The Handsome Sausage Interview: Part Two

by Andy on May 18, 2006

As a logical follow up to yesterdays first half of the interview with Rafael Vera of The Handsome Sausage, I present, shockingly enough, the second half.

I’m a stickler for not crowding the front-page, questions and answers after the jump.

How important is the custom element of the brand, and do you think it will be possible to maintain the custom element as the brand grows?

as much as i love the fact that each shirt is custom, you’d be surprised how few people are willing to go with anything other than what is shown. as time goes on, and i find i need to pre-print shirts, it will be more difficult to customize each shirt. i think there will always be one-off shirts available at the handsome sausage in one form or another, and i doubt i’d ever not do a shirt custom if someone really wanted it.

With the possibility of adding new designers to the Handsome Sausage, do you have a fear that the brand will lose your personal style?

i don’t really worry about that because i’m actually more interested in exposing the drawings of people who really excite me than i am of having this be all about me. i’d like for the handsome sausage to become a happy little harmonious spaceship of goodwill and good design, with me at the wheel, more of a chauffeur than a captain.

Do you feel that the internet has the potential to revolutionise the way that people buy clothes, as more people have access to independent designers and do not have to rely upon high street stores?

i’d love to say that it is going to change things forever, but just from my experience i think that there is something about those expensive stores that people love. i provide a couple of stores with shirts, and they still sell even though they are marked more than double. i think the internet creating less of a revolution, and more of a backdoor that a lot of artists are really taking full advantage of. the people who shop at high end stores will always do that for status reasons, but now just-out-of-college folk can afford the same product because they are smart enough to shop online.

With there being so many independent designers on the internet, how do you feel that the Handsome Sausage distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack?

well, for one thing, i have really tried to make my business have a soul. it would be much cheaper for me to print on hanes or some other shirt made in bangladesh, or for me to use toxic oil-based inks, but i really won’t let myself. i really want to make this work, but if it means cutting corners like that, i’ll find another way to make a living. also, i really feel like there aren’t many companies offering designs in a similar vein. it seems they break down into very strict categories, like slogan, logo, joke, crazy pseudo-boarding-school crest types…i really just try to make each design something people love for what it is.

What are the future plans for the Handsome Sausage?

brand-wise, i’m going to be introducing new designs mid-summer and then again for fall, bring in long sleeved shirts, ties, and the ipod socks that seem to be taking longer to develop than i had hoped. i am also trying to save up to get my hands on a multi-color press. in my non-sausage life, i hope to further myself as an illustrator, not just in the tee shirt world. i am hoping to do more illustrations for bands and small publications, and eventually i’d love to do spots and spreads for magazines. i’m also really looking forward to buying a pontiac trans-am one day and becoming the worlds greatest BBQ chef…but those are a ways off.

Rafael also wanted me to point out that he is available for any kind of illustration, you can find his e-mail on this page and make a request for a portfolio. He also stresses that if designers want to work with the Handsome Sausage then they should contact him, again, via this page (same as last time, but it can’t hurt to double link), but you should be aware that The Handsome Sausage is about exposure, not money, so pro-illustrators looking for upfront payment need not apply.

So that just leaves me to thank Rafael again for helping out with the first ever Hide Your Arms interview, and for putting up with my supremely unoriginal questions. If any other clothing companies or designers would let to be interviewed by the world’s premiere (and only, I think) sleeved clothing blog, get in touch, and I’ll endeavour to think of more creative questions.

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