Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered
It's kind of a gory analogy, but hey, its hunting season, so why not? This is something that my brother has said on a number of occasions that really stuck with me as a small business owner. The gist of it is this; you want to make money, just don't obsess about making ALL the money.
I have been able to eek out a living with Tee See Tee, not so much the first(or even second) year of business, but now, almost 4 years in. I know a big part of that is offering a high quality, certified original Michigan t-shirt at a very reasonable price. Since I started, our pre-shrunk, triblend t-shirts have been $25, and they will stay that price for years to come. Why? Because I ain't no hog!
You read that correctly...$120 for a blank white t-shirt,
and it SOLD OUT, because Kayne. Sigh....
I have seen a gross fluctuation in the price of apparel lately, and it is just absurd. $35-40 for a t-shirt,
guess what, you are not Kanye West, so stop charging your customers like you are! If you can get by while offering your customer a value, why not? I promise, your customers will appreciate that savings, and they will come back time after time, so long as you stay commited to providing a great product at a better price.
But I am by no means saying we should all start a price war....nobody wins if we are competing to be the cheapest around. This morning, I discovered a fellow apparel company offering screenprinted t-shirts for $3!!! This is I-N-S-A-N-E. The cheapest you can get a t-shirt is about $1.60, and that is for something that is roughly as durable as a paper towel. This means you value your service for $1.40....
I am not sure how many of you know what goes into Screenprinting a t-shirt, but it looks a little something like this:
Now this doesn't factor in the clean-up, wasted materials, and ink costs. So I understand that you are probably in need of work, and think offering a crazy price will generate sales, but at the end of the day, you are establishing a crazy precedence that will eventually burn you out, and make you hate what you are doing. And as an added bonus, you will drive down what the consumer feels our service is actually worth, which will put us all at a major disadvantage....think fast food....we are not McDonald's, we are worth more than that.
So what is the point of all this? I guess I am just putting it out there that we should never undervalue what we do. This is not "just a t-shirt", this is art, and most of us trained for a long time to do what we do. But we also should not get out of hand with how much we try to charge our loyal customers, because they are hard-working individuals, and we should respect and cherish the fact that they are actually VOLUNTEERING TO GIVE US MONEY TO WEAR OUR DESIGNS! What an amazing thing! We are truly blessed to be able to not only get somebody to put our art on their body, but to have them pay us, instead of the other way around!
It's great people like this are the reason we are
still in business. We LOVE people like this.
So be a pig, make your money, put shoes on your kids, just don't get crazy with it, because you may wind up on the chopping block next year.
And that's my rant for the week:)