Owner: Shawn Benson
Year Established: 2010
Type of Business: Custom T-Shirts, Wholesale, Retail

The Benson Designs Story.

Shawn Benson from Ridgeley, WV went from zero to almost $100,000 in revenues in just a few years and is now planning an expansion into a retail space. Learn how Shawn went from his parent’s house to plans for a retail space and thriving business.

He is also a member of the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook Group and a listener of the CASPodcast.

Tell us a little about who you are and what you do:

BensonDesigns started in 2010 in my bedroom at my parents’ house with a second-hand vinyl cutter and a heat press. I started out by doing heat transfers and vinyl decals as a hobby mainly for friends and family with no real intention of doing much more. Fast forward a few years, now in my own house and my operation taking up my basement that I have outgrown in just a few short months. Growing a hobby into a business in the last two years from a few dollars in my bank account to sales nearly reaching $100,000; which is still hard to wrap my head around while working a full-time job. BensonDesigns offers a wide range of service from vinyl decals to custom one of a kind, decorated apparel, and promotional products.

What was your biggest hurdle in getting started?

There is more than one but the one that stands out the most to me is time. I’ve felt I was good at managing time but as the business began to grow I soon realized there are only so many hours in a day. Not spending as much time with my family has been hard, but because of their consent support and understanding, I’ve been able to achieve each goal I have set for my business.

How do you decide what Markets to go after?

Most of my customers are online businesses that I design logos and other artwork then handle the production and drop ship the orders directly to the end user. I have partnered with some other apparel decorators that offer services that I currently don’t and vice versa. Recently I’ve been working with a lot more local small businesses I always felt I could relate to them with being a small business owner myself. Being able to offer those services that will help them grow their business and mine is what’s most satisfying.  

What technologies do you use?

Currently I use a vinyl cutter, DTG M2 and all that goes with the process including a Spider Mini pretreat machine. The M2 was the missing link to my business, with most of my orders being small runs, screen printing didn’t offer the price points I needed to achieve. With space currently limited to me, the Spider Mini was the answer to my pretreating needs. 

What did you get from ColDesi and why?

I bought a DTG M2 and a Spider Mini pretreatment machine. With DTG printing being new to me having the tech support and training was a must and with all the training and support offered by ColDesi there was no guessing with who to choose. ColDesi offers more than training and support on the products they sell. They want to see you succeed in your business by offering help from business start up to marketing advice. I’ve never hesitated or been turned away when I had a question related to the apparel decorating industry.

How do you set your pricing?

I keep a close eye on competitors pricing to get an idea of the current market. When taking a new order I always ask the customer what their budget is, so I know what I can offer what will stay within that budget. Educating customers on the processes and time it takes to achieve each type of apparel decoration helps them better understand why prices are what they are.  

What products do you sell that other ColDesi customers might need?

I specialize in small runs of custom DTG printed apparel. I do vector logo design and custom artwork. I also offer vinyl decals and promotional products, custom lanyards, and license plate frames to name a few. I offer wholesale, fulfillment and drop shipping on all my services.

You can reach me directly at: 240-727-2803 or visit my Facebook Page.

What’s next for your company?

With my business continuing to grow the next step for me is to open a store front so I’m able to gain new customers and service my existing ones with more convenience. Since I currently outsource my embroidery work because of limited space I will soon be investing in a commercial embroidery machine.

Shawn is also working on a real online presence. He’s already created a Facebook Business page and is on his way to an informational website to support his local business efforts. See us help Shawn create that Business page here.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

I was always told there were two rules to having a successful business, Rule#1 never reveal everything you know. Rule #2 … But in all seriousness the advice I have for someone that is just starting out is you have to work your business. By that I mean you have to keep expanding your knowledge in the industry, you have to go and get customers. You’re not going to be able to just start a business and expect hundreds of orders to magically appear. If for some chance you are lucky enough for that to happen, then you won’t have any problems. 

Join Shawn on our Custom Apparel Startups Facebook Group

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