This evening Eric Terry of Linty Fresh hosted his 3rd Linty FreshÂ ustreamÂ chat. He had a special guest this time around, VincentÂ Maglione. Eric, as usual, answered questions regarding Linty Fresh and Vincent was there to talk about search engine optimization (SEO), web design and coding. Here are my notes from the show for those of you that would rather read then watch. A ton of questions were asked so click on to read them all!
The following Q&A was taken from the Linty Fresh Live Show #3. I had to type really fast so they are not direct quotes. But itâ€™s as close as I could get. Enjoy with tea and a comfy tee!
Part I of the Live Show (pre Blackout):
With the vendors you have, how is your relationship with them? How do you handle stock with these vendors?
Eric: I don’t pursue wholesale accounts, they come to me. They come to me if they need more stuff.
What do you use to keep track of your taxes?
Eric: I have my own spreadsheets and there’s also Quicken.
Is it difficult to classify a business expense?
Eric: Anything that has to do with your business. Gas money is a business expense. Products you buy for your business is a business expense.
If another vendor sells your products do you send your goodie products as well?
Eric: I don’t give away any goodies to the vendors. When I am selling to a retailer they are getting a greatly reduced price and so I don’t include those other goodies. I keep it as a bonus for those that buy directly from me.
How would you go about setting something up to mail something in bulk?
Eric: It depends from post office to post office. I use an independent drop off shop.
Should I print tees at my local screenprinter?
Eric: I like going to my local screenprinter because I can go to the physical shop and check out my tees and not have to wait. I did use printmytees.com for a while online, but there are tons of other people on emptees.com and t-shirtforums.com.
Where can I find mailers?
Eric: You can find lots of good shipping products from uline.com
How much did you invest initially in Linty Fresh?
What do you think of WordPress? Is it easy to hack?
Vincent: I like it, it’s very versatile. Not too sure what you mean by hacks. It does everything I need it to do.
What is the best thing to do to achieve high SEO?
Vincent: SEO is complicated. Search engines don’t tell waht to do to improve your rankings. Best thing you can do is create quality content and publish frequently. The more you update your site the more often a search engine will check your site. Quality content is the number one way. If the content is good people will link to you and that will result in a high ranking. Really important to get a unique name for your domain name. That will also help.
Do you need a MySpace redesign done – I can do it for you?
Eric: Thank you but I will probably be using someone else. Thanks.
Do you do coding and design work?
Vincent: I do both. I prefer design but I like having control of both.
Are you registered as a trademark?
Eric: I am working on it. You should do it sooner than later.
Did you go to college? Was it difficult to manage business and brand?
Eric: I was in college for 3 semester and in that time period I started doing client work. I had a little portfolio on line and it was getting bigger. My dad had a friend from China and so I worked a little on packaging design. I decided to take the risk and quit school. Shortly after that I launched Linty Fresh. It wasn’t difficult to juggle because I dropped out.
Do you think you can run a business while still in school?
Eric: Yes, I think it’s a huge advertising opportunity. I think I would have been bigger here locally if people here knew people.
What brand is Vincents sweater?
Vincent: Italy of Bettington I think.
What is my favorite plugin for WP?
Vincent: Akismet – it takes care of SPAM.
How much do you charge for custom Big Cartel?
Vincent: I haven’t done a big cartel but I typically charge for an hour.
Do you think going to craft show grows your business?
Eric: Yes, get yourself out there. People buy on impulse – especially females. Females are more particular and like to try things on and see the item. You will grow your customer base faster.
Do you recommend building a website and then adding WP and hacking it?
Vincent: I would not recommend hacking the core code. Hacking the core code can cause security issues. The plugins are easy to use – that is powerful and you can customize using WP plugins.
How do I market Linty Fresh?
Eric: I can tell you that the most important part is having a product that is unique to your market. If you’re competing with lots of people doing the same thing you’ll run into a lot of trouble. In terms of advertising, people typically advertise on sites about tees. My recommendation is to try experimenting with other types of sites. I am experimenting with an online radio station. Print ads are a little more expensive but are a little more permanent.
My clothing line is Innate Clothing. Do you think that is unique?
Eric: It’s alright. I wouldn’t say it’s great only because it has Clothing in it. I think it’s a little obvious maybe. To me, the big brands are the ones without Clothing in it. Might be a little limiting down the line.
Where is your portfolio?
Vincent: Kind of out of date, it’s bigsweaterdesign.com
With that $500 you started your clothing, what did you have made?
Eric: I printed about 50 or 60 shirts with 500 dollars. I got ripped off pretty bad by Custom Ink. As money came in I printed more tees. $10 for a Fruit of the Loom was such a rip off.
Do you accept credit cards at craft shows?
Eric: I use Ban Card (?). Search merchant services credit card on Google.
Will you have a repeating story for your tees?
Eric: Yeah, I might do a separate series during the summer time. It’s an idea, I’m still debating it. I have more ideas for character development that I can’t talk about.
Where did you go to college Vincent?
Vincent: I went to a local university for about 2.5 years and majored in graphic design. I don’t think it will make or break your design career.
How do I find my suppliers?
Eric: Secret! I think it’s a matter of finding people who are willing to do something different. When I asked my printer to do my boxes, he was open to experimenting to it. At first I gave out his information and now he is doing a lot of business with just mailers. Go to different places and see if they are willing to work with you and willing to experiment.
What do you think of fulfillment services like MySoti and Spreadshirt?
Eric: My personal opinion is that I would not do that because it reduces that value of my design.
If you only make a 100 tees for one design, assuming you sell only a few a month you don’t have a high monthly income. How do you plan on putting Linty Fresh to the next level?
Eric: My thing has not been to make this huge. It’s been to do what I want to do and how I want to do it. I love the freedom in my life. I love how I can go on trips and hang out with friends. I don’t like limiting factors. I’m not interested in making Linty Fresh THE huge thing. There have been offers but the the price was not right. I want to do thing high quality.
What do you charge for commissions?
Eric: The most I’ve charged is $1000 and the least has been $400.
Where do you have stickers printed?
Eric: Sticker Robot. They take kinda long but they print the best stuff.
Will you do screen printed posters?
Eric: Maybe in the future. I’ve thought about it. The problem is I like to do EVERYTHING custom. I kinda want to just do tees for a while.
Have you used moo tools?
Eric: I have moo tools before. I’m not much of a coder.
Vincent, You look like Steven from That 70′s Show!
Eric: Laughing Ha Ha Ha!
Do you think Street Teams are valuable?
Eric: Yeah, I think it’s good because you want to have different access points on your side. It’s good to offer people different levels of access – as a customer or as a Street Team member. I haven’ done it yet because I want it o be perfect. I have a few ideas that will make it a little special. You have to have people already liking what you are doing and have desire to help you with what your doing.
Have you started using things weird paper stuff for full color designs?
Eric: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Sorry.
Have ever gotten business from meeting someone and handing over your card?
Eric: Kind of, my first job was a local business that asked me if I did web design. At the time I didn’t but I lied!
Eric is trying to show off his glow in the dark tee (to be released in February). Turns off light. Not really working! Doesn’t work with the camera.
How do you find initial clients for web designs when I just started?
Vincent: It just took initiative on my part to offer my services to other business. Get out of your house and meet people. I recommend freelanceswitch.com they have a lot of good information on starting a business and keeping it going.
Will you start a shirt club?
Eric: I want to do it and want to make it super special. But it won’t be coming anytime soon.
What the most valuable thing to remember for trade shows?
Eric: I’ve got that video I did so refer to that. Just enjoys yourself because if you’re having a good time thing will more than likely go well.
What would you say your target market is?
Eric: Primarily guys, but also girls, between 13 and early 30′s. Typically those noted as hipsters but has branched to those in the indie scene.
Do you recommend a Mac or Windows?
Eric: I use a Mac and like how a Mac runs overall. The important thing is remember is use what you’re comfortable with. Its all about the brains behind the tools.
How many sales did it take for you to quit your job and do Linty Fresh full time?
Eric: I don’t really remember.
Would you say Linty Fresh is a means of getting your art out there?
Eric: It is, now that I am collaborating with others I’ll be more open to working with other people.
Will the glow in the dark tee cost more than normal?
Eric: I haven’t really decided.
How has Twitter helped you?
Eric: It’s amazing how many people follow me. I don’t know that it necessarily boosts business or sales. I don’t have many direct link from it. There’s never too much exposure you can have online.
Do you have any plans to release a vinyl toy?
Eric: My goal is to release a vinyl toy by the end of the year. I really really really want to do it.
How do I say Linty Fresh in Chinese?
Eric: I have no idea.
What is a good price for a 3 color design?
Eric: I wouldn’t pay more than 8 dollars for a 3 color design shirt. Depends on the brand tee your using.
Facebook or Myspace?
Vincent: It’s a matter of personal preference. I like Facebook better.
Will you do foil shirts?
Eric: I have a design that I was going to use foil with, so we’ll see.
What is the Rabbit Scientist printed on?
Eric: American Apparel jersey cotton tees.
Favorite band of all time?
Vincent: according to Last.FM I listen to the Beatles the most, but they are not my favorite band.
Will you print on fashion slim fit?
Eric: Probably not.
How are your belts selling?
Eric: They sell good, I never order enough of them.
What are some clothing brand that you both really like?
Vincent: I don’t really shop by brand I shop by style. I really like Banana Republic.
Favorite beer of all time?
Eric: I really like that beer I had during that last show, Dundee?
It smells like cookies – we’re making cookies!
Where do you get your inspiration?
Eric: I get a lot of my inspiration from movies, street art, art using new mediums. It’s good to be inspired by a project.
Vincent: Look at people have done in the past, before computers, before Illustrator and Photoshop.
What games do you guys play?
Vincent: I found the first Half-Life at a thrift store.
Eric: I love Age of Empires 3. I like to play that when I have time. I also play flash games, right now I really like Tower Defense II – a flash game.
Are you ever planning to do any fine art?
Eric: I like digital art because you can get something done rather quickly. Traditional media takes to long for me and I don;t have much time.
How were the Chicken Wings?
Can you give us hints as to who you’re collaborating with?
Eric: One of the guys I’m working is Jared Nicholson aka known as JTConcepts on Flickr (I think) and another guy named Dylan aka fury1 on Flickr. There are a couple of other guys that I might work with but we have confirmed anything.
Screen Goes Black – I think someone pulled the plug!
Cat attacks kitchen counter!
Will you open a Linty Fresh retail store?
I know I said I wouldn’t in the last show – but I think I might. We’ll see.
What is the meaning of branding?
Eric: Branding is synonymous with identity. You have to have an ideal, a style, a culture that you attach yourself to or invent.
Did you start Linty Fresh when you were in school?
It was slightly after. I found out about Threadless while I was in college but some of those designs made them on to shirts after than. It was 2006 that I printed my first tee, it got a high school but was never printed so I printed it on my own. Thank goodness or else I might not have started this company.
Do we have iPhones?
Eric: No I have an old phone. I probably will get an iPod Touch for when I go to China.
Vincent: I have a Blackberry Pearl.
What’s the food website again?
Any favorite website or design you’ve created?
Vincent: My favorite stuff is not for clients, not because my client stuff is crappy but a lot of times you need to compromise your design for what a client wants. Very little of my client work is stuff I really like. The work I really like is stuff I do for myself.
Eric: I think the most fun to do was Mack Hated Monday because there are so many cool little things in there.
Cat rubs his butt in Eric’s face.
Do you have a team that I work with?
Vincent: Most of my client work is just me. If I work with other people it means I’m subcontracting work for another company.
What books or websites do I suggest for learning web design and coding?
Vincent: For web design, checkout the book Web Standard Solutions. Awesome book for learning standard HTML and PHP. Another is Bulletproof Web Design. As far as websites, Smashing Magazine is good. Get books on design, hit the library and look at graphic design books.
What do you think will be big?
Eric: I think you’re going to see a lot more 80′s colors. You’ll see a lot more retro color schemes. You’ll see less distressed work and more sharp graphics. A lot of companies are going with simple and clean looks. It’s so difficult to predict.
What do you think about the Threadless Bestees Awards?
Eric: I don’t know too much about the nominees but it would be cool if AJ won, but I bet he has his own casino in the Philippines by now!
Where do you buy your lollypops from?
I’m not going to tell you but you can find it if you look.
What are you doing in China?
Eric: Actually I’m going to be there as a Hitman. I have a couple of names in there that I have to hit. I can’t talk about it much.
If I had to sponsor any band who would it be?
Eric: That’s a difficult question to answer. Because a lot of bands that I listen don’t wear shirts with their name on it.
What’s your favorite geometric shape?
What’s your cat’s name?
Eric: Chips, short for Chipotle.
What kind of soup would you be?
Eric: Won Ton.
Eric: X, because it looks so cool.
Wrapping Up. Eric’s saying thank you. Never mind, he’s doing trivia now. Julia won a tee and a belt.
Part II of the Live Show (Post Blackout):