About 10 days ago or so, we touched on the fact that since you have a limited amount of resources to work with you need to be very wise when trying to figure out what to address first. Instead of going out and incurring a big monthly debt responsibility, I strongly recommended that you spend the lion’s share of your effort figuring out if you’re actually going to be able to make an educated judgment call on you being able to make a go of it in the St Louis digital t-shirt printing industry.
I recommended that you start out by making sure that you can actually sell it first, before you go any further or get any deeper into this endeavor. I touched on when I first broke into this business I went out and printed up some business cards. I just started knocking on the doors of local businesses and asking them if they wouldn’t mind if I could simply have a chance to bid on the next time they ended up needing some custom embroidery or screen printing. More than not, everybody that I called on did happen to use these items but they didn’t necessarily need it at that very moment. They would ask me if I had a business card and I said sure.
I can’t tell you how many times I watch them grab the business card and unconsciously start to fold it up while they were talking to me. I’m thinking to myself if they can’t even keep the card intact during the 5-minute interaction that we were having, it’s pretty much a long shot that they’re going to keep it around 2 or 3 months down the line. If the business card was to survive, it would typically end up in a stack of cards 50 or more thick, and unless it happened to somehow miraculously be on the very top a few months later, they normally would forget it was even there and I never even actually got the call. I even remember being out with my family one time and noticing that a guy who walked by me had on what appeared to be brand new sweatshirt with custom screen printing and embroidery across the chest of a company/ That told me if I left my card, they would be sure and give me a call. Reality is, most of the time that call never actually came. So at that point I realized that if they’re not going to call me, I’m going to have to call them. I would make it a point before I left that cold call to actually ask them when specifically are they going to be needing to place a new order? I would then create a database and reach out to them when that time eventually came.
Well let’s pick up where we left off. If memory serves me correctly, we touched on the fact that you’re going to have a limited amount of resources with which to work when first launching this campaign and I recommended being very discriminating regarding choosing your battles. How would these limited resources be best served?
Before you go out and spend a fortune on brand new custom embroidery equipment, I think your interest would be best served by making sure that you’re going to be able to sell it. The point I’m making here is that you can be the best equipped St Louis t-shirt printing company in the entire city, but if you’re not going to be able to sell it, you’re not going to be able to meet that monthly overhead that coincides with that new equipment.
I’ve always been of the opinion that regardless of how well you can do whatever type of business you happen to choose, nothing good is going to happen without the sale first. Although, marketing and sales go together, they are actually quite different from one another. Let’s look at the anatomy of a sale.
In my opinion, the most challenging part of the equation is trying to find a potential customer that happens to be currently in the market for whatever it is you happen to be selling. Example, you could be the very finest St Louis digital t-shirt printing company, but if you don’t have sales, you are pretty much out of business. You cannot pay for your overhead.
Okay, so let’s recap. Last time we touched on all the different aspects of
trying to start a successful campaign regarding opening up a St Louis
digital t-shirt printing company and where do you even start.
We also touched on the fact that knowledge is power but where do you
acquire this knowledge.
I mentioned that a good starting place would be to get on a major search
engine and do a relevant search such as “find the top 10 successful St Louis
screen printing and embroidery companies” and see who comes up on that first
landing page. It’s certainly no coincidence that you’re seeing the sites
that are there over the ones that are not. Look at how they are laid out.
You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel here. Just consider,
implementing some of the same strategies and formats that you’re viewing. I
also mentioned the fact that we are living in a digital age now where
pretty much anything you want to know is accessible as long as you know the
right questions to ask.
This week I’d like to concentrate on the aspect of sales and marketing
because in my opinion, that is the very most important aspect of any
business venture . Here’s an example. You could be the very best Saint
Louis custom embroidery company out there, but if no one can find you when
they do a relevant search, you are likely going to miss that bid
So once again, I want to emphasize how important it is to make sure that
your site is going to be on that first landing page. People’s attention
spans are very short. I’ve read that you have approximately 5 seconds to
capture their attention and if you don’t, they are going to click off your
site and on to someone else’s. So now that we identified where to start my
next blog will be various tips regarding your marketing strategies that
you’ll want to consider implementing.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be discussing how to run a
successful campaign, geared to the St. Louis screen printing and embroidery
market. For those of you who are entertaining the possibility of starting
your own clothing line or simply breaking into the digital t-shirt printing
industry, you might want to read this carefully. There’s so much to take
into consideration and you might be asking yourself, “Where and how do I
even start the process?”,
I would strongly advise that you start by prioritizing what to address first, and just educating yourself on this particular aspect of the business. Once you do this, then you can move on to the next aspect. Otherwise, I suspect it won’t be long before you’re completely overwhelmed and confused.
In other words, I would rather know a whole lot about a little, than know a little
bit of a lot. Fortunately, we live in a digital age where pretty much
anything you want to know can be accessed almost instantly. There are
valuable tutorials available on almost anything and everything, including
how to start a successful St Louis digital t-shirt printing company. One of
the things that these tutorials might not teach is not to do.
Some mistakes when starting a business can be very unforgiving and
difficult to overcome. Therefore, I would recommend that you study your
competitors, as they can teach you a great deal. Not just the ones who are
successful but also the ones who are not. I would rather learn from their
mistakes so I can potentially avoid making my own.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our ongoing conversations, regarding
upcoming blogs concerning marketing St. Louis digital t-shirt printing.
How many times have you heard it said that if opening up a successful St
Louis embroidery company was easy, then everybody would be on board.
Regardless of what vocation you are in, there’s always that disgruntled
employee that says he or she would have done it this way or that. In fact,
it wasn’t that long ago that I could remember one of my old employees did
the very same thing. My response to him was this. “If it’s so easy, then you
should go out and start your own St Louis digital t-shirt printing company.”
To make a long story short, he never took my advice. I guess it’s one of
those scenarios where the grass always appears greener on the other side. I
told him that he should take the time and think about how good he has it. All
he has to do is punch a time clock and then put in his 8 hours. He can then
go home and not give it a second thought.
I asked him what he was doing this weekend and he said nothing really exciting. I told him that I was working.When you own a custom screen printing and embroidery company you
have to wear a whole lot of hats. Your responsibilities can change from day
to day and you have to be available and on call 24/7. I would actually love
to go somewhere on vacation and not have to take my phone with me. That
being said, I never know when a potential customer is going to call and
require immediate attention. This can range from a potential complication
that might complicate or delay his deliver, to just a simple quote request.
Another thing he should consider is the fact that there are no guarantees. It
normally requires a sizable investment in order to buy the right equipment
and that doesn’t even include a building to house it in. If you’re going to
hire employees, you owe it to them to make sure you have enough customers
to sustain paying them weekly salary. To sum it up, it’s anything but easy.
If by chance after reading this, you still have intentions of aspiring to
open your own, digital t-shirt printing service, then good luck with that
and I wish you all the best.
Over the years, I can’t even remember how many times I’ve heard people complaining about their nine to five job and express that they wish they could own their own company and be their own boss. It’s one of the American Dreams. However, there’s an old proverb that says be careful what you wish for because you might actually get it. The grass is always greener on the other side. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons for each.
When I started up my St Louis digital t-shirt printing and custom embroidery company, I had it to incur an entire litany of challenges. To start with, I had no idea what I was doing. Knowledge is power, but I didn’t know where to acquire it as the internet and cell phones weren’t even affordable and easy to acquire for the average person. I couldn’t just pull up a tutorial on YouTube like we can do today. The first thing I had to determine is if I could actually sell custom t-shirts.
I’ve been self-employed my whole life. I have a good understanding that no matter how accomplished you are at whatever it is you do, nothing good is going to happen until the sale is made. In other words, if that phone doesn’t ring with a job on the other line, you will quickly go out of business. So I got some business cards printed up and just started knocking on doors the old school way. I would introduce myself and just simply ask if I could talk to the owner or the manager. I was aware that although the majority of the doors that I knocked on actually used screen printing and embroidery, they didn’t necessarily need it that very minute. So the biggest challenge I incurred was trying to find someone to sell at that very moment. Then all of a sudden I got a revelation. I thought to myself, how lucky are the people who simply punch a time clock from 9:00 to 5:00 and put in a 5-day work week. They go home at the end of the day and don’t give their job a second thought. I on the other hand would be thinking about selling custom t-shirts every waking hour.
When owning a business, there are no guarantees like a common nine to five job where you know you’re going to get a paycheck at the end of the week and know exactly how much it’s going to be. The upside though towards owning your own St Louis embroidery company is there’s no limits to how much you can make. Be on the lookout for future blogs, regarding the potential of starting up a digital t-shirt and screen printing business.
So, you’re entertaining the thought of starting up a St Louis digital t-shirt printing company. There’s a hard way and a smart way to go about doing things and I’m a huge fan of low risk and high reward. There’s also pros and cons, as there’s no guarantees in any business venture that it’s going to be successful. It all comes down to a calculated risk.
That being said, there are many reasons that I like this particular industry. One of the most significant reasons is that everybody wears a shirt or a hat or some type of wearable item that typically has some type of either custom embroidery or screen printing on it representing either a brand or a message of some kind. Another thing I like about it is that here in St. Louis and throughout the Midwest we have something called seasons. This means the same organization that bought short sleeve T-shirts a few months ago is now going to have to change over to long sleeve apparel. The point I’m making here is that you can take the same customer that you’ve already established confidence with and simply call him up and ask if he’s going to need to reorder for the cold weather approaching. More than not, you will already have his logo established as well as archived and it’s just a matter of pulling it and reusing it again as long as it did not change in any way shape or size.
The first time you dealt with that individual you not only had to sell them on your product, but you also had to sell him on your ability to do a good job and get it done in time. The reorder is so much easier because you’re already familiar with each other and that confidence is already been established. That is, in my opinion, what I would call easy money. My custom embroidery company lives and dies by the repeat order. Sure, we still get new bid requests every day from folks with whom we haven’t ever dealt before, but you just love it when that phone rings and it’s a individual whom you’ve dealt with before and they’re just calling you up again because they need some more digital t-shirt printing done. Having your own company is not all wonderful, but it certainly does have its advantages over punching a time clock.
So, you think you might want to start a St Louis screen printing company.
Where do you even begin? There are so many different directions you can go initially, but the first thing that I would recommend doing is to study your competition. Get on a major search engine and put in St. Louis embroidery company or St. Louis digital t-shirt printing and see what kind of results you get. Look for the ones that are on the first page that are natural listings and not the sponsored ones of which are paid. There’s a very good reason that you’re able to view the companies that are there. This is because the search engine gives them favor for many reasons but one of the most important ones is because of the content of their websites.
You sure don’t want to commit plagiarism, but at the same time, you can use a similar format. You do not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. It’s always been my opinion that the most important part of any successful campaign when it comes to business is the marketing aspect. You do not necessarily have to be the smartest guy in the room. You just have to learn from the smartest guy in the room. The St. Louis embroidery and digital t-shirt printing business is very competitive. I would recommend trying to find a way, to separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. Another words, find a way to get an edge. I would recommend for you to reach out to not only a very accomplished web designer, but also even more importantly, someone who really knows how to optimize your site.
Consider this, you can have a multi-million dollar website but if nobody ever sees it, then nobody is going to click on it either. I think it’s much more important to have a modest site but one that everybody sees when doing a relevant search. To sum it up, it could be the best website going, but if nobody sees it, it’s not going to work. I say this to you, and hopes that you won’t go out and rack up a huge monthly overhead before you have the clientele to maintain it. Good luck!
I’ve heard it said, that knowledge is power. Working hard to achieve one’s goal is certainly admirable but let’s face it, when it comes to the end of the month, and it’s time to pay your bills, nobody cares how hard you actually tried. All your creditors are concerned with is, where’s their money! If you happen to be a young entrepreneur with a lot of energy and ambition, that’s trying to make a name for himself in the St. Louis t-shirt printing industry, then I would certainly recommend you pull up a chair, get comfortable and read this carefully.
There are many different ways that you can go when starting a St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery company. That being said, there are no for sures in business and every approach you take is going to be a calculated risk. I happen to be a big fan of low risk and high reward. The first thing you need to do is pick your battles. One needs to be very discriminating regarding where he or she is going to direct the lion’s share of their effort, as well as where to allocate their initial investment.
The traditional way of starting a digital t-shirt printing company for most folks has been to go out and buy some very expensive equipment. You are also going to need a place to put it and do your production. If you choose to take this path you are also going to require employees that know what they’re doing and stand behind those presses. We’re talking huge overhead here! As I mentioned earlier, the employees have to know what they’re doing. There’s a lot more to screen printing and embroidery then just owning the machinery. You need to know how to use it and there’s a huge learning curve to it. That being said, the good folks and representatives at the trade shows make it look so effortless. I can assure you that it’s not that way when you’re first starting out. Be expected to ruin a lot of different T-shirts. Relax, it’s all part of the learning process.
My recommendation, would be to start out by just forming a marketing plan. No matter how good you are, at whatever it is you do, nothing happens before the sale and without that, you’ll quickly be out of business. I also recommend not incurring that huge overhead when first starting out. Instead, why don’t you consider finding a good contract embroidery shop to do the work for you? Using this method, you will be able to do a feasibility study and see if you can actually be successful in sales and build a significant clientele before incurring a huge monthly financial responsibility. The fact that we live in the digital environment that we do, this will give you a huge advantage when reaching out to new potential customers compared to the old days when people did mass mailings and just walked around knocking on doors. Instead I would start out by a very targeted social media campaign. Work on building a following on several different social media platforms. I hope this is helpful!
To actually make a huge impact, a St. Louis screen printing and custom embroidery company is going to need the correct equipment. This will at the very least, require a decent press that could be either a manual or an automatic, a decent dryer. I happen to be personally partial to an infrared dryer, and a flash unit, preferably a quartz flash which allows faster production, plus an exposure unit. You will also need at least a manual washout booth for reclaiming screens, inks, the correct chemicals and an entire litany of different types of inks. You will also need the software such as the industry standard, Illustrator or Photoshop and the list goes on and on.
Trying to locate the right products and the right provider for all of the different types of T-shirt applications can be an overwhelming task. Keep in mind that owning the right equipment and having the right tools to do the job is only the beginning. Along with all of that, you have to know how to use it. I can remember when I first got into the t-shirt printing business, I went to a local St.Louis screen printing and embroidery company and asked if I could just stand around and watch them work. The gentleman who owned it said no, but if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, I’ll pay you and you can learn on the job. It impressed me how the guy standing behind the equipment made it look so easy. However, that’s typical for anybody who’s been doing whatever it is they do for 10 years or more and had the right training.
With all this said, there is a much smarter approach in my opinion, then going out and incurring all this overhead, obtaining all this new expensive machinery and then trying to learn how to use it properly. Instead of doing everything in house, why don’t you entertain learning how to network with the right individuals who specialize in production? I used to run my own production for many years before I got smart. Of course there’s pros and cons to this approach just like anything but in my opinion, the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is you lose a little bit of control. Unlike just working on your own jobs, you have to get in line. This can make Rush jobs very difficult as the typical industry standard for production turn around is approximately 2-1/2 Weeks. As long as your client is not in a huge hurry to receive his custom t-shirts, this can be a very viable option. The same thing can be said for custom embroidery as well as catering to the St.Louis digital t-shirt printing market. When using this approach, this should free you up to concentrate on marketing which in my opinion is the key to any successful company.