ask yourself, what value can you add to the business to give a competitive advantage? To look at it another way, why would a customer choose you over the others who are doing the same thing?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
are you making tshirts or printing tshirts?
Buying blank shirts/hoodies, etc in bulk and then printing them.


And of course you will try to work something out to offer CMF T's.

:cool:
Of course! :)

hystat: Um. Since when is a printing machine $250,000? Do you think anyone in their right mind would buy a printing machine for that kind of money? I rather just buy a house and call myself mortgage free. :confused:
A printing machine is $1k. I don't need an industrial machine pumping out 2500 shirts/hour. All I need is a machine that can do 10 shirts an hour. And even 10 is a way more than enough for a business just starting up.

As sprocket said, this isnt solely about the money. In fact, its solely about trying to establish a self-sustaining business with covering costs as my main concern, and the possibility of profit at a later date once the costs have been covered. I dont expect to cover costs for at least 1 year.

FrugalTrader, That's the part where I see darkness. The only thing I have to offer that gives a competitive advantage is that I can sell shirts for cheaper prices ($10-15) CAD, and I would have established a new "brand" that may, or may not, fly. This is going to be the hardest part. I will have to advertise through the cheapest and free channels I can, along with word of mouth. Give out some free t-shirts, and essentially go a little further into debt to get some awareness. But everyone knows this. Can't sell a product if there's no awareness.

Look at all those teenage girls that spend a fortune on clothes that probably cost less than your mcdonalds drink to make, just because it says "tna, bench, coach" etc. Then there's hollister, abercrombie, hurley, etc etc.

Sure, the people that own these companies have a lot more capital at hand, but their expenses are a lot more than mine due to their advertising on TV and such. I think it can easily be done on a smaller scale, as long as patience is taken. Plus, the printing machine is an asset. If I purchase it for 1k and dont make any money, I can probably sell the machine for $500 somewhere, along with all the shirts for $0.25/shirt and at least cover some of my costs.
 

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As sprocket said, this isnt solely about the money.
If It is a business , it really should be about the money.
My son tried the same thing years ago , he lost money.
That doesn't mean it can't be done profitably by others though.
It has been done to death , but then what hasn't these days?

I think that it shows that you have some entrepreneurial spirit in you , and that is a good thing in my opinion , it doesn't seem like a huge outlay if you really want to give it a try , even if you don't make money , it will be a lesson learned , and maybe an introduction into self employment and business ownership.

Check out others with an unusual angle , like http://www.dirtshirts.com/ , or http://www.peiredmud.com/home.php .

Strive to come up with your own new angle and advertise , advertise , and advertise , I have been self-employed for 30 years , and it's all about advertising , people have to know what's out there before they can buy it.

In a business like that , you should have a little salesmanship in you as well , have some product ready and don't be afraid to get out and show it to retailers and specialty shops , display at flea markets , farmers markets , car shows , etc.

Send emails to local car clubs , sports clubs etc. , offering your services and wares , many businesses like hotels , pubs , and resorts like to have their staff wearing nice company shirts with names and/or company logos , make up a sample shirt or two and give it to the managers or owners with an offer to outfit their staff if they choose to.

Websites are cheap and a must for just about any business these days , my website is my biggest asset when it comes to advertising.

Free shirts for CMF members would be a good start.:D (size XL)

Good luck if you do go for it.
 

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If I'm going to buy a T shirt with a logo it's for some cause or person/thing that I support. My favorite t shirts are actually plain no logo nice material shirts. Those cheap quality ones aren't as comfortable and don't last

I refuse to be a billboard for those names like Hollister etc, and I know most people just buy it for the logo but don't those logos get popular from selling quality clothing in the first place? (be it overpriced) I don't really think people want to wear a cheap shirt with a random logo, unless it stands for something they support etc. Unless you can get some kind of viral internet spin on it, but I still think it has to be something other than just a logo

One interesting brand, and I watch the stock, is Lululemon. Expensive as hell but it is very nice quality stuff and made in Canada
 

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Do you think anyone in their right mind would buy a printing machine for that kind of money? ...
A printing machine is $1k. I don't need an industrial machine pumping out 2500 shirts/hour. All I need is a machine that can do 10 shirts an hour. And even 10 is a way more than enough for a business just starting up.
A close friend of mine is in that industry (promotional products)
One day she gets an order for 50 shirts, the next day 10,000 shirts.

She says it's a "go big or go home" business. A small printer could only survive if they also made other promotional items and had something unusual and interesting to offer.

She has a few solid and reliable vendors that can quote on any job, big or small. They understand 4 colour printing processes and can help with artwork. They have the right software to do digital approvals and samples.
They know what will work on what shirt and what won't etc...
If they mess up, they have the resources to fix it.

Labour unions and the odd government dept. are the only customers that want to pay the premium to have stuff printed in Canada.
 

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One angle that she is always looking for, for clients is Eco friendly (Even if it's nonsense.. her customers love it)
If you could print with ink certified to be friendly to Canadian Beluga whales or some eco-sounding angle, you'd be in like Flynn.

She's always quoting stuff made with paper made from elephant dung or some nonsense.... when you realize it's a product purely promotional that no one needed in the first place, you have to laugh...

but it sells.
 
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