These two articles are a few weeks apart, but they tread a lot of the same ground so there’s not much point posting them separately. Ray from Lowdtown (who is in the process of relaunching the brand and is documenting the journey) has posted an article explaining just how much it costs to start a brand the proper way. People think that you can just put anything on a shirt, print 50 as cheaply as possible, open a Big Cartel store, and you’ll be the next Johnny Cupcakes. It doesn’t work that way and Ray tries to give you a bit of perspective, of course there a some people that do start out with one design and work their way up to being the next Bape, but they’re probably less than one in a million.
Jon Kruse over at How To Start A Clothing Company makes some good point in an article simply called “Don’t start a clothing company.” His site is dedicated to starting and running a clothing company, and he gets 25,000 unique visitors a month, which is 25,000 people either already making strides in the world of clothing or trying to start their own brand, and that’s 25,000 people every month. That’s a lot of people trying to get into a market that I felt was saturated when I started writing HYA almost 6 years ago, and it has grown exponentially since then.
Of course, these guys don’t really want you to not start your company, they just really want you to think about what you’re doing, consider all the angles, think not just about your first release but what happens after that. How are you going to market? Who are your potential customers? What is your price point and potential profit? How many shirts do you need to sell to fund your next release? Are you going to sell online, at craft fairs, open a pop-up shop, a permanent store, wholesale, a combination of these? Who will print your shirts? What printing method will they use? What blank shirts will you use? How much does shipping cost? How will you package your shirts? What happens if someone wants a refund? Who will design your shirts and branding? Who will design your website? There are literally hundreds more questions that you need to ask yourself, I just thought of those in a minute or two as a few examples. By all means, if you have a vision, go with it, but please be aware that t-shirts are not a path to riches for the vast majority.