Diary of a T-Shirt Intern: Selling Offline

Diary of a T-Shirt Intern is a weekly column written by Bo, a T-Shirt blogger at Loving This Tee who is also affectionately known in the tee community as dunz0. Bo will be tracking her experiences as an intern at Tilteed and sharing her thoughts on the strange land that is Portland, Oregon!

So we finally did it. We got away from the office and sold some t-shirts in person!

There’s this event in Portland called Last Thursday, where a bunch of vendors, musicians, and artists come out and set up along Alberta Street every last Thursday of the month (as the name suggests). The street gets closed down for several blocks for about 4-5 hours, and it’s absolute madness but in a good way. The first time that I attended Last Thursday was in June but that was only to browse. This time, we would be selling our tees.

Tilteed

In preparing for this event, one of our main questions was how many different designs and how many of each size to bring. That’s a very tough question, especially when you can’t exactly gauge what the shoppers’ tastes are. We had a lineup of eight catalog tees that we stocked in every size, along with leftover Tilteed Limited stock and several random sizes of other catalog pieces. We have experimented with some designs by bringing one or two of them so that we can see our customers’ responses. Every venue will be different, though, so I doubt that we’ll get a good formula for doing this.

When we first tried out selling at small events, I was initially worried about having black shirts sitting out in the sun. I once kept a Doberman Beanie Baby in my mom’s car, and over time that dog was no longer black. That was a silly story that I should probably be embarrassed about, but I think it’s a good explanation of why you should not let your products sit in direct sunlight for too long. We ended up getting a tent after our very first event, though, so problem solved!

Tilteed

Before we started selling Tilteed t-shirts at small fairs in Portland, I had never had any sales experience. Most of the jobs that I have held have been research positions, and the closest that I have gotten to selling anything for pay was when I worked at Subway back in high school. Well, that and when I hustled hard as a little 5th grader trying to sell $200+ worth of gift wrapping paper and other useless, overpriced junk from a school catalog in order to get a Magic 8 Ball in return.

So along with having no sales experience, I’m also not a big people person and rarely approach strangers just to say hello. Because of this, I was rather shocked to learn that I like selling t-shirts offline. Actually, I’m going to say that I don’t like it but that I absolutely 100% LOVE it! It was great getting to converse with everyone who came up to our tent and talk about all of our designs and the artists who created them!

Tilteed

One thing that I’ve learned is that if someone looks in your direction, even for a second from 15 feet away, you should greet them. If you do, there’s a high possibility that they’ll approach you and look at what you have to offer. Sometimes the people you don’t expect to be interested in your products end up loving them, so don’t leave anyone out when you’re greeting people.

We’ve done three events total now, and one thing we’ve noticed is that there will be slow periods and then all of a sudden, everyone will be swarming your tent at once. So if you’re experiencing a lag in customers coming up to your store front towards the beginning of an event, don’t call it quits just yet!

Tilteed

In conclusion, our first Last Thursday definitely blew my expectations away! It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you’re sharing artwork by some of the most amazing illustrators and designers from around the world with people who may not otherwise see these works. This is one of the reasons why I love graphic t-shirts as much as I do. You get to be a walking canvas every single day if you choose to.

Tilteed

We’re actually going to be at the Hawthorne Street Fair this upcoming Sunday (August 15). You should come and hang out if you’re in the Portland area! For more information, check out Think Hawthorne and click on “Happenings.” Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you!

- Bo aka dunz0

Be sure to check out the latest tee at Tilteed. The shirt is called Drowning Out The Sun and is on sale now for $12 but you can save $2 by using the coupon code “TILTCOTY” at checkout!

Drowning Out The Sun

Drowning Out The Sun

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