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jon kruse

don't start a clothing company

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.

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storenvy review

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.


turtle t-shirt

I may not know too much about the printing/manufacturing side of the t-shirt industry, though I am learning throughout this HYA tee and upcoming artist series process, but one thing I have learned so far is that there is no point in me trying to do everything myself. I know what I’m good at (rambling on the internet) and I know what I’m not (most other things). Jon Kruse has written a great post about outsourcing and delegating your workload when trying to run a t-shirt business that says what I just said, but in a longer and more entertaining way that actually explains why you should delegate.

Check it out at How To Start A Clothing Comapny

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My Liver Hates Me

by Andy on July 22, 2009


Do you ever wake up on a Sunday afternoon and go “why did I just drink so much? And spend all that money? And stay up so late? And get ketchup on my jeans? And insist that I’m famous on the internet? And have a good hour or two I simply cannot remember?”

Well, if you do, this is probably a tee you can relate with, and it’s a whole bunch less cheesy than similar text tees that you see when you’re larging it with the lads in Ibiza, especially when Coty is the guy modeling it!

Costiness=$10 (with coupon code2009‘ or ‘emptees‘) Available from


So you want to start a clothing line, huh?

by Andy on January 14, 2009


I’ve never started a clothing line, so coming to me for advice on the nuts and bolts of everything would be, to be frank, risky. So instead of writing up some pointers for you that might not necessarily make any sense, I’m going to point you towards a few links, that may be of help.

How To Start A Clothing Line is a blog about European literature in the early 19th century, well, if you can’t work out what that blog is about then I’m amazed you were able to get on the internet. It is written by Jon Kruse, the guy behind Mediocore Clothing, who happened to turn 25 yesterday (Happy Birthday Jon!), and features pretty much every aspect of starting your own line, from boring admin stuff to designing and printing tees, as well as marketing so that you can actually sell the tees after putting so much time and effort into them. There’s also interviews with other people in the industry.

Fuel For Design is an ebook by Gino from Color Overload. If you can get over the excited(!) marketing speak on the website, I have it on good authority that it’s worth the $37, I’m sure I read other reviews saying it was good, but I can’t remember where they are now, although Rude Retro questions whether Gino has the experience to write such a book.

The Art of Apparel. This blog is like a regular tee blog, but with more of a focus on the industry side of things, recently got caught up in major drama for posting an interview in which someone said what they thought.

Emptees. Sometimes you’ll get absolutely nailed by forum members that would rather make a joke than help you (they’re mostly harmless though), but if you want to know pretty much anything about the tee biz then the answer can be found here. Make sure you use the search function before asking a question though.

T-Shirt Forums. Like Emptees, except without the Lolcats.

That should probably get you started, if anyone can think of any more wonderful resources please let me know in the comments.

Update: I happened to come across a couple more resources you may find interesting/helpful:

47 Essential Resources for T-Shirt Designers at GoMediaZine

23 Great Apparel Related Design Articles at My Ink Blog [via… someone, I can’t remember who, if you’re a tee blogger that posted this please let me know and I’ll link you up]


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