Posts tagged as:

advice

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.

{ 9 comments }

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.

{ 6 comments }

andy flying a kite, isn't he handsome? [That’s me flying a kite at the weekend, because what picture would have really made sense for this post?]

You may have noticed that over the past few weeks I’ve been a lot more ‘honest’ on the site.

Some people might think of it as me bashing brands that don’t know any better or being purposely controversial because that will somehow make Hide Your Arms more famous or popular. That would be incorrect, I (and the other writers) don’t write on HYA to cause offense to aspiring entrepreneurs or make enemies, I’m just tired of letting poor business be submitted to this site without comment when I have spent more than six years looking at clothing companies and whilst I’m not an expert, I do know a thing or two and want to help people.

Criticism is important. Constructive criticism is very important, and even insults can be useful. Getting a pat on the back is great, you feel good and it reassures you that you’re doing the right thing with your business, but what about when people keep telling you things are great when your t-shirts aren’t selling? Exactly, it gets you nowhere and you need some help from someone outside the bubble of your friends and family that can give you honest advice.

This idea that I should be trying to help people with more than just a link and a bit of exposure for their brand comes from personal experience. You are probably aware of my camera accessories website Rigu, it’s doing pretty well now but back in February I was frustrated that I wasn’t where I wanted to be with my little business, I knew it had potential, but I just wasn’t getting the sales I expected and it was demoralising. I know the site isn’t perfect, but I didn’t think it was back, nice and clean, good selection of products and colours, but something wasn’t right so I thought I’d head to a place for advice where people don’t pull any punches, Reddit, and r/entrepreneur in particular. I gave some background to the site and what I was doing and then asked what people think I was doing wrong and how I could improve the site.

It was brutal. When complete strangers who you will never meet are given the opportunity to tell you what you suck at, they tell you and they don’t feel the need to sugar-coat it. My first reaction was denial, they didn’t ‘get’ what I was going for with the site, these people must be boring and not interested in colourful camera straps, what do they know?

As the comments started to flow it dawned on me that if they didn’t ‘get it’ then that was my problem, I wasn’t getting the message across and that was putting a wall between visitors and making a purchase. After that I started seeing my site with fresh eyes, taking a step back and looking at it as if I were a visitor rather than the person I was, someone who had spent many, many hours poring over the code of the website, sourcing camera straps, investing my hard-earned cash, and taking all the product photos. At first I was pretty down, as anyone would be, but it made me realise that if I was going to make a success of Rigu that I didn’t do it by moping, I had to get on and work, work harder and smarter. So I did.

I’m not going to explain what it was that I had to do to get Rigu on it’s current (and far more successful path), that might be a post for another day, but I wanted to explain why it is that I am now “telling it like it is” and telling people how I think they can improve their site; because I don’t want other people wasting their time and money when there are obvious problems that can be fixed quickly and simply. It might hurt at first, but in the long run I’d like to think that people would thank me.

{ 11 comments }

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.

{ 6 comments }

Sleepy Dan : Vinyl Thoughts Event Shirt Printing

by Sleepy Dan on March 19, 2012

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!

{ 3 comments }

Sleepy Dan : Customized Hood Sweatie

by Sleepy Dan on January 29, 2012

Sleepy Dan hood sweaties released in December, I had to release one cut n sew project for the first year so you can be sure there will be some more customized designs for the upcoming years! I can not emphasize enough, process is the most important part of any project. The rugby style hoodie is a design just recently hitting trend so I had to make some comfortable enough to bear the Sleepy Dan brand! In my day job as an apparel designer, I have learned how to work with embroidery shops to create apparel patterns, but sometimes several of the finishing steps have to be done on your own to save on cost. That’s how I was able to make these hoodies so affordable.

Coming from the manufacturer, I had to make some custom modifications past adding the logo embroidery appliques and the new custom neck labels for outerwear… This hoodie has several exposed cover stitch seams, so you can easily see it’s custom made, but the excess seam fabric had to be trimmed up a little more to be finished.

After finishing, the logo embroidery appliques are hand stitched to the garment, then the size labels are machine stitched into the neck seam. What makes this hoodie so special is the herringbone cotton twill neck seam, rugby placket, and hood seam edge. The time invested to this project is longer than a t-shirt design, but the fan and blogger reviews of the hood sweatie are amazing for the first cut n sew design. Research and development are a key role in the process of a successful project, so don’t overlook your process at any stage! Hope you got one before they sold out…

{ 2 comments }

T-shirt news for January 24th

by Andy on January 24, 2012

cat skull t-shirt

Can you imagine if you walked into a house and there were this many cats… it would be terrifying. $10 at TeeFury today.


I know what you’re thinking, this is just yet another t-shirt about imaginary Pinata companies, and when with this pinata meme die? Well, at least this one at Shirt.Woot is based on the 1986 film ‘Three Amigos’.


The Muppets meet Futurama with this Hypnokermit t-shirt at RIPT today.
[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

T-shirt News for January 19th

by Andy on January 19, 2012

breaking bad t-shirt

I realised that this TeeFury shirt was about Breaking Bad, but having only seen a couple of episodes the Los Pollos Hermanos aspect of this shirt is lost on me.


I think that this might be my favourite design that Shirt.Woot have released.


Goonies-inspired t-shirt from RIPT today.


“The Marvelous commute to Wonderland” is up at Qwertee.


It’s Back To The Future vs Bill and Ted at Shirt Punch today.


Here’s another 24tee shirt that goes over my head.


I know that Community isn’t for everyone, but the paintball episode was truly fantastic, so I’m glad to get the reminder from TeeRadiers.



Two new shirts from DBH today (including one that is fighting SOPA that will only be available for a couple more days).


BustedTees have some wrestling pandas for $13.99 instead of $20 this week.


Hey look, Tilteed are selling ‘The Eternal Struggle’ again.


This error greeted me when I visited TeeBlitz this morning.


Adam has some advice over at TeeJunction on creating a t-shirt brand.


Save up to 20% on your order at Wrongwroks, providing you spend quite a lot.


Raygun Robyn is aiming for global domination, and to do that she’s going to offer free shipping to the first person from countries that haven’t yet made an order in her store.


Johnny Cupcakes shares a little story of how he put a plastic skull into a random customer’s order for a hat to try and add some mystery and magic to the online shopping process. It might give other store owners ideas about how they can make their shopping experience more interesting.


Obscure Printing are going to start offering a complete fulfillment service for brands (printing, packing, shipping, and stock holding). They’re also collaborating with a company called Judda distribution which will make brands available to 3000+ stores across Europe, which could be a great opportunity for a lot of brands. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.


Mila Kunis wore a vintage-styled Pepsi t-shirt, super-duper!

{ 1 comment }

Daily Tees & News for December 22nd

by Andy on December 22, 2011

zombie enforcement agency t-shirt

Things really are getting quiet in the tee world as people get ready for Christmas and the last order dates are passed for most brands, hopefully we’ll all be able to relax soon.

But, but, where’s the reference in this TeeFury design?!


How weird that there would be a 1% milk shirt at Snorg this week, and then Shirt.Woot have something similar.


RIPT must be fans of The Walking Dead too.
[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }

Sleepy Dan: Creation of the Pillow Monster

by Sleepy Dan on December 16, 2011

After the inauguration of the Pillow Monster character at Artopia for the t shirt battle with Fur Face Boy, the design has been getting great reviews. Dallas Observer sponsors this annual event as their birthday party and I was proud to have their help bringing the Pillow Monster Lightning Strike design to life in the true nature of Frankenstein! So continuing with the success of this behind the design column, I decided to share the whole design process for this new character. The Pillow Monster will be involved in another design this coming year, so I am going to show how the idea began from concept, then sketching, then inking the layout, then vector the art for production of the printing.

The first step of the process is creating the concept. The Sleepy Dan branding has been so much fun to design for because there is a wide range of possible ideas that fall in line with the sleep theme. The Alarm Clock character was the beginning of the character side of the branding, reminding fans of our youthful side that used to be afraid of the dark and the possibility of things coming to life when you are unable to see them… Remember the clown doll from Poltergeist under the bed? Thanks, now I can’t even look at clowns any more!

Illustrating a complete character design for the brand, is a more complex project than people realize. But it’s the passion for the brand that keeps me going! Pencil sketching the concept takes several attempts to get the look right. Keeping in mind that the design needs to have more of a vertical layout to take advantage of the printable surface area of the shirt.

Making friends in the arts community is easy when you are giving back at the same time. Having friends with ill skills like Rico Ultraelectromagnetico to help with the character style was the first step to the Pillow Monster. I want to make sure that all my characters have the same appearance so they are easily understood to be a Sleepy Dan character, even if the design has no displayed type.

After making several sketches, better parts of the character will be remade in the next sketch. There is a constant improvement for the problem areas, till the whole design has the perfect layout. This is the fun part of the process but usually takes the longest, so you can’t get frustrated with levels of failure. Just gotta work thru them till you find successful revisions. Ask friends for constructive criticism, you have to learn to take the good advice with the bad, create a thick skin for necessary revisions cause this is the best time to make them…

I am sharing less than half of the sketching process for this project, so you can understand there are so many versions of progression for this design you can almost look at them like a flip book! Eventually you get to a sketched layout that best suits your concept vision from the start. All parts suddenly fit perfectly into place, then you can move onto revising the smaller details thru the inking process and using Adobe Photoshop.

Inking over the sketch allows you to see a clearer design layout, while creating deeper levels of detail. Usually after the first inking designs, you are confident to almost be there. But treat this stage just like the sketching stage, revision is still easily done now that details are clear, so get some more constructive criticism from your friends that you know will not leak the secret just yet…

Making final inking revisions gives you goosebumps! You wind up staring at the design for a couple days, 30 minutes at a time to make sure there is nothing else that needs to be changed. Then you can decide how many colors you want this design to be printed with, then create color layers of detail for the character scene. Inking new layers can be done in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, I prefer to use Illustrator because it makes the color separation so much easier to manipulate and revise.

Usually I start this stage, not by looking at the color I want, rather looking at the color details I want to involve, so use crazy contrasting colors… The Pantone colors used can be revised after the levels of detail are finished. The best way to decide colors of the print is to decide shirt color first. Figure out the background color of the design, then the character colors can easily be picked knowing what shirt trends are most successful. Research shirt brands over the web, see what colors are selling best for the season. You’d be surprised what a little research can tell you!

Printing shirts for your brand in this economy means planning out the profitability of the design. The more color you print, the more the shirt will cost, and shirts just don’t sell well the closer to $30 each you get. I advise to keep even the most complex designs to a maximum of four printed colors. There is no reason for you to use more color than that, also fans will have a harder time matching up their gear to the shirt, secretly all guys love to do this…

Any printer you use, will appreciate you color separating the art before you give to them. This means separating each color, so the printer knows what colors to put on each film layer they print, which will be used to make screens for your printing. Remove the questions from the process for the printer and your project will turn out the same way you give it to them. I prefer to have a design with the darkest color as the top detail. It’s easiest for the printing process to have the color layers beneath the darkest layer, that way the bottom layer edged are covered with the darker layer, insuring there will be no offset printing problems.

Give the printer the exact Pantone colors you want used in your design, they will be mixing ink to match the Pantone colors you give them. If you don’t give them exact colors, then you are opening the possibility they will not mix the right color you want to use. For the Pillow Monster design, I had to see the shirt color to pick printing colors since there is one tonal color specified in the shirt. The print might have looked weird if the navy color was too much of a red tone rather than a blue tone…

After the Artopia event, the extra shirts were added to the Sleepy Dan web shop. Check out the Artopia event blog posting and friends links on the posting to see lots of pics of the event! Maybe we will see you at Artopia 2012?

{ 2 comments }

Life Offline for Online Brands (Part Two)

by LadyUmbrella on December 15, 2011

LadyUmbrella at the Pop Up Style Swap Shop

Andy: Here’s part two of Rob from LadyUmbrella’s column about ways that t-shirt brands that are more used to online business can extend themselves in the real world.

Something to try look out for in the offline world of t-shirts is pop up shops.. I don’t know how it is in your town but right now Ireland is thriving with pop up shops..The idea of a pop up shop is simple – a group of brands or retailers team up together, pool resources and acquire a premises for a very short term let.. All the brands involved then work together to promote the life out of the pop up shop and they can be quite beneficial.. We’ve done a few pop ups in the past and I’m currently working on another one, The Blind Tiger Collective, which hopefully might become a more long term thing..And, therein lies the other advantage of doing pop ups..You get to meet lots of other brands in your area and I’ll tell you what, when you put a bunch of motivated dreamers together ideas can flow..

Another avenue for an offline t-shirt life is doing fairs..Now, these can be hit and miss, some of them might be good for your brand and some just might not work..We’ve done a few of them in the past and have sold in random places like Microsoft and a hospital here in Dublin, as well as in pubs and festivals – not all of them were homeruns but they were all enjoyable..And they do spur your on to “double down” your efforts, both online and offline..

The other thing I really like about the t-shirt life offline is that it gives you great online fodder like this video or the picture below to the right.

Elena Selling in Microsoft

Every event you attend will give you a photo opp to showcase your t-shirts – like the picture from Project 51 above..It’ll give you something to let your facebook/twitter friends and followers know about which will ultimately feed into you online activities.. Also, attending offline events should go some way to help build up the “trust factor” for potential online customers..I don’t know about you but I’m still apprehensive about buying online and so it’s logical to assume that some potential customers might also be..Now, if these potential customers see that you’ve been doing X, Y and Z and realise that you’re not some dodgy site your chances of getting a sale have just shot up dramatically.. Or, that’s my take on it anyway..

And so, to conclude, if things aren’t going as swimmingly as you want online don’t box yourself into maniacal tweeting (believe me, I’ve done it) but take a step back and see if there is anything that can be done offline.. There are lots of options out there like pop up shops, fairs and wholesale deals and by just partaking in them, even if they aren’t homeruns, you’ll get a renewed umph and motivation to push on and keep going.. And, ultimately, I think that pushing on is what is vital – nothing happens overnight ..Maybe a little flirt with life offline might give you the pep in the step you need to keep going until you get to where you want to go..

Anyway, thank you for reading and I want to hear your thoughts..Are you at times fed up with online life too? Have you been a part of any offline events? If so, any do’s or don’ts to share? (Um, that could be another blog post maybe if anyone is interested?) Speak freely…Ole!

{ 0 comments }

Daily Tees & News for December 13th

by Andy on December 13, 2011

my little pony pokemon t-shirt

I don’t really understand the crossover between My Little Pony and Pokemon, but I’m sure some of you will.


Having never watched Venture Bros I’m not particularly enamored with today’s shirt at RIPT.


Nice 8-bit tee at Shirt.Woot today.
[click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

Life Offline for Online T-Shirt Brands (Part One)

by LadyUmbrella on December 12, 2011

LadyUmbrella in Project 51 Pop Up Shop

So, first things first, I better briefly introduce myself, I’m Rob from LadyUmbrella, a ladies t-shirt company based in Ireland..Andy, from this globally renowned site HYA asked me to write a blog post about our offline life and I’m all to happy to oblige..Now, that concludes the intro, lets get to the meat and potatoes…

Now, I think we’ll all be in agreement when I say selling t-shirts online isn’t easy! God, how I wish it was but the reality is that it isn’t easy.. I have embraced the grind with LadyUmbrella, facebooking daily and tweeting til my fingers bleed..Putting in the hard yards to try get a slice out of the online t-shirt sales pie..No doubt, we’ve been fortunate enough to get a taste and in no way am I saying that being a social media soldier won’t give you some joy but lots of times it is joyless..Perhaps it’s just me or maybe you feel it too – when you put in a truckload of effort into online promotion and see very little coming back..It can suck the life out of you and get you down..And, at times like these it is useful to consider leading a “double life” and trying to get some action offline via wholesale deals, fairs and pop up shops..

Now, I think we’ll all be in agreement when I say selling t-shirts offline isn’t easy! Sound familiar? And, whilst it isn’t easy there can be more joy to it..The reason for this is the interaction, the human interaction, the face to face stuff that gets lost in the 140 character online melee, is refreshing and can be invigorating.. When you can see the happiness people derive from your designs as the try them on and buy them it really gives you a shot in the arm – especially compared to tweeting to, at times, an empty room..

So, now, how to try find retail deals or fairs or pop ups.. One thing I’ve done to try find wholesale deals is to ask our facebook/twitter friends if they know of any shops in their area that might be interested in stocking our brand..This has yielded some leads for us and is worth giving a shot..Another way to try get some wholesale business is to step away from the computer for a bit and, with t-shirts and products in hand, call in to whatever shop you want to try get stocked in and sweet talk as best you can..Now, this approach won’t work for big shops as you’ll have to go through the “proper buying channels” but for independent boutiques and the likes where the buyer is the person behind the counter (or in the back room) you just might get some important face time to make your pitch.. Important thing here is to make sure you know your numbers – how many of each style can you sell and at what price? will you give a discount over a certain amount? do you give credit? what payment terms will you accept? By knowing your numbers you’ll be able show that, whilst you just came in off the street, you’re not a mickey mouse outfit.. Obviously, make sure to have a business card or lookbook or something to leave with the shop owner if they express an interest – or a notepad to jot down their order ;)

Andy: Thanks for Rob for putting together this advice column, the second half will be posted later in the week.

{ 3 comments }

Teehunter Winter Style Guide 2011

by Andy on December 2, 2011

teehunter winter style guide



I need to go and put a cap on just so that I can take it off to Teehunter, the amount of work that has gone into this style guide is really impressive.

Liam has been very busy putting this guide together, and it shows, he’s featured more than 45 established and emerging brands in this gorgeous PDF. Here’s a list of the brands involved.

10deep, 2 Many Printers, Acrylick, Afends, ALIFE, Ambig, Animal, ASOS, Atticus, Bemused, Brixton, Bush + Leavenworth, Converse, Cuppa-Ts, CXXVI, Dance Party Massacre, Das Monk, Diesel, Dojo, Dunkelvolke, E The Real, Exit Left Apparel, howies, HUF, Ignite, Killbrand, King Apparel, Macbeth, Marshall Artist, Neighbourhood, New Gotham NYC, Norse Projects, Ontour, Palladium, Rapanui, Reason, River Island, Skull & Bones Boys Club, Social Freak, Supremebeing, Sutsu, The Imaginary Zebra, Topshop, Ugmonk, Victate, Volcom, WeSC.

If you like any of those then I recommend that you check out the guide, in fact, I recommend everyone downloads it, I really am blown away with this guide, hopefully Liam will receive all the traffic and interest he deserves for the amount of effort that has gone into it.

Teehunter Winter Style Guide 2011

{ 1 comment }

Daily Tees & News for November 29th

by Andy on November 29, 2011

night of the living dead t-shirt

Very cool Night of the Living Dead shirt from TeeFury today.


Here’s another Firefly design I don’t understand at Qwertee, and I’m all the more confused because it is a Jurassic Park mashup too.


Song Bird makes another appearance at Tilteed.


Good use of negative space from Stupidhurts.us today.


Nice take on the old proverb from Shirt.Woot.


I guess that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles must be popular again since there is a definite rise in the amount of TMNT shirts I’ve been seeing recently, and I’m not exactly hunting them out. From $10 at RIPT.


I previously featured this shirt a couple of weeks ago when it was on RedBubble, but now it has made it’s way over to The Yetee for the next few days.


I haven’t seen Machete but this parody shirt from OtherTees still makes me laugh.


How depressed does Snuffaluffagus look? 24tee.


As a big Community fan I am very pleased to see this ‘Troy & Abed in the morning’ shirt up at TeeRaiders.


The infinite Swiss army knife makes a return to Loviu.


Nice to see a Zoidberg/Futurama shirt on Shirt Punch today.


I think I’d probably like this latest DBH shirt if it didn’t have the sea turtle on it, but it’s still wearable nevertheless.


Don’t worry, it’s cool to be a nerd now! $11 down from $20 at BustedTees today.


The Cool Hunting gift guide is now live.


I Am The Trend have an excellent post introducing Grave Takers, a new brand from Kyle Crawford of Electric Zombie fame.


RUReppin found some useful articles for t-shirt designers.

threadless coupon code
Don’t forget about that massive 50% off coupon at Threadless (40% off hoodies), with free shipping available if you spend more than $60.


Glennz Cyber Monday deal for 20% off all tees will be expiring at midnight tonight CST. Use the code mondaytuesday to receive the discount.

{ 5 comments }

Daily Tees & News for November 10th

by Andy on November 10, 2011

hunger games t-shirt

Apparently today’s shirt at TeeFury is to do with a series of books called ‘Hunger Games’ that I’ve never read.


I like what Qwertee are going for here, but I think that you’d have to be a Linkin Park fan to want to buy it, and that might cut out a large section of their followers.
[click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

Sleepy Dan: Printing SnapBacks

by Sleepy Dan on November 6, 2011

Sleepy Dan snapback hats released this week! Screen printing on shirts has been so much fun so I am working to print on new apparel bodies too. This is the first part of the Fall line addition, the second half will release by the end of November. These hats are USA made and printed at Classic Cap & Embroidery with a high density ink to give the graphic some texture. There are several types of printing texture you can use, but all are able to be printed thru a normal silk screen. Using a dense ink for printing, means using a lower count screen mesh to let the ink easily pass thru the screen onto your material.

This is a 95 count mesh attached to a small metal frame, custom made for printing on headwear. The emulsified screen has the new wake up graphic burned into it the same way a larger screen is made for printing on t shirts.

The thin flat metal frame is bendable and slides into this form shape. The form gives the screen a stable arch that matches the shape of the hat crown, so an even transfer of ink goes onto a non-level surface.

After the frame is secured into the form, the screen is taped off just like a larger t shirt frame. This makes sure no ink will leak around the edges of the emulsified screen.

The form is secured into the specialty headwear manual printing press. This setup is used with specialty headwear dryer, which is taller to fit hats and has the heating coil on the side rather than on the top like a t shirt dryer. This makes sure the ink printed on front of the hat is properly cured.

Normal ink can be combined with several different types of textured materials, to create a different texture print. The amount of ink has to be precisely combined with the correct amount of high density material to create the desired look during printing.

The headwear printing press looks very similar to a t shirt press, but the pallets are curved just like the screen and hat crown. A hat is positioned on the pallet and secured with a spring mechanism at the back, then the press is operated like this — LIVE PRINTING

After printing, the hat takes a 15 second run thru the dryer which activates the high density material and cures the ink to the hat.

Each hat has to be positioned perfectly on the small pallet surface so all graphics are printed in the correct area of the front crown. This process is tested several times till the desired graphic position is perfected for the project. The hats I printed have a five panel crown, so there is one front panel of the hat.

I tested the printing on some Flex Fit six panel hats, but not all of the prints came out well because the seam at the front of the hat did not allow perfect printing every time. The printing surface has to be perfectly flat for printing success. As with all printing, some mistakes happen and then some mistakes are a surprise success… Screen printing is an art form, so have fun with it!

The Classic Cap & Embroidery sewing team is amazing, the side woven label is attached with precise placement every time like this — LIVE SEWING

I made some interior woven labels for extra detail. They are again attached with amazing placement like this — LIVE SEWING

I hope this insight helps you design a better project, knowing how easy it is to get it done. I made this hat printing a limited edition only printing 30 khaki and 30 navy hats. Creating something original is so much fun, so I’m looking forward to making some new snapbacks for Spring 2012…

{ 1 comment }

Daily Tee & News Roundup for October 27th

by Andy on October 27, 2011

lady gaga halloween t-shirt

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shirt that references Lady Gaga before, so that’s something new from TeeFury.


Yup, the Disney logo is a shirt meme, fortunately the designs I’ve seen so far have been pretty cool, and I’d count this offering from Qwertee amongst that group.


Interesting shirt from Tilteed (that I presume they’ve sold before since they have model shots of it), nice big print on it.


Stupidhurts.us have been cranking out the new designs recently, huh?


Excellent work from former HYA writer Randyotter at Shirt.Woot today, this may well be the cutest penguin shirt I’ve ever seen.


Fun shirt from RIPT today, though of course no one will know you’re wearing it in Winter because you’ll have several layers on top.


Nicely done Portal shirt at The Yetee today.


Pity that you won’t be able to get this 24tee shirt in time for Halloween, I’m sure it could be useful with a few outfits.


Can someone explain the reference on this TeeRaiders shirt/hoodie? Is it referencing an actual event or is it purely invented by the artist?


Lovely starry negative space design by Loviu today, right up my street.


When memes and games collide at Shirt Punch today with ‘Snake in a Box’.

Catch of the Day Tee again don’t have anything on their site, I wonder why they don’t put up a message when they haven’t got a shirt to offer, or why they don’t just run the shirts for another day of sale.


Ugmonk have got a new lookbook that reveals no new tees, but does look pretty.


The Daily Street have a roundup of Johnny Cupcake‘s Halloween release event in London.


Dark Bunny Tees have put a new shirt up for pre-order, this one celebrates The Last Starfighter, and the first 100 orders will also receive a free Space Invaders styled poster.


Glennz has cut the price of all the ‘scary’ shirts in his catalogue to $13.95 until the end of the month.


How to start a clothing company takes a look at the pros and cons of screenprinting vs. direct to garment printing.


Mashable put out an article not-that-long-ago that called ‘10 Essential Tips for Startups‘, and judging by some of the things I get in my inbox I think that quite a few t-shirt companies could do with heeding some of their advice.


A Better Tomorrow must be getting close to relaunching their site, take advantage of the savings on their own shirts (this offer doesn’t apply to brand stores).

{ 1 comment }

don't start a clothing company

These two articles are a few weeks apart, but they tread a lot of the same ground so there’s not much point posting them separately. Ray from Lowdtown (who is in the process of relaunching the brand and is documenting the journey) has posted an article explaining just how much it costs to start a brand the proper way. People think that you can just put anything on a shirt, print 50 as cheaply as possible, open a Big Cartel store, and you’ll be the next Johnny Cupcakes. It doesn’t work that way and Ray tries to give you a bit of perspective, of course there a some people that do start out with one design and work their way up to being the next Bape, but they’re probably less than one in a million.

Jon Kruse over at How To Start A Clothing Company makes some good point in an article simply called “Don’t start a clothing company.” His site is dedicated to starting and running a clothing company, and he gets 25,000 unique visitors a month, which is 25,000 people either already making strides in the world of clothing or trying to start their own brand, and that’s 25,000 people every month. That’s a lot of people trying to get into a market that I felt was saturated when I started writing HYA almost 6 years ago, and it has grown exponentially since then.

Of course, these guys don’t really want you to not start your company, they just really want you to think about what you’re doing, consider all the angles, think not just about your first release but what happens after that. How are you going to market? Who are your potential customers? What is your price point and potential profit? How many shirts do you need to sell to fund your next release? Are you going to sell online, at craft fairs, open a pop-up shop, a permanent store, wholesale, a combination of these? Who will print your shirts? What printing method will they use? What blank shirts will you use? How much does shipping cost? How will you package your shirts? What happens if someone wants a refund? Who will design your shirts and branding? Who will design your website? There are literally hundreds more questions that you need to ask yourself, I just thought of those in a minute or two as a few examples. By all means, if you have a vision, go with it, but please be aware that t-shirts are not a path to riches for the vast majority.

{ 1 comment }

Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes.