Indie Tee Spotlight: Jimiyo

This is week three of the Indie Tee Spotlight and I have to admit that I have been happy with the success of this particular segment on my blog. I’ve received a bunch of emails from tee brands/designers wanting to be featured here. I appreciate all of the interest and if you sent me an email then you should have gotten a response on how you can be featured here! And if you’re interested please feel free to contact me!

Having said that, I am happy to announce Jimiyo as our featured Indie Designer for this week! Jimiyo is well known within the Indie Tee community and has had much success with his designs. His designs has been featured on Tee Fury, Shirt.Woot, Uneetee, and Design by Humans. More recently, one of Jimiyo’s designs, Fight The Good Fight, was announced as a top 5 finalist in the $10,000 Design by Humans contest.

I was fortunate enough to talk with Jimiyo about his passion, designing tees. 

Coty: It’s no secret that you’re participating in the Design By Humans ongoing T-Shirt contest. You’ve been making strides within the tee community to up your vote count for the DBH contest (submitted 10 designs to DBH, sent out newsletters to family and friends, posted on social networks like MySpace and have spoken to classes to gain DBH votes). You recently announced your biggest move yet by offering 10 people $100 each if you win the $10,000 DBH prize. All they have to do is vote and leave a comment on your DBH design. Why does this contest mean so much to you?

Jimiyo: I suppose my main motivation is what the money will buy. It’s not material possessions that I want, its Freedom. It would buy me approximately 3 months of guilt free time that I could use to to work on projects I have put on the back burner since there is always some anxiety now about finances since I am freelancing. Obviously there are other advantages, like exposure for my freelance career, a nice line to add to the CV, prestige, etc, but all those are secondary.

Coty: One could argue that you are artificially creating votes for yourself or that you are “buying” your votes. What would your response to this be?

Jimiyo: I won’t be offended if people think I have bought votes, because I provided DBH with my best effort art that is obviously indicative of some skill. It would be different if I had submitted a shoddy piece of work and then bought votes.

What is the difference between buying votes with money, and buying the votes with time and effort that I have invested in creating a piece of art that I hope that people like?
In contrast, I have focused at least a decade of my life to refining my craft with great effort and dedication.

$1000 of $10,000 is nothing in comparison, especially when there’s absolutely no risk to me whatsoever. I do not have to expend $1000 if I do not win. I have already expended many hours, many days, daresay many months, creating art, which if you could quantify the experience and skillset I have fostered over the years, is it repulsive to say, I am essentially buying votes with a horrendously large amount of philosophical cash?

1. DBH created this monster prize contest to drive traffic as well as drive a higher quantity and quality of art to their site.

2. By offering money as an incentive, artists promoted themselves and most likely drove a significant amount of users to join the community. Since the artists probably contacted their fan base for votes, fans will be more inclined to purchasing a product to whom they associate.

Essentially, I did just the same. I offered an incentive, for which there is only potential gain, in which the final result is a symbiotic return on each party’s efforts.

As far as “artificial” votes, that wording would imply fraudulent behavior similar to creating fake accounts. That is not the case. With my tactic, Im bringing DBH real people who actually have to sign up to vote and comment. With that, DBH is one major step closer to having a new customer.

Coty: Your shirts have been accepted for print at both shirt.woot and at teefury (have your designs been accepted at Threadless?). Which of these ongoing contest sites do you like the best and why?

Jimiyo: I have not been accepted at Threadless. My best efforts were moderately ignored there. My style doesnt not fit with their market.

I love shirt.woot. They payout $1000+. Joel is fantastic, no, Terrific, to deal with and I truly enjoy the mentality of Wooter consumer base. Their approval is difficult to earn, and thankfully, somehow, I have been able to win a small portion of their acceptance.
TeeFury does not have as big a market as Woot, so although the payout is not as great, there is nothing greater than being able to submit a design I created without catering to a specific market and have it be accepted. With Woot, I do have to take into consideration their market.
Also the advantage of no copyright restrictions at TeeFury has allowed me get the most financially out of my designs.

I can’t say that there’s one I like the best. They are like friends. There are things about each my friends that I hate and love.

Coty: These online tee design contests are very competitive, yet you’ve done pretty well in them. Do you have any suggestions or tips for people considering entering these contests or for those who have entered but have been unsuccessful?

Jimiyo: Beyond making sure you output your best artistic effort, it’s a numbers game. The only reason I am seemingly successful is because I have submitted a significant number of entries to several different contests.
Also, just keep trying to win. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Just do it. Gotta be in it to win it.

I am thoroughly impressed with WanderingBert from Threadless.com. If you look at his profile, I think he was up to about 100 submissions until he won his first Threadless contest. It was through shear tenacity, as well as great art, that he won. Soon after his first printing, they printed several more.

You have to be willing to sacrifice for longterm accomplishments, and be willing to lose, over and over again.

I plan on writing a year end results of my experience in January 09, until then here is a small blog I wrote with tips and information about my experiences with contests so far.

http://jimiyo.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-experience-with-online-design.html

Coty: You’re recent print, The Upgradead, sold 2499 prints and eventually sold out on shirt.woot. Why do you think this print was so successful? What do you think is up with the t-shirt communities obsession with zombies, skulls and guts?

Jimiyo: I studied a bit before creating this design. Shirt.woot.com has a running stock of about 30 designs, which they eliminate 7 of every week with replacements. Some of the longest running designs I noticed were zombie related designs.

Beyond that, as far as the success of the tees, I don’t attribute it to anything more than the sheer traffic that shirt.woot.com is able to harness. You offer a moderately entertaining design on a soft, quality American Apparel tee for $10 to 75,000-150,000 views, a 2% close rate isn’t all that impressive.

As far as t-shirt communities being inclined towards a specific topic, I have no idea. I love LOLCatz, some people don’t.

Coty: OK, there are 5 designs left in the running ofr the big DBH $10,000 grand prize. IF you had to choose a design, other than yours to win, which design would it be and why?

Jimiyo: Collision Theory. He is my internet friend. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to really become friends with the other artists. Besides, AJ is a stand up guy. It seems people are prone to being more truthful in their identities on the internet, and AJ has always exhibited a kind and amicable persona.
Also, this will sound crazy, but if I am correct, the monetary conversion rate for the Phillipines is incredible. I imagine there would be a greater benefit for AJ to receive the prize money than it would benefit me. I am a single man with only myself to take care of. I believe AJ is a family man.

*Thanks to Jimiyo for taking the time out to have a word with me, it’s very much appreciated! Now, be sure to go to Design by Humans and vote for Jimiyo!

Wandering Whale Autumn Sale

The good folks over at Wandering Whale sent me an email announcing their Autumn Sale. You can now get 25% off (enter code AUTUMN at checkout) their entire Wandering Whale line from now until September 22. Be sure to check them out!

iFlix 2.0 Released

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how the iPhone app, iFlix, was Netflix Heaven on the iPhone. I’m happy to announce that heaven looks that much brighter for us iPhone touting Netflix subscribers! The iFlix team has been pretty busy as they have just released iFlix 2. And I have to say that every criticism that I had with iFlix version 1 has been addressed in the version 2 release. 

First of all, the iFlix interface has seen an uplift in version 2 courtesy of Alex Marchuk (iFlix interface and website developer). The upgrade to the interface is not only pleasant to the eye but also made managing my Netflix queue that much easier.

One of the major gripes I had with the original release was the inability to select movies by format (DVD or Blu-ray). Now, when you search for a movie title, the search results bring back detailed information about each movie, including whether or not the movie is available in Blu-ray format. Being able to see Netflix ratings and MPAA ratings alongside the search results are added (and welcome) bonuses. Oh yeah, you can also browse by Blu-ray now as well. 

 

I’m a bit envious of the people who can use the Watch Instantly feature on Netflix (I run a Mac and Netflix currently does not support Watch Instantly on the Macintosh). With Watch Instantly, you have access to movies and TV shows that you can watch directly on your PC or 3rd party media player like an XBox 360 or Roku Player. iFlix 2 now not only supports the regular Netlfix snail mail queue but also supports instant queue management, which means adding movies to view on your PC, Xbox 360, or Roku Player is that much easier. 

iFlix has also improved on the rating system. Not only can you easily rate a movie from within iFlix but iFlix is intuitive enough to tell you which movies you’ve already rated by marking those ratings in yellow rather than the standard red. 

I was fortunate enough to have a word with iFlix developer, Brent Jensen. Here’s what we talked about.


Coty: I noticed that Brent Jensen is not listed with the rest of the team of the iFlix 2 website, is Brent no longer affiliated with the project? If not, why?

Brent: That’s just me being modest. My name’s on it for the App Store, so I wasn’t too worried about the site. It looks like Alex took note after your question and has added my name to the site.

(Update: Alex has added Brent’s name to the footer of the iFlix homepage. We can all sleep better now, LOL.)

Coty: The iFlix homepage also has changed, from the specific iFlixMobile.com to the more general and encompassing iPhonevine.com. Does this mean that there will be more iPhone based apps coming from your team?

Brent: For now, Alex Marchuk is hosting the site because of his amazing skills with design (and my lack of love for website development). You may see more apps hosted here, either made by me, or something that Alex has collaborated on. I’d love to have time to work on a lot more great apps, but for now my day job and iFlix keep me too busy to take on much else. I am working with my brother on a word search game for the iPhone, but it’s got a ways to go.

Coty: iFlix has definitely helped to fill in the gap for Netflix users wanting a mobile solution. Why do you think Netflix has not released a native application on their own?

Brent: Larger companies are always going to be more hesitant to jump right into a new platform. Since releasing an app represents a commitment to the platform, especially for a big company, they’ve got to pick and choose where they’ll invest. I would love to work with Netflix on improving the application, or even releasing it oficially, if they were ever to express interest.

Coty: iFlix 2.0 has added some killer functionality, such as the ability to view and add Blu-ray titles to your queue, a new interface and the ability to have detailed info like ratings literally at our fingertips. Where does iFlix 2.0 go from here? What are some things that you still would like to improve on?

Brent: The major focus right now is on performance and stability. As far as new features (e.g. iFlix 3.0), those are all still in the brainstorming phase. I’m certainly open to suggestions. A big fix is on it’s way that drastically improves scrolling and drag reordering, along with a nasty bug that’s been keeping some users from enjoying the “Detailed Queue” feature of iFlix 2.0.

Coty: There have been some controversy over the way that Apple has handled the App Store, specifically with developers. For instance, Apple has received some flack for not allowing developers to openly discuss program development with other developers. What are your thoughts on this?

Brent: There certainly are some frustrations, for me mostly with the inability to have more control over updates and responding to reviewers. A lot of times a reviewer will express frustration, or say they wish there was this or that feature, and the feature is in iFlix, or there is a work around for their issue, but I’ve got no way of contacting them. It would also be really nice to be able to build a customer base with a contact list, but the App Store doesn’t allow for that. For the most part though, I think Apple has created a fantastic platform, and given me a way to get my software out there to be enjoyed by more users than might have ever been possible with the App Store.

*I’d like to thank Brent Jensen for taking the time to talk to me (much appreciated!) and Alex Marchuk for letting me know of the iFlix 2 updates (much appreciated as well!). Keep up the great work, iFlix team!

Obama Taps Into the MySpaec, errr, MySpace Generation

Kudo’s to Obama’s publicity/marketing team for reaching out to generation Web 2.0. In an ingenious move, whenever an intrepid Myspace user types in the url to their favorite site, MySpace.com and inadvertently misspells the url as MySpaec.com (go ahead try the link) they get forwarded to Obama’s campaign site. 

This just goes to show how ingrained social networks like MySpace has become in society. In the 90’s candidates tapped into MTV. In 2008, they utilize Web 2.0. Both Obama and McCain have official MySpace and Facebook pages. Obama has more Twitter followers than Kevin Rose. More Followers than Digg king, Kevin Rose? Say what?!

How long before we see interactive political debates via Web 2.0 upstarts like Ustream and Seesmic? How long before viral videos, like the popular Barack Roll video, are initiated by the candidates themselves. The technology and networking tools that we have available to us today makes it possible to reach millions of people at the click of a button. These are powerful times. I’m glad to see our presidential candidates embracing the technology. 

By the way, if you’re typing in a url to a site you probably visit multiple times a day then shame on you. It’s all about the bookmark bar. 

*Cheers to Emptees user JacobPlague for pointing this out!

9 Barack Obama Tees

The elections are quickly approaching and that means there are tons of presidential propaganda tees floating around. I’ve searched the net and have found 9 Obama tees, most in obvious support of the candidate and one, obviously with an agenda against the candidate. What do you guys think? Have you stumbled upon any Obama tees of interest?

Move On. Cool retro lookin’ Obama tee by the Move On people. 

Obama. Those fingers are pointing at you. It’s up to you to make a choice.

Obama in ’08. This is probably the most controversial of the 9 tees here. Apparently it is being sold in a suburban Atlanta bar and the bar owner claims he is not racist. Yeah, right.

Super Obama. I love this shirt! And what makes this shirt 10x even more awesome is that it’s designed by Alex Ross.

Obama. Lovely vector artwork by Cloxboy at Design by Humans.

B.A. Obama. A-Team Fan?

Terminator. Yeah, he’ll be back. Hopefully for the next 8 years. As president.

Obama is the New Black.

Barack to the Future. If you’re a geek (that’s a good thing) then this is the shirt for you!

Conor Oberst Does Moab

I’ve been really digging the new self-titled solo album by Bright Eyes frontman, Conor Oberst. I have to say that the album is very Bob Dylan like, very introspective and very soothing. The album was released in early August but I’ve only recently started playing it (over and over). If you’re into the singer/songwriter/acoustic genre then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t like Conor Oberst. Here’s a video of him performing on the Late Late Show.

I used up your compassion 
So I’ve come to make a trade
You can hate me but just love me in return
And if I know where to find you
I’ll stay out of your way
I won’t come beg to borrow all the happiness you earned

I’ll just slide back down to the bottom
While you make your place in the hills

There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
Washed under the blacktop
Gone beneath my wheels
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal

They say the sun won’t burn forever
but that’s a science too exact
I can prove it –
Watch, we’re crossing the state line
See those headlights coming towards us?
That’s someone going back
To a town they said they’d never,yeah –
They swore it on their lives

But you can’t break out of a circle
That you never knew you were in

There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
Washed under the blacktop
Gone beneath my wheels
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal

Some would spend their precious time
trying to decorate their lives
Taking measurements for some new look they want

So from one to ten – ten’s exactly what I am
Zero being everything I’m not

Tell me what you like
Is it less than five?
Is it less than five?

There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
When I make it to Moab
I’ll get my canteen filled
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal
Washed under the blacktop
Gone beneath my wheels
There’s nothing that the road cannot heal

Sale at Wooshka T-Shirts

Wooshka, Wooshka, Wooshka! There’s a huge 40-70% off sale at Wooshka. Tee’s that normally sell for 20 bucks can be had for around $9 to $12 depending on design. The sale runs through September 18 so be sure to get your Wooshka gear before the sale ends!

Bear Brains Presale!

Kanye West fan? I have the perfect t-shirt for you. This tee designed by Killer Napkins and printed by Emptees regular jimmyheartcore is currently on presale from the I Came From Nothing online store. The aptly named Bear Brains tee is a 6 color print that will be printed on American Apparel tees and offered in 3 different colors (Black, Blue, Magenta). 

Head on over to I Came From Nothing and get your pre-order in now!

T-Shirt Hell

If you’re into T-Shirts whose sole purpose are to be politically incorrect and to make other people squirm then T-Shirt Hell is the tee depository for you. This is the site where “all the bad shirts go” so be prepared to say WTF a few times as you peruse their line of tees. Anyway I found more than a couple of them amusing. 

Here are some of my favorites:

1. I Pound Beers for Jesus

2. Warning: If I Wake Up With Marker on My Face I’ll Stab You.

3. I Drink In Moderation

4. If I Had Balls They Would Be Bigger Than Yours

5. Coma Sutra

6. PIMP


Indie Tee Spotlight: Pyknic Clothing

I kicked off the Indie Tee Spotlight last week by highlighting Eric Terry’s brand, Linty Fresh. Now in my quest to find the next great indie tee maker to spotlight I thought I’d go straight to my mailbox and highlight a company from which I received a freshly purchased tee from. 

This week Glorious Nonsensities spotlights Indie Tee designers Andrew Marshall and Stephen Thompson of Pyknic Clothing. Marshall and his business partner, Stephen Thompson, have turned the indie tee design scene upside down since first opening up shop nearly 2 years ago. 

The Pyknic brand mantra is “Life’s a Pyknic so eat it up!” and it’s fair enough to say that their clothing line more than fits the slogan. With funky and loud t-shirt designs that sport typical things you’d find at picnic, Marshall has found a sweet spot that is as appealing to junior high kids as it is to college students. 

We were fortunate enough to chat it up with Pyknic duder Stephen Thompson.

Coty: How did you come up with the idea of using typical picnic stuff as the centerpiece of your designs and ultimately your brand?

Pyknic: Well for two years we were geared at the surf-skate-snow market. It is very hard to compete against big brands with great brand recognition on international scales (ie. Billabong, Quicksilver, etc.) with huge budgets. When we took a step back and looked at the overall picture: why would consumers or stores buy our shirt versus one by Billlabong, for instance, with similar designs? It would not matter if ours was better, they had a name to go with theirs.

So one night we went to Red Lobster and that’s when we turned our [picnic] tables. We thought of a new direction we could take the brand that was logical to our name and could create its own niche. Weird or not, people enjoy food as much as they do clothing. The two together would be dessert.

Coty: I’ve read that you use “contracted artists.” What percentage of the designs that actually make it to print are your own work as compared to those that are outsourced? 

Pyknic: A lot (if not all) of the shirts are actually concepts that we have created and thought out. We’re very fortunate to work with some great artists that can also see our vision and execute. 

Coty: You’re known in the indie tee world for making it big by actually scoring a deal with Hot Topic. How did that come about? Do you plan on connecting with other retailers? Do you have any plans for international domination?!

Pyknic: It was a last minute decision but we decided to attend Bamboozle Left. Upon returning home, I received an email from a Hot Topic buyer who was actually out at the event and loved the shirts. After a few phone call meetings, we got things rolling and eventually started putting merchandise in the stores.

I actually just got back from Magic Tradeshow and Agenda Tradeshow. There were a good amount of stores interested and either placed orders or planned on emailing that over. Right now most of our accounts are international. We have taken Europe, Asia, and Australia by storm. Most recently we distributed our newest line to all of them. 

Coty: Pyknic has turned into a nice venture for you. Do you plan on continuing the brand after college? Where do you see Pyknic in the next 3 to 5 years? 

Pyknic: Next year the Chef and I plan on moving out to California where we will be close to different production sources. Most of our products are sent out there as well so it only makes sense. 

In the next 3 to 5 years, I see us in more major US outlets with the possibility of our own.

Coty: Any words of inspiration for up and coming indie tee designers wanting to make it big?

Pyknic: I think the most important thing is to be unique. The last thing anyone wants to do is get lost in the shuffle. Very cliche but practice makes perfect, no one’s a hit overnight. 

When we started this brand three years ago, we saw ourselves in this position eventually. We knew it took a lot of work to get to this point but we were willing to do whatever it took. “If you can dream it…”

*Special thanks to Stephen for chatting it up with us! Be on the look out for next weeks Indie Tee Spotlight! And if you’re an Indie Tee Designer and would like to be featured here then please feel free to contact me to find out how you can do just that.