The T-Shirt Gang is a clothing line started by two young entrepreneurs to get out of having to stay in school and get regular jobs. As founders AJ Camara and Moustapha Camara say, “Any job setting in which we’d have to answer to an almighty boss just wasn’t for us, so our brand expresses our ideals and is based on financial empowerment themes.
The term ‘t-shirt gang’ represents us and all the other groups of young t-shirt wearing kids out there on the grind, whether its clothing, art, music or whatever money making method they see fit, using their skills to start businesses with aspirations to become billionaires. A family of determined hard workers destined to rule. The unorthodox new generation of business.”
Young Money: What’s the number one tip you give to young people who want to start a business?
T-Shirt Gang: Persistence; never ever give up on your dreams. It’s important that you modify and change your approach in your business if things don’t go the way you originally planned, but you have to stay persistent and positive and sooner or later you will succeed.
Young Money: How did you get started? Tell me your story.
T-Shirt Gang: We were always entrepreneurs, trying to find different ways to make money, using our artistic talents. We started selling shirts through print on-demand fulfillment services about 2 years ago, but we weren’t selling anywhere near as many t-shirts as we wanted to and felt limited by the capabilities of print on-demand. So we decided to get our shirts printed by a screen printer and packaging them ourselves, even if it meant more initial costs and time investment. A few months before launching our clothing line (back in March ’08), we began an online magazine called T-Shirt Magazine, which is about…t-shirts. We interviewed several clothing line owners and did a lot of research on the industry, so we felt confident launching a clothing line ourselves.
Young Money: Tell me what makes you different?
T-Shirt Gang: The T-Shirt Gang is a clothing line about based on financial empowerment themes. Instead of selling shirts with negative and offensive terms and images, we’re selling shirts that have the message of being assertive, rising to power, and of course, getting your money up. Basically, The T-Shirt Gang represents young people that are working hard, doing what they love, with the goal of becoming rich and successful.
Young Money: How do you market your product?
T-Shirt Gang: Since we’re operating on a shoestring budget, our marketing mainly consists of free online strategies. We do a lot of marketing on myspace, adding friends and chatting with people in our target audience. A lot of times these people would be interested in our t-shirts and be willing to buy from us. We also contact many t-shirt industry and street wear blogs and ask them to write about us. Another marketing tactic we rely on is good ol’ word of mouth marketing. We just tell our friends about our clothing line (in a casual way) and they tell their friends about out clothing line, leading to a lot of local sales.
Young Money: How did you raise money to begin?
T-Shirts Gang: We re-invested some of the money we made from T-Shirt Magazine (about $400) and we got our dad to invest about a few hundred bucks. From there, we were able to order a small batch of t-shirts and some items to include in the packaging. The money we raised was basically used for inventory, but we self-funded anything else we had to pay for from the money we made from selling t-shirts.
The debut collection will be available this fall in New York and New Jersey at Michael K., Transit, Active Warehouse, and Sports Lane stores, as well as in Massachusetts at street wear shop Ego Trip, so be on the look out for that.
For more information visit The T-Shirt Gang.