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So You Want Your Own Private Brand

Dec 28, 2007
Tired of buying Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, or even Nike? Want to give your own brand a shot? It can be done and its not as expensive as you think. I started my own private label gift line for less than $500 ten years ago

Most of us think of ourselves as "the underdog" when it comes to private labeling; the Calvin Klein's of the world had millions backing them. That may or may not have been the case, but, since the Internet was created, it really doesn't even matter any more.

With the Internet, anyone can brand with a few dollars, a good idea, and a few clicks of the mouse.

If you are planning to outsource, that is, let a manufacturer and/or dropshipper handle it all and you simply put your pretty face and name on the label, get ready to spend a little money, keep up a website, advertise it, promote it, blog it, and every other nifty tool you can handle.

Cartoons and humor were always my forte'. When I started Londons Times Cartoons I had acquiesced to the fact that I would be a middle class creative semi-starving artist marketing to trade publications. And that is excactly how it started ten years ago. Now I sell over 100,000 cartoon humor products from clocks to aprons in 7 different highly-ranked e-stores..

You can do it yourself, you can go to a local manufacturer or screenprinter, or you can find a manufacturer online who makes your kind of product and will private label it for you. I did all three.

Rich or not, full of resources or just a kitchen table and great dreams and ideas, you still have the right to quality control. After five stores and four of them successes, I was ready to open RickLondonWear. The problem was, Cafe Press was experiencing growing pains and I didn't feel they could produce the quality at the time. I went to a Denver-based company called Printfection who still manufacturers and drop ships my RickLondonWear line. It doesn't cost me a penny except to promote it. Of course they get the lion's share of the take, but they really do most the work. I can live with that.

As time went by, I got really brave. I already had nearly 8500 cartoons up on my Londons Times Cartoon site and I was ready to take them to market in a big way. I already had nearly 60,000 gift and clothing products up at my Londons Times Supertore, but I wanted something very different, the world's first and only private label cartoon gourmet coffees. Ruth London's Exquisite Coffees was born and sold at the superstore. Each basket includes 5 blends from around the world, an oversize cartoon mug and four cartoon coasters. They are top-sellers at nearly $50. I bartered the whole deal, with my leverage being my cartoons. Ruth London was my late maternal grandmother who I loved so much, and she loved coffee so much, hence the name.

So when they are looking at their favorite coffee cup with a cartoon that makes them laugh, they are also looking at your company name and URL. They are generally in a good mood while seeing your gift. So you are giving both a gift and "a good attitude" towards buying from you, first thing in the morning. It prioritizes things. Sounds a bit Machiavellian but it is not. It is simple basic business that makes sense.

This may sound a bit manipulative, and I agree, in a way it is. But it is also providing a product and service that people want, and an ideal way for a company to personally get their name to the right party. And it works and it works very well (is the feedback we get).

I'm not sure I could have made it without the Internet, maybe so; maybe locally or regionally. But it sure is fun to say, travel to Martinique and people know who I am, or at least what Londons Times Cartoons is.
About the Author
Sassy cartoonist e-tailer Rick London has added yet another unique gift comic collectible store to his repertoire of offbeat funny gift and apparel store, Rick London Collection online shopping and
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