The Birth of Kropp Tops Part 3 1/3- How do I sell T-shirts without a printer?
Now that the logo has been created it's time to get down to business. I spent hours and days on YouTube looking at different videos on how to print t-shirts. And with COVID closing almost every business I also needed to figure out how to get other printers in the US to do my shipping. Even if I were to link up with a printer, most require a minimum order which could be 100 T-shirts. I'm not looking to buy all of this inventory and hope that it sells. That's how you get in the hole early. Enter Print-on-Demand (POD) and Drop Shipping!
Again, spending hours of going through different videos on how to start a t-shirt business from my home I compared a bunch of different companies/apps/websites. Print-on-Demand means a customer puts in the order then the company prints it. Why is this the best solution for me right now? This allows so much more freedom for me. I can offer an unlimited amount of colors, sizes and variations (tee, tank, male, female, etc) without having to pay for inventory. If you want a shirt in Blue, I have that. If you are an XS and your friend is 3XL, I have both. While it may cost a little more per shirt vs buying 100 shirts pre-made, it allows for more flexibility, a happier customer and a less stressed CEO.
The other important piece is Drop Shipping. Instead of having a physical store I am able to have an online store. The printer does the shipping for me. The less work I have to do the better. We'll give a step by step example: customer goes to my website --> clicks on the shirt they want--> chooses size and color --> enters payment --> printer fulfills the order --> printer ships the order directly to the customer. The printer gets a %, the website app (more on that shortly) gets a %, the credit card payment gets a % then the rest goes to the CEO. Once I start doing bigger numbers I am able to get better %s and increase my profit but I would also rather pay for a seamless and borderline stress free process.
The two websites/apps I am using are called Printify and Shopify. Printify gives me options for what I print on. It's a fairly easy process. I can choose between Male, Female, Unisex and all the options from shirts to sweatshirts to hats, you name it. Once the shirt is picked I have an option of what printer to use. Some printers have different colors, some are more cost effective, some have different sizes for the design area and some are faster at printing and shipping than others. At the end of the day it's about what will have the best quality and get to the customer in a timely fashion. Once I choose the printer I get to mock up my shirt!
I work with a graphic designer from Fiverr for all of my designs. I send her my idea along with a description and text and I let her do the rest. She gives me a black and white sketch to approve then I give her the go-ahead to color in for the final product. For two designs it takes about 10-12 days for me to receive the finished graphic. I upload the graphic onto the mock up generator and then I add color variations and what sizes I want to offer (I go for them all). Then through the app I make sure the description covers everything, price all the sizes, added the necessary tags then BOOM publish to my Shopify store.
Through the Shopify app I am able to create and design a store to sell the t-shirts. Pretty simple right? They provide different templates so you can have your own unique store and every week I am constantly updating. After months of research and experimentation plus a bunch of sample orders to test all different products, colors and designs...Kropp Tops made it! The store has been open for two and a half months and I've loved every second of it. If you asked me what number do I need to hit in sales to be happy or consider myself successful, that number would be $0. Just the fact that I was able to come up with this idea and build it out is enough for me. I have never ever been this proud before and that includes some great client transformations over the past 7 years. Maybe in the next year it takes off and the brand becomes famous, but whatever happens I will always feel like I am a huge success. Thank you Covid-19 for giving me the time to make shit happen.
NFK, CEO Kropp Tops