Posts tagged as:

business

how to get your kickstarter project funded

You all know that I have a love/hate relationship with t-shirt brands on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, it can be a great tool for businesses but in many cases it has also shown itself to be a way for people with awful business ideas and designs to waste their own time and money trying to create a brand out of a poor concept.

That said, I think that it’s a good idea to give your project the best chance of success, and if you’re dedicated enough to follow this exhaustive guide about Kickstarter funding then I’d like to think that you’d have put as much effort into your design process to actually have a solid campaign.

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Margin London at HideYourArms

by Margin London on December 17, 2012

Margin London at HideYourArms

Margin London has been kindly invited to contribute to HideYourArms. We’ll be posting some news about up-and-coming labels that will be exhibiting at Margin in February 2013, which takes place on the 10th & 11th, but firstly we think we should introduce ourselves.

Started back in 2002 as an affordable platform for new designers, Margin is the longest-running independent trade exhibition in London. The show presents designer women’s and men’s tailoring and accessories, as well as streetwear for men and women, to invited store buyers and press.

The humble tee has long been a starting point for numerous labels, and we’ve seen many an exhibitor start off with a t-shirt offering which has grown over the seasons to include a full range of clothing. Supremebeing, Lazy Oaf, Seventyseven, Dephect, YourEyesLie, and many others all started at Margin with tees before growing their stockist base and extending their range to include clothing, bags, jewellery (or jewelry for Americans!), and hats.

Margin has been providing a launchpad for brands to meet with key buyers and press for 10 years to date, and 2012 marked a decade of exhibitions.

Margin London Streetwear Fashion Tradeshow Exhibition 10 Year Book

To commemorate the occasion, a limited-edition 10 year book was printed for visitors to the show, but it’s also available to download as a PDF or as a super-interactive book for iPad. The iPad version features extensive galleries of previous seasons, as well as videos, and can be downloaded here.

Margin London Streetwear Fashion Tradeshow Exhibition 10 Year Book for iPad

Here’s the link to posts where HideYourArms mentions Margin including brand updates from when they last visited (well overdue for a revisit but Andy & the HideYourArms London correspondent are returning in February 2013!).

Margin is an intimate showroom exhibition in a white gallery space in the heart of Central London, and the only tradeshow in the UK where buyers and press can discover new & emerging design talent (most making their debut launch).  When we say “NEW”, we don’t just mean new to Margin, we mean brand-spanking, never-been-seen-before, new!

Margin London Streetwear Fashion Tradeshow Exhibition

Since the exhibitions first started back in 2002, Margin can lay claim to providing the successful trade launch-pad for many brands such as Chateau Roux, Your Eyes Lie, Supremebeing, Dephect, Emily & Fin, Miyson, 1 in a 100, Missmilne, Worn By, Ashley Marc Hovelle, Humdrum, Worn Free, Sugarhill, King Apparel, Terratag, Lazy Oaf, Famous Forever, and Ruby Rocks, as well as the UK launching point of overseas brands including Silas, Upper Playground, Tank Theory, Eastpak Apparel, Loreak Mendian, Syndrome, Al & Alicia, Gama-Go, Mimobots, Double Goose, Stereo Sound Agency, Diamond Supply Co, Urban Originals, and Uzi amongst many others.

Margin London at HideYourArmsMargin has welcomed key stores to the exhibitions since first launching in 2002; from online players like ASOS, My-Wardrobe, and Urban Industry; multiples such as Ark, Joy, Beams, and Ships; department stores, such as Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, House of Fraser, Psyche, Fenwick, El Corte Ingles, Galleries Lafayette, & Engelhorn Trendhaus; as well as the key independents Margin is renowned for, including Colette, Hip, Sakis, Wood, Royal Cheese, Natterjacks, 290sqm, Coggles, Market, Atoo, My Yard, Donuts, Caliroots, and Get Cutie, to name a few.

Margin has welcomed numerous stylists and fashion editors from magazines including Vogue, Wad, Elle, Wallpaper, Arena, i-D, FHM, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Vice, DJ, Flux, WWD, Drapers, Sportswear International, and Sport & Street; as well as contributors from directional blogs such as BNTL, Coolhunting, Hypequest, Slamxhype, Hypebeast, and, of course, Hideyourarms.

Margin London Streetwear Fashion Tradeshow Exhibition

For more info about Margin, visit the website here, find us on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll be back soon to post about some great new labels that will be exhibiting at Margin in February 2013.

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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.

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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. https://www.missionsmallbusiness.com/

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 winkyboo.com. 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!!

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tshirtcontest.com 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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T-shirt news for February 15th

by Andy on February 15, 2012

doctor who t-shirt

Y’know, it’s been weird not writing about Doctor Who t-shirts every day, TeeFury have brought me right back into it with this great tee though.


Shirt.Woot have a rather interesting Zelda shirt.


Sons of Anarchy x He-Man at RIPT today.


Okay gang, time to play the “tell Andy what this shirt is referencing” game since I have no idea.


Nowhere Bad have a shirt for all those rage moments you get whilst gaming.


I can’t really take too much heat with my meals, but for those of you that do 24tee have a shirt that may be right up your alley.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Community’s paintball episode was one of the finest half hours of my life, thanks for the reminder TeeRaiders.


Mathiole gets some love with this colourful shirt at DBH today.


This shirt is $11 instead of $20 in BustedTees daily deal (which has 2 days to run… aka not daily).


Deadmau5 wore a t-shirt with Skrillex’s phone number on it to the Grammy’s, that little rascal.


RIPT have a great video (6:31 long) explaining every step in the process of creating one of their shirts, it’s a great walkthrough and worth a few minutes of your time. I didn’t realise that RIPT did their printing in-house, I’d always presumed that the daily sites outsourced their printing work.


Cottonable noticed that Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz is running a design comepetition with MASScanvas.


IAMTHETREND have a great review of Capitl Clothing.


krudmart are holding an end of Winter sale.

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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…

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I just wanted to drop you guys a line to let you know about our new range of stitch tags, that we are producing for smaller independent clothing labels.

We are currently sending out sample packs to labels owners and managers around the world to demonstrate how adding stitch tags to your tees can be affordable and bespoke to a single release and really lift that drop.

If you run a clothing label and would like a sample pack just contact Michael: printtees@hotmail.co.uk
with STITCH TAG SAMPLES as the subject.

Andy: Personally, I’m a fan of a hem tag, it certainly makes a brand seem more professional somehow, and if it keeps the branding off the body of the design then I’m all for it. P-Labs charge £49.99 for 50 hem tags, I have no idea if that is cheap or expensive, but if you’re in the market for hem tags it’s probably worth getting a sample pack from them to check on the quality.

This post was submitted by Michael.

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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…]

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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!

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Daily T-shirt Roundup for January 9th

by Andy on January 9, 2012

sloth goonies t-shirt

I’m not too excited by the Sloth & Crossbones Goonies shirt at TeeFury today, you?


Very cute illustration style on this Shirt.Woot tee, maybe this shirt will perk you up to stick with your New Year’s resolutions?


Not the kind of Star Wars t-shirt that I’d wear, but a pretty cool concept from RIPT nonetheless.


Can anyone explain to me why The Yetee are describing this felines as pizzacats?


Very cool Fantastic Mr. Fox inspired t-shirt at Shirt Punch today.


GraphicLab have a shirt that is a little lost on me, it’s a mashup of The Impossible Man from the Marvel universe and Magnitude from Community.


Star Trek inspired visual pun from TeeMinus24 today.


I’m fairly sure that this TeeRaiders design is the first Warehouse 13 shirt that I’ve seen.


Stupidhurts.us give this well worn phrase another run out.


OtherTees have a Doctor Who shirt that I’m sure I’ve seen before.


Qwertee make a connection between Portal and zombies.


We don’t have Fresca over here in the UK, so this 24tee shirt is wasted on me.


Cool new shirt at DBH today.



There’s a couple of new shirts up on pre-order at Goodjoe.


Loviu reiterate their ‘barbie is a slut’ stance.


Tilteed have their boomerang-based design up again.


Catch of the Day Tee have nothing for us, again.


Tee Gazette has an update on the Boston Tee Party event being held in the summer.


I saw this t-shirt on Flickr months ago and it’s taken me until now to remember to post it.

Co-Tee TV Episode 88: Moustardche, Javaboi Industries, and Hot Dogs from Coty Gonzales on Vimeo.

Coty has a new episode of Co-Tee TV up, featuring Moustardache, Javaboi Industries, and Hot Dogs.


The selection process may have been unscientific, but it’s nice to see HYA at the top (the position may or may not mean anything) of this list of the “21 Most Important t-shirt blogs of 2011.”


Tee Hunter take a look at the A Bathing Ape x Star Wars collection.


Fuel Your Creativity have an article about starting a clothing line with no money. It does make it all seems a little easy in my eyes, but there are worse stepping off points.


Here’s another t-shirt from PalmerCash I bookmarked ages ago but never got around to posting about.


2sickbastards have got up to 50% off their art prints until January 13th.


Snapback hats are now in store at Glamour Kills.


Did you know that howies was part of Timberland? I say was because as of the start of this year they bought themselves out and are now an independent business again.


Terratag‘s up to 50% off sale has hit it’s final week, ends on Friday.

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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?

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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!

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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.
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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.

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Daily Tees & News Roundup for November 22nd

by Andy on November 22, 2011

walking dead t-shirt

Very nice Walking Dead t-shirt at TeeFury today. Anyone else watching this show?


I’m surprised that Qwertee have this shirt on sale since it’s part of 604Republic‘s permanent catalogue.
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