Use MySpace To Market Your T-Shirt Designs

The popular social networking site, Myspace, is a regular stomping ground for the T-Shirt loving demographic. Heck, MySpace has an Alexa rating of 7 so you’ll be able to reach a much wider demographic than simply T-Shirt loving young adults. 

While browsing one of my favorite tee sites, Emptees, I noticed that a lot of the designers there are utilizing MySpace to maximize their brand name and get the word out about their trendy designs. Here I outline 5 methods of how you can utilize Myspace to maximize “branding” efforts. These tips are potentially useful not only for indie tee designers but anyone selling something cool, hip and fun (it is the Myspace demographic, after all). 

Also remember that Myspace is not the only social network out there. There are literally tons of other social networks out there, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that you can register at and have access to their user base. By networking on these sites you can help to get your brand recognized. 

1. Make Stuff Easy.

Once you’ve got your Myspace set up, be sure to have all information necessary that visitors will need to buy your stuff, like sizes available and pricing. Be sure to have tons of pictures that link to your shop (given that you have a site/store outside of Myspace. If they see a tee they like, there’s potential that they will buy the shirt. Make it as easy as possibly for them to buy that shirt. The “easy” mantra should also guide the design of your site. Make the site too busy and people will be annoyed and leave. Make it pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate and you’ll have happy visitors who’ll spend more time checking your site out. 

2. Be Personal.

Matt Rupp from Emptees suggested that you be as personal as possible and I could not agree anymore with this point. If you want to get your designs out there then you not only have to promote your company or tee line but you have to promote the hell out of YOURSELF. Rupp suggests that:

“Instead of being some man behind the curtains, I expose myself and show people who I am and what Im doing. People love to know who is actually running the show and what they are up to. So it helps to be very personable and friendly with potential customers.”

3. Guerrilla Marketing.

Be a guerrilla marketer and visit the MySpace sites of larger more developed clothing lines and brands. Look for people who are super enthusiastic about their designs, you can spot these people from the comments that they leave on the site. Message them. Comment about their comments. Say what’s up. Be their friend. Once you’ve pulled them in, let them know about your clothing line and send them links to your Myspace or your tee designs. Offer them special deals or discounts. Ask them how much they would pay for your tees. According to levi! of Emptees,

“I carry on about 15 convos on a myspace a day just by that and alot of them turn into orders. some not that day, maybe the next or they say when the paycheck comes in. In that case, you ask if you can hold them to it. and get a date that they will have the money and right it down. on that date, message them back and ask for the order. that has never failed for me”

4. Comments, Comments, and Comments!

Leave as many comments as you can (without being obnoxious) on other MySpace pages. Be nice when you comment and remember always, always have some kind of link back to your site. This can be as a signature with a simple link below your comment or a fancy banner. If you have a store or site outside of MySpace then be sure that your signature links back to that site. I, and I’m sure that you have, numerously clicked on links that people leave in comments. Be interesting and be nice and people will click and find their way to you!

5. Friend Adders. 

This is the most controversial MySpace method so please turn to the right and ask that little angel what he thinks then turn left and get the devils point of view. As a MySpace user, I hate these things. You get friend adds from people that you don’t know. BUT, as with everything else, there are some people who like to be reached out to. These are the people who will click the golden link to your profile and hopefully be engulfed with feelings of wanting to buy your droolingly lovely tees. Friend adders are frowned upon by Myspace (and a potentially a TOS buster), but nonetheless, there are tools that can get this job done for you, and will add friends by the thousands. And of course, the old school way of manually adding friends works as well, albeit at a slower pace.

With your fingers crossed and a little luck you’ll have tons of traffic going to your Myspace page or online clothing store. And while you’re here, leave a comment and let me know what you think of these ideas! If you;ve got an idea as well, don’t feel shy – post it in the comments!

5 Ongoing T-Shirt Design Contests

Are you a budding t-shirt designer? If so then you are probably trying to find ways to promote your designs and ultimately have them printed. Traditionalist would probably argue that the best way to get your tee design printed is to, well, print it yourself. This can be a time consuming and expensive process. Lucky for us we are a part of the interactive age of Web 2.0 where things can get done faster and easier.

Here I talk about 5 popular and ongoing t-shirt design contests. This can be a great way for indie designers to get their feet wet in the tee business. And even if you submit a tee design to one of these communities and your design does not get selected for print, you will still probably get valuable community feedback on your design. On the other hand, if your designs do get selected then get ready for a nice pay day!

Each of these sites have different rules and guidelines so be sure to read them before you submit your designs. Some of these sites retain exclusive rights to submitted designs whereas other sites allow the artists to retain exclusive rights.

1. Threadless. How it Works: The competition here is tough and the voting and comments during the selection process is brutal, but, if your design is selected you’ll be part of an elite group of Threadless approved t-shirt designers! Shirts chosen for print will be produced in limited amounts, once the print has sold out, it will not be offered for sale unless is is chosen for reprint (not all designs are reprinted). Selection Process: Submitted designs are posted on Threadless and users vote for their favorite designs. Threadless staff then go through the top designs and select which are to be printed. Rights: If your design is submitted and chosen to be printed as a Threadless then Threadless assumes exclusives rights to the design. Pay Day: $2000 in cash and a $500 Threadless gift certificate for each design chosen to be printed. Plus, you get $500 each time your tee design is reprinted. And finally if you’re tee is chosen for print you have a chance at winning up to $10,000 in the yearly Threadless “Bestee” Awards. Official Rules.

2. TeeFury. How it Works: TeeFury members are able to submit designs directly to TeeFury for consideration. When submitting your design they also suggest that you submit a link to your portfolio or website or anything that provides examples of your work. Shirts that are chosen are showcased on TeeFury for just 24 hours. Selection Process: Designs are selected by the TeeFury staff. Rights: The artists retains all rights to their designs and can do what they want with their designs after the shirt spends its time (max of 24 hours) on TeeFury. Pay Day: Artists are paid $1 for each shirt sold within the 24 hour period. Official Rules. 

3. Shirt.Woot. How it Works: You can submit your designs to Shirt.Woot directly here or you can enter the weekly Shirt.Woot Derby. Every Thursday new Derby themes are announced and the following Friday submissions are accepted. Selection Process: The three most popular designs as voted by Shirt.Woot users get chosen to be printed and sold to the world! Designs submitted directly to Shirt.Woot are selected by the Shirt.Woot staff for print. Rights: Shirt.Woot retains 60 day exclusive (cannot submit to other contests or produce commercially) rights for all art design submissions. Shirt.Woot retains a 180 days exclusive rights for all Best of Derby Nominated shirts. If with thin the 60 or 180 time span the shirt is not chosen for print the then Shirt.Woot waives exclusive rights, meaning the artist can do what he likes with the design. Shirt.Woot has exclusive perpetual rights to your design if it is chosen to be produced. Pay Day: $1000 per winning design and $2 per shirt sold after the first day of sale. Official Rules. 

4. Uneetee. How it Works: Artists submit t-shirt designs and if selected the tees are offered at Uneetee on a limited run basis. Selection Process: Unetee users vote for their favorite designs. Design stays up for voting for a a max of 21 days. Designs with the highest scores have an increased chance of being selected by Uneetee staff as the shirt of the week. Rights: Uneetee get exclusive rights to the design if the shirt is chosen. The designer cannot reproduce the winning design for commercial purposes. Pay Day: $750 ($750 guaranteed cash and $750 guaranteed commissions). If you sell more than the guaranteed run of 375 shirts than you can earn more than $750 commission (royalties are $2 per shirt). Official Rules. 

5. Design by Humans. How it Works: Designers submit art, this can be traditional paintings, illustrations, sketches, vector art, photoshop art, or however you like to design). If submitting traditional art then you must digitize your design (snap a pic of it). Design should be formatted and submitted either as a GIF, JPG, or PNG. Once your design is ready you submit it here. Selection Process: Design by Humans users vote for their favorite designs and designs with the most votes are chosen for print. Five shirt of the day winners are chosen each week ($750). Of the five shirt of the day winners, one shirt is chosen as shirt of the week ($1000). Each month, one of the shirt of the week winners is chosen as short of the month ($1750). Plus, designers get paid based on how many shirts they sell (1000 shirts = $500 up to 10,000 shirts = $5000). Rights: After 60 days of submitting designs artists are then free to o what they like with their designs. If your design is selected for print then DBH retains exclusive rights.  Pay Day: Up to $3500 plus residuals. Rights. Official Rules.

Spider-Man 4 and 5 Coming Soon?

Those of you who saw that ad on eBay regarding visiting the set of Spider-Man 4, but was hesistent to place a bid, might kick themselves (auction went for $28,100) when they find out Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi have reportedly been locked in for Spider-Man 4 and potentially Spider-Man 5. As reported first on Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily blog, the popular actor and director will be back for the 3rd and 4th sequel in the hugely successful Spider-Man franchise. To my chagrin, Sony wants Kirsten Dunst back to play the part of Mary Jane, but not deal has been made thus far.

Principal photography for James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Rundown) penned Spider-Man 4 will not begin until next fall, in time for a May 2011 release. Sony is reportedly pushing to have Spider-Man 4 and 5 shot back to back, much like what Disney did with The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. 

There has also been talk of who the main villain may be in Spider-Man 4. Although no one has officially signed on for a villain role in Spider-Man 4, most of the speculation points to Dylan Baker’s character of Dr. Curt Connors (Peter Parker’s college professor), who appeared in Spider-Man 3. Comic afficionado’s know that Dr. Connors turns into Dr. Lizard in comic books. Will we see the Lizard in Spider-Man 4? Other rumored villains include Black Cat, Vulture and Carnage, but some insiders think that these villains might be saved for a possible Venom spin-off. 

Are you guys excited for a back-to-back Spider-Man 4 and 5? Or are you guys web slinging hopeless romantic?

Rainbows, Sprinklers and Government Conspiracy?

FIrst of all, if the lady narrating this video is not kidding then she must be on crack. A government conspiracy based on rainbows appearing in a stream of water originating from a sprinkler?

In case she happens to stumble upon this post, I thought I’d let her know that rainbows are a result of a combination of naturally occurring phenomena: reflection, refraction and dispersion. Rainbows are an optical illusion that can occur wherever there is water and sun present. Geez, someone missed out on physical science class in the 5th grade. Thanks to @rsalvado12 for sharing this video.

Please Dress Me Review, Hit or Bust?

So Gary Vaynerchuk, head honcho, founding father and spokesman of the Wine Library enterprise (Wine Library TV and the Wine Library Store) has started a new venture with brother AJ Vaynerchuk and Digg architect Joe Stump. That new venture is a T-Shirt search engine. Yep, that’s right, a T-Shirt search engine, something totally unrelated to Vay-ner-chuks expertise in wine and inspirational speaking. 

Is Please Dress Me as good as Wine Library TV? Is Please Dress Me functional and useable, meaning, does it yield good search results? First of all, no, Please Dress Me is not as good as Vaynerchucks’ Wine Library venture. Yet. The reason why it’s not yet as good as Wine Library TV is because of something that it lacks. Don’t get me wrong, the Please Dress Me site looks gorgeous, but unlike Gary’s other venture, it lacks character. See, with Wine Library TV, you knew it was credible because of Vaynerchuks tenacity and love for the topic. If you’ve seen his Wine Library TV podcasts then you know how passionate he is about wine. In other words, Wine Library TV brings the thunder, whereas Please Dress Me does not. Do these guys really love T-Shirts or is this just a side hobby of sorts just because they have the cash to play with? Indie tee designers are a passionate bunch. Gary, AJ and Joe, are you guys passionate about tees?

The concept of a T-Shirt search engine is great. Imagine a tee specific search engine that you can use to search for all the Darth Vader tees that are available online and which will yield you a substantial number of search results (because we know there are a ton of Vader search in InternetLAND). Conceptually, this is a great idea. However, it seems like Please Dress Me (as expected) is going through growing pains because a search for Darth Vader shirts yielded me just a single tee, and it was a familiar Threadless tee to boot instead of something new. Conversely, a Darth Vader search yielded me more than 10 pages of results. Yes, thats a lot to shuffle through, but quickly switching to image views I can pick out the ones I like easily, and google even yielded the same green Threadless Darth Vader shirt that the Please Dress Me search yielded. For the site to be useable you need to yield more results, especially when searching for Darth Vader!

One feature that I do like is the ability to search by price point, this is a nice feature as you can search for tees specific to your budget. Those that like to use only particular colors, say eggplant green, can also search by color. 

One problem that I recognize is the inability for users to add tees to the site. No doubt that they have big time companies indexed, like Threadless, but what about the little guy. What about Indie tee designers? At the moment, users cannot add tees to the site themselves, they have to go through the tedious loop hole of emailing their tee info to the Please Dress Me staff. Adding an “Add Tee” feature would make your site that much more robust and more appealing to the little guy. 

Having said that, I think Please Dress Me has a lot of potential. The growing pains are present, but, with Vaynerchuks’ experience, and hopefully passion for tees, we’ll see a lot of growth and development.

Indie Tee Spotlight: Linty Fresh

I LOVE t-shirts, especially one-of-a-kind indie T-Shirts that are available online. A nice T-Shirt is like eye candy, it’ll make your eyes drool and mouth all wattery (ok, that hardly made any sense). So, in lieu of the Glorious Nonsensities podcast I thought that every week or so I would highlight a couple of indie tee designers whose work I admire and whose tees I wear!

For the inaugaral post I thought I would start off with a brand that I just learned about a month ago, and that brand is Linty Fresh. Linty Fresh was started by Eric Terry, who runs Linty Fresh out of his home in Marietta, Georgia. It all started for him when he began submitting tees into the never ending Threadless design competitions. His design, Once Upon A War, although was not selected to be printed, earned him positive reviews and more importantly, tee cred! And so Eric decided that he would do a limited print of Once Upon A War and offer it up for pre-sale. To his surprise, people were buying the shirt, and thus the Linty Fresh, or the beginnings of Linty Fresh, was born! 

 

Now if you notice Eric’s designs, many of them contain characters that look quite similar, with the mouth being the defining characteristic (in my opinion, Eric might disagree). Nonetheless his branding efforts are obvious and effective. I even think that his characters have the potential to go mainstream, they’ve got delicious-I-want-to-squeeze-you feel like those adorable Sanrio characters. 

The price points at Linty Fresh are in line with other indie tee brands. Tee’s are usually in the 20 buck range and hoodies in the 40 buck range. If those sound expensive don’t fret, I’ve bought Linty Fresh shirts for as little as 5 bucks, you just need to be on the look out for special discounts (In fact, he’s got a 5 bucks shirt on sale right now). The shirts themselves are made from American Apparel tees, so you know they are sweatshop free! And the actual product that you receive in the mail is quite professional. So if you like what you see here, be sure to check Linty Fresh out on the web! And let me know what you think of his designs and what companies you think I should check out for the next Indie Tee Spotlight.




Superman Trilogy Coming?

Now I know that in the past I’ve mentioned that I think Bryan Singer should be allowed to continue the Superman series he started with 2006’s Superman Returns, but, the chances of that happening is looking pretty grim. Out goes Singer’s Man of Steel and in come Millar’s Superman trilogy, possibly. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Singer continuing what he started, but if Millar were given a chance to reboot or re-invent the franchise I would be all for it. Mark Miller, just in case  you’re not familiar with him, is the man behind Wanted, you know that summer blockbuster with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. Millar actually wrote the original Wanted comics and has done a ton of work within the different comic universes, including the big guns, DC and Marvel. 

In 2003 he wrote the critically acclaimed Superman: Red Sun, the premises of which was built on the question of what would things be like if Superman were raised in the Soviet Union. I wouldn’t care to see Soviet Superman on the big screen, but I do think that Millar has the potential to bring something new to the Superman franchise and in effect re-energize it.

Having said that, MIllar has gone on record in a recent interview with G4 and has said that he already has “plans” to make a Superman trilogy, that would be shot back to back much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“I’ve had this plan for like 10 years for a big three-picture Superman thing, like a big Lord of the Rings epic, starting over from scratch again with a seven-hour Superman story. And hopefully release them one year after another,” continued Millar. “If it works out, we’ll have to start shooting next summer.”

Millar has even been reported as saying his vision of Superman is:

“Superman for the 21st Century, keeping everything we adore, but starting from scratch and making the kids love it as much as the 30-somethings.”

So it looks like the Superman saga continues. And let’s not forget, Mark Millar is a writer and not a movie director, so there is a possibility of Singer and Millar working together. The possibility of this happening, especially with Singer’s already existing vision, is slight to zero. But imagine for a moment what a creative combination that would make, much like the Nolan-Goyer combo they’ve got going for the Batman franchise. 

FTW! What Does it Mean?

Young people talk in strange code, it’s always been like that and it always will be like that. Like doctors and lawyers and most other professionals, young people have their own brand of lingo. The lingo may change from generation to generation, but nonetheless, the lingo is ever present. 

Having said that, I’ve noticed a lot of people using a seemingly innoculous piece of strung together letters to go along with their online statements. If you’re a gamer, belong to an online community such as a forum, or are a member of one of the various social networks like Facebook or Twitter, then you may have noticed an influx in usage of a particular three letter acronym. FTW. Heard of it? I’ve been seeing and hearing (on podcasts) the use of FTW a lot as of late. The problem is, unlike other popular net acronyms like LOL (laughing out loud) or ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing), FTW is very cryptic. Nonetheless, it seems to be the hip term to be using nowadays in the ever vast InternetLAND. Here are some recent (as of this posting) examples that I found by doing a quick search on Twitter for the term FTW:

“Shakey’s Pizza FTW… even though my stomach doesn’t agree, ugh *gurgle*!”

“Joe Dirt FTW”

“”Dorkmeyer” = 1990’s slang. Yeah. THAT didn’t age at all. And Steve Sanders blackout drunk FTW!”

“First beer in about 6 months – Sapporo FTW.”

“I can’t say enough about Hamlet 2. I feel so inspired in the strangest way!@brandonpierce & I were LOL through 90% of it. Sexy Jesus FTW!

“Ugh, my roomate just ate all my food I had planned to eat for work and home for the next two days. Backup ramen FTW! :-(“

But what does it mean? When I was growing up, FTW meant “Fuck The World.” I’d see it written on walls, would hear it used as slang in school and occasionally would here it in popular culture. There have also been a few songs, titled FTW, in reference to “Fuck The World”, like the one found on The Vines album Winning Days. 

Turns out, that the above Tweets are not cries to “Fuck The World.” Instead, FTW, or the FTW used by this generation of Internet users means “For The Win!” A lot more pleasant sounding than the ill-fated sounding “Fuck The World,” but still, very cryptic. 

So that leads to me to usage. “For The Win”, ok, that’s all dandy, but how do you use it? None of the above tweets make any sense. Sapporo FTW! Sexy Jesus FTW! WHAT? HUH? 

It turns out that to understand its usage, one must historically understand the FTW term. FTW was initially heavily used by online multi-player game enthusiasts (i.e. World of Warcraft). It was often used during game chats or in forums. Here’s a few examples of how one would use FTW if they were a gamer:

“Oh yeah, baby, double mega hydro shock spitgun, FTW!

“polymorph, FTW!

“druid hurricane, FTW!

As you can see, the FTW presented in the above gaming examples are excitatory proclamations that a particular weapon (i.e. double mega hydro shock spitgun) or tool was useful in executing a winning maneuver. 

However, as we saw from the previous Twitter examples, FTW usage has moved beyond just exclaiming the virtues of a particular weapon. Instead, it is now used to exclaim the virtues of a particular idea, food, process or device that leads to a satisfying or excellent outcome.

Recently, a user on the Washington Capitals forum board (I’m not a member, I stumbled upon it while researching FTW!) went off on the term. He called for an all out ban of the term on the Capitals forum board:

“For the win”? What does that even mean? It seems to be used to imply that something is good, if I am interpreting the context correctly. But can’t one simply say that something is good? Why obfuscate with an acronym or a nonsensical phrase?

Back in my day, we would use the term “awesome” in a similar manner to this “FTW” nonsense– but at least “awesome” made a littlesense, even if it was rather hyperbolic to suggest, for instance, that Pac-Man actually inspired awe.Prior to all this, the only times I have heard the words “for the win” used came when watching sporting events. But, see, when a sports announcer says “for the win”– as in “Jordan, for the win…!”– the outcome has not been decided yet. The phrase does not reflect whether the outcome was good or bad. So how can one use this phrase to imply that something is good when the phrase itself does not imply anything?

So there you have it folks. You have now been educated on the virtues of FTW. Use it wisely and if you do use it beware of Washington Capitals fans. Definitions, FTW!

 

Image From Commierobots-ftw.com

Image From Commierobots-ftw.com