02 May 2011 ~ 1 Comment

What Call of Duty: Black Ops Can Teach You about Your Own T-shirt Line

1. You can start out on your own, but finding a small team of reliable comrades is critical to success. You can dive right in as a lone mercenary, but you’ll need some help to reach your brand’s potential. You may have a great idea for a t-shirt line, but lack the resources to take it to the next level. Recruit a diverse pool of soldiers. One of your soldiers may have a keen eye for design, while another calls in backup on promotional end of things. You only need one effective sniper. Too many snipers in the kitchen spoils the pot (or something.) Basically, everyone on your team should bring a complimentary skill set to the table. Every pair of boots you have on the ground should be evaluated and deployed based on his/her particular strengths.

Check out T-shirt Magazine’s “Essential Brand Startup Guide” for more in depth battle-plans.

2. Know the lay of the land. Nothing gets you killed quicker than not knowing where you are or where you are going. Determine where “the road less traveled” really lies, so you can roam undetected into enemy territory. Establish your brand HQ and hold your ground in social media. Find the overlooked markets and ignored population segments – there could be a ambush opportunity there. Learn where the hotspots (and hot designs) are, and set up camp. Anticipate where your competition will be in terms of designs, colors and styles next season so as to maneuver and outflank them.

3. Resist the urge to charge out into the open with guns a-blazing and no real strategy. I know you can hear the relentless rat-a-tat-tat of e-commerce just “over there” and you’re anxious to get in on the action. Cool your jets and investigate the situation. Do little reconnaissance first. Look around…where’s the fire coming from? Where are the “friendlies”? Research the kinds of shirts your market is buying…and from where. Toss a powerful t-shirt grenade around that corner first and then stride confidently into the room.

Artist, t-shirt designer and entrepreneur Steve Knerem wrote a fantastic three-part article on Starting Your Own Shirt Line. Part III is goes into some depth on gathering intel.

3. Start with a multi-range, multi-purpose weapon. Shoot for broad appeal within your target market. While there’s definitely a place for a specialty weapon (like a sniper-rifle or a tank-top), a more general weapon like a basic black t-shirt may serve you best in most situations. Again, research and strategy within the target market are key.

4. As you advance, choose your weapons strategically. Once you’ve established a foothold, it is best to start upgrading. Expand your arsenal to include long-range and short-range options. Add a tank top for summer or long sleeve shirt for fall. Offer a pullover hoodie during the holiday season.

5. Know when to leave. We’ve all seen the greedy player that sets up shop surrounding himself by 3 claymores and successfully picks off 4-5 players from the same locale. If he doesn’t move out quickly and find a new spot to call home, things aren’t going to end well for him. Once you’ve bagged 3 or 4 killer shirts from the same design origin, you may want to slightly shift your creative direction to maintain your audience’s interest within your genre. Keep moving, keep evolving, stay alert and stay alive.

- Leann is looking forward to the release of the new Escalation Map Pack tomorrow, May 3rd. You can find her at Xbox Live Gamertag: XOliviaDunhamX Stop by and say hello.

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