15.5 C
New York
Sunday, September 24, 2023

T-shirt Vendor on Licensing, Drop-shipping, Extra

Step one in promoting t-shirts imprinted with pop-culture objects is acquiring permission from rights holders. Kevin Stecko has been doing that since 2000 when he launched 80sTees.com, his t-shirt enterprise. However receiving that permission just isn’t straightforward.

He advised me, “I began the corporate with impressions of He-Man, a toy cartoon. I obtained that license, after which they wouldn’t approve hardly any of my designs.”

Quick ahead to 2023, and 80sTees.com carries 120,000 SKUs with photos from films, tv reveals, comedian books, and extra. He and I lately mentioned his journey — licensing,  warehousing, drop-shipping, and extra.

The audio of our complete dialog is embedded under. The transcript is edited for size and readability.

Eric Bandholz: Inform us about your organization.

Kevin Stecko: It’s 80sTees.com. I began the enterprise in 2000. We promote t-shirts with photos of cartoons, toys, and video video games. I’m carrying my Karate Child shirt as we speak.

We’ve to acquire licenses from the creator to make use of lots of these photos. Early on I had to purchase from the producers that owned the rights. A few of them would preserve inventory, and I might purchase three of a dimension. Some wouldn’t preserve inventory, and I had to purchase a complete print run.

My warehouse had a minimum of one in every of every little thing we offered. I bought the area, 45,000 sq. ft. As quickly as I purchased the constructing, Amazon sellers began consuming away at our enterprise. We by no means wanted your complete area. Now nearly every little thing’s printed on demand and drop-shipped. For essentially the most half, so long as there’s no licensing concern, I ship the orders to our suppliers electronically, and so they ship them to our clients.

There are roughly 10 corporations that ship orders for us. They’ll license to us and print on-demand, and we checklist it on our web site.

Bandholz: How do you discover the rights holders and negotiate the charges?

Stecko: There are a few methods to search out them. I typically begin by going to the web site and sending an e mail asking who I discuss to about licensing. There’s a giant commerce present in Las Vegas referred to as Licensing Expo that’s useful.

In the event you’re keen to spend $3 million, Disney will in all probability discuss to you for a license — whether or not it’s traditional Disney, Star Wars, or Marvel, they’re all going to price a ton of cash licensing-wise.

Hasbro just isn’t as grasping. I’ve a take care of that firm for Transformers and G.I. Joe.

The large corporations have comparable authorized agreements. Some will need the standard 10% royalty for t-shirts. Some will need extra, however it’s normally between 10% and 12%. In the usual approval course of, we generate a mock-up of the design after which ship it to them. If that will get permitted, the subsequent step is a manufacturing pattern. As soon as they approve the pattern, we are able to go reside with it.

Bandholz: How do they know what number of gross sales you could have?

Stecko: It’s basically a belief factor. Within the settlement, I might comply with an audit. If my numbers are fallacious, I must pay for the audit and for errors or under-reporting. It normally doesn’t matter to us as a result of we’ve assured such a lot of gross sales. I might pay a royalty provided that gross sales exceed that quantity.

For accounting to the rights holder, we’ll obtain a quarterly report of our gross sales for that merchandise. It reveals what we offered the product for and what number of. Then we ship them these stories and pay the royalty if relevant.

Shopping for a license is all the time a danger. We by no means know what is going to promote or whether or not the license holder will approve our designs. I’ve signed offers the place we couldn’t get something permitted.

I began the corporate with impressions of He-Man, a toy cartoon. I obtained that license, after which they wouldn’t approve hardly any of my designs. We might make a design and ship it to them for his or her approval. They almost all the time responded, “Nope, can’t try this.” So we let that deal expire. I’m fairly certain we misplaced cash on it as a result of we had so little merchandise to promote.

Bandholz: What number of SKUs are in your web site?

Stecko: We’ve over 10,000 designs. Each design has from 5 to 12 sizes. So 120,000 SKUs. The navigation for our web site is exclusive. It’s arrange for searching. We’ve an enormous menu bar that expands into an accordion-style menu. We would like guests to see all our stuff, not only one merchandise.

Bandholz: You promote on Fb.

Stecko: Earlier than the pandemic, we spent lower than $100 per day on Fb. When the stimulus checks went out, we noticed how properly the Fb Advertisements had been doing, so we stored rising the finances to the purpose the place it was our greatest month ever in Might 2020.

Some days, even now, the adverts will suck, or we don’t get the variety of conversions because the prior week. However general, nothing comes near Fb. We now spend upwards of $500 per day.

Bandholz: You’re semi-retired now.

Stecko: Right. I don’t have a pet challenge. I help my staff, and my spouse and I are sometimes free throughout the day, and we go on a hike or exit to lunch. I labored arduous for a really very long time, so I don’t thoughts the downtime.

Bandholz: The place can folks help you?

Stecko: Our web site is 80sTees.com. I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles