Win a Glorious Nonsensities T-Shirt!

Mr. Elephant on a brain needs a new home and your torso could be it! Interested in getting a brand spanking new Glorious Nonsensities tee? Cool. All you need to do is subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “subscribe to feed via email” link here or on the side bar. 

By subscribing to the feed by email you’ll not only get site updates but will also be entered to win a new t-shirt! Don’t worry, you’re email won’t be sold or made public. Once you subscribe using that link you’ll be asked to confirm your subscription, so be sure to check your email for the confirmation link. 

That’s it! I’ll be running this freebie offer until this Friday (September 26, 2008) and then I’ll randomly select the winner from the subscriber list. The t-shirt in question is a men’s large, and even if you don’t fit a men’s large, enter anyway that way you can give it away to a lucky buddy who does wear a men’s large!

PS: I’m also looking for a name for Mr. Elephant. He say’s that the “Mr.” reminds him of his father. So, if you have an idea for a cool name for Mr., I mean our elephant buddy then post it in the comments!

My Spreadshirt Experience: A Review

A few weeks ago I decided to test out Spreadshirt by having a couple of shirts printed with the Glorious Nonsensities logo. Mr. Elephant on a brain wanted his own tee and so I gave Spreadshirt a shot. I was skeptical at first since I had previously tried CafePress and was unimpressed with the results. The CafePress shirt I had printed a year or two ago seemed very cheap and the print resembled an iron-on. Needless to say, I didn’t expect much from the Spreadshirt print but out of curiosity was still interested to see what the final product looked like compared to my CafePress print. 

The Spreadshirt experience begins with the interactive and easy to use T-shirt Designer. Using the T-shirt Designer is essentially a three step process: 1. choose your product (i.e. type of t-shirt), 2. upload and placement of your design and/or text, 3. checkout. It really is as easy as that three step process. Spreadshirt comes with a couple of preloaded designs for you to add to your T-shirt, if none of those are to your liking then you are free to upload your own designs. You can easily increases and decrease the size of the design in the T-shirt Designer as needed and there are tools that allow you to easily align your design. 

Once your custom tee is designed you can easily select the size and quantity of shirts that you would like to order. The only problem here is that if you wanted to different sizes, you would need to go through the design process for each size. It would be much more convenient if you could design once and then select different sizes (for a specific product) and quantities. The way that it is now, you can only select one size per design and then adjust the amount of that particular size you would like to order. 

Prices vary depending on the product you decide to print on. Prices for mens tees start off at around 10 bucks for lightweight tees, while American Apparel tees start at a more pricey 19 bucks. And of course you get charged for each design you upload or text you decide to print. I paid $12.40 for each of the three shirts that I ordered (two guy tees and one ladies tee). I received my product within a week, which is pretty speedy considering I live in Hawaii and that it is a custom product. Shipping costs cary depending on how you much spend (shipping for me cost $4.99 for the three tees I ordered). 

I was very happy with the tees that I received. They were much better, quality wise, compared to my past experience with CafePress. If you plan to print hundreds of tees then Spreadshirt is probably too pricey of an option. However, if you need a custom, one off tee, then I highly recommend Spreadshirt!

If you want to learn more, here are links to info on how Spreadshirt prints their shirts and info on digital printing. 

Finally, here’s a promotional video from Spreadshirt (which is pretty neat to watch I have to say). 

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!

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!

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.

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!