Glennz Tees is a world-famous t-shirt company owned by t-shirt guru Glenn Jones from New Zealand, thus the name Glennz (Glenn+NZ). Glenn is a graphic designer who, for over 18 years, has worked in the design industry focusing on packaging, illustration and corporate identity. While doing corporate designs, he was also making creative t-shirt designs on the side and submitted them on the t-shirt design site Threadless.com in 2004. His designs were well-loved by many on Threadless and, in no time, he became a celebrity to the Threadless shoppers and to t-shirt lovers all over the world. He was the most printed designer. Every t-shirt freak loved Glennz, the t-shirt guru on Threadless!
Because of his celebrity status in the t-shirt world, a US-based t-shirt company contacted him and proposed for partnership in 2008. Glen decided that it was time for him to move out from Threadless and start his own line. Now, Glen designs t-shirt artwork in his home office in New Zealand while everything else is made in Austin, Texas by his partner company.
After watching and reading a lot of interviews of Glen Jones on the success of Glennz Tees, I’ve come up with five things that make his t-shirt business such a great hit:
So you’ve got 1,001 really cool t-shirt design ideas that you can’t wait to print on tees, but before calling your graphic designer for an all-nighter, let me ask you this: how can you be so sure that those t-shirt designs would sell? How can you be sure that you’re not just delusional or overly optimistic in thinking that the design that you love would be loved by your customers, too? Does this confidence spring from your knowledge and familiarity about your customers or does it just come from mere gut feel?
I may sound like a party pooper but do hear me out. My intention is just to save you thousands of dollars! If you’ve done your research and you have your numbers, then maybe I can’t do you any good because you already know what you’re doing. However, common sense tells me that you are still on your way to figuring out the t-shirt business code (or else you wouldn’t be reading this article).
Confidence in creating t-shirt designs come from experience, knowing the t-shirt design trends, and familiarity with your customers. If you are not equipped with enough experience, then it is absolutely necessary that you get to know your customers from head to toe. This is not only useful in designing t-shirts, knowing your customers by heart is essential for you to run a successful business.
In order to have a successful t-shirt business, here are the things you have to know from your target customers:
All of us in the t-shirt business would want to create shirts that would go viral, right? Not only will it be good for our bank accounts, it’s so darn good for marketing our business, too. But trying to achieve the level of viral is a hit or miss thing. During the conceptualization of your t-shirt design, you could be so confident that it would be the talk of the town because you’ve researched enough or you just know the taste of your market by heart. However, there are lots of instances that your market would just ignore the t-shirt you expected to go viral. You really can’t tell for sure that something would sell like crazy until you’re already selling like crazy. That’s what’s so hard about aiming to get viral with design: you really can’t tell for sure.
There are also many t-shirt brands that resort to vulgar artwork just to get attention. While most of them succeed at it, having that strategy is not sustainable in the long haul. Anything that gets instant attention fades out really fast. That just shows that we should not aim for a few good shirts to get celebrity-level attention but for all our shirts to become marketable.
Upwork, formerly Elance and oDesk, is an international work platform where entrepreneurs and freelance workers collaborate remotely. You go to Upwork to find a job (if you’re a freelancer) or to find freelancers to hire (if you’re a business owner). This is a brilliant way to meet good people to help you. Online workplace platforms such as Upwork have been around for many years now and they will get bigger and bigger as more and more businesses and freelancers find the system a good alternative to going to the office.
In the t-shirt business, like all other businesses, it is very important to define your niche. Niche is your target market or a highly focused, specific type of people that you want to sell your products to. Bear in mind that you cannot sell to everybody. Attempting to do so would just waste your time and make your brand forgettable. First of all, what is a niche? “Teenagers” is not yet a niche because there are so many kinds of teenagers on this planet. That’s still not focused enough. Selling t-shirts to all types of teenagers is very risky because you’d still be shooting at random teenagers. And that’s a total waste of time. However, “female teenagers aged 14-18 who love Nirvana and Doc Martens” is a niche. So is “geeky male teenagers aged 14-18 who prefer reading science books over parties”. Having a niche means you can draw a clear picture of your market. From what they’re wearing, what colors they like, what music they listen to, where they hang out, and the most important of all…what things they’re willing to pay for.
The best time to define your niche is before you even start creating your t-shirt designs so that when you’re done printing your shirts, you’d have a pretty good picture of whom you’re making your t-shirts for. The reason for this is simple: It’s impossible to sell marketable shirts without knowing your market. Try it and it’s damn near impossible! The worst thing could happen if you skip this step is that you’d have hundreds of shirts not selling because you don’t know how, to whom, and where to start selling them! If you don’t identify your niche early on, I guarantee you’ll have a severe case of regret. In trying to figure out what went wrong, you’d be working backwards; tracing your steps, until you realize that what’s missing all along is a defined niche.
I’m sure this is not the first time you read about the importance of finding a niche. It’s like listening to a broken record. Of course you know the importance of finding a niche but the hard part is in actually identifying them! The truth of the matter is, it’s not an easy peasy thing to do but the good news is that it’s not rocket science, either. Here are some steps on how you can choose your perfect niche to help you in your quest.
The t-shirt business is a lucrative venture once you learn how to do it. A major aspect of the business is the pricing of your goods. Your net profit is largely dependent on the prices of your products. It can be a little tricky to get it right because if your prices are too high, you will drive customers away and if you set them too low you will not be able to make any profit. Since pricing is such an essential part of your business, this particular post will help you figure out whether you are pricing your t-shirts too low.
If your business is just starting out, you will not have enough information or data points to work with. Inadequate information will make the process of setting prices extremely difficult. Because you may opt to rely on deductive reasoning or guesswork to determine price, there is a very high chance you are not going to get it right the first time. It is usually easier to determine if your prices are too low than to determine if your prices are too high. A number of factors go into determining the right price for your t-shirts. Here are a few pointers to look for if you want to win the sale without compromising on price.
All business promotion strategies are just tools that can assist you in reaching your goals. The overall effectiveness of these strategies is largely dependent on how you utilize these tools in relation to your target market. Once you understand how those tools work, you can start to take your t-shirt business to the next level. Here are a few things that can make it really simple for you to promote your tshirt business.
So many people think that having a t-shirt business is just a piece of cake. I hear a lot of people say “How hard can it be? It’s something I can do on my free time.” I also get calls from a lot of enthusiastic aspiring entrepreneurs telling me that they are so excited to start a t-shirt shop and that they’d need a few shirts printed. Their t-shirt designs are really awesome but when they asked me to quote for a few shirts, they get dismayed, after doing the math, that they have to sell the shirts for at least $30 each just to recoup their expenses.
The first thing you need to know is that selling t-shirts is hard. It requires a lot of research skills, creativity, dedication, and hard work. So to those of you who say “free time”, please go to the market, buy the hardest tofu you can find, and smash it to your head. You need a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of energy to create a good t-shirt business. I’m not saying this to discourage you, I am saying this to put your feet on the ground in case you’re floating in your t-shirt business fantasies. Real work, real hard work, can only be done when both of your feet are on the ground. If you’re reading this and you’re raising your brows, still believing that selling t-shirts is as easy as selling candies, you might be right. But here’s something you should know: selling candies is not easy. And so is selling t-shirts.
And so let’s just say that even after the realization that starting and running a t-shirt business is hard, you decided to pursue it. Congratulations! Welcome to the phase called the Beginning. Like any endeavor, as much as possible, you want to be equipped with knowledge so that you’ll not commit as many mistakes as the ones who just dived blindly into it. Being knowledgeable from the start will help you navigate your t-shirt business in the right direction without losing a lot of time, energy, staff, friendships, clients, and money!
Here are some mistakes you can make that can potentially kill your t-shirt business:
In order for you to become successful in the t-shirt business, you have to do what the big guys are doing: Being totally nuts about t-shirts until they’re on the verge of lunacy! This is not an exaggeration, folks. Starting a t-shirt business is not as easy as 1,2,3. It is as hard as 1 to 1,000. The idea or concept for a t-shirt store is just step 0. When you are planning to actually turn your dream of having a t-shirt business into reality, your first step is planning and research.
You need to be meticulous and obsessive about this step before even diving into creating t-shirt designs. In this step, treat it as if it’s a thesis in college. Before anything, read as many t-shirt business books and listen to as many t-shirt business podcasts as you can because these are the tools that will prepare you for battle. Once you’re confident about your knowledge in the t-shirt business and business management in general, it’s time for the actual nitty-gritty planning and research of your t-shirt business. Some newbies do not obsess in this step and that’s probably the reason why they close even before they reach their first anniversary. If you want to be successful in the t-shirt business, don’t act like a newbie, act (and think) like you’re one of the big guys!
Here are the things the big guys work on before they start their t-shirt business.
If you want to be good at t-shirt business, one thing you should be expertly good at is knowing what your customers really want in a tee. You can be good at taking charge of the business and finance side of things but if you know only very little of what your specific market wants in a t-shirt or what people in general look for when they buy their tees, then you’re not yet ready to start a t-shirt business. You have to stop planning about your business right this moment and just take time to study what customers want in a t-shirt. Research is probably the most important part of business. For starters, here are some basic things that you need to know about how customers choose their t-shirts: