I Wear Your Shirt

How does this sound for an idea: wear a different shirt every day for a year and have people pay you to do it.

That’s exactly what Jason Sadler is doing at I Wear Your Shirt. The concept is very simple, you buy a day that you would like your tee to be worn, you ship the tee out and it’s gets worn by Jason and marketed on his blog, YouTube, Ustream, Flickr and Twitter. The hope is that for a day, your tee will go “viral” and thus putting your brand or company in the spotlight for 24 hours.

I personally think that this is a great idea and even wish I had thought of it! But will people be intrigued long enough to follow Jason for an entire year? 

“Days are sold at “face value” so January 1 is $1 and December 31 is $365.” Jason has already sold out of tee days up to March 2009. That means that the starting day price is at $90+. Someone has even bought the last day of the year, December 31, 2009 for, you guessed it, $365. If you do the math, and if Jason sells out every day in 2009 then he stands to make over $60,000!

Does the price tag warrent the rising day costs? Potentially. Especially if Jason becomes an Internet celebrity and is paraded all over old media (i.e. News stations, radio and magazines).

I would definitely say that if your company has some “change” to spend then this might be an interesting way to market your product. But for the rest of you, you might be better off spending 30 bucks for a months worth of ad time on a good t-shirt blog.

PleaseDressMe Opening Sequence

Have you seen the new animated opening sequence for the PleaseDressMe show? Well here it is! It was recently posted on Vimeo by creator Jeff Peak. Apparently it was made as a gift to the PleaseDressMe guys – how cool is that. I saw at least one shirt that I own in that video, did you see any tees that you own? By the way, Episode 1 of PleaseDressMe TV was released a few weeks ago, when can we see Episode 2 or am I just looking in the wrong place? 

This is an opening animation I built for the online show PleaseDressMeTV. PleaseDressMe is a search engine for t-shirts created by AJ and Gary Vaynerchuk. These guys are quite inspiring and for that I created this as a gift. – Jeff Peak

Please Dress Me TV Animated Open from Jeff Peak on Vimeo.

Black Week at Goodie Two Sleeves

In appreciation of being featured in Indie Tee Spotlight #10 (or it could be a Black Friday thing but I’m inclined to think otherwise, LOL), Goodie Two Sleeves has announced an AWESOME sale! They will be offering a staggering 50% off your entire order. You want even awesomer? OK, the sale lasts a whole week! Want more? Every time you make a purchase your are entered to win 7 free Goodie Two Sleeves tees! The sale kicks off on November 28 and will run through December 5. 

Johnny Cupcakes Releases New iPhone Cases

Johnny Cupcakes recently released some new Apple gear, and you know how much I dig Apple gear! The new Johnny Cupcakes iPhone cases are 100% rubber and fit both the first generation and 3G iPhone. The cases sport the classic Johnny Cupcakes fork logo on the back with the classic bones and cupcake. You can purchases the cases now in Gray and Pink color options for $24. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick one of these cupcake cases up next week when I am up in Boston – you know I’ll be hitting up the Newbury Johnny Cupcakes Store!

The Return on Involvement

In this post I talk a little bit about how you can invest in being involved with social medial and your customers. The return on involvement can be a tremendous one with word of mouth being the catalyst of that return. 

These are just 5 tips that I thought to list, based on things that I have read and based on past successes. There are potentially tons of ways that you can become involved with your customer base. Attack every one of those opportunities. 

If you have additional tips on how, as a brand, you can be more involved then please list it in the comments. I will be sure to use it in a future update post!

1. Bloggers Are Your Friend. As a brand in 2008 you need to know how to maximize your presence throughout InternetLAND. One of the best ways to do this is to build relationships with bloggers within your niche. Build a list of all the blogs that you can find, within your niche, and get to know the blog, the writer(s) at that blog and that blog community. As a blogger I love it when people within my niche contact me regarding feedback/suggestions, product announcements, or requests. More times than not, I will oblige to the request and if that request means mentioning a new product that that means free advertising for the person that took the time to contact me. Now imagine if that person contacted 10, 20 or even 50 other bloggers – and at least half of those bloggers made a blog post with the request. Bloggers = free advertising.

Real World Example: This one happens all the time with me, brands send me promotional items and I am more than happy to make a quick post about the product or their sale. I sometimes even do a quick Twitter post. In fact, it usually goes a step further and I end up doing a much larger feature on that brand. 

2. People Like Free Swag. If you’ve got extra stock lying around, why not give some away. The return on that investment will be well worth it. Instead of having that old tee sit around, unpurhased and unadored, ship it off to a t-shirt blogger, hand it off to a friend or even a random person. You may even want to try and send it to a famous person that you know wears styles similar to your brand. It’s about creating buzz and involvement so when you give your free stuff away remember to mention a little about your brand, where they can get more (i.e. your online store or website), and any “new” products that you have available. People like free stuff and so when they get free stuff they tend to talk about said free stuff with family, friends, and co-workers. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and giving away free stuff will get that word of mouth ball rolling.

Real World Example: Please Dress Me is doing this now by giving away free tees daily as way to promote their new T-shirt search engine.   

3. Build Mystique. Flyers are great but they often get tossed – I’m guilty of doing that. One thing that people, especially in the 18-25 year old demographic, would be less likely to toss would be stickers. Many indie tee companies have stickers printed with their logo, brand name and address of their website. Instead of plastering your site address on the sticker, i.e. www.lintyfresh.com, why not just have your logo and brand name on the sticker. The psychology behind this tip is that people can be complacent at certain times, when you give them too much information they take it for granted and will tend to forget it. Give them a piece of the puzzle and build mystique. Provide just the brand name or even just the logo and, if interested, they will definitely (I know I would) be more inclined to do a Google search on the brand or ask around about the logo. Same can be said for other promotion materials like buttons. Make them work a little. Mystique builds interest and that interest will pay off.  

Real World Example: Never In Wonderland (NIWL), recently featured in the Indie Tee Spotlight, plaster stickers wherever they go. The stickers just say NIWL on them. All it takes is one kid to see that NIWL sticker and then Google them and then a potential sale is born.

4. Be Accessible. If you’re an indie tee brand then try your best to be as accessible to your customers as possible. You’re not a multi-million dollar company (yet) so you can’t afford to have a dozen assistants answering emails and phone calls. You need to do this on your own. You need to be committed to doing this. Creating and building a good rapport with your customers is very important for 1. word of mouth and 2. trust. Consumers, myself included, trust independent sellers that much more when they know they can get their questions answered. Imagine a potential buyer, unsure about sizing, who emails you and asks whether or not he would fit a medium or larger based on his measurements. If you don’t answer this potential buyers email that might lead to a lost sale. Answer that email and 1. the chances of that potential sale increases and 2. word of mouth (yes, again) – he goes off and tells friends that “the owner is accessible”,”I’ve talked to him”, “you don’t need to worry.” One email can impact multiple sales, remember that the next time you think about skipping or auto-deleting an email. 

Real World Example: Gary Vaynerchuk, host of the very popular Wine Library TV, is noted as answering every email he receives. If he can answer emails in the hundreds and thousands, there’s no reason that you can’t. 

5. Non-Issue Replacements. InternetLAND is a very loud and vocal arena. Make ONE customer angry and that might lead to negative publicity and the loss of multiple sales. Imagine a customer that contacts you regarding a “missing” t-shirt in his order. You can deal with this customer in two ways: 1. call bullshit and assume he is lying, or 2. take the risk on the bullshit and assume he is telling the truth. Option 1, assuming you did not offer a refund or replacement, might lead to an angry customer that expresses his anger on multiple blogs and forums with a negative review of your brand/company. You save $20 on a replacement tee but potentially lose hundreds or thousand of dollars of lost sales based on one customers angry review. Option 2, assuming you sent a full refund or replacement item, might lead to that now happy customer (whether or not he lied is a moot point) to post on multiple blogs and forums about how great the customer service at your site was. You lose $20 but potentially gain hundreds or even thousands of dollars in sales because of one happy customer (remember word of mouth?). Upset one customer and they might lead to an enormous amount of lost sales. Make one customer happy and you’ll see a return on your investment.

Real World Example: “Best Buy didn’t want to honor the sale price of the 2GB flash drive Matt ordered through their website, so when Matt arrived to pick-up his purchase, the store’s assistant manager called customer service and, pretending to be Matt, asked to cancel the order.” Needless to say, the story ended up on the Consumerist and on Digg and was seen by millions of potential buyers. 

Big Cartel CSS customization

Jon Kruse from Mediocre Clothing has started what will hopefully be a series of posts on how to customize shops on Big Cartel. It’s definitely a quality read and helpful if you plan on tweaking your Big Cartel store. Check it out here!

5 Tips That Will Improve Your Online Store

Places like Big Cartel make it easy for anyone interested in selling their custom merchandise to folks in InternetLAND. Big Cartel offers a slew of options and the ability to customize individual stores. Here I offer a few easy tips that people can use to enhance their online stores, like the ones on Big Cartel, and a couple of more complex tips that can be used by people that have coded their own shops and built their sites from scratch.

Each of these tips will hopefully increase user interaction and improve the way that people browse and purchase tees from your site!

1. Large Previews. One of the things that annoy me the most about online stores are small previews. If I can’t get a nice large view of the product then chances are I won’t buy the item. Thumbnails are too small to get an idea of the detail of the design. Threadless uses nice and large preview images for each of the shirts that they sell. They use previews that are 640 pixels wide – this is a nice size, anything larger might be overkill. 

2. Actual Product Shots. Photoshop mockups are great and look nice but what’s even better are actual shots of the printed item to supplement the mockups. You can do this by doing you own photo shoot or you can make it interactive by encouraging buyers or fans of your brand to send you their photos. Another idea would be to set up a Flickr account for your brand and have a Flickr group so that your customers who are Flickr users can upload their photos directly to your group. 

3. Make Your Site Social. Comments are great to building a community. Why not have the ability for users to make comments on individual product pages. iTunes does this quite well by allowing members of the iTunes community to comment and rate tunes that they purchase. Wouldn’t it be great if you could leave a comment and even rate tees that you purchased on the product page of the design you loved? 

4. Top Sellers List. Having a section that lists the top 5 or 10 designs in your store is a great way to sell even more of your most popular items. People tend to gravitate toward items that they know are popular. These can either be based on sales, ratings or a combination of both. Having a Top Sellers or Popular Items list points these customers in the right direction! 

5. Out of Print Gallery. Indie tee designs are pieces of art and they should be treated as such. I often wonder what out-of-print designs from my favorite designers looked like. Why not have a section set up that showed off your designs that people can NO LONGER buy. Make people want what they can’t have! This will make people want to buy items that you currently have in stock (in fear of them being sold out and gone forever) and will provide word of mouth (they’ll start talking about your old stuff that they can’t have).

Do you run your own online store and have tips that you would like to add? Feel free to mention them in the comment section below! Think these ideas suck or wouldn’t work – let me know why!

5 Twitter Tips To Get Brand Exposure

This is a follow up to a post that I made last month regarding how you can use MySpace to market your T-shirt designs. I continue with the social network theme and describe 5 handy tips of how you can utilize the micro-blogging tool, Twitter, to maximize exposure of your personal brand. 

1. Engage in conversation. This tip is probably the most important when trying to use Twitter to gain exposure for your brand. The more you interact with the people you follow and your followers the more engrained you will become in the collective conscious. The more you @ reply and dm (direct message) people the greater the chance that they will remember who you are. The ultimate goal is not only to build on the relationships of those you follow but for you to develop strong relations with your followers.

2. Automate Twitters Across Platforms. It doesn’t make sense for you to tweet a message and then type out the same message to update your status on other platforms like Facebook, FriendFeed and Pownce. Make these platforms work with each other. For instance, every time you make a tweet you can instantly have your Facebook status updated with the same message. Similarly, when you Pownce, you can have that Pownce message automatically made into a tweet. FriendFeed is a cool aggregator of social networks so you can have your tweets automatically appear in your FriendFeed profile as well. Now instead of typing the same thing 4 times across 4 different platforms, you just need to do it once. 

To auto update your Facebook status with your most recent Twitter tweets:

1. Install the Twitter for Facebook application
2. In the Twitter for Facebook application 
3. Click the “Allow Twitter to Update Your Facebook Status” button just above the text box.

Check this post out to see how you can sync Twitter with Pownce. 

3. Friend Up. Do you have a particular niche that you’re interested in? Let’s take for example T-shirts. If you blog about T-shirts then it would make sense for you to be friends with people on Twitter who are also interested in the T-shirt culture. Here’s what you can do, you can actually search Twitter by going to search.twitter.com. Look up key words related to your niche. For instance, I am interested in tees so I did a Twitter search of people talking about Emptees and Threadless. Once you find these people, follow them. Chances are that they will follow you and then get your Twitter updates as a result. Now that you’ve found these people, chances are they are friends with other people interested in T-shirts, so be sure to check out who they follow as well. Also remember to search for friends feature in Twitter to check your email (i.e. Gmail) for contacts who are already on registered on Twitter. Find your audience and be friends with them. Feel free to add me @cotygonzales!

4. Sync Blog Posts. This is a no brainer. Every time you make a new blog post, tweet about it. Again, you can automate this process, however, for this instance I do not. I always provide a personal message quickly describing the post and make it sound interesting (hopefully increasing the chances that my followers will click on the link) instead of having just a generic automated link to the blog post. However, if you decide to take the automated approach, check out Twitter Tools for WordPress, it allows you to sync your blog with Twitter and provides different ways of displaying your tweets on your blog. 

5. Be Interesting, Fun and Tweet Outside Your Niche. It’s important for you to Twitter about things related to your blog (see Tip #4) but it also important to tweet about things unrelated to your blog. People like out-of-nowhere tweets that raise an eyebrow or two. Tweet about random and fun things that happen to you throughout your day. Random posts remind people that you are human and not just a robot spamming Twitter with links to your blog!

Twitter is powerful. Learning to harness that power will unleash an invaluable tool for anyone trying to develop a name or brand for themselves in this increasingly social-centered Internet.

By the way, here are some Twitter T-shirts that might peak your interest!

You can also find more Twitter themed tees at Eat Sleep Tweet!

Microsofts New Ad Campaign

Apparently, Microsoft has decided to embark on a 300 million dollar marketing blitz in hopes of changing the image that Apple has portrayed PC users to be with their “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ad campaign. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but my goodness, will Microsoft ever be able to come up with anything original?

Instead of trying to defend themselves by repeatedly using a line that Apple made into catchphrase they once again demonstrate a lack of innovation and creativity. This is the story of Microsoft. This is a lame attempt by Microsoft to appear hip. They even tried extra hard by getting Pharrell Williams and Eva Longoria in the commercial, when the recently short-lived and ill-fated Gates-Seinfeld campaign failed. 

It hurts Microsoft even more that Pharrell and some of the other notables in the “I’m a PC” campaign are known Mac users. It turns out that Pharrell has stated as having used an “Apple Power Mac Dual 1.8 GHz G5 with Cinema Display” to produce the album Seeing Sounds. Pharrel has also talked about his love for the iPod on many occasions, here’s an example. 

Microsoft, instead of trying to make yourself look cool and hip by buying out a Mac user, like Pharrell Williams, who has hip-hop credentials and the coolness factor you so desire, maybe you should focus your ad campaigns on your products. I hear Windows Vista makes for a great operating system. Or not.

Update: Further digging by some intrepid people in InternetLAND has found that Macs were used to create the images distributed and posted on the Microsoft’s Web site for the “I’m a PC” ad campaign. Here’s an excerpt form the article:

Several digital images that Microsoft has posted on its Web site to trumpet its new “I’m a PC” ad campaign were actually created on Macs, according to the files’ originating-software stamp.

Four of the images that Microsoft made available on itsPressPass site last week display the designation “Adobe Photoshop C3 Macintosh” when their file properties are examined. The images appear to be frames from the television ads that Microsoft launcehd Thursday.

One of the images is of a real Microsoft engineer, identified only as “Sean,” who resembles John Hodgman, the actor who plays the PC character in Apple’s iconic ads. Reportedly, Microsoft will play off Apple’s own campaign—during which Hodgman introduces himself with the line, “Hello, I’m a PC”—with its engineer saying “Hello, I’m a PC, and I’ve been made into a stereotype.”

Other images posted by Microsoft last Thursday include shots of author Deepak Chopra; Canadian adventurer and educator Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice Expeditions; and a shark-surround diver named “Meaghan.”

Not all of the images on the PressPass site were generated on Macs. The sample print ads, which highlight the campaign’s “Life Without Walls” slogan, were produced using the Windows version of Adobe Photoshop, according to their files.

The originating software and platform can be found in downloaded versions of the files using built-in tools on either a Mac running Mac OS X or on a PC running Windows.

In Windows XP, for instance, users can view the tag by right-clicking the downloaded file, selecting Properties from the drop-down menu, then clicking the Summary tab. “Adobe Photoshop CS3 Macintosh” appears beside “Creation Software.”

On a Mac, after opening the downloaded file in Preview, users can see the tag by choosing Inspector from the Tools menu, clicking on the middle More Info tab, then clicking on the tab marked TIFF. “Adobe Photoshop CS3 Macintosh” appears beside “Software.”

Microsoft’s campaign is the creation of the Crispin Porter + Bogusky agency, part of a $300 million effort to revamp Windows Vista’s reputation.