New Site Updates - WIP

When we first launched the Pressd Apparel site is was meant to be a place holder for a few months while we built up our Inksoft catalog, and created more Pressd Apparel garments. Needless to say a few months ended up being more than expected, but now things are really taking shape!

We set out with a focus to really make sure there was a smooth transitional page into our online design studio as we continue to try and make the online custom apparel shopping experience as efficient and user friendly as possible. In order to do so we continue to use Inksoft as it proves to be the most cohesive online shirt design/printshop management combined software on the market and every one of our orders runs through the software. 

We're also introducing our new Pressd Apparel EveryDay Tee's. We're confident that this is the best custom tee on the market for under $10 (when printed with 1 or 2 color design). Our own brand of t-shirt starting out with 4 vintage colors, white, black, triblend grey, and navy. We can't wait to share it with you. Check out more details at our Shop Custom Apparel page.

You'll find some new Pressd Apparel gear that we've slipped onto the site under the radar. We've been sitting on some of these garments for months, so we are excited to see the reaction to some new pieces we have never featured before. Everything is moderately priced since custom printing remains at the forefront of the business, this line of garments is more about just sharing the designs we like, and getting to print for ourselves for a change. 

We're hitting the ground running so far in 2017, keep up with our busy print shop through our instagram and if you need any custom printed apparel be sure to check out the design studio or submit a request for a traditional quote!  

 

Oh Shoot, Let's Catch Up

You know when you just completely abandon the blog for a little bit... Well, we've just been crazy insane busy the past few months working on getting the shop even MORE up to speed and building out all of the customization within our site on our few and arbitrary breaks from printing.

We're about 70% done with building out our online customization catalog which is powered by Inkosft. For now, it's a great makeshift version of what we are ultimately trying to build as the best online customization experience for higher end apparel.

As the shop becomes more and more comfortable and efficient by the day, blog updates and social can get a little more attention again - keep up there and will be posting again sooner than later next time! Print on! 

Life After Kickstarter: Cue Bridgeport Art Center

Plans Change. We couldn't even count the amount of times "our plan" changed during the 40 days of Kickstarter. If we could count it, take that number and multiply it by 7... that's how many times "our plan" has changed since then.  When you're just starting out and putting things in place,  you can't make a change to the plan without it effecting another part of it. More changes, followed by more changes. Change is constant,  thrive on it.    

One of the biggest changes we made was on the final location of the first print shop. We have our little bit of Kickstarter publicity to thank for opening the doors to a space at the Bridgeport Art Center. We'd never heard of it before, but the concept sounded cool. A loft space in a super old industrial building with it's own community of arts and events. Upon seeing the building we knew it was the perfect place to start!  

Made With Kickstarter...

I first discovered Kickstarter while me and Nick we're living together about 3 years ago. We'd sit on there for hours watching every video we could. It didn't take much browsing to realize if you had a halfway decent idea that people could connect with, and a professionally produced video, there was a pretty good chance you could make it big on the site. I remember showing Kickstarter and a few of my favorite campaign videos to my parents, thinking that this is how we would get our start.

Unfortunately our project was NOT an underwater/flying drone  or the best fitting odor resistant socks, we weren't necessarily coming up with anything new and/or groundbreaking. We just felt that there was a whole lot of room for improvement in the custom printed apparel world and there were a lot of ways we could differentiate from everyone else.

It's no secret that the Kickstarter community loves USA made products and companies that give back. Since no other screen printing companies push that message, Pressd was a great fit for launching with Kickstarter versus any of the other crowdfunding platforms. I had a friend from college who really knew his way around a camera and is always creating incredible short videos, and so, we were all set.

We spent a good 6 weeks researching and developing our strategy and we were pretty confident. If we were able to get a little bit of organic press or support from Kickstarter making our campaign a staff pick, it had the potential to be huge! Nick had a buddy from college who recently had a campaign raise $60k+ just by selling 10 packs of his alternative to the thumbtack. We figured we'd follow in those footsteps and offer packs of 10, 50, and 100 custom printed shirts to every business we could walk into within the 40 days of the campaign. If the price was right (which it was) and we could get a decision maker to watch the video while we were with them, pre-selling 10k of shirts with hardly any markup sounded easily attainable. 

And then, the entrepreneurial world gave us our first test, adapt or die. We submitted our campaign to Kickstarter with zero reason to expect any issues. I actually thought we would get a personalized response saying how excited they were and how great our video was. Instead they told us our campaign wasn't approved because we were selling reward items in bulk. We double checked our research and Kickstarter's list of prohibited items, a few google searches for Kickstarter bulk rewards, and the only mention of anything relating to the topic directly from Kickstarter was a blog post back in 2012, which included a link to the updated terms... still failing to mention anything in regards to bulk rewards.  Here.We.Go. Que the rage email defending our case. We provided some choice words and proof of their own failures to list the policy, also linking them to other campaigns that somehow squeaked past this unwritten rule. 

Naturally, they still told us to get bent and come up with other rewards, I remember reading that email response thinking that it came with a red flag on our campaign.  But we had to adapt and push forward with half the strategy in the trash and our fingers crossed. We started out hot raising more than $1200 in our first 2 days, under the Kickstarter fashion category I think we peaked at about 15th if you sorted the campaigns by popularity. The rest of the road was not easy, we hustled every single dollar that was pledged, reaching out to everyone we could. Creating any buzz we could consumed us for the next 38 days. The night before the campaign was successfully funded, I sorted the fashion  projects by popularity again. We weren't even in the top 120 campaigns, and there were 90+ campaigns ahead of us with less backers and less funding... Out of the 120 people that backed our project we personally knew 111 of them... 97 of which were backing a Kickstarter campaign for their very first time.

Running a campaign is one hell of a mind fuck. Putting yourself out there and asking for support isn't easy, it's incredibly frightening, but you learn a lot. Maybe our project was buried by Kickstarter maybe it wasn't, it doesn't really matter,  either way we figured out a way to make it happen. The biggest take away were the things we learned that will help us as entrepreneurs. 

For anyone looking to launch a campaign or start their own business, here's some of our takeaways that might help you. Had we read this list prior to launching it would have been an entirely different experience.  

-Keep your messages to people short and direct, tell them exactly what to do in less than 5 sentences. The truth is even your closest friends and family won't read more then that.

-Expect the unexpected when asking for support - again even your closest friends and family wont have the time, and may not support. Take it with a grain of salt.

-Look out for scammers. As soon as we got a little bit of success every company and their mother who claims to be a crowdfunding wizard wants a piece of the action. Ask a lot of questions about how they work and how they will bring you backers, how they can prove that they drove that person to the page... chances are they won't even bother responding. 

-If it sounds too good to be true, it is. We paid $5 for 100 RT's... all 100 people were fake profiles with less than 2 followers... that kid will get whats coming to him, but you will make mistakes like this when its a race against time, make sure they are cheap mistakes. 

-Get involved with the crowdfunding community, it didn't work for us,  not even a little bit, but for the right project and product it certainly will

-Pay to have a press release distributed. Again, it didn't work for us, not even a little bit, but for the right project and product it certainly will..

-Have a plan B,C,D,and E. You only have a certain amount of time to make it happen, You can't stick to one plan and hope that you will pull it off by your deadline. Cast as large of  a web of marketing strategies and ideas as you can, something will stick. 

-Crowdfunding, a lot like business, is a contact sport, the more people you contact the better your chances of winning. 

-Avoid launching the campaign if you feel like you have to hide it from anyone. I had to keep mine secret from my employer and co-workers at the time, it shrinks your network significantly.  

-Act fast, if someone says they want to support or let me know how I can support, "when you get a chance, check out the campaign and pledge if youd'd like" doesn't always get through to people. "Click here, here, here enter your credit card information and click here" is a little more effective in a less intrusive manner. We've still got about 40 people who "want to support" and our campaign ended 4 months ago. "Call me when you are a by a computer and I'll walk you through how to pledge."

-Under set your actual business startup goal. KS encourages you to set your goal at exactly what you need to start your business.  We would have fallen short by 50k if we went that route. We chose to use it as a way to announce our company and idea, provide a proof of concept, and open doors for raising more capital on our own terms. The campaign is just part of your fundraising, part of your business, not your entire business.

-There's no right or wrong way to run your campaign, focus on the experience and use it as a way to discover how you want to run your business, the money you raise is just an added bonus. 

It's official, we made it. Pressd is open and ready for business!

What has seemed like an eternity has finally come to an end, yesterday marked our first full day as being completely up and running!  Well..."completely" might be stretch, seeing as how this is just our temporary website...but we are happy to say that we are at least ready to print, fulfill orders, and our doors are open! 

We've kept extremely quiet since completing the fulfillment of the Kickstarter orders in late August; probably too quiet, but that just  means we have a lot to share with everyone now!  The plan is to use this blog for the next couple of weeks to go back and catch everyone up on all things Pressd.

So now what!? Well, ideally you'll go straight from here to submit a quote request, and then continue to check back soon so you can read all about our full Kickstarter story, all of the hurdles and obstacles we had to overcome, and how we managed to land at one of the coolest art buildings in Chicago.   

It's finally all coming together, we couldn't be more excited to share it with you.