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While most people start off a business from ground zero, Christopher Hamze started way below that. Hamze is the founder of teelaunch, a leading print on demand fulfillment company. The original business plan for what became teelaunch was really something to go by.
Hamze, like any other aspiring entrepreneurs, thought he had it all figured out from the beginning and that he was set up for success. During the first two years in business, however, his company got into $700,000 in debt.
In 2015, teelaunch launched their Shopify app. At the end of day one, they had no customers. You cannot help wondering what Hamze was thinking. Was this it? Another massive failure? But wait. By the end of the first month, the app had brought in $500,000 in revenue.
Fast forward to 2019, teelaunch is breaking its own records every time, having grossed over $50 Million in revenue. In the last four years since its launch, the app has been downloaded some 100,000 times. As if that’s not enough, teelaunch’s customers have made over $150 Million sales since 2015.
Getting Into Debt
Hamze’s initial idea was simply to print t-shirts for people. In a seemingly impulsive decision inspired by the desire to pull the idea off the ground, Hamze decided to go all ballistic into printing. So his company purchased more printing equipment in a bid to bring down the cost of production.
While it might have worked in the ideal context, the reality was that there were too many competitors and Hamze’s dream did not materialize. So his company accrued $700,000 in debt within the first two years of operation.
Hamze thought that the company could print more while keeping the cost of production at the lowest possible. While the work they put in made them good money, almost everything went into settling the huge debt. It was more like putting money into a bottomless pit – you see it going in but don’t see it coming up. In the end, the company resulted in taking lots of low-profit jobs that only served to keep operations going.
From $700,000 In Debt To $50,000,000 In Sales.
If there is one thing that teelaunch’s meteoric rise from ashes to glory has done, is change the narrative and status quo in the print on demand industry. That has actually been the mission of the company. Bearing in mind that the industry is not that new, Hamze had a particularly difficult building his company from the ground. That is how he got into debt the first time. To get out of it, his company had to look for an ingenious strategy. What they did is, however, not much of a complicated solution but it worked.
In 2015, teelaunch launched a Shopify app that allowed customers to access their print on demand services with ease.
During the first month of operation, the app helped the company make $500,000. So far, the app has been downloaded 100,000 times, grossed over $50 million and helped customers make over $150 Million in sales.
So what did Hamze do differently from the first time?
Leveraging The Print on Demand Model to Save Money.
Having mastered the ins and outs of the print on demand model, teelaunch has been on a never-ending growth streak.
“We are able to save companies 20-30 percent when they do business with us,” Hamze says. “By leveraging the print on demand model, nothing is made until the customer orders it. As such, the customer doesn’t have to spend anything on warehousing and logistics.” He adds.
Another advantage of adopting the strategy include not having to invest so much capital into forecasting. The company simply sways in the direction that the demand for their goods takes it.
While some entrepreneurs might shudder at the mere thought of leaning on such fate for their business, Hamze had another trick beneath his sleeve. He actually uses it as some sort of insurance.
To stay afloat when demand for their main product might go down, teelaunch also sells more than 50 other types of products. One thing, however, that catches your eye as you run through the carefully curated catalog of their other products is their very nature. They are all fast-moving brands.
In short, at teelaunch, it is all about quality for the lowest meaningful price for their customers, and the maximum reasonable profit for the company.
Apart from scaling his business, Hamze is on a mission to inspire other entrepreneurs in the print on demand industry. Having built his business from his basement to making over $50 Million in sales so far, the writing on the wall is clear, “If Christopher Hamze made it, so can you.”