“I can’t find ANYTHING I like!” Sound familiar? If you’ve ever spent countless hours looking for new clothes and end up with a whole lot of nothing – it might be time to take things into your own hands. What better way to get something you actually like than to have the resources readily available to create your own custom clothing?
We work with hundreds of different clothing companies every month. Over the years we have seen lots of people with aspirations of starting their own clothing company have their dreams come crashing down around them, losing thousands of dollars along the way. There are many different reasons why this happens, but oftentimes, it’s a case of unrealistic financial expectations. Here are 5 mistakes I have seen time and time again.
Not Enough Money
So, you got a $300 tax refund? Why not start your own clothing line and turn $300 into $100,000? While I won’t say it’s impossible, I will say it’s not likely. $300 will barely get you 50 printed t-shirts, which doesn’t leave enough money for a website, marketing, paying designers, etc. Plus, having a single t-shirt design doesn’t make you a clothing company. First, research how much it’s going to cost to launch your brand. How many designs you are going to start with? How many of each design will you print? What other expenses might you have along the way? If you don’t have enough money to do what you want right now, just wait and keep saving. This will give you more time for planning and research.
Today is the start of a new series called “Drawing a Blank”. This blog series will hopefully give you an insight into the world of blank t-shirts for screen printing. We understand that choosing the perfect brand and style is crucial when setting up a new order for your clothing line, brand, startup, band or personal event. We at Threadbird want to give you insight on every shirt we have to offer. That way you can make an informed decision on what shirt to choose for your apparel printing needs. Today’s shirts are a standard, in the screen printing industry.
As we develop our blog to provide more information for our customers as well as the
general public, we will be having friends of the company come in and provide
info on areas that are outside of our areas of expertise. Adam Assoian,
professional photographer, agreed to write an article about the importance of
photography when it pertains to your clothing brand.
Hi. My name is Adam Assoian , and I own and operate Focused in Photography, (http://www.focusedinphotography.net) a photography company based out of New Jersey that specializes in serving you guys, independent clothing lines. Last week Shane of Threadbird asked me if I’d be interested in writing up a blog post for them about the importance of photography, and obviously I was glad to. So keep on reading to find out why you should be hiring a professional photographer, and how it can help your business (aka why you should care). I’ll be writing this as bluntly and transparently as possible, telling you exactly how it is, both from the photographer’s point of view, and from the point of view from a consumer of your shirts.
First and foremost, I want to tell you why you should care that you have great photography on your site. First, realize we are talking about great, not good or good enough, but great. Look, clothing lines are an inherently visual field, you put a lot of energy, money, and time into each of your designs; I am sure a lot of you gave up a social life for your brand. So now after you’ve finished a design (which is completely awesome), you get it printed and what do the majority of you do? Well I’ll tell you; you go take photos of it with your iPhone or have a “photographer” friend do it for free (aka poorly), or you take your siblings camera they got for their birthday and you take a photo of it yourself on some decent looking friends that you call models, and you post them up on your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to advertise and sell your new design. That, or you just use the same template everyone else has on their site, which is your design on a shirt that’s lying on the ground, and every shirt has the same exact creases and sleeve fold.
So now that you’re thinking to yourself, “crap, I totally do that! I don’t think it looks bad, I mean, it’s good enough…” let me tell you why it’s not “good enough”. First, when it comes to your business, your baby, your pride and joy that you put all of your money into, there should not be a “good enough” option. You’d never put a design on a shirt that you thought was, “good enough”. Why? Because, “good enough” doesn’t sell shirts when you’re competing with hundreds of other independent brands. So now that we all agree that “good enough” isn’t an option, let me tell you why you shouldn’t be taking your own photos. Simply put, for the large majority of the time, it looks like your models have jaundice (a disease where the skin turns yellow). Not only will people be looking at the skin (and thus not your design), no one would be attracted to the design because it’s surrounded by something unflattering.
To emphasize that last point, if you look through any fashion magazine, what is something you realize about the people in the ads? How about the fact that they are all ridiculously good looking people? As brazen as it sounds, sex sells. You would sell more shirts with an attractive model, than you would if you took that same shirt and put it on an unattractive person. And the reason is simple, when people are shopping online, they want to believe they will look good in your shirt. Likewise, you can take a shirt from your favorite brand, slap it on Johnny Depp or Mila Kunis and it would look great! But if you took that design and put it on Honey Boo-Boo’s mom and dad, it’s not going to look so great.
The last reason to make sure you have great looking photos is simple; people will think you are only as successful as you portray yourself to be. So if you want to come off as a professional brand that knows what they’re doing, you should have a professional presence. The images people see on your website when they’re shopping around are the only images they get to see before they buy it, so you better make sure those images can convince someone to buy that design. Think about it, your customers don’t have the leisure of trying on the shirt and looking in the mirror before they buy it, they need to trust that the design they see on the site, is exactly what they’ll get in the mail.
Since they don’t get to try it on and look in the mirror, they should be able to see exactly how it will on the body. Women will want to know if the design is going to wrap around their torso, or if the design will look odd once there are boobs and hips adjusting it. Guys and girls both want to know how deep the v-neck you’re selling is, how tight it is on the body, how long the shirt actually is. All of these questions are usually answered in a dressing room. Well their dressing room is now your online storefront.
So now that we’ve agreed that you’ll stop taking the photos yourself and on your phone, let’s discuss what a professional photographer should be able to offer you. Bluntly, you should only be working with photographers that you feel can help you get to the next level by giving you that professional presence. The right photographer will be able to tell you everything I’ve just said; how you need to show how the design will look on the body, and all of that fun stuff I listed above. Your photographer should be able to offer you exactly what you want, whether it’s indoor shots against a backdrop, or outdoor shots in the woods. Listen, you’re paying a fair amount of money to get your photos looking great; don’t settle for anything less than what you want. Sure, you’ll have to pay a bit more than you’d probably like to get great photos, but it’s a solid investment. Great photos help sell your shirts and more shirts sold equals a happier you.
So to wrap this up, please do yourself, and your business a favor and hire a professional photographer. While I’d love to work with you (no matter where you live we can work something out), there are other photographers out there (but you should still hire me because I am awesome, and you’re awesome, and you want awesome photos…which I produce) that can give you great photos. Please don’t settle for anything that leaves you saying, “these will do”, or “these are good enough”, etc.
Don’t think you’ll hurt your friend’s feelings if you don’t let them shoot your brand, remember, this is a business your running, your business, not your friend’s business, and you need to make smart business decisions that will push your brand forward. And lastly, please, please remember that you can always reach out to me via Facebook (www.facebook.com/focusedinphotography) or my email (focusedinphotography [at] gmail.com) if you have ANY questions at all. I will always respond within 24 hours, and I promise to give you the attention you and your brand deserve. So don’t be shy.
Oh, and one last thing. The amazing team over at Threadbird work really hard to get your shirts looking absolutely perfect, and they want your shirts looking as perfect as possible not only when people wear them, but in your photos too. So, what they have graciously agreed to do is this: if you get your order printed with them AND hire me for a shoot, you will get 25 cents off of each shirt in your order and 5% off your shoot with me. Just contact them for more details and they’ll put you in touch with me so we can work out all the pricing.
Thanks so much for your time.