From the category archives:


Post image for $0.30 of shirts and 10% off stickers at Threadbird

I know that saving $0.30 when you’re buying a single shirt doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t, but when you’re buying a hundred for your clothing line getting that $30 off is a nice little bonus.

Apparel Offers @ Threadbird
Sticker Offers @ Threadbird


Post image for A warning to t-shirt brands, if people ask you for free stuff, don’t give them it.

The following is a real conversation that happened between a t-shirt brand who have been written about on HYA and someone that contacted them:

Mr X: Hi, i’m Mr X and i have a massive following on such and such site/network. Would you be willing for us to represent your brand by sending us an x amount of tees, sweatshirts and hoodies and in return we’ll wear your merch everywhere and your sales will increase ten fold…
Brand Y: Hi, thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately we won’t be sponsoring anyone at the moment, but we’ll keep yo
ur information on file and when we are ready to start a sponsorship, we’ll be in contact with you, regarding the particulars of sponsorship.
Mr X: Thanks for the reply, can’t you just send some merch anyways? and i’ll wear it everywhere…
Brand Y: Hi, no sorry we can’t just give out our merchandise, unless we’re sponsoring you and like we said in the previous email, we’ll contact you nearer the time.
Mr X: Thanks for nothing, your brand is total shit and i hope you go bankrupt.
Brand Y: Hi, thanks for the kind words, have a great day.

Chances are, if you own a t-shirt brand someone will have asked you for free stuff, and you’ll probably have considered it as part of your marketing strategy. I am of the belief that in the vast majority of cases ‘sponsoring’ people and bands will not give you a good return on your investment, especially if those people are coming to you asking to be sponsored or simply to get free stuff and then promote your brand by wearing it.

I can’t give numbers to back this up since I’ve never sponsored anyone (though a misguided actress who was starring a British film once asked for free stuff believing I sold everything I blogged about), and the only person getting a HYA freebie is my girlfriend (and even she insisted on paying for a hoodie in the HYA store), but I’ve never heard any brand talk about how beneficial it was for them in terms of sales to sponsor a local band. Sure, if Jay-Z wears your t-shirt you’re probably going to get some attention and sales, but Jay-Z isn’t e-mailing people asking for a free t-shirt. I think that’s where the crux of the matter lies, people that are popular enough to have a good effect upon your brand merely by them wearing your stuff are too busy and too popular to be sending e-mails to relatively unknown t-shirt brands.

It’s important to remember that people contacting you asking for free stuff most likely aren’t even fans of your brand, you’re just another name on a list being sent a form e-mail (that usually hasn’t even been personalised to your brand). All these people care about is getting stuff from you, they have no interest in promoting your brand. You spent your time and money on a clothing line to be proud of and if you just give stuff away to anyone then you’re wasting your money and devaluing your product in the process. If someone e-mails you asking for free stuff and they actually do have a massive following, ask them for proof, ask how they’ve helped other brands before and get them to name those brands, if they can’t give you decent answers then they aren’t worth your time.

I do believe that there are cases where sponsoring people and bands is a good idea, but you have to go to them, not the other way around. It is fun to see people you like wearing your clothing, getting a celebrity endorsement means something to quite a lot of tee buyers, and even if they aren’t a celebrity or famous band you might just want to give them a tee because you like them. So if you want to sponsor someone then go for it, just have realistic expectations about what you can get out of it.

Of course, there are also some t-shirt blogs that accept t-shirts for review, and I think I’m right in saying that HYA has more hands-on review than any other t-shirt site (possibly even any site, I don’t know how many sites do shirt reviews), so it would be hypocritical for me to not explain why I think it is okay to send shirts to us and not others. I believe that the same rule applies, if a t-shirt blog asks you for a shirt and you haven’t heard of them then it’s probable that sending a shirt will be a waste of time and money. Over the course of almost 7 years running HYA I have asked for a shirt once, and even that one wasn’t for me, and I didn’t feel particularly good about asking (we didn’t get the shirt in the end), but I’ve managed to amass a collection of 300 shirts without asking people for them which is proof that if you don’t beg people will respect you and your opinion and want to give you a shirt for review because they know it will be a real review. All sample offers are now sent to HYA bloggers in the US and UK (to make shipping more reasonable for the brand) and I encourage constructive criticism of the shirt the blogger has received. Each review ranks well in search engines for your brand’s name and is something that a brand can point to as an independent review of their product quality. That is something real and that is something that can be measured and is targeted at people that are visiting this site with the intention of buying t-shirts, and yet I still don’t ask people for a sample. Of course, t-shirt blogs don’t have a massive influence, there’s no TechCrunch of the t-shirt world, getting written about on HYA won’t sell out your line in a matter of hours, but you’re not just throwing your money into a black hole and helping give some kid that managed to inflate their Twitter followers a free shirt.

Bottom line, if you want to give away your products as part of your marketing then do your research and see if you will get good value out of your investment, even if it is just to say that your favourite band likes your designs.


Post image for Kickstarter now live in the UK to crowdfund the launch of your brand

In the past I have been rather vocal about my ambivalence to brands using Kickstarter to crowdfund their launch. People can get too ambitious and offer poor value for money whilst looking for a shortcut to having a popular and successful brand with their Kickstarter projects, but there are of course people who create projects that are suitable for Kickstarter and really think about what they’re doing.

Previously, Kickstarter was only open to US-based fund-raisers, us Brits were able to spend our money pledging there, but not raise it, that all changed recently when they added the option for people in the UK to create projects. Even with my reservations about the idea of crowdfunding when it comes to the t-shirt industry I do think it is good for more people to have that avenue open to them. Any of the British HYA readers tempted to launch a project on there to help push your brand?


Post image for 5 Things to Avoid When Starting an Indie Clothing Line according to

I spotted this post over and just had to share it since I think it is a pretty good (and short) primer for pointing out pitfalls that seem to catch out a few t-shirt brands before they even get going.

5 Things to Avoid When Starting an Indie Clothing Line «


Post image for Tips for getting a soft print on a dark shirt from Vudog [Submitted]

I just wanted to share some tips to people new on getting soft prints on dark shirts. On this “Born 2B Wild” shirt I used half tone underlay instead of solid under the red and light colors. A lot of people just use a solid underlay when not needed which just gives a plastic shield feel. Also I thinned out the white ink. On plastisol I tend to thin ink whenever possible. I also use a high mesh screen (305) to lay on a thinner layer whenever possible.This print was done with 5 screens on an automatic. When the print was done I heat pressed it. Be careful with the heat press to not go above the temp the print was cured at in the oven, that breaks down the ink and will shorten the print life. I use about 60 pounds of pressure. Heat pressing a shirt can make a big difference in softness. When I finished this shirt, the print was virtually undetectable and super soft to the touch. I washed this one a couple dozen times and its still like the day I printed it.

On this “Punk” shirt, because of its large size solid area, I decided to go with discharge ink. Discharge ink bleaches out the shirt dye and puts the new color in place. Its a pain in the ass to work with, especially on larger numbers. If you get a pin hole in the screen or slip with the ink, the shirt is wrecked cause you can’t zap off a bleached mark. But the end result is a print that you cannot feel, its awesome. On the other grey areas of this shirt I just used solid thinned white ink for the cheeks and levels of half tone for the ears and around the eyes. I only used 2 screen passes with this shirt on an automatic. Each screen is money, and the more you can reduce screens the better by making different colors with halftones. I didn’t need to heat press this one, you can’t feel the print at all after a wash.

Andy: I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that I don’t like the designs over at Vudog, but I do like Keith, the guy that runs the brand, and I appreciate him stopping by with a submission trying to help out other printers, even if some of it went over my head.


Fall sale time at Threadbird

by Andy on September 14, 2012

Post image for Fall sale time at Threadbird

Tee consumers can take a break for a minute or two, this post isn’t of much concern to you, run along now!

Threadbird, who seem to be the go to printing company for most indie brands in the US now, are celebrating the second year of being called Threadbird (they were Storenvy before that, remember?) with a sale. Until the end of the month there is 10% off custom stickers, 10% off screen printed posters, and $0.30 off shirts with up to 3 colours on them, as if the images above didn’t make that abundantly clear. Any of the brand owners reading tempted more likely to place an order with these savings being dangled in front you you?


Boston Tee Party Recap Winky Boo Style

by Amy_F on August 19, 2012

Boston Tee Party 2012

Last weekend was a huge weekend for the indie clothing community.  Months of planning lead to the First Annual Boston Tee Party & Artist/Design Expo.  Hosted by Kelly Murphy (owner of Saucewear & The Tee Gazette) and co-hosted by (yours truly) Amy Fiedler (owner of Winky Boo & blogger/contributor for Hide Your Arms), the Tee party took place in where else? Boston, MA!

Brands from all over gathered in Boston to take part in the Boston Tee Party.  From New Jersey, to California, Florida and UK, we all traveled to take part in this extraordinary event that didn’t disappoint.  Starting the day off with 3 guest speakers which then lead us into the shopping and networking part while the live music played.

For the rest of my recap of the First Annual Boston Tee Party and to check out photos from the event head on over to the Winky Boo Blog for a closer look at this outstanding Indie Event!!

Take me to the Winky Boo Blog


kickstarter tips

I’ve shared my thoughts on t-shirt brands on Kickstarter a few times now, and generally my issues with them are as follows:

    Providing poor value for pledges.
    Not offering innovative designs.
    Too many amateur projects looking for funding before really thinking through development of the brand.
    Why the hell should these people not have to risk their own money when thousands of other people startup their own tee businesses?

Obviously, I could expand on those points, but I worry that I can sound too down on Kickstarter when I really do like it as a platform, and do feel that there are a lot of good reasons why people, including clothing brands, should use Kickstarter, it’s just something that needs to be carefully considered for each brand.

David from Seibei, who is of course part of the HYA family, who ran his own very successful Kickstarter campaign (getting 3x what he was hoping to raise) was asked by Shopify to talk about what he did right and wrong when running the project. Several other people were asked as well, including the people being the wildly successful Pebble watch, who raised more than $10 million when all they were after was $100,000. If you’ve been thinking of posting a project on Kickstarter I very much recommend checking out the article and using it to your advantage to ensure the smooth running of your project.


Mission: Vote For Winky Boo

by Amy_F on May 22, 2012

Winky Boo is part of Chase and LivingSocial’s “Mission: Small Business” for a chance to be rewarded with a $250k grant, but we need your help!  In order for us to move forward, we need to get 250 votes (so you see, that’s where you come in but I’ll get to that in a second).  First, let me explain to you a little about Chase and LivingSocial’s Mission.

They are rewarding 12 small businesses with a $250k grant towards our business to help us thrive and grow.  There is a panel of judges that will be reviewing our information and our business plans and our plan on what the money will go towards.  As I was sharing the voting information yesterday I was informed that voters aren’t able to view our business plans and only the judging panel can, so I want to just share with you Winky Boo’s plans for the $250k if we are lucky enough to win!

It’ll be slightly easier for me to speak in first person since I am Winky Boo and I am writing this blog (ha).  I, Amy Fiedler, own and operate all aspects of Winky Boo.  I am a one-woman company single-handedly running business out of my bedroom slash office above my parent’s garage.  Aside from the psychological effects having your office in your bedroom does to you, being able to have this business grant would mean being able to open up an office space for Winky Boo and hire full-time employees.  Currently my mother, who works full-time works as my assistant (for free) in-between working her very crucial job as a Nurse Anesthetist in an Operating Room at a hospital.  I also (like most of a lot of the independent clothing company owers) work a full-time job as well every evening, so as some of you in similar positions can relate to, it becomes overwhelming and sometimes even can effect certain aspects of business when you’re a one-man/woman army doing everything.

Office space and employees are not the only reason at all why we’d be able to thrive and grow with this grant.  We have much anticipated interest from retailers worldwide who just want “more” from us and currently we are unable to produce “more”.  We can’t fulfill wholesale desires without funds to produce what would typically equal 1 years worth of printing for us in a month span.  We also can’t successfully show to our interested larger chain wholesalers without the financial capabilities to do this and thus another reason why this grant would mean everything to Winky Boo.

So, what can you do to help? It’s simple.

Step 1: Head on over to Chase and LivingSocial’s Mission Small Business website.

Step 2: Click the login through Facebook on the main page in the bottom right side. (see below)

This will sign you in through your Facebook (you can only vote if you have a Facebook, and if you have more than 1 Facebook – EVEN BETTER)

Step 3: In the search boxes you want to search “Winky Boo” and for the State, plug in “New Jersey” (you do not need to put a town/city)

Step 4: Winky Boo will appear on the page and next to it you’ll see a blue button “VOTE” – click it!

Step 5: Now go to Winky Boo’s Facebook Page and comment with your name so we can place whoever votes for us in the running to win 1 or more free items from There will be more than 1 winner!

 This literally takes less than 1 minute to do and will be so appreciated because every vote helps!  We have 39 days left to get to 250 votes and we only have 20 votes – so please take a second to help my dream come true!!

{ 5 comments } sale

When I write up the daily t-shirt releases in the morning I check over all the sites and see who has something new for us that day. Unfortunately today I found that Tshirt Contest have put themselves up for sale for an undisclosed price and are asking interested parties to contact them. I had wondered if something was up when there hadn’t been a release for a few weeks considering that they had typicaly been pretty reliable with their schedule, but I try not to tempt fate or get the rumour mill going by suggesting things on the site since it isn’t particularly helpful for anyone involved. I’d be interested to know what happened to bring them to this point, especially with the design competition world being as tough as it is, was this change caused by the marketplace or perhaps non-tee related issues?

I don’t have anymore details than you can gleam from the site, but they’ve got a decent back catalogue of designs (that I would presume to be part of the sale, though it’s not explicitly mentioned) and an attractive site so I’d have thought that there would be someone out there who feels that they can take the project on and make a success of it.



BigCartel must have been cooking this up for a while, because it is a big change, and for me a very welcome one. They have revamped the store customization area of the admin section to allow you to make on-the-fly changes to your store, with a handy preview screen that is updated in real-time (though changes won’t be visible to the world until you press save). I think it’s pretty neat, even though I generally leave the HYA store alone these days since Rigu is my ecommmerce venture now and that’s running standalone on OpenCart.

Here’s a rundown from BC explaining 10 aspects of the new customization area.

BigCartel store owners, care to weigh in with your thoughts on the changes?

{ 1 comment }

[sic] apparel

I usually try not to post too many Kickstarter projects on HYA because there’s an awful lot of them on there and it’s hard to tell which of them offer good value to the consumer, and part of me often wonder why with a t-shirt company the Kickstarter route is needed anyway, since it’s very hard to be innovative in the t-shirt world, and I worry that brands starting with such a lot of starting capital and (for a tee company) and pressure (they’ll have a lot of orders to deal with initially) will be running before they can walk. That said, I think that [SIC] Apparel have some really cool tees and they seem like a good bunch so I want them to do well. Here’s what they have to say about themselves:

Simply put, [SIC] APPAREL is garage operation made up of individuals who enjoy creating art together. Fairly standard for a start up apparel company, but they seem to have an angle. The collective is made up of a group of talented and dedicated artists. These artists treat the shirts you buy like a canvas: each shirt you buy is a piece of art. The selling of these shirts benefits the artists by spreading their work far and wide across the world. The artists at [SIC] also work to support causes by dedicating the funds of many their shirt designs to particular non profit organizations. The [SIC] facility is an energetic and creative space for artists that works to develop unique and superior apparel.

To be frank, their angle isn’t that unique, but that isn’t really too important as far as I’m concerned, the t-shirts are the most important aspect and from the photos we have up top they look good. I do question whether they need to get $18,000 in startup funding though. I understand that the majority of this will be going on tooling and equipment, but if I were doing this I would outsource the printing initially to cut costs and then when they have gained popularity switch things over to their own equipment. They have an eco-conscious ethos, so I can see why they want to do everything themselves and ensure that everything is above board, but I do worry that setting themselves a target of $18,000 needing to be raised within a month is going to put off quite a lot of people from making a pledge.


Post image for How To Professionally Prep Your Files for Screen Printing

Matt from Seventh.Ink has written a great guest post over for the Real Thread Printing Co. explaining how people can best prep their artwork before sending it off to the printers, making the whole process easier for everyone involved.

{ 1 comment }

how to get a band sponsor

If you’re in a band and you’re playing to crowds, then your chest can be seen as an advertising space, especially with the way teenagers view people in bands as borderline-deities that they want to emulate. Thus, bands want to get sponsored, they want to wear free t-shirts, and they want to give brands ‘exposure’. I received this e-mail recently (names and places altered to save them embarrassment):

My name is Cornelius, I’m the frontman for the band The Arm Hiders based out of Unknownville. We are in search of a company to work with to sponsor us on our upcoming tour this Summer. We came across your company on line and have check out your site and feel like we would love to rep your company on tour this summer. If you all endorse bands, we would love to help you all out and get your name out there on the road. Feel free to email us back if you would like to work out something with us. Thanks for your time, and we look forward to hearing back from you. Cheers.

That was it, that was the whole thing. Let’s leave aside for a second the fact that I don’t even really have a line (the HYA store doesn’t really count, does it?), because I wanted to look at what was wrong with that e-mail and how it would be a poor way to approach a clothing brand (or any other company) if you were looking to get yourself, your brand, or possibly your sports team sponsored.

1. The sender doesn’t say hello, or address me by name, a clear sign that it’s a copy pasted e-mail and that they are contacting several people with the same message. Take a second to find out someone’s name and you’ll be a lot more likely to receive a response.

2. There’s no link to the band’s website or music. I’ve never heard of The Arms Hiders (what a silly name!), but maybe if I heard their music I’d really like it and think it was worth sending them some t-shirts. The lack of a website also suggests that this band may be quite small and not yet have any web presence. Bands need to make it as easy as possible for a t-shirt company to hear the music, if that takes more than one click then it’s going to really reduce the response rate.

3. Your band is going on a tour this Summer, so what? Tell me when and where you will be (maybe I can meet you at one of your shows), how big the venues will be, if you are the headline act, what merchandise you sell, if you will be performing at any festivals, how Twitter followers and Facebook likes you have, if your tour will be advertised and if so, do the sponsors get exposure from that. Clearly, the e-mail sender recognises that there is value in terms of exposure for the t-shirt brand, but there’s not enough info to back that up. What the sender needs to do is give a t-shirt brand reason to stop and think if there is enough value for their brand to give the band free t-shirts to wear on the tour.

4. “If you all endorse bands” ignoring the strange wording, this is again another sign that the sender has sent a copy/paste e-mail, and also proves that they haven’t taken the time to look at your site properly. T-shirt brands that do sponsor bands will often like to showcase the bands in some way on their website. Sponsoring a band can be a mark of pride for a t-shirt company, it’s a good way for them to associate themselves with a style of music and also a lifestyle, which quickly gives potential customers and fans something to identify with. So bands should take a good look at each brand and make sure your music fits with their style, and if they do sponsor bands then you already know that it’s something they might be interested in with your band.

5. Copy/paste e-mails are the devil. It is easier to send a copy/paste e-mail, but it’s also easier for someone to delete one, they’re impersonal and almost always sound like adverts. If you want to get a reply from someone you talk to them like a person, create a connection and give them some respect, especially if you’re hoping for them to give you hundreds of dollars of clothing in return. It’s okay to have a general template of an e-mail, some bits of blurb will always be the same, but edit and personalise each e-mail to maximise the chance of getting a response from each brand. Oh, and t-shirt brands talk, so if you e-mail lots of similar brands, they’ll probably know about it.

6. Make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect, or at least the best you can do. There are a few errors in the e-mail I have shown above, and there are parts which aren’t just typos too, which suggests that it was rushed and not re-read to check for errors. If this e-mail is a bands first point of contact with a t-shirt company, what kind of impression does that give? Not a good one in my opinion. If English isn’t your strong point then get someone to write your general template for you and then you can add in the personal stuff that you’re comfortable with on a case-by-case basis, no one is expecting you to be Shakespeare, but brands want to know they’re dealing with professionals. If you are trying to contact someone in a non-native language, make that clear too.

7. If the t-shirt company responds, so do you, quick. Replying to e-mails quickly shows that a band is serious about the sponsorship opportunity, this isn’t a flirty text message with that girl from last night, you don’t need to wait 3 hours to respond. Think about what the t-shirt company wants, a band that will wear you stuff on stage when photos are being taken and tell people about the t-shirt brand, replying quickly to a response is the first step in proving that you’re conscientious and trustworthy. I sent a response to the person that sent me the e-mail above, two days later I haven’t heard from them and I doubt I ever will, potentially I could have been a fan of their brand and suggested them to t-shirt brands for sponsorship, as it stand they’ve lost both those opportunities by not replying to an e-mail.

If you have any suggestions or feedback please leave me a message in the comments, or on Twitter @hideyourarms. In a few weeks I will take a look at whether there really is value for brands sponsoring bands and if the exposure bands provide can help with getting a t-shirt company more fans and customers.



GraphicLab sent over some pics from their recent trip to WonderCon. With a lot of the daily (and in their case weekly) sites leaning heavily on the nerdier side of the t-shirt spectrum it’s hardly surprising that they wanted to have a presence there, and it sounds like they had a blast meeting people that were interested in their artwork. It would be interesting to see how much of an effect that this had on their sales over the next few months, if this kind of up-close contact with people seeing the shirts printed up would have a big effect on their traffic and overall health of the business.

T-shirt brand owners, do you see a lot of benefits in attending conventions like WonderCon, or is it something that you do more for the experience?


An inspiring night requires an inspiring shirt design… The theme of this year’s Vinyl Thoughts event was Next Level. A retro video game tribute, so I had to create a shirt using one of my favorite games growing up, the classic Donkey Kong! With the help of Alexa Machine this shirt printing went perfect.

To line up a four color print on the press, you gotta tape one of the films to the pallet in the same spot you want all the prints. So you can line up all the screens in the press to that film, this is the basic registration of the print.

You will be able to see the film thru the negative space of the emulsified screen, and just gotta line them up perfectly and tighten the screws on the press…

Once all four screens are taped off on the back and loaded with the correct ink color, the printing begins!

This four station, six color manual press is perfect for two people to print at once. Just gotta print the colors in the correct order and communicate so no mistakes are made. Check out the final color printing

Then you get perfect prints like this! I wanted to design something with huge letters, so the levels of the Donkey Kong board were a perfect large surface area.

Hot off the press, I picked up the shirts and rushed over to the event where all the shirts sold out that night! I am reprinting some more shirts now, so they will be available on my Sleepy Dan web shop this week.

The two color back design showed off all the sponsors for this year’s event. The show was packed all night and has become such a hit for the up and coming Dallas vinyl arts culture.

I’m so proud to be part of this event and becoming a contributing vinyl designer. If you check out pics of the event and custom vinyls, I created a tribute to Mike Tyson’s Punch Out by creating two vinyl characters Bald Bull and King Hippo!


tee madness 2012

Tee Madness will be entering it’s 3rd year and is now accepting signups for the competition. From the looks of things the annual popularity contest has grown once again, with an impressive prize pot and what is sure to be a lot of exposure for all the brand involved. Here’s the prizes:

Prize List for this Year

-1st place Grand Prize: $250 credit to Threadbird, $100 credit to Stickermule, $50 credit to Cheapest Buttons, a custom Storenvy theme (by Storenvy), and $50 cash from LaunchHype!

-2nd Place: $200 credit to Stickermule and a $50 credit to Cheapest Buttons!

-3rd & 4th Place: $100 credit to Stickermule and a $25 credit to Cheapest Buttons!

-5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th Place: $25 cash from LaunchHype!

For the first time Adam (from IAMTHRETREND, and organiser of Tee Madness) has chosen to charge a submission fee of $20 for each brand in the contest. I can see why he has felt this is necessary since he does essentially spend a month promoting brands and getting them exposure when the contest probably doesn’t pass on a massive amount to IATT, and whilst he loves t-shirts he probably also loves not being hungry and enjoyed the modern conveniences of electricity and running water. Also, $150 of that cash will be going straight back to the winners anyway, so he definitely isn’t gouging entrants. It’ll be interesting to see who signs up and I will be following along with the event.

Matchups will be announced live on Friday, with the competition beginning on Monday March 19th, expect to see lots of tweets and Facebook updates about this as brands clamour for your votes.


Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes.