By Christopher Hamze, Founder of teelaunch
I’m a man driven by obsessions. The obsession that started this whole journey was the one I had with Kornit t-shirt printers. These printers are basically a larger version of your home inkjet printer but instead of printing on paper it prints directly on shirts. It blew my mind when I first heard of it. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to work with this technology. Little did I know how it would transform an entire industry. For the first time, even we were able to print t-shirts on demand. Not only that, but we were no longer limited to a certain number of colors. All the limits we had with screen printing were gone.
After a few years, my obsession changed and become a bit broader. Over the years we’d dealt with many different systems for getting orders from customers. Everything from Excel spreadsheets to custom-hosted platforms. None of them were great and I knew there had to be a better way. A system that not only allowed us to easily get the information we needed from our customers so we could fulfill the order, but one that went even further.
The system I had in mind would take care of everything from mockup creation all the way to sending back the tracking number once the order was shipped. All our customers would need to bring is a design and we’d handle the rest. I’m happy to say that I was able to bring that dream to life and teelaunch was born. I was so passionate about this idea that I bet every dollar we had to build the first version of our Shopify app. People thought I was nuts, but it was the best decision I ever made.
What I’m currently excited about is working with traditional factories that normally only produce things in large batches and introducing them to the print-on-demand model. This has been fairly challenging, but super rewarding.
The best advice I can give anyone is don’t be stupid with your money. Work out of your house before renting office space. Work longer hours before you hire that first employee. More businesses in this industry have gone under not from a lack of sales but from cash flow issues. Businesses have ups and downs. The only way you’ll weather them is if you keep your overhead low and have enough savings to float you when things slow down.