Announcing my business! I Need This Unicorn is an apparel and accessory brand as well as a beauty and lifestyle blog. Yes, there are makeup inspired tees and cosmetic bags with unicorns. If you want to be spared my backstory and just check out the shop, here’s the link:
I actually released it to the public on March 24th, which is my mother’s birthday and announced it on all of my social media. I’ve been too busy to actually write an entire post for my blog! It’s been overwhelming to say the least!
Here’s the backstory of my business:
Starting a t-shirt line is something I had been thinking about since college. I actually had a CafePress store in the early 2000’s and if I ever find the shirts I had printed, I’ll be sure to post them on my Instagram. I am an illustrator who has been working on various projects since graduating the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I’ve done children’s book illustration, taught art to kids at 3 different schools, invitation & stationery design, party & event design, and blogging. I wanted a way to make money passively and not rely on commissions.
I have been working on this business since September 2016. I was having lunch with someone, and he asked me why I had the day off and “What? You don’t believe in working?” Obviously, I do! But I couldn’t help but feel bad about myself after that. He gave me a really a good kick in the ass. That very weekend, I filed an LLC with LegalZoom. (It was actually a bad idea to file that early because of California taxes. One thing I wish I knew beforehand is that you will be charged $800 a year in taxes for having a business in CA and it doesn’t matter what month you started.)
I watched various videos on YouTube on “How To Start Your Own T-Shirt Company”
They made it seem so easy! Get a Shopify store and use a drop shipping company to print and ship! All I needed was to have my own designs. I can whip out vectors really quick. Oooooh… but it was not that easy. Yes, the ideas and my designs came easily enough. But the legal stuff, maintaining a website when I have’t a clue what the backend stuff is, and getting the labels for the shirts designed and made and the marketing! It took a really long time mostly because I had to do it by myself. But I can proudly say… I did this by myself.
Introducing my collections:
I have many interests, as I’m sure you do too. Finding my one niche market wasn’t something I could do. I could have started different brands, but that costs to much and it’s too much to try and upkeep. So I have several niche areas in one store. I have organized them in such a way that people can easily choose their interest and find items that way.
- Slay My Life– The general collection. Including snarky text & graphics.
- Beauty Queen– The collection makeup lovers.
- Mythical Creatures– Unicorns, Mermaids and fairies. If you happened to come across this site looking for unicorns you would have been disappointed if there weren’t any!
- Gamer– World of Warcraft inspired tees and tanks.
There will be new designs added to the existing collections and also new collections! I want to create more illustrated designs, but simple graphic text is the current trend. It saves me a lot of time, so I can’t argue with that! I have other collections in the works but I am going to release them at a later date. For now I am overwhelmed with the 210 items I do have!
This is how it works:
Many of these business won’t be transparent about how this works. I want to be honest and let you know exactly how this works so if there are any problems, you know it’s not my fault! haha! But really, it’s good to know so you are familiar with how it works, and if anyone else wanted to start their own business, my experience can help you figure it out.
Because I am am doing this spending as little money as possible: I do not carry any inventory, and I do not do any of the printing, packaging or mailing.
The system I use is called Dropshipping. Your items are made to order by a professional printing company. When you place an order on my website, the info is sent directly to whichever print houses the items are assigned to, and they print your items. The shirt is printed and then sent directly to you.
In the case of the cosmetic bags: the print house prints the design on the fabric they have in-house, and they cut and sew the bag for you. This is the same for the sublimation tops, all-over-print leggings, tote bags and robes. This process takes a little longer so expect the item in about 2 weeks instead of 3-5 days like for the t-shirts. I use a few different printing companies, so you may get more than one shipping confirmation if you ordered 2 or more items. I make sure to send a shipping confirmation as soon as I get the info. Do not be alarmed if you ordered more than one item and get multiple shipping notices, they are coming from different places.
Because I do not make the shirts, I don’t have too much control over how they are made, the cut, the color selection, the material, the sizes. They’re all known brands such as Next Level, Bella + Canvas, Anvil, and Alternative. I have to pick the shirts based on what each printing company offers and they don’t have every single shirt available. If anything is out of stock, I apologize. It is an issue with either the printing company or the supplier they order from. I try and keep up and update anything that is out of stock on the shop’s website.
You might be wondering, “How do you know about the quality?” Well, that’s why I have purchased many of the goods to see how they turn out! As you can see from the photos below, they turned out great! There was one instance, where a company changed the fabric for the makeup bags, and I pulled them from the store because I didn’t like the print quality. I definitely don’t want to sell you anything that is not up to my standards!
Eventually I want to have my own custom bags produced. I want to have a manufacturer to produce cosmetic and travel bags completely designed by me, the overall pattern, the fabric’s pattern and material, most importantly pockets! Unfortunately that requires a huge investment up front, so this is something I will have to save for the future.
My link redirects to a Shopify site. I need to purchase an SSL certificate, which also means I have to make money to be able to pay for it! There are a lot of upgrades and marketing that I need to do that costs actual real life money! I know, crazy concept, isn’t it?
There will be posts on new releases on this blog, and you may want to consider joining my mailing list for discounts and updates on new releases.
Thank you for reading about my new business venture and a huge massive thank you to those who have purchased items from me! You have helped me more than you know! Thank you for all of your support!