Hi all,

I want to help others break out of that career path they hate (like me) or start something on the side for fun.

I started shirtwascash about 3 months ago which has been followed by Shopify's team themselves for its explosive growth. We broke $10k in the first couple weeks with just a reddit post on /r/4chan and since moving to Shopify, we've had over $115k in total sales.

I personally ship thousands of shirts, I sourced and manage the local manufacturing of our apparel, and have since created an amazing platform for users to mockup shirt concepts, vote, and ultimately have a chance to become real products. Our subreddit /r/shirtwascash is a constant shirt thread, inspired by 4chan where the idea originated from.

I have learned a ton about setting up a shop, international shipping, approaching markets, and many learning curves made through trial and error. You could start a selling something today.

AMAA about how to do it, things I've learned, tips & tricks, and bonus questions about how to break into a high level finance job. My previous career was as a senior financial analyst at a major Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

My Proof: twitter

EDIT: Check out our new community website at shirtposts.com!

Comments: 772 • Responses: 109  • Date: 

derri116223 karma

How do you explain to others what you do? Do you say you're a fashion designer? Or a distributor? And were you reluctant to tell people about your idea originally?
Good luck with the business!

doesitmakesound282 karma

I never wanted to be in apparel actually. While working the corporate finance job, I was constantly doing startups. My previous was a bitcoin company that couldn't land funding.

I don't really tell people what I do and I don't go out much anymore. I've seen some people wearing our shirts out now and I just tell them I've seen it and ask to take a pic. I've stayed completely anon about this for the most part - which I prefer since I can do this without any personal agenda.

So - mostly I tell people I started a company that is doing well and I am anonymous about it. I'll maybe say it's a user-submitted design website. All of our designs are submitted, voted, and then I license what I can and create the actual designs that we sell.

snazzgasm96 karma

How does licensing work for the images on your shirts, particularly if a design seems to have originated from an anonymous source, or if they feature copyrighted material or famous people? Do you have lawyers to help you with this area?

doesitmakesound187 karma

I have both a licensing professional I work with and a local entrepreneur that has been licensing major brands for 20+ years. He's kinda taken me under his wing which is exciting.

There is a book I have with all of the relevant licensing contact information I could ever need. It's given out to specific people at some convention but I got it from that guy I mentioned. If something has no trace-able OP or is created anonymously, then it is generally public domain at that point. While we source and vote images, I constantly get incontact with the artists.

If something has an OP on reddit, I contact them and wait. I have several designs like that up. I also recreate a lot of them. Blowing up pictures from the internet doesn't work on shirts, so I have to do a lot of deisgn work.

Famous people / musicians I mostly just don't have on the website right now. I'm talking to Lil B and Xzibit and stuff though.

Copyright is mostly just a business proposition, so it's different basically every time. Unlike most of my competitors it seems... I do this legit as possible. I don't even want cease and desists, that shit gives me anxiety. So It's a pain in the ass but I get the licenses I need, give the money out from it, and sleep well at night. That was a personal decision I made early on and artists thank me for it when I talk to them.

algander21 karma

Said you have friend entrepreneurs and lawyer, helping with copyright and legal stuff. But what impact would have it on expenses if you would go the hard way? I.e. hiring a full-time professional for this kind of stuff, may be necessary?

I dream to have my startup and this kind of stuff always worry me.

doesitmakesound30 karma

It's so much less of an issue than anyone outside of actually doing the copyright stuff thinks it is. It's almost a boogeyman, we're all trained to fear the copyright. I'm not in a position to really care since I have the artists on board.

Pogrebnyak12 karma

I was constantly doing startups

What does that mean? Were you just starting a bunch of companies all the time?

doesitmakesound25 karma

Until they appeared that they were failures. Yeah. Gotta know when to quit too. Too many people go down with the ship.

dammit_reddit_10 karma

All thanks to the fact that we live in a world where the word "idea" and "company" became synonymous.

doesitmakesound13 karma

The other companies I had were launched besides one with real products and users. The last one was a really ambitious idea and I made legway in the industry, still wasn't enough to prove to investors.

cobalt9991 karma

He means that he hung out in Silicon Valley a lot...

doesitmakesound1 karma

False.

lacksfish8 karma

Sorry to hear your Bitcoin startup wasn't successful. May I ask what the startup was about?

Will try to buy (s)one of your shirts with Bitcoin tomorrow. :)

doesitmakesound12 karma

It's okay. The China news hit and the ups-and-downs constantly effected investors. At the end of the day though - I had a lot of professional experience in the industry it was and investors just didn't seem to invest in anything that used bitcoin over buy/sell them.

This business is a lot of fun. I'm glad how things turned out.

snazzgasm132 karma

Given the, erm, questionable content found on some of your shirt designs, have you had any concerns about reaching a more mainstream audience, or fears that this could have negative effects on the future of the site (ie, how it is perceived, press etc)?

Also, what percentage of people actually go for some of the more... "brave" designs?

doesitmakesound185 karma

I'm not worried about it. I want to keep this as true to the internet as possible and I personally don't submit those. Everything is user-submitted and voted on. I do what my community tells me to. Just like Reddit, the good with the bad.

I think we have a wide range of mass-market appeal actually. We have some really horrible shirts - one I even have a disclaimer on it that people shouldn't buy it.

I think this pic from someone's bachelor party shows how great this brand can be too.

Bravery shirts sell but not anywhere near as much as a lot of others.

eddywallywauw52 karma

Are there any boundaries to what you are willing to print? For example: would you print a shirt with swastikas (the nazi kind) if the community votes for it?

doesitmakesound220 karma

Yes I would print it and my parents are Jewish.

eddywallywauw50 karma

That's some real dedication there! I wonder how your manufacturer responds to these prints!

doesitmakesound86 karma

I have a good relation with him. He's a pretty cool guy. Doesn't understand most of the designs but he likes what we're doing in general and is on board. I don't plan to ever have hateful shirts, but if the time came that it was the popular choice, I'd probably go through with it. I'm definitely not a hateful person... I wish I lived in a music festival.

eddywallywauw10 karma

Couldn't imagine a manufacturer not being on board. Extra business is extra business :)

doesitmakesound36 karma

Him and his family are really awesome. I really enjoy the relation there.

crazyol844 karma

how did you go about finding your manufacturer? Is it a local guy, or overseas?

doesitmakesound11 karma

Local. I found it with Google searches, emails, and phone calls. These guys are usually pretty busy and have heard of a million people starting some new company.

jay13510 karma

I'm definitely not a hateful person... I wish I lived in a music festival.

This wording cracked me up. Is it some sort of meme-based non sequitur or a touchscreen typo?

doesitmakesound10 karma

Nah, those festivals are all about unity and kindness. At leas the ones I go to. Peace, Love, Unity and Respeck'

Agamemnon3230 karma

If your parents are Jewish doesn't that also make you Jewish? So it'd be easier to just say "I'm Jewish"?

doesitmakesound4 karma

I'm atheist and I am not racially Israelite.

Agamemnon323-1 karma

Have I been wrong in thinking Jewish is a race/nationality? Is it only a religion?

doesitmakesound2 karma

Probably a question for the religious subreddits. I don't really know the correct answer.

verymaybe-1 karma

Dude. You should rethink that stance. The fact that people on the internet voted for it doesn't absolve you. At the end of the day, you'd still be a guy who choses to print and sell hate.

doesitmakesound4 karma

Most of the "Bravery" shirts are for the lols. I don't see it turning into messages of hate. At the end of the day, freedom of speech is most important to me. As I mentioned, my last co was in bitcoin.. so I am a libertarian with a profound amount of interest in cryptography and those benefits.

kjanthony4172 karma

What percentage of the sales do you keep personally, and how much do you put straight back into the company?

doesitmakesound98 karma

Since going on "salary" with it, I take what I need but am living pretty minimally right now since it's not a piggy bank. The majority I guess goes into the business, soon web development is going to pick up so that'll be pretty major.

I'm focused on stuff that grows the community and products sold, I don't really think about the money besides as a daily / weekly statistic.

notgayinathreeway14 karma

How secure do you feel in investing the majority of the money back into the business, knowing that tomorrow it might not be something anyone cares about, and all of that money might go down the drain?

Don't waste it, but at the very least secure some of the funds for future endeavors.

doesitmakesound14 karma

I'm not worried about it. We're growing. The endgoal is a self-sustaining platform. It's worth builind towards. We've proven alot of that concept along the way.

Simco_71 karma

There $115K worth of shirts with memes on them in the world right now?

Do you have a breakdown by country on where you've been shipping?

doesitmakesound83 karma

It's really all over. I get a little nervous sending something to Turkey since I can't read it.

Our top in no specific order is: US, UK, Germany, Australia.

To be fair, probably the majority aren't necessarily memes.

davesoverhere27 karma

Their addresses are pretty different compared to what we're used to in the states. That said, make absolutely certain you match the dots on the vowels as messing that up will probably wind up getting it shipped to the wrong city.

doesitmakesound51 karma

It's all automated, so they'd have to mess it up on their end.

wolfstang48 karma

[deleted]

doesitmakesound59 karma

Pop culture is the hardest. I have a book from a friend that has a bunch of contact details. I suggest either doing it while you're still small or only do things you can sell legally. I spend a lot of time reaching out and negotiating.

I haven't run into any copyright issues, but I also don't really sell anything questionable.

wolfstang10 karma

[deleted]

doesitmakesound37 karma

Rule of thumb is if it's likeness is what brings value, then they have claim. The thing the internet doesn't really seem to want to hear is 1. most entrperenuers will tell you to just go out and grow. The most you'll likely ever get is a cease and desist. No major brand is going to send you to court over using something unless you're big enough. 2. Basically everything on reddit is copyright infringing unless the OP make the picture themselves.

There are entire companies running on the cease and desist model. They have products and cycle through them via C&D letters. Pretty risky but whatever. I think the world is changing with automatic image searching now though, so that is even riskier than before.

FormulaVette6 karma

Reddit is protected by the dmca because its user uploaded. Your site is interesting, it might be too, but I'm not a lawyer so idk.

doesitmakesound13 karma

Well, we sell shirts so probably not. I don't mess around with it regardless.

bigfatartcat8 karma

I'm wondering how long it will be until someone tries to get shirts printed of one of the celebrity nude-selfies that were just leaked...

doesitmakesound20 karma

That'd be poor taste regardless.

spids696 karma

You've mentioned the book a couple times. What is it called, for those of us interested in trying to source a copy?

doesitmakesound9 karma

Its the official book from the licensing expo in Las Vegas. Just a directory of brands and contact info.

RacksDiciprine30 karma

Why is there such a difference in price between different T-shirt printing stores ? Either online or local. I manage 3 slow pitch softball teams. Ordering new shirts/jerseys is a nightmare. Getting quality apparel in a timely manner is Impossible it seems.

doesitmakesound33 karma

I'm not a manufacturer myself but I can speak on local manufacturers. A lot of them don't know how to price their stuff. Even mine also makes probably the best jerseys I've ever seen for local leagues and he doesn't charge them anywhere near what he should.

If I had listened to what others told me when I started without doing ym own research into fabrics and brands, then I wouldn't have as many repeat customers as I do.

Also price will vary a lot with what type of printing they're doing. If it's sublimation - the cost is higher compared to silk screening but silk screening has minimum order requirements.

The best answer I guess is to do some research, know what printing method you want and potentially the shirt blank itself unless you want it cut and sewn custom. Then you'll cut out the variances in how they'd do it and have a better baseline price.

Lordpuba13 karma

what did OP mean by ,"If I had listened to what others told me when I started without doing ym own research into fabrics and brands, then I wouldn't have as many repeat customers as I do." Can someone explain... Thanks.

doesitmakesound3 karma

They suggest the cheapest stuff and crap they're used to. I brought in the premium stuff.

loserfits26 karma

What advice would you give when shipping internationally? I make jewellery and am struggling with how much to charge for this.

doesitmakesound35 karma

Charge what it costs unless you build the shipping into the product price. People are very sensitive to it. I lose a few dollars of profit on international shipping usually since I undercharge. It's best to not include it than to add a ton of work with very little to no reward. When we launched, I vastly misjudged international shipping.

There are various calculators online to test shipping costs or Shipstation does that for you if you use it.

Starayo20 karma

Charge what it costs unless you build the shipping into the product price. People are very sensitive to it. I lose a few dollars of profit on international shipping usually since I undercharge.

As an Australian, thank you. I'm going to buy a few of these when I get paid next.

So many places lose my business because they overcharge on shipping. Things like $20-30 to send one t-shirt. BS. I had some $4 dice that wanted me to pay $80 in shipping. That doesn't even make the slightest amount of sense.

doesitmakesound19 karma

I probably lose the most profit on Australia customers. For me it's more important to get shirts in hands.

Brotherphantom3 karma

Why don't you get someone who is based in Australia (or any country you have a lot of business) to print and mail the shirts locally? Im assuming too small an operation atm?

doesitmakesound5 karma

Yeah, that'd be a pretty ambitious task. I'd go to UK first.

lolSnarfSnarf2 karma

[deleted]

doesitmakesound3 karma

Maybe. I don't know if the Australian market is big enough as of yet to make it worth it. I'd have to make a report.

ItsIllak18 karma

[deleted]

doesitmakesound18 karma

I still worked an intensive corporate finance job at a major Casino when I started this. I left there about a month or so ago and haven't looked back. Our sales have done fine, so I haven't really worried about it yet.

I know nothing but online advertising and stuff which most sites do. Generally our shirts are just shared all over the place.

KnifePartyKEK16 karma

[deleted]

doesitmakesound19 karma

I'm kinda waiting on them. I don't know what their plans are. I can say if we sell it, the proceeds will go to charity.

AlexX36 karma

I'm really looking forward to this one. Any idea what design you're thinking of?

doesitmakesound2 karma

I had a survey going that was filled a few thousand times. Really I need to talk to TFYC and figure out what's going on with it.

one_comment_only16 karma

How did you find the manufacturers? Was it as simple as a google search?

doesitmakesound16 karma

Yeah, pretty much.

thumpitythump2 karma

When you found manufacturers, how did you choose? I'm looking into having custom ribbon/narrow fabric made for my business and I feel like I don't know enough to make a wise choice between manufacturers. Do you get your shirts made in the US or overseas?

doesitmakesound5 karma

Everything from the blank shirts to me sending it is done in the US. The manufcaturer was a really good fit. I don't suggest doing overseas unless you understand it. If you get a product that wasn't how you envisioned it.. then you still need to sell it since it was cash upfront.

nspectre15 karma

How is this different than other user-submitted/voted t-shirt companies I've seen, like threadless.com?

What differentiates you from the pack?

doesitmakesound21 karma

They focus on professional designers and then have their userbase buy things. We have very little barriers and no experience required to submit a mockup. We're a user-oriented design website. The users submit shirts and can buy them.

I take care of finding who the OP is, design, and licensing. I'm actually sitting here right now doing designs from the second shirt round right now

There's actually quite a bit of differentiators too. We are much more exclusive right now with what makes it on the site. It's not a one versus the other type situation. Anything-goes when it comes to the content itself (no restrictions). etc.

voxanimus4 karma

threadless technically allows any user to submit designs (or at least it did when i used to use it all the time, 2-3 years ago) but the only ones that have a realistic chance of getting printed are from professional designers. top users on threadless have like 40-50 designs of theirs printed.

doesitmakesound6 karma

Yeah but they need to design it too to meet their standards. I do all of that myself which takes forever.

threadsoul15 karma

What prompted you to find the initiative to start the site, given that tshirt sites - and even the user created/voted retail model - is a highly competitive and pretty well saturated market?

doesitmakesound28 karma

this post very nsfw

gogoGone11 karma

I run an online shirt store as well for and its doing alright but I'm trying to basically get where you are in regards to sales and repeat customers. So I have a quite a few questions you could maybe help me with.

-I assume you don't buy your shirts in bulk but wait for them to be purchased then order them from your printer. What did you say to your local printers to give you a fair price? Often when I tried to talk to local printers they still quote me at their ridiculous prices or will only print minimums.

-What is a desired profit margin for t-shirts?

-What did or do you do during lulls in sales? How do you get business to pickup when sales are low?

-You said you license some of your shirts. Are there contracts? Do you provide them? How do you prove how many you've sold and how do you handle the payments?

-You said you have reaching out to some popular/known people. How do you approach them and whats your selling point when you do reach out to them? Obviously you are trying to get their approval but its hard to get someone to realize you are trying to make them money. I understand a nice letter formatted correctly and showing professionalism is important but quite often that's not enough to get a response. My business requires me to reach out to basically internet stars if you will and most the time I can't get a response.

-You mentioned you plan on moving to a new site. What platform do you plan on using and how will you find a company that will develop it at a reasonable price?

Thanks for your time and maybe in the future I could ask some more questions if you'd be willing to DM your email :)

doesitmakesound14 karma

  1. I personally buy the blanks and send it to the manufacturer. I also have a relation now with that supplier, so I am not being overcharged in anyway on it. As for shirt price... quantity is always better. After I originally showed him the results I could produce, the prices dropped. My margins were shit when we launched though, so that was necessary. Minimum orders only applies to silk screen printing.

  2. I really have no idea. I'm okay with where we're at but I charge ~$10 less than anyone else selling this type of shirts + printing method. My background is in operational and corporate finance, so as long as they're heading in the right direction, I'm okay with it. This isn't a quick buck by any means and my hours are really crazy.

  3. I haven't really had any time to worry about it. Sometimes I'm happy they slow down so we can catch up. My top priority right now is to lower shipping time. Our shirt designs constantly change, so new content keeps it going.

  4. Most of the shirt licenses were a one-time fee I paid. Some I have on a monthly reporting basis. I just pull the info out of Shopify for them. I really have nothing to worry about from it because I don't cheat anyone, but if someone requested more proof I could have Shopify email them or something.

  5. I don't really want anything to do with popular or famous people. I said we sponsored a party once which was for "social media influencers" but that was a bust, it was detrimental to my Electric Daisy Carnival weekend, and just proved why I don't want to cater to those spoiled kids. Here's that blog.

  6. We've been working on our own platform. Right now to fully use our service you have to go to 3 different websites and fill a survey.

Corazon-DeLeon11 karma

Why is the Bold Trash shirt so much more expensive? That's my favorite shirt on your site!

doesitmakesound15 karma

It's full color double-sided print.

Corazon-DeLeon9 karma

One more question. Would you compare the fit of these shirts to American Apparel?

doesitmakesound14 karma

American Apparel are slimmer by maybe an inch around. Ours are taller. The shirt itself isn't all fluffy like theirs, it's a really soft (or silky.. hard to describe) shirt with medium thickness. Closer to an RVCA shirt if theirs was long.

buriedfire7 karma

any chance on a v-neck option? This is usually my problem with buying tees I like online - crew necks just don't look right. Nothing special on v-necks, weird depths or anything, just a standard v-neck cut. OP PLZ

doesitmakesound14 karma

Probably, yes. I've been looking at them and it wouldn't change anything for me.

sparklespin11 karma

Do you plan on adding a fit that would fit people with wide shoulders and bulky necks?

doesitmakesound8 karma

I'd be surprised if they already didn't. Our shirts aren't tiny Diesel cuts.

sparklespin6 karma

Thank you for your prompt answer. I've never bought a shirt online; I guess I'll try poorfag to see how it fits. The designs are awesome.

doesitmakesound17 karma

I buy the most expensive blank shirts I can because first I personally like nice shirts, but also I knew my target audience aren't regular shopper-types. I would bet that you end up loving the "feel" and fit of it.

Here's an email I got today.

spudlogic2 karma

I was thinking of starting something similar. Is it more cost effective to do all the buying up front and then print on demand? I was looking at doing it through Teespring.

doesitmakesound2 karma

I've never really looked into Teespring, so not sure.

Sparkvoltage9 karma

Obviously you ship out many shirts at once, so how do you manage to differentiate all the tracking numbers? Is there an easy way to keep everything organized or do you just match each seller's address with the address on the receipt, manually typing in each number, etc.

doesitmakesound20 karma

I do it one at a time but it goes pretty quick. I highly suggest using Shipstation. If you also use Shopify (or various other retail hosting websites) then it all syncs really nicely. This was the biggest learning curve I had. I also have a label printer (a must). LabelWriter 4XL by Dyno.

Here is a pic from an all-nighter this week.

Sparkvoltage5 karma

Very interesting, thanks!

Another question, where do you turn your marketing towards? Is it just 4chan and the subreddit? Was it just the sheer number of interested people from those two places that blew up your business or did you mass market elsewhere.

doesitmakesound7 karma

I never market on 4chan. I am known there by many and the conversations are positive from what I see, I'd like to keep it that way so I respect the divide.

I haven't really marketed in a few weeks. This is marketing to me but really most of my marketing is from random people online sharing stuff on forums, other websites, popular phone apps, and stuff like that.

I havne't done traditional marketing either (blogs, news, etc) but probably will at some point. I prefer to have a direct voice and reply button though. New articles are always a shitstorm of misinformation.

gusta_gusta4 karma

I know for a fact that other tshirt companies are spending $100k-$250k/month on Facebook with great CPAs in the sub-$5 range. Google AdWords, however, does not work well for this industry.

doesitmakesound3 karma

Yeah, I'd need a guru to do it. I've tested some stuff but I'm not confident with it right now.

Rogo1238 karma

Alright I'll bite.

Finance job tips, currently back-office at a large pension. How can I break out to front?

doesitmakesound8 karma

You're in a good position if you belong to a firm or company that has horizontal movement. If not, you're a better candidate anywhere else since you have experience in that direct field.

I suggest reaching out to the group you want to work for and tell the myou want to "shadow" them on your off hours or take some vacation for it. The route of shadowing lets you meet the team more personally and you look very positive by doing it.

Rogo1237 karma

Sort of had that idea in the back of my mind thanks! My only fear is my current manager getting upset and not trying to lose me. He knows it will eventually happen, but may try to slow the process down. I don't wanna burn bridges.

Thanks :-)

doesitmakesound28 karma

Fuck em. Go get what you want. No one else will guide you there.

I know some corporate-minded people that are straight killers. Shooting through the tiers and well-deserved.

FlashDave8 karma

I'm curious why you need shopify? if you designed the site on your own surely you'd be saving yourself money each month by building and hosting it yourself or am I missing something?

doesitmakesound12 karma

Shopify has a ton of features, apps I can install, and is easy to use. Shipping is the biggest task / issue at any given time for my end, and shopify automatically pushes data to my Shipstation interface.

Shopify is also my payment processor (through stripe), so the cost is very miniscule on a per-order basis. The value is way worth it. I don't need a developer (I do everything myself) and the time it took me to get going was a week.

Apps are cool too. I added enlistly which enabled people to be affiliates for us.

TehHonkyTonkMan7 karma

Can I work for you?

doesitmakesound8 karma

Are you a python developer or live in Las Vegas?

Ask_A_Sadist7 karma

What is the most outrageous shirt you sell?

doesitmakesound24 karma

This. And I don't suggest buying it either.

Throwdin7 karma

There are people on your shirts, did you get their permission or are giving them royalties?

doesitmakesound39 karma

Yes. Unless you are speaking of Kim Jong Il or Hitler, then no. I figure if North Korea claims we're an act of war.. that would be good marketing.

jdonkey3 karma

what about the doge dog? How much royalties does he getting I have to know??

doesitmakesound16 karma

The owner a girl in Asia that just loves her dog. She doesn't require anything and follows us on twitter now. I recreated that mostly from scratch and the doge itself is a painting.. not her picture.

bearclawd6 karma

What advice would you have for someone starting their own clothing line? What were some obstacles you faced early on?

doesitmakesound28 karma

I didn't really start a clothing line per-say, at least not in the typical fashion. It all started with these 4chan shirt mockup threads and people wanting them. So, I made a survey to see which ones people wanted and the rest is history at this point.

I also plan to continue growing this as a platform to submit shirt concepts rather than just retail.

I would suggest coming up wth a concept, approaching whatever your market is with that, and see what the interest is. If you can get 1000 responses, then you may have something. I would also suggest not spending any money until you have to. I had made $10k before having an LLC or any expenses really. We designed the original website from scratch and it sucked.

Once you are ready to take on customers:

  1. USPS gives you free supplies to send priority mail. Order that shiz.

  2. Buy polymailer bags

  3. Think twice before accepting most international. There are rules and special shipping stuff that applies to it. I had to learn all that the hard way. I was a shipping noob and opened to all countries from day 1.

  4. Shopify + Shipstation (synced) is God mode.

  5. Don't listen to your manufacturer. Find the way you want to create shirts and the materials yourself. If I listened to him, I wouldn't have the repeat business I have or happy customers... he wanted me to print on shit shirts he was used to.

  6. Always be kind, reward, and be positive with the manufacturer. At least for me.. we're constantly racing to get orders out, and I may be upset with a ton of defect products or something. There is a way to commend someone on their hard work while also moving forward on getting problems solved.

I'm sure I could go on. A lot of that advice is operations-based.

EDIT: 7. Be organized ahead of most else. I've invested a lot of time and money to make things better organized. It's worth it.

amidacos5 karma

don't accept international Well if I live in Romania I guess I'm out of this business.

doesitmakesound9 karma

I ship to Romania. Understainding int'l shipping is a task in of itself though. People may make a big mistake on it.

Hipstergster2 karma

Did you go out to get your own shirts for the printer to print on them?

doesitmakesound3 karma

Yes

Trill-I-Am5 karma

Did you have a friend/family member/coworker who'd gone the small business route as well who you looked to for guidance or inspiration?

doesitmakesound5 karma

This was my third or fourth startup. I started the first one a few years ago with my brother.

I also live in Las Vegas which has a growing tech / fashion-type community led by Downtown Project and Tony Hsieh of Zappos. I've been a part of and been influenced by a lot of people / things. I suggest getting involved with a local startup weekend for most people.

kingbane5 karma

how did you find manufacturers and what are the best ways to deal with manufacturers when deciding price/costs?

doesitmakesound9 karma

I feel I lucked out. After researching online, I knew the type of printing I wanted so that cut down potential manufacturers locally to like 3 to 5. I then called / emailed them all and judged them by their website.

The one I chose had the shittiest website but it showed the most / best products. I was really hoping it'd be like a perfect pocket printer for me which it turned out to be just that.

So, research what you want and then evaluate the potential manufacturers.

Also, don't let yourself be put on the backburner. Make sure what you say to your customer is clearly also said to your manufacturer.

kingbane4 karma

follow up question, are there are good resources about how to set up the company? to clarify i mean the paper work of it.

doesitmakesound4 karma

Like how to incorporate and stuff?

kingbane2 karma

yea, i dunno if that's the equivalent in canada, i think it is.

doesitmakesound8 karma

You can do that stuff online really easy. It's not all that expensive either. You'll also need to license in your state/county.

I feel it's bullshit I paid Nevada $400 to allow me to legally continue do what I'm doing. It had no benefit to me or the customer... there wasn't any check on who I was or what I was doing.

All of those things are done online pretty easily. I don't suggest doing any of it until you at least have a dollar of revenue.

SolArdan4 karma

What are your best sellers? How popular are the "brave" shirts?

doesitmakesound19 karma

I think I'll keep specific best sellers as more of a secret since I know t-shirt companies watch us. I've seen things voted high on our subreddit become available elsewhere. Typically the astronaut ones do well.

The Brave shirts land in the middle of the pack. I am considering offering bulletproof vest combos.

42Raptor429 karma

How popular if the never forgetti?

doesitmakesound20 karma

Not all that much but it's shared a lot. I've sold 66 of them.

BeardlessJesusSwag3 karma

Why did you choose "patriot" fitting? I typically wear medium but did the measurements and an XS is gonna be kinda big on me.

doesitmakesound7 karma

Are you sure you're using inches? It's pretty standard American but a little on the larger side. Our shirts are tall-friendly too. Euro or fitted should order a size down.

BeardlessJesusSwag3 karma

Yeah I'm positive! Just took me by surprise. I kinda jumped the gun and ordered an extra small. Hopefully it'll just be fitted but not too small. Thanks for the quick reply! Nice shirts too

doesitmakesound6 karma

If it's wrong then we can swap it out. Email me and we can go further into detail and potential size changes.

BeardlessJesusSwag3 karma

PM me your email and thank you so much!

doesitmakesound6 karma

[email protected] You can always modmail me on /r/shirtwascash too.

gregdoom3 karma

I am an internet salesman as well, granted, I'm new to internet sales. I just opened an etsy store a few weeks ago. I sell pickles. I was wondering how you go about getting people interested in your product and internet marketing to something that would be considered a "niche genre" such as pickles. Any ideas?

doesitmakesound4 karma

The hardest part is finding where potential buyers are. I'd first look over food websites. Maybe make a recipe and promote it that requires your pickles specifically? Get creative with it. You don't need to sell pickles... maybe you sell recipes.

dchurch02 karma

I have a fantastic smoker and make amazing beef jerky on it using sirloin tip steak sliced really thin and a few varieties of marinades. From sweet and spicy, to teriyaki, to coffee infused, or even just peppered...

Do you think your experience and business model would work for me to turn this into a commercial product?

doesitmakesound4 karma

No way for me to know? You have to go prove it. You'd know very quickly if there was demand. I can say that more people wear shirts in this world than eat beef jerky. You made me hungry though.

bcmccarty4 karma

This guy figured out an interesting way to sell beef jerky. Perhaps you could work out some sort of partnership if you figure out a way to turn your recipe into a commercial product.

doesitmakesound3 karma

Appsumo is always sound advice.

onceuponatimeaknight2 karma

Do the users who submit the shirt designs get commision for their designs? kind of like what valve does for dota 2 item designs.

or do you(by you mean I) only make money off selling shirts from the website? (using the discount code thing)

doesitmakesound4 karma

Yep.

Here's the second competition's rewards.

I also like to do random stuff for contributors. Like this free shirt giveaway this week.

Casualbat0072 karma

With your experience, what do you see as the most promising venues for making money on the internet? How difficult is internet entrepreneurship for someone like me, a college kid with limited budget and resources?

doesitmakesound2 karma

I started this without spending anything first. I just put the time in to put together all of the peices, pictures, and what-not to get peopel to trust I was going to deliver.

I think you could make money doing a lot of stuff. It all just comes down to effort and whether interests you.

AntiJoker2 karma

How did you go about finding a manufacturer?

doesitmakesound3 karma

Google, email, and calling all of them.

rocketinpocket2 karma

How is this not just a rip off of Threadless?

doesitmakesound2 karma

Lots of ways as described in several comments that have had similar questions.

Bobsbuckets2 karma

I've started my own clothing store recently but doing tie dye clothing and want to slowly add awesome stuff like your tees to my store, so have a few questions about where you see your store going:

  • Have you considered wholesale? Or do you already wholesale to other companies/stores? I would definitely be interested in organizing to stock some shirts.

  • Do you use any social media besides Reddit? If not, how do you plan to maintain sales in the future?

  • You mentioned something negatively impacting your EDC sales. Have you been selling at festivals/events or did you mean just selling to people attending? I run market stalls at some smaller music events and could definitely see some of your tees as a hit.

  • What demographic has been your main market? I would imagine teen-middle aged men but anything that surprised you?

Thanks and excited to see how your store grows.

doesitmakesound2 karma

  1. Yeah wholesale is an option. We've talked to several groups that reached out but I haven't done any of it yet.

  2. Our shirts and brand is all over the internet now. I'm constantly learning about more populated websites.

  3. Actually we sponsored an event during EDC. Spending time on that took away from everything else and it was our lowest sales weeks leading into it. The event itself had zero results. I haven't done any stalls at events yet.

  4. 18-34 male is the biggest. I get a lot of moms buying stuff for their middle schooler / high schooler. Lots of presents. More girls than you'd probably guess too.

MarioLutherKingJr1 karma

Advice for a junior finance major besides the typical network and internships?

doesitmakesound2 karma

It's all pretty standardized. That's really what corporations are... the standardization of business and people.

The best thing I've seen is people using "shadowing" departments as a way to closely meet people and form relations. If you know you want to work somewhere, call up their manager and ask to shadow it on your off hours.

ArgonSyn1 karma

How often do you see yourself releasing batches of new designs? I imagine you're trying to get your backlog of orders out before doing that from what I've sen, is that right?

doesitmakesound3 karma

Yeah pretty much so far. We have a better grasp on things now though. I want to aim towards monthly, we'll see how realistic that is but it's the plan right now. The contests themselves take a few weeks.

juliankoh1 karma

How much stock do you keep and where do you keep it?

doesitmakesound1 karma

We print on demand. Whatever inventory I have is sitting on racks infront of me right now likely waiting for a defect shirt reprint or another shirt in their order to finish.

hahze1 karma

How do you find out what to sell?

I'm just out of ideas.

PatMcCrackit1 karma

Do you feel guilty about constantly spamming/promoting on reddit?

doesitmakesound4 karma

No.

Fetish_Goth1 karma

Is the heavymind shirt double sided?

doesitmakesound1 karma

Nope, not that one. Amazing artwork

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

doesitmakesound1 karma

An entrepreneur.

BoBab1 karma

I saw you say you've done like 3 or 4 startups already. What is the first step? I want to start some kind of social business but I just don't know where to begin...

doesitmakesound2 karma

Startupweekend could be a good solution for you. Where to start and what to do is some of the biggest problems with anything entrepreneurial. The only person that can answer it is you.

That said, there is a ton of books out there from real startup guys. Those could be good too.

anotherforgottenman1 karma

My wife wants to start an online clothing store for women do you have any advice on how to set it up?

doesitmakesound3 karma

Yep, Shopify. =P

Have her find a professional template to put on it then require her to learn and figure out how to add products, make changes to the design, and what-not. If she can't figure that stuff out, then I don't suggest an online shop. Maybe boutique store. Setting it up is one of the simpler tasks / learning curves involved here.

manford121 karma

I make cold calls for a Logistics company. I am the only person making the calls for the company also. I am basically getting manufacturers to sign up for a free shipping system, we make money by saving them money. Essentially I have to sell the customer the legitimacy as well as the product that they aren't even going to lose money on. They'll be saving money, and if they do not, they can stop using us since there is no contract.

How would I go about raising my margins and getting customer to actively listen to what I have to say?

doesitmakesound2 karma

I can't really give advice on margin since I don't know your operational costs or revenue structure. Generally increase price and/or lower expenses. Look at a financial statement and see if anything is too high. If you dont have financials, start there.

Getting a customer to listen to you is the most difficult task in any business. I suggest doing things that no one else has done. You can figure out very quickly if the message you are portraying is effective or not. Try new things on new mediums. Generally stand out is a vague answer but the correct one.

sturzynski1 karma

How did you get your name out there? What do you do to advertise now?

doesitmakesound2 karma

I started in /r/4chan and the concept was viral enough to make waves.

Mcflandown0 karma

I am definitely going to get the glorious shirt in honour of our glorious leader when I next have some spare cash. Has there ever been a design you've refused to make?

doesitmakesound1 karma

Nope.

Kanyin-17 karma

Is this suppose to be good sales? $115k can get you noticed? I've done $250k within a year starting one of my sites on Opencart. Another site I have does $600k a month on Zencart but has been around a long, long time.

doesitmakesound7 karma

K

wolfstang0 karma

He's a regular contributor to the /r/theredpill. Should explain his asinine comment.

doesitmakesound1 karma

To each his own. I'm not competing with anyone here. My greatest achievement with this so far is how awesome the community we're building is. Can't really put a price on that.