What I Have Learned Running A Tee Shirt Business…… So Far

How is everyone today? I thought I would get my writing on and present you with a sweet article for your viewing pleasure.

So I was sitting in my office overseeing my vast OMUNKY empire today…..haha, that’s a horrible way to start this! OK, look, there is not secret recipe to running a successful clothing brand. Part of it is being in the right place at the right time, part of it is a talent for this kind of work, and the rest is just complete randomness. Oh and let’s not forget patience…

But it is important to know that it’s not all just a roll of the dice. So I have compiled a few key points that have helped me out so far. Feel free to enjoy this article! And let’s begin:

• Be Original

This comes first because, for me, this is the most important. To truly be successful in this business, and in any for that matter, you need to stand out from the crowd. The coolest thing you can do for yourself and for your “baby” is to make your customers see that they cannot get what you are selling anywhere else.

Try and do something nobody else has done before. If you are thinking Zombie-based designs or clothing with food on them, get your mind out of the gutter! It’s been done before! I want something new! I want something fresh! I want people to come up to me and ask me where I got my shirt from (I’m speaking as one of your future customers). I’m sure you don’t want people telling you that your clothing reminds them of another brand.

If you are inspired by another clothing company, that’s cool. There is nothing wrong with taking some ideas from brands you have grown up with or that you recently discovered. But make sure not to take too much from them or you will be labeled a copycat or poser, or whatever words the kids are using these days. OMUNKY has definitely been influenced by others, especially when I was first starting out, but you would never guess which ones. I have made it a huge point to separate OMUNKY from the pack.

• Be Professional

I spend a lot of my free time online and when I’m online I like to check out other clothing sites. If you’ve been around long enough to have made a presence for yourself on some of the t-shirt blogs and maybe some social networking sites, odds are I’ve probably checked your brand out. Heck, I might have even purchased an item from your store because I am all about supporting other small businesses. But what keeps me on a website longer than 30 seconds is a brand’s professionalism. If you have taken the time to develop a nice looking web-page, making sure your products are easily accessible as well as aesthetically pleasing, I’m probably going to explore your site for awhile.

It’s one thing to have a really well designed shirt. It’s a step closer to the majors if you can back that shirt up with a really solid brand and an overall great shopping experience. You’re a small business who has to compete with some really large and powerful clothing stores. If I shop at your store I want to know that I am going to get a product that is worth what I paid for, and that you won’t just up and leave town after you’ve taken my hard earned cash. People are very skeptical about shopping for clothes on the internet because they can’t feel or try on the products they are buying. Make up for that with an awesome online experience.

• Be Courteous

Since I started my line, one of the most common things I’ve heard from people I have dealt with is “wow, you guys are really nice” (haha, for the record there is no “guys” it’s just me). I pride myself on going above and beyond for people I’ve interacted with when representing my company, and you should too.

As of 5 years ago, I have boycotted a certain computer brand (not naming names here) after having an awful customer service experience. The representative I spoke to made me feel like I was wasting her time, when in fact it was the other way around. Had she been a little more courteous to me I wouldn’t recommend buying from other computer companies when people ask for my opinion on the subject.

The same goes for clothing brands. Unless you can afford a team of reps and lawyers, you are the face of your company. How you act towards your colleagues and customers is how people will view your business. If you want to be a total dick when customers call you or email you with questions, don’t be surprised when you notice your sales start declining. People have so many places they can shop online, why should they bother with a place that is going to treat them like they are a burden.

Go above and beyond in any way you can. I have literally walked some of my older customers through the online checkout process because they were having trouble completing their orders. I have helped girls pick out the perfect shirt for their boyfriends and husbands because they were too nervous and unsure to do it themselves. If customers walk away from shopping at your store with an excellent experience, they are very likely to tell other people about it. They are also more likely to return to your store the next time they need some cool gear.

• Have Fun!

Well hopefully everyone agrees with me on this one. I started my brand because I wanted to be my own boss and I wanted to be excited to go to work everyday. If you aren’t having fun running your clothing line you might want to change things up a little bit. In order to own a successful business, you should be working more than your friends with “big kid” jobs. But that doesn’t mean your hair should be falling out and that you’re upping your medication.

Have fun! You are doing something that other people can only dream of. You have the skills needed to run your own business! Not everyone can say they have that mindset. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself sometime between your next tee release and when you’re ready to start that sweet ad campaign 🙂

If anyone wants my take on something please don’t hesitate to write me at rick[at]omunky[dot]com

Stay Happy,
Rick
omunky.com