Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. It has been over 4 years and we are excited to bring you our 200th Episode. In celebration of the 200th Episode, Terry and Aaron are going to give you 200 Niche Markets and share your ideas that you submitted via the hashtag #200NicheMarkets. This will be a fun and fast paced episode with lots of great ideas for new markets to explore.
Our regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys are all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants or lectures or selling. We are not doing this for our employers, but rather for our industry. For the past 4 years, 2 Regular Guys have been the first and the most listened to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will make your business better, and our industry better. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!!
- TSC Announces Partnership with Dov Charney – TSC Apparel announces an exclusive partnership with designer Dov Charney and his clothing line, Los Angeles Apparel. The former American Apparel CEO’s new brand is a line of basics crafted and manufactured in South Central Los Angeles.
- Marshall Hamilton from Kids Play Graphics is a regular listener and stopped by the Equipment Zone booth at ISS Atlantic City to say hello.
- Izabella Pintarich another regular listener with Solid Stitch Embroidery was in one of Aaron’s seminars in Atlantic City.
200 Niche Markets (or as many as we can talk about in one hour!)
What is a niche market? This is a narrowly focused slice of the market that you know and understand intimately, and have the potential of owning this market. And of course, the potential of expanding this market ever wider and ever wider. Compared to the shotgun approach, everyone is my customer, this is laser focus with the potential of reaching everyone involved in that focused market.
The purpose of this conversation. We’re not necessarily suggesting you jot down a niche and build your business around it. If you love an idea, by all means, go for it. But we’re attempting to get your creative juices flowing to create your own niche in the marketplace. And if one or more of our ideas helps you to match up a personal passion with your business, all the better.
- Pillow Cases as a product line – Sometimes it’s not just a niche market but a niche product category as well. East Coast printer who prints anniversary, just married and a variety of other pillow cases through their website. This is best suited to DTG printing.
- Hot Air Ballooning – they need jackets, it’s cold up there. They love lots of colors and big designs! (Tweet from Erich Campbell)
- Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties – Suggested in one of my Niche Market seminars. If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you’ve seen these shirts. Contact wedding and party planners and offer to do shirts for bachelor/bachelorette party, wedding party, etc., paying a commission to the party planner.
- Holiday Socks – I was just talking last week with a decorator who sells very ornate decorated socks on the internet. Her niche? Socks for all the major holidays. Aaron, since you only wear sublimation socks you have to appreciate this!
- Ice Cream and Whale Watching – The entrepreneur spirit said, “We should put those whale watching pictures on t-shirts while they eat their ice cream treats!” What should be our first thought in almost every situation? “I should do shirts!”
- Marijuana Dispensaries – Suggested also in a seminar, a Colorado ASI dealer said she’s focused on t-shirts being sold at the legal dispensaries. She commented that she gets orders for some really wild artwork.
- Promotional Products Distributors – Most advertising specialty agents are not printers. Their offices generally consist of a desk, a phone, sample books, a few actual product samples, and lots of enthusiasm. Always looking for good decorators.
- Monster Mania – My friend sets up his booth at theaters offering B horror movie festivals. Of course, the internet is an outlet for this product line as well.
- Youth Sports Events – If you’ve ever had a child in dance or cheerleading or a variety of similar activities, you’ve probably attended such an event without necessarily knowing it.
- From Above – AAU Basketball Tournaments
- From Above – USAV Volleyball Qualifying Events
- From Above – US Youth Soccer National Championships Series
- From Above – National Softball Association Youth Events
- School Championships – The trick is, you need to either already have an “in” with that champion school and their athletic program, or have an angle to get “in” with them.
- Event Staff – Checking ahead for upcoming events in your area may be the perfect niche market for your business. These event staff shirts are generally simple one color prints and purchased in quantity.
- Being the Warehouse for Your Customer – You be the warehouse and distributor, and let your customer do what they do best.
- Rock Bands – When it comes to the day job and the weekend band, the band is the passion end of the equation. That’s good news for screen printers. People will spend hard-earned money on their passions.
- Sorority Market – Expect shirt orders in the 75-150 piece range for house functions, and double for date events or parties with other houses. It’s a great market opportunity, selling to college students who generally will have substantial expendable funds.
- (Cheating.. hehe) Fraternity Market – Expect shirt orders in the 75-150 piece range for house functions, and double for date events or parties with other houses. It’s a great market opportunity, selling to college students who generally will have substantial expendable funds.
- Hit a Deer, Get a T-Shirt – Create a market where no market existed before.
- Forest Fires – Just like the tornado chasers from the movies, these screen printers have their manual press, dryer, inks, screens, shirts and auxiliary equipment packed in a trailer and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Close by (but not too close) they set up shop and start outputting shirts on the spot for all the volunteers and firefighters on scene.
- Car Shows – Set up shop in a trailer or tent at the event, and drop individual car pictures into an event template at the car show. Reorders after the event is common.
- Every Business on Your Street – For me, some orders were small, and some were larger, but most importantly many of these new orders turned into those sacred and regular repeat orders. Putting the idea into their heads and the printed image into their hands opened the door for new business when I needed it most.
- Dance/Cheer Fundraiser – The teams simply notify all the elementary and middle schools that feed into the local high school that they will be holding a cheer or dance clinic on an upcoming Saturday morning. And for everyone who attends, they get to perform at the next home basketball game.
- Fishing Charters – For a screen printer, shirts are sold to the charter service with pictures of the boats or graphics depicting the charter service. For a custom immediate response, a direct-to-garment printer has the option of picturing the actual group when they set out on their trip or pics emailed from the boat of “the big catch.”
- What I Did Last Summer – You don’t have to be next to a major amusement park to be a part of this market. Are there businesses, parks, dude ranches, summer camps, or other seasonal employers in your area? Those seasonal employees might be prime targets for Summer Job t-shirts.
- Gymnastics Events – Pictures of the team with names on the back. People will pay for what they’re passionate about.
- Military Bases and Organizations – I’ve hosted more than one company in screen print classes who focused their sales almost exclusively on military bases. More specifically, to groups within those bases. Everyone at a military facility belongs to a particular unit or organization within that base.
- Motorcycle Dealers – Shirt with a pic on his/her new bike, and you do all the fulfillment. The dealer emails you the photo and customer size/address, and you do the rest. I would charge $40.00 for this full service. This translates to car dealers as well.
- Veterinarians & Kennels – Come up with a twist on the “I love my cat… dog… horse…” idea. Drop in the name of the veterinary hospital or kennel and you’ve got a marketable product. The doctor or business might even sell these products at cost, or give them away to customers as promotional products.
- Bat Mitzvahs/Bar Mitzvahs – Much like fraternity and sorority parties, the party theme is generally printed on the shirt along with the guest of honor boy’s or girl’s name. A simple “plant the seed” local ad saying you offer Bar or Bat Mitzvah party shirts will be enough to direct customers your way. Find a niche based on your personal experiences.
- Football Moms & Dads – Contact the school and find out who is in charge of the football booster club. Almost every school has one, and more often than not, a separate entity from the athletic booster club. Offer to print up a sample shirt and allow them to take orders before the season kicks off.
- Associations – I once had a student employee who mentioned her dad was president of the National Corn Growers Association. I became the NCGA official screen printer. Now take that idea and duplicate it among a million other associations.
- Local Theatre – You may be a regular attendee or completely unaware of your local theater group, but most communities have them. Whether adult or children’s theater groups, they all buy T-shirts for each upcoming performance.
- Beyond-the-Uniform Market – For the custom T-shirt printer, coaches and athletic directors buy plenty of basic T-shirts. Under the jersey, under the shoulder pads, chances are pretty good that the player is also wearing a T-shirt that says something like “West High School Varsity Football”.
- Lawn Care – Your task, create an easy way to 1) offer a package of shirts, sweatshirts, caps, etc. for each of their new employees, and 2) a simple way to offer replacement garments as the season progresses. Who else is a massive consumer of virtually disposable garments?
- Class Reunions – Contact local high schools for the names of event coordinators and suggest tees for their outdoor activities. You can also check local newspapers for announcements of committee meetings, etc. You can assume there is a reunion starting at five years and proceeding for every five-year interval.
- ROTC Programs – As with many markets, once you’re in the door with one unit, it’s an easy sell getting in with other ROTC units on the same campus and beyond. I’ve printed for these units all over the country, some small and some very large.
- Campus Book Stores – Get in the door with special events like Homecoming, or as a contract printer. Deliver on time and you might find yourself getting more and more business.
- Camps & Conferences at Your Local College – Most colleges host a number of summer events utilizing classroom facilities and dormitories to generate revenue and to generate interest in their own particular college. Instead, I’m referring to band camps, cheerleading camps, continuing adult education sessions on a variety of subjects and disciplines, etc.
- Police & Fire Departments – Keep in mind that these public servants are involved in many outside activities with schools, public awareness, etc., and all potential areas for your printing skills. Once you’re in the door, it’s a great source of repeat and regular business.
- Bars & Taverns – Regular customers like to relate and be associated with their favorite tavern, so there’s a market for T-shirts. Offer an employee uniform packet for their new employees. Well ahead on the calendar, suggest holiday and event related staff shirts such as St. Patrick’s Day, July 4th, local festivals, etc.
- Golf Tournaments – Many pros subsidize their incomes by helping groups provide prizes and giveaways for events on their courses. You could be the decorator of golf shirts and other parts of the player package.
- Veterans Groups – Every community has veteran’s organizations, and many communities have more than one. From the American Legion to Veterans of Foreign Wars, these individuals take tremendous pride in promoting their association with their chosen group.
- Family Reunions – If you pursue this niche, prepare to print many a tree with family names scattered among the branches. Prepare as well to print every size from Youth 2-4 to Adult 4XL in the same order.
- RV Parks – These nomads are great collectors of items that tell where their travels have taken them. Be sure and add some local flair and points of interest.
- The Cause – Global warming, global warming skeptics, conservatives, progressives, libertarians, anarchists, believers, and nonbelievers. It may be your cause, or your cause might be to just make a buck or two. Either way, every “cause” is an opportunity to sell T-shirts.
- Recently Departed – In memoriam shirts are very popular today in certain segments of the population. You can potentially do a substantial number of shirts here. Promote that you are in this business.
- Horse Riding Events – As with many niche markets, you can break down further to quarter horses, rodeos, pony shows, draft horses, racing, and yes, even my wild horses this week. Besides the typical event names along with club and association affiliations printed in one and two color images, this is a great opportunity to print photographic images to a ready and willing-to-buy audience.
- Parks & Recreation – Every community with parks and playing fields has a Parks and Rec Department. And, nearly everyone who works there wears T-shirts. Add to that, the extra summer help from high schools and colleges will be coming on board. They will need to be clothed in the official work shirt as well.
- Gyms & Physical Training – People who belong to a gym like to tell all the rest of us how hard they work out and where they do it. Look around this week and see just how many of these garments you see.
- Christian T-Shirts – In a nutshell, many of the Christian religion (and within it the varied groups and factions) follow a standard of telling the world of their religious beliefs. In other words, the Christian t-shirt is a vehicle for believers to share their message.
- Tour Groups – To reach this market, your best bet is to find the organizers rather than individual adventurers. Start with the local schools to find out if any sanctioned trips are scheduled. Watch the local paper for postings on group trips as well.
- Car Clubs – Everything from Alpha Romeos to VW Vans, there’s a club for every make, model and year. Sites such as CarClubs.com will give you lists from around the country and around the world to work from in starting this niche.
- Local/Regional Artists – Those local and regional artists who exhibit at the weekend art fairs (and similar street fair events) might very well be your next customer base. At the next event, create a packet with your business card, price sheet, and a sample garment and pass them out to the artists. The pitch? You should expand your market by selling your artwork on T-shirts.
- Ethnic Pride – Like a favorite hobby, customers will spend money on things they take great pride in, such as their family heritage. The opportunity for printing is great in this niche, and nearly unlimited.
- Corporate Awards – Plant the seed of offering a printed garment as a product your employees will want and appreciate. Whether it’s sales quotas reached or a company’s 25th anniversary, your product is ideal for these businesses. You just need to plant that seed.
- Realtors – Nobody promotes like a realtor promote. An opportunity for polos, sponsored teams, sponsored events. And many special community events sponsored by the local realtor.
- PANKs: Professional Aunts, No Kids – Designs and gift ideas for giving to Nieces and Nephews
- Alternative Street Wear – Edgy and potentially rude with a ton of attitude. Good makings of a clothing line.
- Eco-Friendly – Like the niche we discussed with Ryan from Ryonet. Putting the bigger picture first.
- Baseball Cap Trade-In – Instead of offering a straight up discount on baseball caps, we offered a trade-in of an old cap instead. A call to action, and a call to participate.Getting something in exchange for something else of little value.
- Phone Case Trade-In – Same as above, but do it with the older model phone cases.
- Ask Me About… “Ask me about FREE installation.” “Ask me about 90 days, same as cash.” “Ask me about our Happy Hour Specials.”
- New Businesses – Watch the newspaper and be aware driving around your town. New companies will likely need everything, and you can start on the ground floor with them.
- Scouts, etc. – This isn’t so much a single market, but a path into many markets. I’m a huge proponent of inviting Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Cub Scouts, Campfire Boys & Girls and any other group like this into my shop to print a shirt. Troop leaders are always looking for activities, and the kids love it! “I printed this shirt myself at XYZ Screen Printing.”
- Senior shirts – Not the local retirement center, but this niche market deals with selling to high school seniors. Nearly every high school senior class buys T-shirts, and every kid gets a shirt, so this niche can be big business. You’ll look at a decent run of shirts depending on the size of the school, a graphic that you have designed so you shouldn’t have printability issues, and you’ll have the potential for yearly repeat business.
- Pet Sublimation Products – Fido everything. From Bandanas to collars, to pet tags, to Pet Bowls, Mats, Beds oh my…
- Pet Clothing – Both for the pet and the Owner
- Hedgies – Hedgehog – From Aaron’s recent Marketing class at ISS Atlantic City (www.hedgieliving.com)
- Baby Sublimation Items – Blankets, Loveys, Onesies, Headbands, Bibs (Vinyl and Sublimation) NO RHINESTONES
- Patches – See Erich Campbell
- Decorating Stuffed Animals – Friend of the show, Kristine Shreve spends her entire Dax Shows at the cash register selling those for EnMart.
- Custom Cut and Sew Products – Fanny Packs, Capes, Duffle Bags, PJ Pants all personalized.
- Boutique / Resort Wear – Burn Out Garments, Monogrammed Items, Leggings, Dresses
- Band Groupies / Fan Clubs – Phish, Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffett – From Shirts to Clothes, to ticket stub memorabilia
- Funny Saying Coffee Mugs – Holiday Movie Quotes, Pop Culture
- Wedding / Birth Announcement Mugs – New Grandma, Aunt Times 2
- Photographers – Help them offer more than just paper or canvas prints to their customers. Great for youth sports, schools photographers etc. Shirts, Sublimation items, like Key Chains, Cell phone cases, mousepads etc.
- Holiday / Gift Giving – Stockings, Ornaments, Tree Skirts, and personalized gifts.
- Yoga Wear – Mats, Headbands, Towels, Tank Tops
- Event Sites – Jane.com, Zulilly.com etc.
- New Social Selling App – Wanelo (Want Need Love)
- Bling Everything – First meet friends at Rhinestone World, trying to get free coffee from their blinged out Keurig.
- Technical Embroidery – Wiring for seat heaters or even so intricate as laying out carbon fiber strands. Andrea Bommarito
- Wolf Pig – Distressed / deep meaning to the artist who wants to share his passion. Scott Bob and Doug
- Shirts Printed with… – Guest on the show from Coffee Printed – Alex White
- Mobile Screen Printing – Mobile Ink Pod – Barrett, Joseph, and Rob
- Hyper Local – Hyper Local refers to creating products that cater to a very defined audience in a certain geographical area. For example, create designs that appealed to commuters that frequented local subway stations. Or Detroit vs. Everybody
- Wearables – Not just watches, but baby onesies with monitors (using vinyl). Get creative!
- Memorial Products – Urns, Tapestries, Throws, Remembrance Shirts
- Custom Floor / Welcome Mats – My 5-year-old asked me the other day why we didn’t have St. Patrick’s Day decorations like we have for Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I responded by saying “we can’t have decorations for everything.” He very astutely said, “why don’t you just make them at your work?”
- Work Wear – Everything from embroidered Polos to Uniforms and other garments people will need to have the professional look at work.
- Hunting / Fishing (Don’t forget Paintball) – All-Over Camo Sublimation
- Bowling – All Over Shirts, less Camo
- Cycling – Not the motor kind Terry…
- Multi Media Designs – Greg Gardbo – Shockwaves Promotional Apparel
- Shoes – From name brands, getting customized and personalized, to generic “Chuck” like products being turned into their own line of footwear.
- Current Events – Pay attention to what’s going on in your community, and always look at current events from the viewpoint of printed apparel.
- Join Civic & Booster Club Groups – Let me say right up front, do not join a local group with the sole purpose of selling T-shirts to the membership. But if you want to give back to the community, get involved and reap some not-so-indirect benefits.
- Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Workhorse Products in Phoenix – April 8-9
- Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Atlas Screen Supply in Chicago – June 10-11
- Intro to DTG webinar. Sign up at EquipmentZone.com Wednesday, April 12 at 3:00 Eastern
- Sportswear Garage – How to Start a Home-based Garment Decorating Business – DAX Chicago – April 21
- Being in Control of Your Screen Printing Production Schedule – DAX Chicago – April 21
- Wide Format Sublimation, Cut and Sew and Other Product Enhancements – DAX Chicago – April 22
- Using Digital Marketing Without Breaking the Bank – DAX Chicago – April 22
Screen Printing: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.
Direct to Garment: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.
Scheduling and Estimating Production Time for Garment Screen Printing Just $2.99 as an e-book
This show is brought to you for a full hour by: Equipment Zone, with 20 years experience selling garment printing equipment nationwide. Equipment Zone offers the new Epson F2000 SureColor direct-to-garment printer, their own VelociJet-XL DTG printer, and the all new SpeedTreater-TX automatic pretreat machine with a full 16”x24” pretreat area. Equipment Zone also carries a full line of DTG inks and supplies. Go to EquipmentZone.com
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