I am trying to start a clothing line.
I am distinctly aware that I am one of thousands of likeminded, artsy dreamers clicking around Facebook thinking “I could do that.” This was not a passing fad for me but something that had been resonating between my ears and deep within my chest for many years now.
I have a background in screen printing, having slaved away as a printer at a local shop for five years as I put myself through College. I started pulling squeegees and through happenstance and good fortunes found myself the graphic artist and eventually screen printing manager.
I thought I knew all that I needed to know about garment printing. I mean, I took a class and everything; I was even certified (whatever that meant).
But this is big. It’s eclectic and mysterious. There are so many options and routes, the answers are hidden and esoteric. What works for one guy, probably won’t work of for the next. It seems that there are so many people sucking down their fifteen minutes of indie fame, that there is no real room for anybody else. And who determines what is cool anymore (no really, I have no idea……)?
Interesting marketing questions arise such as “how do you get more than 700 likes on Facebook?” or “is Twitter really worth it? It seems that everybody is talking, but is there really anybody listening?”
I recently launched my line at a first year Christian Metal festival on a rainy Saturday morning in McDonald PA. In short it was a disaster. I didn’t even come close to breaking even on the day with my vendor fee. I paid a large sum of money to be the clothing sponsor (meaning that all staff shirts and giveaway shirts had my company logo on them) and the festival was not well received (the projected 7000 people turned out to be a mere 500 if that, due to bands canceling and gross disorganization).
I learned a valuable lesson that day: Never take a chance on a first annual anything. Let them struggle a bit and if they survive then invest; a $600 lesson that I learned the hard way.
In my efforts to get ready for my next selling adventure at the Pittsburgh Comicon I glanced over the web, lurking on Facebook pages of artists whom I deeply envy, desiring what they have as a child lusts after the life of a professional athlete, not knowing the thousands of hours of practice and sacrifice that they invest in their craft.
Sometimes the only answer is to work harder, to put your hand to the plow and push.