From the category archives:

News


I was contacted by Teespring to see if I’d like to check out one of their shirts from a selection of slogan tees. These shirts were female-focused and I am (still) an early-30s guy but as I was more interested in checking out their print quality than following the hottest trends I didn’t really mind and gladly took a sample of the “pizza is my soulmate” shirt.

Teespring, for those that don’t know, is a print-on-demand (POD) company that produces a wide range of products from tees to mugs and tote bags. All their designs are user-generated which naturally does mean there is a very wide level of talent on display. There can be a tendency for “demographic specific” designs to do well since Teespring is popular with the “Facebook entrepreneur” crowd . I am a t-shirt snob (and an entrepreneur) so I am a bit cynical of this practise but as long as people are happy then I suppose it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t really mattyer though, as there are plenty of “good” designs on Teespring too that t-shirt enthusiasts can enjoy too.


Teespring utilise a pretty wide variety of blanks for their shirts, in this case I received a Gildan softstyle blank. This is on the budget end of their offering but is still a pretty good shirt, genuinely soft and not too heavy, I am impressed by it, as I have been with other Gildan blanks over the past few years, clearly those heavy and scratchy Gildan shirts I would buy at gigs in the early 2000s are a thing of the past.

They also have American Apparel options and Bella, amongst others if you want to spend a couple more dollars per shirt. The difference isn’t that great between blanks so it’s not going to break the bank for you to go with a cut that you know is a better fit for your body.

 

There’s only really so much that you can judge about Teespring’s printing quality based on a black text slogan, but at the very least I can’t find anything negative. Much like the improvements in the past few years of “budget” blanks, the improvements of POD printing quality has been very impressive. It used to be such a compromise that I would generally avoid POD shirts and the samples I received usually wouldn’t end up being in my regular rotation of shirts because they would lose their vibrancy quickly. That seems to be much less of an issue nowadays, and of course with a black print on a heather grey shirt if it did fade a bit it would probably just look cooler anyway!

The print is very consistent with no differences in shade from one letter to the next, nice and sharp lines. Lightweight print too, so it’s uncrackable no matter how much I bend and stretch it.

Based on this tee I can’t fault Teespring. If you’re a “regular” customer then you can be assured you’ll be getting a decent product and the pricing looks pretty reasonable to me, and if you’re a designer then you can easily get a one-off printed, or test the water of launching a design without having to commit money into a stock run of screen printed tees.

And if you liked the design don’t forget to pick one up while it’s hot!

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Hands on review of Swankee

by Andy on February 26, 2017


Swankee got in touch asking if we were interested in taking a look at their designs, and being a total sucker for gold foil print, naturally I said yes.

Swankee (a play on “swanky”), based in Washington D.C., were established in 2016 with a mission statement of releasing bold and complex designs, frequently making use of graffiti and calligraphy styled imagery, with designs being sourced from all over the world.


For such a young brand there is definitely a level of maturity behind their current offering. I don’t know the background of the people behind Swankee, but this certainly doesn’t feel like the first time they’ve launched a t-shirt brand. Their collection of tees is cohesive enough to portray a good flow between designs, yet each design can stand on it’s own and there’s variety in terms of style to broaden their appeal. They’ve also managed to cover quite a lot of bases with what is essentially three different designs (if we count the Africa design as being re-jigged a few times).


They’ve got just about everything covered on their website that I like to see when I visit a new shop for the first time. Returns, shipping, about us, they’re all covered; you’d be surprised how many companies forget to mention that stuff. I would like to see a size guide added to the site, I know now that them being a slim fit is mentioned on the product pages, but it would . It’s rarely going to be a deal-breaker, but it certainly would be a good way to put people at ease who are unsure of whether to place an order or not (my e-commerce mantra is to try and remove the obstacles that stop people from buying something).


It would be nice to hear a bit more about the team behind the brand too (possibly as an addition to the about us page). When buying from an independent company I like to feel involved with them, and putting a face to who I’m buying from and who will be packing up my order does make it feel a bit more personal. That’s mostly my own choice though, and come to think of it I don’t have a photo of myself on my own shop and it doesn’t seem to stop people making an order.


In terms of quality, I am impressed, I didn’t spot who the blank tee is made by but it feels good quality, and my model informs me that it hasn’t stretched or deformed after a few washing cycles. Even more important than the tee not deforming, the gold foil is holding up well too. There’s almost an expectation that gold foil is something that can only be worn a few times before it starts to fade or even peel, and when you’re wearing something like gold foil it’s something that does draw attention to itself and you, so you need it to look good. Obviously, me and my model haven’t had these shirts for years so we can only give initial long-term impressions, but I do have confidence that these are a good quality foil print that should last well. Total presumption on my part as I haven’t seen any of their regular colour prints, but generally speaking if a company has got their speciality prints sorted then I would expect their standard designs to be a good quality too.

I should probably point out that the gold print logo t-shirt isn’t actually available on their site, I’m not sure if that means we are super special or it was a launch shirt which is no longer available (as it does have 20 and 16 on the arms). Logo shirts do tend to appeal more to friends and fans of the brand though, as I have often talked about in the past, so regular readers will likely be more interested in the art based shirts anyway.

It will be interesting to see how Swankee move forward in the future, the addition of pillows and tote bags on their site does look like a nod towards being a lifestyle brand. Usually that seems like an added extra for most brands that isn’t properly thought through and I often feel that the artwork from most tee companies doesn’t necessarily work for non-clothing products, but in this case I think they work well, you wouldn’t really want to see the Swankee logo on a pillow (unless you owned the brand), but the lion and the scarab designs look cool.

Definitely one to watch and hop on their newsletter for updates.

Main site: www.swankeeshop.com
Instagram: @swankeebrand
Facebook: @swankeebrand

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Hands-on Review: Thunder Boobs from Hell

by Andy on October 20, 2016


Recently the friendly guys over at Thunder Boobs From Hell got in touch to tell me about their brand and also offered a shirt up for review. I happened to have a photoshoot lined up with a model anyway, which was great, as otherwise you’d have probably had awkward selfies of me in a shirt that’s too small for me, or I’d have just hung it up on the washing line.


TBFH are a relatively new brand from Germany, who currently offer three different designs, all black ink printed on white tees. Priced at €30 a piece they’re quite pricey for someone from the UK after the fall of the pound recently, though I supposed that does mean the price point would become more attractive to Americans and people that pay for things in dollars, so it’s somewhat “swings and roundabouts” as we say in Britain.

As you can tell from the above shirt and also the others on their site the designs have a lot to owe to tattoo design, almost with a certain something that I’d associate with a sailor-esque style, though that’s probably just me showing a lack of knowledge when it comes to tattoos. Funnily enough the photoshoot for these post was taken in the basement of a local tattoo shop!

This shirt is one of the milder ones from their collection, but there is one that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend wearing out in public during the day, unless a woman with her legs akimbo is acceptable where you usually hang out. So clearly they don’t mind being a bit controversial, but the brand name gave that away already.


Personally, I don’t wear a lot of white t-shirts, and if I do they tend to be hidden under my sweater, but that’s just personal taste. However, it’s a personal taste that I’m sure other people share, so the critical side of me feels like it would be good if they were to offer some other colours, even if it was just white print on black tees, which would probably appeal to the majority of the people they’re targeting anyway.

Quality-wise, I was happy and couldn’t find anything to complain about. The print feels good and whilst I haven’t given it a wash test I wouldn’t anticipate any problems. I’m not sure who makes the shirts as they are lacking the original tag, but it seems to be a standard fit shirt rather than fitted or a slim-fit. The model is wearing a medium (they do M-XXL with no additional charge for XXL), but we did peg the back of the shirt to tighten it in to her (tiny) frame and give the shots a bit more shape, so it’s not entirely representative of what a medium would look like on her. So if you usually wear a small you’re out of luck at the moment unless you like to wear oversized shirts.

It would be good if there was a size-chart on the site, as I expect that could be putting some people off ordering. I’d quite like to see the T&C page being available in English too, Google Translate did a good job with it, but having it natively in English on the site would get the idea of global shipping being available across to the visitor in a much quicker manner.

Overall, I’m impressed by Thunder Boobs From Hell, given some time and continued expansion of the range I think we could see something really solid here. My little niggles with the site are just that, little, and also things that tend to get forgotten when you’re “in the bubble” of running your own site, and with only a small amount of work will remove some of the hurdles that are between turning visitors into buyers.

Would you like to have your brand and shirt sample reviewed by Hide Your Arms? Feel free to contact info@hideyourarms.com for more information.

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Activewear isn’t something that has had a lot of attention on Hide Your Arms over the years, largely because it’s rare you’ll see me in anything skintight (which is why I drafted in professional dancer Lucie to model), but Sundried are an interesting company so I thought they deserved a closer look and took the opportunity to review their ethically and sustainably produced clothing.


Sundried don’t pay lip-service to the environmental and social responsibility of their business. It’s a refreshing change from most clothing companies who just seem to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to the damage that our throw-away clothing culture is doing to the planet (and I say this as someone with 300 t-shirts). I won’t go into it too deeply (you can check out their values page here), but I would like to point out the charitable donation to Water for Kids that is a part of every purchase. It’s a cool idea because each (personalised) item bag has a unique code on it that allows you to see what effect the donation can have, which is a great way of connecting the buyer with the charity in a way that goes beyond simply mentioning a donation.


Of course, good values can only get you so far in the clothing industry, if the product isn’t up to scratch then people aren’t going to keep coming back to your brand for their activewear needs. Being a professional dancer, Lucie spends a lot of time training, rehearsing, and generally keeping fit, putting her in an excellent position to judge their goods and also put the goods through their paces over the past couple of weeks.


Lucie was happy to find that the waist on the Ruinette leggings (£75) wasn’t too tight, meaning that she was actually able to move freely and easily during exercise, something which often isn’t the case with other brands, making them “super comfy” and she was also impressed by how lightweight the material felt without being thin. It’s nice to see the little red accents of the zip-pull on the back pocket and matching red drawstring, it’s a subtle nod to their branding without being in your face, even the printed logo near the ankle is pretty low-key.


I checked out the Breithorn sports bra (£45) in the office before the shoot and it certainly looked and felt like a quality product to me. As you’d imagine I don’t have much personal experience of sports bras but after over a decade running this site I have gained a pretty reliable sense for when a garment has been made with care and also when it has been built to last. Whether it’s a t-shirt or a bra, quality usually makes itself evident.


The bra performed well, providing support and keeping everything where it should be. Lucie did say that she felt the straps were quite long and that if she was to get one again she might go a size smaller, but that it was fine and the sizing chart is generally reliable (sizing charts never being an exact science, of course). That’s mostly a personal choice on Lucie’s part, but possibly something to bear in mind when thinking about how your body-shape might match up with their sizing that if you think you might be between sizes it could be a good idea to move down a size.


I should point out that whilst this review focuses on a couple of items from their women’s range it’s important to note that they offer a range for men as well that is well worth checking out.

It’s clear to me that Sundried are a very polished brand; good product, good branding, good website experience, and good values. That’s a winning combination and judging from their presence on social media it’s clear I’m not the only person to feel that way.

Regular readers know that I see value in providing constructive criticism to brands where I see gaps potential problems or missed opportunities, but honestly I can’t find fault here. Being a small brand in the fitness clothing world is very hard, Sundried are competing with some enormous brands and that’s a daunting task, and to do it without cutting corners or compromising your values is even more impressive.

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Hungry Robot + Sale!

by Andy on August 9, 2016

Hey Guys I have a new design up for sale “Hungry Robot“.
I’ve also dropped the prices site wide for sweet summer sale.

Andy: Thanks for the submission, Ed!

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Dendo Apparel Launch

by Andy on August 9, 2016



Dend? (Japanese for “electric”), is a lifestyle apparel company inspired by the traditional styling of Japanese robots, with the goal of blending bold, modern designs with great fitting, quality apparel.

Each tee comes with an original piece of artwork, stickers and custom packaging!

Kristina and I hope you enjoy the products we put out and we thank you for taking the time to check out our tees! For the most up to date info about Dend? feel free to visit our blog or follow our social media accounts. We also love feedback so feel free to drop us a line at dendoapparel@gmail.com

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

Dan and Kristina
dendoapparel.com

Andy: I really like that logo tee, and the rest of the artwork is pretty cool too.

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1 Is Greater Than 2…Sorry Math

by Andy on August 9, 2016



1 is greater than 2.

If you said that to your math teacher, you would probably be greeted with a curious look and a barrage of questions about how you could possibly say such a thing.

But math is the only place in which 2 is greater than one. In the real world, 1 is far greater.

In sports – the champion is number 1, whereas 2nd place is just first loser. You want to be the best, to get the gold at the Olympics. Nobody goes to the games aiming to finish number 2.

In business – No business wants to be the 2nd best in their industry. Everybody wants to lead the pack and get the bulk share of the industries revenue and gross profit.

In life in general – At some level, everybody has the desire to be the best. Few ever really pursue this desire and even fewer actually achieve it, but everybody wants to be the number 1, and receive the glory that comes with being the best.

The Rio Olympics have finally begun, and we get the to see the best athletes in the world compete against each other for the coveted gold medals, for those number 1 spots.

As your watching these great competitors from all over the world, ask yourself this question: What would you do to be number 1?

Let the games begin.

Browse the 1 > 2 product collection at thestatementapparel.com/collections/1-2

Andy: Thanks for the submission.

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Staying in line with our love for adventure and style, End of August Apparel is dropping three fresh new tee designs inspired by the open road. Even better, they come on super soft tri-blend material. No scratchy, boxy tees.

Check ‘em at endofaugustapparel.com

Andy: Really nice little collection here with a solid and cohesive idea, I’m impressed!

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Hey Guys! This is WestPointCo.! We are a Spanish-based California-inspired Clothing Company that has just started.
Our motto: The West, The Sun & The Waves.
We are really looking forward to expand our company soon. Our website’s currently in Spanish but we hope to have the English version soon too. (We ship worldwide though)

So, after all this presentation, we, the WestPoint Crew, want to show you our new, fresh, Summer ’16 Collection!

Feel free to visit our website www.westpointco.com
and our Social Media Accounts for:
· Twitter @wpointco
· Instagram @wpointco
· Facebook Page @westpointco / West Point Co.

THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS FOR THE SUPPORT!

Andy: There’s some nice stuff here, I often worry about new brands that just have logo stuff for their opening collection, but if you do it right, as I feel West Point have, then at least it will be easier to convert people into wanting to wear your stuff.

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When John Hanke met with Pokémon CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara last year. He had no idea just how amazing his vision was truly going to be. Niantic Labs, the Company behind the world wide phenomenon known as Pokémon Go has been shot to center stage with the likes that no other gaming company has ever seen. “You see these people everywhere, they are playing this game like no one ever envisioned.” John Turner, creator of the Pokémon Go apparel website, www.pokemongotshirts.com and pictured in his favorite Pokemon T-shirt, “Ash meets Pikachu.” said in a recent interview. It truly is amazing and whats more amazing is the potential for more businesses to capitalize on this phenomenon as well.

While there are hundreds of different sites sporting Pokemon shirts and hoodies, John’s company is a little different. “We give back as much as we can.” What John is speaking to is the Charitable side of his business. pokemongotshirts.com gives back 10% or more to the charity or organization that they are currently partnered with. “Right now we are building a relationship with www.rootsandshots.org” This organization was founded by Jane Goodall and she has done a tremendous job with everything from helping communities learning how to build community gardens in Brooklyn to stopping beach erosion in California. On Charities and Dot Org’s, John said “In life, in order to be effective you have to have balance and also give back. I’ve had the opportunity to be a apart of many different business ventures and I have always tried to give back in some way, whether that giving be through monetary donations or simply volunteering my time.” When you have a moment please head on over to www.pokemongotshirts.com and check out all the cool designs John and his team have to offer, and also check out www.rootsandshoots.org . Get outside and get involved!

Andy: Hmmmmm, I think I see a cease & desist letter from Nintendo’s lawyers in their future.

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Ford Econoline Tour Van t-shirt

by Andy on August 8, 2016


Hi there! I have a book coming out in September, called Punk Rock Entrepreneur, and drew an Econoline van for the cover. It’s sort of the quintessential tour van. So when I wanted to make t-shirts to sell in support of the book (covering some marketing costs and touring of my own), I wanted to use that same graphic.

Hence, the Econoline Tour Van shirts available for pre-order until August 23rd right here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/469476173/econoline-tour-van-t-shirts?ref=shop_home_active_1

Celebrate the greatest damn tour van ever in style. Shirts are all printed locally, on 100% cotton Gildan Softstyle shirts.

Andy: It’s kinda funny that I associate this with being “the tour van” even though this model has never been on sale in the UK (I think), but I was so used to seeing it in movies and music videos when I used to listen to the various punk-ish genres when I was growing up. Somehow it had more glamour to it than a rusting old Transit that British bands would tour in.

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Hey Guys I have a new design up for sale on my website. “Midnight Heist” is printed on super soft 50/50 tees with water based inks for soft print. You can grab one for 20 bucks.

Andy: Nicely done as usual, Ed.

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Gun’s N Butter

by Andy on August 7, 2016



This shirt is inspired by the movie baby boy. The images are evoking change in the mindset of the youth. The most powerful images are guns which can save of take your life and money which will give you a better life.

Andy: Pretty cool, though as a UK GCSE history student (well, about 15 years ago!) whenever I see the words “guns” and “butter” used in the same sentence I can’t help but think of Nazi Germany!

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Socialfabrik x HELL.A

by Andy on August 7, 2016



Graphic t-shirt brand Socialfabrik have another new design to add to what has already been an eventful 2016 at their Manchester headquarters. A commentary on the horror beneath the veneer of Hollywood glamour and the subversion of celebrity culture, this exclusive design is courtesy of Los Angeles creative collective HELL.A.

Individually, group members work under their own names in their respective fields such as art, design, Djing, & club promotion. Together they work anonymously under the name HELL.A for various art projects, events and now, this collaboration with Socialfabrik.

The intention of HELL.A is to expose the ugliness of the modern day culture of celebrity worship, which finds its cesspool epicentre in Los Angeles, by subverting cultural iconography and creating works that provoke reflection.

In their own words, “It’s our mission to hold a mirror up to society & consumer culture and challenge it, to find truth in the world through exposure of lies, to reveal the real from the plastic face lift of the unreal.”

‘Marilyn’ by HELL.A is printed on 100% organic cotton Earth Positive t-shirt and is available online at socialfabrik.co.uk

Andy: I think it’s fair to say that they knocked this one out of the park.

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Bring some aloha to your every day

by Andy on August 7, 2016



Mainland living. Island dreaming.

No matter where you live, you can keep the island spirit with you. Mainland86 is a new brand for those who like to stay in an aloha state of mind. Celebrate Hawaii and beach iconography with these tees and sweatshirts. New designs posted regularly.

Andy: Not exciting me that much, I guess that means I have the wrong state of mind.

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THUGLIFE

by Andy on August 7, 2016

I’m not a wordsmith, but you’ve featured my gear before ! I recently quit my job to focus full-time on my label STACKS here’s a fresh one i consider gold aha.

https://stacksclothing.com/product.php?category=mens-tees&product=thuglife

Andy: Flagrant disregard for copright aside, this is pretty fun.

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Launch of New, Edgy FuXk Brand

by Andy on August 7, 2016



What is FuXk?

FuXk is a next-generation brand committed to the promotion of:

Fun under Xtreme Konditions

What’s it Mean?

Don’t over analyze the word(s); there’s no need to discern or confirm or run it through a machine learning algorithm to find a pattern.

FuXk was created by people who are passionate about life.

You’ve no doubt heard the words “work hard, play hard” and that’s what we’re all about.

But we take it a step further by ensuring that no matter what Konditions we’re operating in and no matter how Xtreme, we’re having fun in the process.

Realizing that life takes so many turns, we wanted to make sure that having fun was never too distant from the center of people’s thoughts.

So whether it’s grinding out your work day, rocking out at a concert or going through a tough personal ordeal we want you to make sure there’s at least an ounce of fun in everything you do.

We invite you to join our journey and passion around driving Fun under Xtreme Konditions.

And if you don’t subscribe to our philosophy, well just come along for the FuXk of it!


Andy: One of my pet peeves is brands that put their web address on the shirt, it’s fine if you’re giving away swag at a convention, but if someone is paying for your product they shouldn’t have to be a walking billboard as well, and it’s really hard to make a domain name look good on a shirt.

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Manoje Prutthisathaporn – the Co-founder of FitFactory, is launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the very the first custom tailor with in-person fittings with local tailors – FitFactory, this week.

As stated by Manoje, “We have a grand vision of becoming the most convenient and accessible high-quality custom tailor service available at great prices. We want to make FitFactory available across the country. So, we need $15,000 in funds to build the operations and invest in fabrics to offer the unique free fabric sample delivery and launch custom shirt category. That is why, we are planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and the find first set of customers in each targeted city (we offer special discount in return)”.


Custom-made suits’ online stores usually fail to deliver top-class quality and the required fitting because people usually fail to give their correct measurements.

But, FitFactory will sort all of these problems out, because with FitFactory one does not have to take their own measurements themselves, but they can visit any FitFactor’s handpicked, highly-experienced and professional local tailor – who will take the measurements professionally, which would ensure a perfect fit every time. This also makes it very convenient (as you can go to a tailor nearby) and affordable (no investment in showroom that). FitFactory also delivers the sample of the chosen cloth at home for free. So, with FitFactory the client will have max convenience, and would get a chance to buy a custom-made suit and/or shirt at an affordable price.

As stated by Manoje, “FitFactory is founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to make high-quality custom-made menswear accessible, convenient, and affordable. We offer custom made-to-measure men’s suits, shirts and separates made from the finest wool and cotton fabrics. Once we receive your measurement, each suit is crafted by a real human being – internationally sought-after tailors in Thailand. With over 35 years of experience, these maestros guarantee your fit”.

For more information, please go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/manoje/fitfactory-affordable-custom-menswear-w-in-person.

Andy: Different from the usual HYA submission, but very interesting stuff.

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City Tees by Teeframed

by Andy on August 7, 2016


Teeframed just launched its new storefront with a huge lineup of shirts featuring their new typeface called Shifty Four. Each design honors a different American city, and, when stacked, the letterforms create interesting shapes and connections. They almost begin to look like aerial views of city blocks, with the negative spaces forming the streets.

Andy: Really like this style, which is good since all the tees are the same!

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Carpe the Saturdiem!

by Andy on August 7, 2016



My love for art began with an appreciation for the toys, cartoons and animated movies of the 80s. It was those mornings of escape that eventually led me down the path of designing for some of the largest retailers and brands (like Target and Disney). So to pay homage to those early days, I’ve launched a brand of tees with the name of the day that started it all. From tatted dogs to kitty ninjas, these tees are a representation of thoughts that make me chuckle.

Thanks for your consideration.

Carpe the Saturdiem!

Andy: I like the style of these, looking forward to seeing more.

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