Team T-Shirt expects significant competition within the t-shirt industry. Some of the more prominent incumbents in this space include specialty retailers such as Urban Outfitters, mass retailers such as Target and Internet retailers such as Palmer Cash and Busted Tees. Although there is significant competition, Team T-Shirt is confident that its products occupy a gap created by the aforementioned competitors.
Specifically, while all competitors are good at creating designs, either based on classic popular culture or a new fad, it does not cater any of its designs to a specific social group (e.g., college students majoring in chemistry). Team T-Shirt aims to identify as many numerically-significant social groups as possible based on several dimensions to market its products. Then, through research and development, it will create designs that will appeal to these social groups in their efforts to express themselves.
In addition to the designs, Team T-Shirt plans on offering shirts manufactured by American Apparel. American Apparel is a Los Angeles-based garment manufacturer that is nationally known for its sweatshop-free labor. Team T-Shirt believes that this positive quality along with American Apparel’s t-shirts which our slimmer fitting than most other manufacturers will provide us with a competitive advantage. Only a small number of competitors are offering t-shirts made be American Apparel, if any. Team T-Shirt believes the higher quality shirts will attract customers along with its softer feel and flattering fit.
For designs that are not based on classic popular culture, the consumer is likely to get confused and reluctant to purchase a t-shirt with an unfamiliar tagline. Team T-Shirt will minimize this through stratifying its categories so that there is a higher possibility of a match occurring between the consumer’s preference and the product offerings.
Without legal intellectual property protection, it is going to be difficult fending off “copycats” from mimicking the t-shirt designs and selling them at a reduced rate to exploit the trend of the moment. However, Team T-Shirt will not rely solely upon legal protection; rather, it will focus its efforts on research and development, designing innovative and unique products that are not available anywhere else. By the time copycats are mimicking the designs and going to their manufacturers, Team T-Shirt also expects to go to the manufacturer, but with a brand new design. This “one step ahead” mechanism will ensure that Team T-Shirt constantly stays abreast of trends.