Hey everyone!

Let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Matt, and I am a young entrepreneur and graphics designer who is wanting to start a clothing line based around the idea of legislative reform of marijuana prohibition. This is an idea I've had in the works for quite some time, but never had the capital to invest in to this specific venture. With the recent election, and the upcoming changes for states like Colorado and Washington, I feel this is a very lucrative time to invest on this idea and capitalize on a movement of which I am VERY passionate about.

I already have much of the branding either laid out or written down, and have several t-shirt mockups ready for an official launch in March. Assuming I take all the necessary steps, is it a bad idea to start promotion long before I even have t-shirts printed? If so, when is usually a good time for a start-up to start any real promotion?
  • BluCanoe

    If you start too early even the people that actually do care or are interested will forget about it before you launch. My advice is to start a couple months out just to get your name out there and let people know you exist, then maybe a month or a couple weeks before your actual launch do a really hard push to generate some interest in your brand.

    Out of curiosity, on what side of marijuana legalization do you stand?
  • Andrew Haines

    Hey Matt, it really depends on your commitment, preparation and execution. If you build up hype before a launch, everyone does that so its not seen as a negative. If you go about that and get a following then fall through, it can be a problem. If you fully intend on launching then showing little pieces of the process to gain momentum can't hurt, as long as you don't spam people like crazy and piss them off. Good luck man!
  • dobi

    what if marijuana becomes legalized? sorta like people still driving around with romney stickers.
  • Meatball0

    I stand on the side which represents liberty and the ability to make decisions for yourself; legalization, of course. Thank you for your feedback :) Until then, what are some general months-before-launch tasks that people take care of in order to help seed a successful launch?

    dobi said:what if marijuana becomes legalized? sorta like people still driving around with romney stickers.

    Luckily my merchandise does not do a direct play on the idea, only represent the culture surrounding the idea.:)

    Some time ago I decided, in order to generate interest, that I would donate 10% of all profits towards charities that specialize in marijuana legalization. Once this goal is achieved, we can re-direct that towards beneficial medical research.
  • jonkruse

    It is never to early to start. Do you think you are going to launch your site and already have traffic coming to it, NO WAY. You need to build that. Create a blog with news about marijuana becoming legal. Write updates on designs and whats going on. Start an email list so you can send out a mass email when your line is out. Start a facebook and twitter page. It is never too early to start.

    Also this site doesn't have to be a finished product. Get a solid template off of woothemes, and work on the final site later. Just get the ball moving and get things done. Right now is when you need to start promoting and never stop.

    Put up your designs and see what people think. Print the one you think will sell the best. Only print 50. Learn from what sizes sell and use that info and profit to print more. Contact blogs when your shirts are printed and have them blog about you.

    http://www.howtostartaclothingcompany.com/10-articles-every-clothing-entrepreneur-should-read/
  • BluCanoe

    I'm failing to understand why marijuana legalization is something to be VERY passionate about.

    I have just one more tidbit of advice. Please if you're going to make designs that support weed, at least make them classy. I see way too many trashy "420 4 lyfe yo" kind of designs around. If you could actually pull of a nice brand for this kind of movement you could go far.
  • Meatball0

    jonkruse said:It is never to early to start. Do you think you are going to launch your site and already have traffic coming to it, NO WAY. You need to build that. Create a blog with news about marijuana becoming legal. Write updates on designs and whats going on. Start an email list so you can send out a mass email when your line is out. Start a facebook and twitter page. It is never too early to start.

    Also this site doesn't have to be a finished product. Get a solid template off of woothemes, and work on the final site later. Just get the ball moving and get things done. Right now is when you need to start promoting and never stop.

    Put up your designs and see what people think. Print the one you think will sell the best. Only print 50. Learn from what sizes sell and use that info and profit to print more. Contact blogs when your shirts are printed and have them blog about you.


    http://www.howtostartaclothingcompany.com/10-articles-every-clothing-entrepreneur-should-read/

    Interestingly enough, I just finished reading many of your articles on your website, which directed me to read the book "Threads Not Dead." Thank you for you advice, your writings (among others) have taken up the last week of my free time.

    A few days ago I started up a Facebook fan page to do exactly what you just said (as per the advice given in articles you've written), and Im slowly gaining fans which I did not invite myself. Every individual one is a great feeling so far. I purchased a domain some time ago, so soon I will be setting up a blog directed around the idea of legalization. Hopefully I can gain fanfare from that :)

    Thank you all for your current insight. I'm loving this board already!
  • Meatball0

    BluCanoe said:I'm failing to understand why marijuana legalization is something to be VERY passionate about.

    I have just one more tidbit of advice. Please if you're going to make designs that support weed, at least make them classy. I see way too many trashy "420 4 lyfe yo" kind of designs around. If you could actually pull of a nice brand for this kind of movement you could go far.

    Being passionate about marijuana legalization isn't necessarily about being able to get high legally. To me, it represents the idea of personal liberty and decision making, something which I highly sympathize with.

    That is exactly my goal! I'm wanting to start a brand that is not the typical headshop YOLO style which represents short-sightedness and irresponsibility. As previously said, my designs are not going to about legalization, but more-so inspired by it.
  • Andrew Haines

    Meatball0 said:Thank you all for your current insight. I'm loving this board already!

    You're one of the lucky ones that actually gets help haha.
  • sentimentaladam

    It might also be a good idea to offer your shirts as a pre-sale before your official launch.
  • Meatball0

    Andrew Haines said:
    Meatball0 said:Thank you all for your current insight. I'm loving this board already!

    You're one of the lucky ones that actually gets help haha.

    In that case, a few pictures may be due to help give those who are helping me an idea of what I am going for.


    This is my companies official logo, which I created some time ago. Times which require simpler branding (such as custom printed tissue paper for packaging) will simply use one of the wings.



    This one of our more direct shirts. While it doesnt outright state pro-legalization, it is implied through context. It also sports our companies name! Win-win :)

    I have more ideas which I am currently producing, including logo-tees and classier imagery dependent upon how I want to direct the feel of my brand. Out of curiosity, is it a bad idea to have both funny and classy, as long as the branding and art-styles remain consistent? I was thinking of future ideas ranging from logo thongs all the way to embroidered polos and am not sure if I want to stick to one route vs a mix of both.
  • BluCanoe

    I was getting really good vibes about what you're doing until two minutes ago.
  • kevinluong

    BluCanoe said:I was getting really good vibes about what you're doing until ten minutes ago.
  • Meatball0

    BluCanoe said:I was getting really good vibes about what you're doing until two minutes ago.

    Which is exactly why Ive spent the last week rethinking my designs and how I progress forward!

    Maybe it is a better idea to go for a pure classy appeal vs a metaphorical appeal? I'll sit down and make a logo shirt mock-up and see what comes out :) Until then, I removed the last two designs as they do not accurately portray my current ideas. I probably shouldn't have put them up in the first place, given I kind of knew what the reaction would be.
  • MattyVF

    You should re-do everything if you want to take this seriously. Also, write a business plan for yourself so your mind can link up with paper when it's time to get organized about marketing, the industry, finance, etc.
  • BluCanoe

    Immersing yourself in literature? I know I'm going to come off as an asshole but it seems like you want legitimate advice so I hope you can take it without whining like most other noobs who come on here asking for advice.

    Dank Apparel? Not classy in the slightest. Your logo is basically text with tiny wings. Aside from looking unprofessional, it doesn't mean anything to me.

    Your shirt design is one that's been printed a million times on Cafe Press or Zazzle. Unoriginal and, once again, doesn't mean anything.

    You seem to have the branding worked out (liberty, freedom to make choices) so now your best bet is to hire a professional designer that can create designs that help get across that message (yours are not currently doing this).

    Also, how does the car design have anything to do with your brand/idea?
  • ShineOn

    I'll chime in and say you're really grasping at straws if your concept is liberty and freedom of choice but execution wise you will be branding designs with the name "Dank Apparel". Anyway you spin it, with a name like that people are going to look at you as a weed themed brand.
  • HaydnChapman

    While you're at it, let's throw in some socks dotted with weed leaves and a 420 blaze it all day t-shirt?

    But jokes aside, I think you are trying for a pretty unique direction of the whole Legalize Marijuana thing, but you are going for a very unoriginal execution of said direction.
  • BCHC

    You definitely need to make the designs more classy.
    Take a look at ShineOn's brand for example, or just browse the shirt section here to see what people mean by that.

    That's the best thing you can do ;)
  • Meatball0

    BluCanoe said:Immersing yourself in literature? I know I'm going to come off as an asshole but it seems like you want legitimate advice so I hope you can take it without whining like most other noobs who come on here asking for advice.

    Dank Apparel? Not classy in the slightest. Your logo is basically text with tiny wings. Aside from looking unprofessional, it doesn't mean anything to me.

    Your shirt design is one that's been printed a million times on Cafe Press or Zazzle. Unoriginal and, once again, doesn't mean anything.

    You seem to have the branding worked out (liberty, freedom to make choices) so now your best bet is to hire a professional designer that can create designs that help get across that message (yours are not currently doing this).

    Also, how does the car design have anything to do with your brand/idea?

    Dont worry, Im not here to stroke my ego, Im here to learn more and develop my goals and ideas further. Looks to me like Im better at talking than execution. Back to the drawing boards it is!

    ShineOn said:I'll chime in and say you're really grasping at straws if your concept is liberty and freedom of choice but execution wise you will be branding designs with the name "Dank Apparel". Anyway you spin it, with a name like that people are going to look at you as a weed themed brand.

    Thats actually a very interesting way of looking in to what Im trying to accomplish. Albeit my ideas are still based around marijuana legalization and it may be more geared towards the weed theme, the heart of liberty remains the same regardless of its avenue.

    HaydnChapman said:While you're at it, let's throw in some socks dotted with weed leaves and a 420 blaze it all day t-shirt?

    But jokes aside, I think you are trying for a pretty unique direction of the whole Legalize Marijuana thing, but you are going for a very unoriginal execution of said direction.

    I have no plans of putting pot leaves on anything. :P Good thing I am far away from any form of launch, I have much more planning to do!

    Now I have to figure out how to add class to something that most people perceive as classless....strong challenges ahead of me.
  • atomicchild

    only thing better than one stroke is TWO STROKES haha
  • Craig Robson

    i know a guy called Darius who you can hire. his shit is legit and would fit your vibe hard.

    seriously though, if you make a shirt that says "my feet...they feel like one foot" on it in like weed letters i will buy some.
  • BluCanoe

    atomicchild said:only thing better than one stroke is TWO STROKES haha
  • asaule

    here are 2 good articles that cover the bare bones of every aspect of starting your own business. It's for a cologne company, Moonshine, though it parallels starting any business especially an apparel company. The writer highlights the first 2 years of the company as well as provides a great timeline of how to think about and execute starting a business.
    Plus, the Art of Manliness is an awesome blog anyway.

    http://artofmanliness.com/2011/11/16/from-idea-to-reality-a-one-year-case-study-on-launching-a-successful-business/

    http://artofmanliness.com/2012/11/16/reality-in-motion-a-second-year-case-study-on-running-a-successful-business/
  • OriginallyFresh

    @asaule Thanks for the articles, great reads!

    I have wondered about promoting too early as well. I think its a fine balance between keeping your brand in the back of your demographics mind and coming across annoying.

    I do like the comment about starting with a little hype then hitting it hard like a month before the launch......not too hard tho haha
  • cmeyers

    i've seen brands hype the EXACT same thing for like 3 months straight 3 times a day and it was the most annoying thing in the world. to them, they were like "well someone new might see it every day". well, yeah, but think about the people that are hooked from your first post, and are seeing it 3 times a day for 3 months. that's one way not to do it.
  • DanielJames

    You might want to rethink the name, a quick google search turned up at least 5 clothing companies with the name "Dank Apparel"

    Also, you should buy the Threads Not Dead ebook and video sets. It will teach you ALOT.
  • lazyeye

    Craig Robson said:i know a guy called Darius who you can hire. his shit is legit and would fit your vibe hard.

    BRING HIM BACK, BRING HIM BACK!
  • miles to go

    eeesh, you were sounding ok until those photos. as others have said, dank apparel is so low class in how it sounds and the designs represent the antithesis of education. the name and the whole i <3 thing is so played out. it would be like making a keep calm and light a spliff shirt. if you want to be taken seriously, focus on how your represent whatever the message is clearly. if you want to be a joke, spencers(do they still exist) brand, then go for it, but its looking less like a brand and more like some random stuff.
  • Streetcorner

  • cityhall

    Those designs aren't convincing me to take up marijuana smoking
  • aaron.s

    how high are you? lol

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