John lin is the owner and designer of zealots and villains. follow the brands journey here on his blog.

The Risk of Carrying Inventory

Today was kind of a big day for me (and for Z&V).  I put in the first large batch order for shirts this morning.  Well, large relative to a brand like mine; obviously my order is like miniscule peanuts compared to even medium sized brands orders.  Anyway, when I first launched Z&V, we did everything through Printful, a print on demand service.  Essentially, a customer would place an order and that order would get routed directly to Printful and they would produce the shirt and fulfill it for me.  It was a great way to get started, especially since I was working with ZERO BUDGET, but I found myself wanting more and more control over the orders.  I wanted to see every single shirt being sent out, I wanted to do more custom package branding, I wanted to include personal little touches like stickers and pins and whatnot with every order.  These were things I couldn’t do through a fulfillment center.  And not to mention, costs versus profits.  I’m not getting rich off these shirts, that’s for sure, but at the end of the day, I do need to make more so I can put more back into the brand itself, something that I’m not able to do using a fulfillment service.   

So after a few weeks of deliberating, I decided to invest my own cold cash into buying some shirts (which required getting a sellers license in CA) and then just striking out on my own.  I found an amazing group of printers in downtown LA that did a small run for me off my initial designs and my next drop will be using them as well.  It’s an exciting time because now, I really feel like Z&V is its own thing, not small side hustle doing drop shipping.  But with that, comes the risks.  The risk of carrying too much inventory.  The risk of having your designs bomb and having no one buy your stuff.  The risk of getting ripped off.  The risk the risk the risk.   

But there’s really ever only one true way to play risk- that is to just try.  And so, I’ll be launching the next drop for the Holidays sometime late November early December.  I’ll have 4 short sleeve shirts and 2 long sleeves.  Printed on shirts that I hand picked from boxes and boxes of samples.  I hope you guys like the new stuff.  I sure do.

What's in a Name?

Failing Fast