Well, I definitely won’t be retiring soon (or probably ever for that matter) but I did manage to sell around 150 T-shirts via Cotton Bureau and Mercht. That earned me around £3 per T-shirt. Not bad, but there is certainly room for improvement.
Both Cotton Bureau and Mercht make it relatively easy to get your designs onto T-shirts and into the hands of customers. You submit a design and they pretty much do the rest. They deal with print, fulfilment and customer services. Obviously, the success of your campaign still depends upon the amount of effort you put into your own marketing (hence those Tweets and Instagram posts I mentioned earlier). Also, they take the lion’s share of the profit, which is totally understandable given that they want to stay in business.
This does mean that the rewards don’t necessarily add up. A conservative estimate of effort per campaign would be around 10 hours including the design and marketing. With sales of 150 units at £3 per unit across 3 successful campaigns, that equates to:
(150 x £3)/30 hours = £15 per hour
That’s double the UK minimum wage but it doesn't take into account the cost of running my business.
I could increase profits by cutting out the middle man and printing T-shirts myself but I'm convinced my wife would divorce me if she came home to find the kitchen converted into a print workshop and stock hanging throughout the house. A more realistic and achievable approach would be to outsource the printing but handle fulfilment and customer services in-house.
So that's my current plan. The first design will be the one at the top of this post (or something close to it). I intend to print this as a limited edition T-shirt and Riso print. I hope to set up pre-orders in the near future and keep the prices between £15-£20 plus shipping.