t-shirt biz

May 17, 2015

I am thinking of dropping out of t-shirtin’ after a reasonably good run with the Wrath Panda. Here’s why.

  • When I make a design for a tshirt, for it to be anything approaching good it’ll take at least five or six hours of solid work. The black Wrath Panda took at least that long.
  • I make about £1.50 per sale. For me to feel like I’ve spent my time reasonably well on a t-shirt design I need to make about £15 per hour. That means 10 sales per hour of work including setting up the store page. I’d need to sell 60 or 70 shirts before I “broke even” on the time spent.
  • Making content isn’t enough to sell in these kinds of numbers. To hit even those low targets I’d need to spend most of my time joining t-shirt sites, schmoozing with other  designers and customers in forums, researching the market and what designs they want, and stump up for advertising.
  • Advertising is pretty expensive and would significantly increase the number of shirts I’d have to sell to break even. It would entail a financial risk as well – if I didn’t hit my target sales I could actually make a loss on top of time badly spent. Forum-based advertising, while often free, entails spending time to become part of the community without being a horrible shill. Since I’d be there to shill it’d test my patience.
  • To make the time spent doing this and the skills I’d need to learn worthwhile, I’d need to shift the main focus of my activity to t-shirt sales.
  • I don’t care enough about t-shirts to do any of this.

Recently I’ve taken to putting new designs that weren’t made for shirts on the shirts to get around the time spent problem – I mean it’s not costing any extra to put these designs in the store, right? Well, they don’t look great on t-shirts, and even if they do I’m still not marketing. So they just sit there and they don’t make me feel good.  People want cute animals, retro stuff and borderline IP violations, and I’m not going to do that kind of thing.

Anyway, I’m probably getting out of the game shortly so if you want the shirts, fill your boots now!


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