Gabe, Eamon and Brendan seeked out a way to successfully form a brand around the wonderful community that is JMU. Thus, after much discussion and name iteration, we have ultimately stuck to the name 'JMYou' which encompasses the individual and our school as a whole.
Check out: JMYou Tee's Weebly!
And here is our final video! Enjoy!
Gabe started off by saying he had been working on a personal project learning to screenprint shirts, which made the idea an obvious choice. Although we knew tee's had been done in the past, because of the 'in house screenprinter' our group had access to, it seemed we could do so much more profitably, easily, and quickly. He also has experience with Adobe Illustrator - a program to make the art. The shirts we used were GIldan brand from virginiats, a whole saler only a couple hours away. This allowed for next day delivery for the price of regular ground shipping. All art supplies were sourced from Blick, Screen Printing Supplies, and even Michaels. The biggest issue with relying on shippments is the unknown shipping time.
Besides the shirts themselves, our other resources were our own creativity to think of the designs themselves.
Design & Screen Printing (Our Innovation)Edit
Gabe had a lot of experience with Adobe Illustrator which made the designing aspect very simple. Otherwise, the process would have been to find someone with this experience and work with them to make our mock ups. This would have been exceedingly time consuming, inefficient and possibly costly. The other option is to go to a screen printing company like Moxie who can help do that. However, they will not illustrate something extremely custom for you, which limits options. Because of the experience we had with Illustrator within JMYou Tees, we were able to make several designs quickly and consult our customer base on their favorites. This was definetely a deciding factor on our success and was a simple way to innovate on an old idea of t-shirt sales.
The way we made the actual designs was by looking at the current t-shirt fashions. The intial idea was the 'small' design. This was pulled from the 'I Bleed Purple' tees, which inverted the colors on the word purple. The thought behind this was to grab the JMU community with something that looks slightly familiar and they are comfortable already wearing. However, Brendan decided to go the other way. He felt that many people who wore words on their shirts wanted the words huge - like the current Nike style shirts. Another similar style are the 'Keep Calm...' Shirts which also feature huge letters. So we went for a similar design to that.
Screenprinting is no easy task. The reason this made sense was because Gabe had been experimenting with the process for the past couple months and because we have heard horror stories about local printers taking too much time, charging too much money and messing up orders. This is why we chose the whole business in the first place because although previous classes have done t-shirts, we were able to take out the middle man and reap higher rewards. This also allowed for a much higher turnover time which gave a lot of flexibility with the design. For future groups, we would reccomend trying to take out the 'problemed resources' in anyway possible.
The Evolution & The ProcessEdit
Step 1: The Brainstorm. After creating our weebly and our first name (Madison Tanks & Tees), we needed ideas. So we brainstormed, writing down over 40 design idea. But we needed a way to narrow them down...
Step 2: So we figured we needed to survey. Survey 1 can be seen below. We found 40 different people around campus and Showker, finding out which design idea would work best. The top of the list was: 'JMU The Finest Women Since 1908'. However, because of our contraints with the JMU name copyright, we chose to go with 'We're Kind Of A Big Deal'. However, we needed more information on our ideas and the 'Big Deal' idea in particular so...
Step 3: We did 100 more surveys! These new surveys (seen below) went past the design phase and to the sales phase. We began to figure out how much people were willing to pay, where they would buy, how much is too much and of our two 'Big Deal' Tees which was better. All this survey information is summarized in our weebly! The data was promising. With it we were able to narrow down a price - $15 seemed perfect!
Step 4: So Gabe made the shirts just in time for the homecoming football game - our chance to sell! First round, we sold a little more than 30 shirts, half of what we have in stock in the first place! Sales was its whole own adventure, so see the section below for more information.
The Evolution & The Process (Gallery)Edit
Sales during the Football game was actually pretty easy. We set up a table and starting yelling and getting peoples attention and we quickly got sales! The high point of sales was definetely before the game during the tailgate - as it got closer to the game there were less and less people interested in buying the shirts.
Our sales technique was to just be normal college students and to sell to our peers. This really helped since not only did they want the shirts, but would be willing to pay a premium to help us out. As well as this, we decided to offer a discount with the purchase of two. This was a huge incentive for many to get a friend to buy one with them helping our revenue even more. The Square card reader was also extremely helpful. We charged about 30 cents extra on each purchase to cover the fee, which people were more than happy to pay.
Selling in Showker was much more difficult. It seems difficult to get students in the buying mood when they are in the academic setting. Levereging old teachers was also helpful - one professor purchased two shirts for herself and was going to take orders from other faculty to purchase even more just for the sake of helping us out.
In retrospect, as a team we would reccomend diversifying sales techniques. That is to say change locations, change times, change how you set up the 'booth' or even try to sell in stores. We should have tried in several locations for sure.
Failures & Words of Advice for FutureEdit
- Our critical failure was lack of sales. As said above, the way to get around this is sell in as many places as possible, in as many ways you can think of. To us, this should have been the biggest 'experiment' since we had the actualy product idea fairly early on.
- We would not consider this a failure, however several design iterations would have been interesting to see. This would have expanded our brand and allowed for a better understanding of the customer. For groups with design oriented products, we would reccomend just dealing in small quanitities. This would take a lot of work and would be very specific to groups who are capable of turning over products fast, however this allows for the biggest learning of customers.
- Getting to know the market should have also been emphasized more. Although as a group we did about 100 surveys to people all over campus, while selling it seemed we were still missing some information on purchasers vs. non purchasers. To learn what this was, we should have spent much more talking to individuals while selling and have specific questions for them.
- A very big mistake was not starting a mailing list since day 1. Throughout the process, our group interacted with so many students, businesses, teachers and individuals which could have very well been customers in the future. However, we had no mailing list to contact them about sales.
-The other piece of advice we would give is to not underestimate the power of the multiple unit discount! This was a huge selling point for us and allowed for tons more business.
- Be very very careful relying on other companies shipping materials and goods to you. Not only does this take time, but they will mess up orders, you will order the wrong thing, you'll spend money on shipping, and you will have no idea how long shipping will actually take.