This description starts with some very exciting news. After two and a half short months of living in Seattle, Bakes has managed to book a REAL LIVE SHOW downtown at a great venue, Studio 7. But according to every blog ever, most of today's successful local hip-hop acts make between 70% - 85% of their revenue on MERCH, and not the tickets or album sales themselves. Odd, but okay, I'll play.
So I figured I'd start with the basics, a t-shirt. I've been around the block with t-shirts a couple of times, and most of the plan has been executed already. You've seen an ALMOST COMPLETE version of the logo. It was drawn by a fantastic artist, Nate Schmold. The only differences between the one you see and the one that'll be on the shirt is that all the black outlines will be white, including "BAKES" which will now say "PAPA BAKES", and the hat itself will take on the color of the shirt, in this case, ROYALTY PURPLE. It rules.
I plan on working with Pork Chop Screen Printing in Seattle, WA. In fact, I met with a co-owner today, and she was great. She offers good value, competitive price structures, a great graphics guy, and she certainly knows her fabrics.
So ultimately, I need a little money to finish the animation, and some funds to cover the first run, which needs to be a minimum of 36 shirts. That said, there's a $100 set up fee at the printing house. So the more shirts I can afford to make, the more economical they become! A successful first run, hopefully, will provide seed money for round two, which will begin my journey into the land of unique merchandising and physical branding (Shot glasses, lighters, flash drives, bottle openers, antennae balls, ash trays...).
Help Bakes get off the ground!
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk in my mind is that the shirt won't look dope enough when it comes out. I'm going to do my best to get a prototype made, and if I can't have it officially done, I'll iron one on myself and wear it for a day to see how cool I feel. If, even after all that, it still isn't that dope, and I can't sell anything, even for cost, then I'll give them to the homeless people of seattle and you'll be an integrated part of a mildly clever Northwest hip-hop marketing scheme and a charitable act to boot :)
After that comes quality control. I tend to trust my instincts with people in business, and Mary from Pork Chop seems like she understands quality. But on the off chance that I get a box of shirts that are falling apart, or the vinyl is falling off, or the shirts aren't as soft as what I felt in the show-room, then it's my responsibility to go back in and fight for what we paid for. I'm relatively nostalgic for a rapper. As a first run, it's especially important to me that these shirts look fresh, feel nice, and last a long time.
It's possible that I won't be able to sell all these shirts at my first show. In fact, it's likely. So I'll just have to book more shows, huh? I could probably hustle them at work, too.
It's unlikely, but possible that these shirts won't be ready for my show at the end of January. This would make me look less professional, and obviously would be a missed opportunity for marketing and possible profit. Also, if the shirts weren't ready by the end of January, I'd be in danger of missing estimated dates on rewards for all of you! So basically it's my job to work it, and get all the pieces together. The standard turn around for a project like this is 7 - 10 days.
I think that's pretty much it. This is a low-risk project, I just want to make some dope t-shirts, and I want all of you to be a part of my first run!
- (18 days)