Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Moto-Industry Shirt:
An Experiment on Shirt Marketing

I mentioned in an earlier post that I designed a t-shirt that I intend to sell to bikers. So here it is. I call it the Moto-Industry t-shirt. That's me modelling the shirt hehe. I really can't say that it is my design since I do not own any of the logos that I've placed there. On the shirt you will find 35 known logos in the motorcycle world. Aside from motorcycle brands, there are also brands of tires, parts, fuels, helmets and racing gears.


Anyway, I created the shirt as an experiment. I'd like to know the best strategy when it comes to producing and selling my own line of shirts. For this shirt, I target a specific market - motorcycle riders, because I am a rider myself. I printed the design, on 6 sizes of shirts in 3 colors, and I posted it on facebook. The plan is to sell them first to rider friends, then I'll visit other motorcycle clubs on their hang-out and sell the shirts to them too. I will also offer them roadside motorcycle shops for re-selling. Now that's gonna need some legwork. It is an active approach - I design for a niche market, print the shirts, then sell.

As soon as I get at least half of these shirts sold I will begin to try another approach wherein I design for the mass market, then advertise online, print what is ordered and then send the shirts. The effort here is in marketing the product online. In this rather passive approach, you wait for orders before you print. It is not as quick as the first approach but there's an advantage to it - I don't need to print on all of the shirts. So if the design is not selling anymore, the unprinted shirts can be used on another design.

Anyway, back to the Moto-industry t-shirt. I printed the first 25 shirts on the 2nd day of June. I actually made a mistake on the sizes. After printing I realized that I should have bought more large and extra-large sizes, less of the small size and shouldn't have bought extra-small. Silly me. I forgot that the men who usually ride big bikes are big men, and men usually want their shirts a bit slack. So they tend to wear the next larger size. So now I have to look for small and lean bikers to sell my 8 small and 5 extra-small shirts. Now this indeed is a disadvantage of the print-then-sell approach.

When I posted it on my biker group's page on facebook I got orders right away. I was able to sell 6 shirts when we got together for a co-member's wedding. One asked for 2 XL shirts but my only 2 XL shirts got sold already. And another asked for 4 XXXL shirts but I do not have that size. Darn.

So I bought and printed 24 more shirts a week after. This time only sizes L to XXL. But I had to put my selling experiment aside. Orders of new blogger shirt designs are coming in continuously and I have to print them alongside the mommy shirts that I am producing for my sister-in-law Erlaine, which she will consign to a store in mall here in Alabang. I hope to finish the mommy shirts before the month ends.

Speaking of consignment, I brought 15 of the Moto-industry shirts to my mechanic friend, James, so he could sell them in his motorcycle shop in Las PiƱas city. So now I have 27 shirts waiting to be sold. I'll get back to it as soon as I'm done with Erlaine's shirts. Hmm I realize, with all these other tasks, the sell-then-print approach seem to be more favorable. I think I will have to create my own online store. Hmmm...

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