822
8 min 3 sec

Artistic Duo Sells 8,000 T-Shirts in One Year

When two friends find themselves in a turbulent journalism industry that eventually closes its doors to them, they strike out on their own—but not before finding more stable jobs first.
Arts & Crafts Design Manufacturing Product

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What It's About

When the newspaper industry tanks, two friends prepare to strike out on their own.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Design & Screen Printing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

According to the Factory 43 duo, knowing you’re in control of your future, and that nobody will come along and fire you, provided a peace of mind that’s hard to put a price on. And having the flexibility to spend time with friends and family when you want to, because you set the schedule, is icing on the cake.

Fun Fact

Factory 43 designs have earned recognition from Communication Arts and the Society of Illustrators.

Notes from Chris

Episode 822

Graphic designers Veronica Velasco and Andrew Saeger became friends while working for the Post-Intelligencer, an award-winning newspaper in Seattle. They shared a lot of the same tastes and opinions, and both of them had a slight obsession with t-shirts.

After a few years of working on projects together, Veronica and Andrew started to share their doubts about the journalism industry. They knew it wasn’t in a good place, and the future of the industry was too much in doubt. So, they began looking for other options.

They liked the idea of starting their own business. So, combined with their love of t-shirts, they decided they would start a unique t-shirt printing company.

But, like many other best-laid plans, it wasn’t going to be easy. Not long after deciding they wanted to start a business, the Seattle Post Intelligencer closed its doors and left them both out of work. Veronica and Andrew both felt stability was important, especially when it came to starting a business. So they began to look for other jobs, eventually transitioning into the corporate world.

Veronica became a graphic designer for Amazon, and Andrew plied his trade in the world of advertising. And once the pair found themselves with a regular income, they decided to revisit their t-shirt printing business idea.

Their side hustle, Factory 43, takes its name after a cigar company that Andrew’s great, great Grandfather founded in 1890. Saeger & Sons Cigars were created in Factory number 43 and featured the number on the label. It’s also a hat tip to Andy Warhol’s studio, known as "The Factory".

The goal was to make high-quality t-shirts that would make people laugh. Their prints would be a commentary on the modern world, or the current relatable struggles the founders faced in their day-to-day lives. Veronica and Andrew each invested just $500, with a commitment to not get into debt or overspend their start-up budget.

Factory 43 became a full-time venture for Andrew in 2014, and Veronica left her job at Amazon to join in the following year. They both make enough money to cover each of their respective mortgages and feed their families. In 2018 they sold 8,000 t-shirts and an extra 2,000 prints of their designs!

Veronica says the hardest part of side hustling has been coming to grips with the business side of things. Because they are both creatives, they are prone to pushing off the more mundane office-based tasks. It was a long while before they were finally convinced they needed to set up spreadsheets for their bookkeeping and accounts.

But this is easily outweighed by the benefits. Knowing you’re in control of your future, and nobody will come along and fire you, provided a peace of mind that’s hard to put a price on. And having the flexibility to spend time with friends and family when you want to, because you set the schedule, is icing on the cake.

Factory 43 is hoping to increase the number of customers in its audience. They have a lot of room to grow, and want more people to enjoy their designs. If they do it right, they might find themselves with a business that screen-prints cash!



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Factory 43: Check out more of Veronica and Andrew's designs over on their website
  • Shopify: Veronica and Andrew used Shopify to set up their site for Factory 43, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"You don't need a business degree to start a side hustle, but it does help if you are able to learn a bit about bookkeeping. The day-to-day running of the business has been a struggle since neither of us has a background in business, and it took us a long time to accept that we need to use spreadsheets."
—Veronica Velasco & Andrew Saeger #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau