Young Entrepreneur Interview with Raymond Lei of ooshirts.com : Under30CEO Young Entrepreneur Interview with Raymond Lei of ooshirts.com : Under30CEO
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Young Entrepreneur Interview with Raymond Lei of ooshirts.com

| June 28, 2010 | 8 Comments

Raymond Lei

This week we caught up with Raymond Lei who is the 19 year old founder of ooshirts.com. He started ooshirts when he was 16 and has grown it to a $60,000 a month business. He says that recently the company has seen a %50 month over month growth rate which he is aiming to continue for the rest of 2010.

Raymond has learned a lot from the big companies out there like Google and Walmart but he believes the most important stuff has come from his own trial and error. Read on to see how he started and grew ooshirts.com…

Tell us about ooshirts.com. What is it and who is it for?

ooShirts.com sells custom printed t-shirts to groups.

Could you give us the background of the company? How did it start, where did the idea come from, what made you take the leap?

I started ooShirts when I was 16, still a high school sophomore. I was ordering t-shirts for the tennis club at my school, and found that the existing companies were all either overpriced or had unskillfully made websites. I was disappointed by the fact that no companies stood out from the rest, despite the immense size of the custom t-shirt industry. This meant that inefficient businesses could keep making money off customers simply because they lacked a better alternative.

I wasn’t the only one suffering from this. One of my classmates was going to give up the design they wanted and settle for a black-and-white design to save money on their shirts. One day, I offered him a better solution, and had my first customer.

How do you balance being in school full time and running a company?

I pick the easiest classes and spend the rest of my time on my business.

Where did you learn to run a business? Has there been anything in particular that has helped you along the way?

I think you can learn a lot from well-run companies out there. Even though they’re in different industries, I often look at Google and Walmart when making decisions. In terms of learning though, I think the most important part is learning your own situation and deciding where to go from there.

Any mistakes or mis-judgments that stick out that you have learned from?

Nothing yet.

What do you think has been your key to success with ooShirts so far?

We’ve made our operation extremely efficient in two main ways.

First, we’ve set up a network of 20 printers and suppliers around the United States. This serves multiple purposes. In addition to letting us get shirts to the customers faster and with lower shipping costs, it also lets us have a greater, more readily available line of products in stock.

Second, our ordering process is very streamlined. Our website allows customers to create their own t-shirt designs without manual help from our artists. They can do everything they need to do online, and submit it to us. When we receive the design, the automated order processing system we developed lets us take care of each order quickly and accurately.

These two points let us price our shirts 30 to 50 percent lower than our competitors, and still remain profitable.

What is the best part about running your own company?

When you’re running your own business, you’re in control of what you do. In my opinion, it makes the world much more ideal. In addition, coming up with ideas and acting on them is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. I’ve always been the one to have my own idea and start my own project rather than to join existing groups and follow others.

What are the future plans for ooShirts?

Depends how far we’re looking in the future. The ultimate goal is to perfect our distribution system, perfect our website, and serve everyone in the United States. But for this year, the goal is to earn our first million.

Where can people find ooShirts online?

Most visitors come to our site by searching “custom t-shirts” or “cheap custom t-shirts” on Google. If you were asking for the URL, it’s www.ooshirts.com

Read more Young Entrepreneur Interviews

About the Author: Jared O'Toole

Co-founder and editor of Under30Media. You can send an email to Jared(at)Under30CEO.com. Follow him on Google+ or @JaredOToole

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  • http://itarsenal.com/ Rob

    What an awesome story, good on Raymond for seeing such a need and growing it. I checked out ooShirts because I've been interested in cheap group shirts before, the brands available and prices are legit and easy to understand.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Glad you liked it Rob hopefully we can bring some more good ones to the table!

  • jamesmcross

    Such an inspiring story. I feel like so many people have talked about starting their own businesses but the hardest part might just be taking that first step.

  • very dissatisfied customer

    I received an order from ooshirts one week ago, and it was incomplete. I did not receive 8 of the 30 shirts I ordered, and also, the invoice that came with the order was more than the price on my original email receipt. I called the number given on the website for customer service and left a message. 2 days later, no one had responded. I called again…and left a message. I also sent an email request for someone to contact me. No one responded. That was Friday. I called…and emailed…again on Monday. No one responded. I called…and emailed…again yesterday, and no one has responded. It has been a week since I received my partial order, and I have yet to speak to anyone in customer service. On the “contact us” page of the website, the company boasts, “Our customer service representatives will respond to you within a few hours.” It’s been 7 days, and no one has responded to me. When you call “customer service” at 1-800-641-5606, you don’t actually reach customer service, and the only option is to leave a message. When you ask to speak to someone in customer service, they say it’s impossible to be transferred to that department. I’ve left numerous messages…and no one has responded. Do NOT order from this company as they apparently do not HAVE a customer service department to resolve any problems you might have.

  • Nikki

    After ordering shirts online with ooShirts, they neglected to make an edit to the layout and provide an additional proof. Moreso, the shirts were shipped WITHOUT approval to my client! I have been trying to get someone there to help me for 3 weeks, but they only have one phone number to take orders with and no other numbers or people to talk to. WTF? No corporate headquarters. No customer service. No nothing. They don’t appear on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, I’m sure that this is because they don’t want to be found. I cannot find a single working number for them other than an answering machine and the order line. DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING FROM OOSHIRTS. They are a complete scam. If anyone has found a way of getting ahold of them, please let me know!

  • Anonymous

    I have the same problem except it has been almost 2 months of me trying to be listened to.
    I don’t know if this will do anything but I found Raymond Lei’s f/b

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1036380356

  • Anonymous

    I also found his address and the address of the company.

    878 Rose Blossom Dr
    Cupertino, CA 95014