One of the compromises of using a hosted storefront like Big Cartel or Storenvy is that even though you do get some degrees of control, you’ll not be able to configure every aspect of the system the way that you would like. For a lot of people this is okay, they just want a simple storefront that they can use to sell their tees, but it does of course have a few drawbacks.
I am quite sure that Big Cartel are well set up for search engine optimisation within their system, but there are a few things you can do to further help yourself and hopefully move up the rankings in Google searches, hopefully getting you more sales in the process.
Tonka Park is a small Big Cartel Theme shop (the HYA shop actually uses one of their themes) has put together a short guide with four things that you can do to your store quite quickly and quite easily that should help your SEO almost immediately.
I got followed by this lady on Twitter (don’t forget to follow HYA too!), and thought that her site was pretty cool. You send her a bunch of t-shirts, and she turns them into a quilt. The business is called Queen B Quilts, and whilst I’m sure I’ve linked to a few ways to create your own t-shirt quilt in my t-shirt recycling post a couple of years back, but I’m no good at sewing and I presume most of you aren’t either, so why not guarantee yourself a good product by paying to have it produced?
It isn’t a particularly cheap service (it depends on the size of the quilt) starting at $125, but I would presume that a lot of time and effort goes into the product of a t-shirt quilt, so the price is probably fair.
I’m always fascinated by how people work, what processes they use to create things, basically I want to know what makes people good at what they do. This video doesn’t hold all the keys to Glennz success, but it does show how he went about created one of his most recent concepts, and is well worth 3 minutes of your time.
I’ve always felt that in spite of it’s many problems in the past that one of the things that made MySoti strong and likeable compared to other print-on-demand services (beyond it’s adoption by quality artists) was that you were really dealing with a person at every point of contact, and that they were open and honest at all times. Earlier in the week Steve wrote a great newsletter basically chronicling the history of MySoti back to it’s days in 2005 when it was known as Bountee. It’s a long story but definitely worth reading if you are interested in the business behind the tees, and it’s practically required reading if you’re considering running a t-shirt business and think you’ll be raking in the cash. [click to continue…]
I like Storenvy and that it clearly has a lot of positive points, but it’s good for someone like Jon to be casting a critical eye over the service to see where they can improve, companies rely on feedback to improve, and end users who are deciding what online store system to use. Fair enough, Jon does build websites for people using BigCartel (Storenvy’s main competitor) amongst other ecommerce platforms and as such has a vested interest in people using BigCartel over Storenvy, but he does raise some valid points that you’ll probably want to check out.
I had the HYA tri-blends (still available in the HYA store) printed by Monster Press, and I have to say that I couldn’t really have been happier with the service, or with the final product I received. Good service, good printing, good price, that’s pretty much all you can hope for when you’re getting shirts printed. For the rest of the month they’re offering 15% off printing & delivery (garment cost remains the same, hardly surprising with the state of cotton prices at the moment), so e-mail them for a quote if you’ve got some printing that needs doing.
My buddies over at Found Item clothing have put together a really interesting series of posts showing you how to speed up the aging process and give your brand new shirt a more vintage look. The posts haven’t all gone live yet (they will be by the end of the week), but there’s already some really good information there including step by step tutorials showing you show to age a t-shirt using different processes. They’ve clearly put a lot of work in so it’s worth taking a look, and the results of some of the processes look really good.
Andy over at ReThink Clothing (we refer to each other as ‘other Andy’, but I think we all know he’s the other Andy) has written a good article on his blog on the subject of how artists should approach companies that they’d like to work with. He deals with college artists every day, as they’re the people who create the t-shirts in the ReThink store, and he’s been selling tees since 2007, so he has probably gained a decent insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to being approached by artists. Check out Andy’s article “How artists should approach a company!“.
Yeah, sure the picture appears to have nothing to do with the post, but…. no it doesn’t, I just didn’t want to leave this without a picture on it.
I see a lot of articles that have the SEO-freindly title of “How to start a clothing brand”, and rarely do they really get into the nitty gritty of how you really start a clothing line. This article over at Buy Tees written by Ryan from Beau Clothing is no different, but it does provide a good overview for people thinking about getting into the clothing business, and point you in the direction of a few places to do further research.
If you’re looking for more business advice, I saw this definitely-not-linkbait article over the weekend called “How to Make Money in 6 Easy Steps” which is actually a pretty good read.
I don’t mean to mention every post that Smashing Magazine make, but I thought this one would be really useful to people working in the clothing business, especially as it’s something that I find lacking with brands that aren’t particularly mature and are still getting a handle on things. They’ve written a guide to copywriting, the aim of which is to get you selling more tees. Well, their guide is for products in general, but all the advice is applicable to tees as well. I think that my advice in the title just about covers it, but I’m sure you guys want more than just a bullet point.
A few weeks ago my buddies over at Pop Culture Tees dropped a post that covers the basics of getting more traffic to your site, and we all know that traffic+good product=sales (I almost made that traffic=sales, but it doesn’t quite work that way), so I thought I’d share the article. I’ll summarise their thoughts:
1. Have a good website that doesn’t look shady.
2. Contribute to forums that relate to your niche.
3. Make sure you’re on Facebook and connecting with your fans.
4. Blog, and not just about your own product.
That’s me condensing the points down as small as possible, but I think it does pretty much cover what you should be doing when you’re starting out with your brand, but you should check out PCT for the full post anyway.
*BTW, I have no idea if the book Stumbling on Wins would actually be of any use to you trying to run a successful business, it’s a book about statistical analysis in sports, but I thought the title was rather appropriate for this post.
Smashing Magazine seems to absolutely nail it every time they do a tutorial, and whilst I’m no expert on the screenprinting process, they seem to have done it again with an excellent tutorial about how to prepare your images for printing in Adobe Illustrator.
I’m not going to a Halloween party this year (I don’t think it’s as big of a deal here in the UK as it is to American folks) but if I were I think I’d attempt something along the lines of this since I love spending far, far too much time making fancy dress costumes. Famed hacker Ben Heck has created an outfit that is probably pretty simple compared to his other projects, a polo shirt with a portal (as in ‘the cake is a lie’ Portal) that makes it appears as if there is a hole in your body. In my head it would be fairly simple to build since it’s ‘just’ a camera and an LCD screen, but I’m sure it’s a lot more complicated that I would imagine. Are any of you guys going to Halloween parties, and if so, what will your costume be?
HYA is meant to be fun, and not just because I’m a bit of a man-baby that is afraid of growing up, but because if I were to get into the nitty-gritty of t-shirt world I’d probably get really bitter and hate the world and this blog would be a sad place indeed. However, one person who seems to be able to handle that is Brad, the serial blogrepreneur that has setup Cotton In Motion (a play on Research In Motion?), a blog that aims to help t-shirt brands market themselves.
As far as I’m aware, Brad hasn’t had experienced marketing his own t-shirts, which I would assume a lot of people would see as a negative, and I’d tend to agree because it’s one thing to talk the talk, but if you’ve got nothing to show for it then why should I bother listening to you? Well, Brad also runs a t-shirt blog, and that does give him an awful lot of experience in terms of being marketed at by brands, so taking my own experiences, I’m sure he has had some of the same terrible approaches that I have had. Brad will guide you through how to approach bloggers (my tip, candy and a van with no windows), and how to market your t-shirts in other ways. If you’re starting out, or thinking of starting a t-shirt line it’s already a good resource and it’s only just launched.
I would quite like to see the site looking a bit more lively though and representative of the industry, it feels a bit too ‘businessy’ at the moment, which is strange because the writing is very accessible but the format looks a bit vanilla, hopefully it will develop a bit more personality and character as the site grows.
I can’t design, I’ve accepted this, I know what I like, I can put text over a picture, but doing something from scratch is just something I will never master (so why bother, eh?). However, Jimiyo is a good illustrator and knows the tee world well, so when he’s dropping pearls of wisdom, you should be trying to catch them. Check out his tutorials on how to win online design contests (hint: you’ve got to be in it to win it), and how to make money selling your art (and yes, t-shirts play a part in that too).
T-shirts have a lifespan, they don’t last forever, they stretch, they fade, they get stained, and sometimes the tees stay the same but the owner changes size, or just changes their taste. This got me thinking, “what do you do with a tee when you don’t want to wear it anymore? (and you don’t want to give them to charity for whatever reason)” I’ve got more than 200 t-shirts in my wardrobe (and out of it, and draped on chairs, and stacked in cupboards, and hanging on racks), and they don’t all fit me now, so I thought I’d hunt around and find out what they devil I could do with all those superflous tees. As it turns out, other people have this problem too, and there are loads of tutorials out there with interesting ideas for how to recycle your t-shirts into something ‘new’.
My server has been crushed under the weight of traffic from my list posts in the past, and one way to try and alleviate the strain is to split an article into pages. This first page of 50 tutorials, projects, and videos doesn’t have any unifying theme to it, it’s just a random collection, some of which are pretty unusual ideas. The rest of the pages have been sorted into groups as they are often different takes on the same idea. Page two has 6 tutorials for turning your old tees into a rug or quilt, and 7 ideas for turning t-shirts into bags, often with the idea of using them as shoping bags, which I’m sure would get you a lot of approving looks at Trader Joe’s. The third page is for those of you that want to refresh and recondition your tees so that they’re still a t-shirt(ish), but with a bit of a customized twist to make you stand out from the crowd. Page four sees your tees becoming skirts and dresses, and I was pretty impressed with a lot of the finished articles on that page. The last page has links to books about reconditioning and recycling your t-shirts, so kind of like this list, except in book form. If I’ve missed something from the list, or you’ve had an idea but can’t find it anywhere online, feel free to share that in your comments. If you have enjoyed this list I would very much appreciate it if you could promote this article in some way, be it via tweet, stumble, delicious bookmark, digg, blog post, or envelopes stuffed with cash being posted to me.
31. This instructable isn’t about cutting your tees, but storing them, and whilst I don’t think it would be a good solution for my 200+ tee collection, it might be good for keeping a few of your favourites good-as-new.
No, you can’t buy this (well, you could, the mockup is of an XS American Apparel 2001 tee), it’s a mockup done by Tom Neal for t-shirt designers to put designs onto so that your mockup looks a bit more realistic. As I don’t design tees I can’t really compre it to other mockups, but the fact that this release includes every colour of tee that AA offer in the pack… well that has to be a good thing. Find the download link at this Emptees Talk thread.
According to this comment on the 202 Star Wars t-shirts list, the above flutter sleeve shirt was made just for us HYAers, I hope it wasn’t made with me in mind, because I just don’t have the shoulders for it. When something is created with HYA in mind, chances are I’m going to feature, and letting your model bring the sexy to the photoshoot can’t hurt either (I hope Mrs. HYA isn’t reading this…).