Ignoble’s Dino Boy

Santa Monica based Ignoble is known for their screen printed, hand numbered and short run tees. Their latest creation, Dino Boy is no different. Dino Boy is limited to a print run of 50 tees and features a black print on a slate American Apparel shirt.

Not a suit and tie person? If this true of you then this is a T-Shirt that you have to own. The whole point behind this graphic is to tell the world, loud and proud, that the suit and tie salesperson needs to go extinct. NOW.

Extinction is a reality. Scientists will have you believe it is a measureable quality, one that can be monitored, tracked, and traced. So we ask, why the hell do only cool things ever seem to go extinct? Enter Dino Boy.

Don’t get us wrong, ‘DB’ is a COOL graphic, and we’re rocking this shirt proudly. But society willing we’d have the whole lot of suit-and-tie salespeople extinct by morning, no further questions asked.

Dino Boy is available now from Ignoble for $22.95.

Dino Boy

Dino Boy

Jake Nickell From Threadless Headed to White House

Looks like the White House has requested the help of 25 of the countries top young entrepreneurs, and it looks like Jake Nickell, Threadless Co-Founder and Chief Strategic Officer will be there. It’s pretty exciting to know that our current government is tapping resources outside of their comfort zone, unlike previous administrations. Skaw (Nickell’s handle in InternetLAND) posted the following on the popular social networking site, Twitter:

Jake Nickell

Who else might be there? Well, here’s a list of some of InternetLAND’s most successful and youngest entrepreneurs: 

1. Mark Zuckerberg (23) — Facebook — $700 Million
2. Andrew Gower (28) — Runescape — $650 Million
3. Chad Hurley (30) — Youtube — $300 Million
4. Blake Ross and David Hyatt (22) — Mozilla — $120
5. Andrew Michael (29) — Fast Hosts — $110 Million
6. Angelo Sotira (26) — Deviant ART — $75 Million
7. John Vechey (28) — PopCap Games — $60 Million
8. Alexander Levin (23) — Image Shack — $56 Million
9. Jake Nickell (28) — Threadless — $50 Million
10. Greg Tseng and Johann Schleier-Smith (28) — Tagged — $45 Million
11. Sean Belnick (20) — Biz Chair — $42 Million
12. Matt Mullenweg (23) — WordPress — $40 Million
13. Kevin Rose (30) — Digg — $31 Million
14. Aodhan Cullen (24)– Stat Counter — $25 Million
15. Markus Frind (29) — Plenty Of Fish — $23 Million

Well we wait to see the outcome of this meeting, check out this video of MSNBC profiling Threadless.


Indie Tee Spotlight #12: Robit Studios

In this weeks edition of The Indie Tee Spotlight, I highlight a cool little small business venture led by Steve Orlando, self-described as a reluctant leader, disillusioned romantic and uneloquent philosophaster. Orlando started Robit Studios earlier this year with friend Jeff Gerzseny out of their frustration with graphic tees. 

I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Steve about the company he founded, Robit Studios, and why he aspired not to be “just another pretentious t-shirt company.” He discusses his love for small-business and why it’s smart (and worth it) to go “green.”

1. How long has Robit Studios been around? What inspired you to start a T-shirt brand?

We launched our website in March of this year. However the original idea and preparations for that launch began a few years ago. The inspiration to start a brand started when Jeff (the other half of Robit Studios) and I were frustrated with the unfunny slogan tees and obnoxious graphic tees that dominate the retail world. This was before we knew about places like Threadless. Jeff had some screen printing experience and a small wooden press from school so we decided to give it a shot.

2. The tagline “just another pretentious t-shirt company” can be found on the Robit Studios site. What do you mean by this?

When we first began brainstorming ideas and concepts for shirts we thought we were going to revolutionize the t-shirt world. However, as we began studying our competition and becoming familiar with the t-shirt blogging scene we realized that a lot of people not only had the same ideas, but were sometimes better executed. It made me realize that we can’t take ourselves too seriously.


3. Many of your tees have some sort of political message associated with it. Did you start Robit with the intention of producing politically inspired tees?

It wasn’t intentional. But, like a lot of people, we’ve been caught up in the interesting political environment we’ve had over the past few years. I also think that there are very few political t-shirts that are subtle in their message. For example, I would never wear a t-shirt that said “Buck Fush”. I think there was an unmet demand for shirts like “Chance of Reign”.

4. Strong ideals seem to be a huge part of the way Robit operates. From using only environmentally friendly inks to printing on sweat-shop free tees to hand printing each shirt. What made you decide to go the “green” route (and market yourselves as such) and why is this so important for Robit Studios considering the higher cost of these environmentally friendly products.

When we first seriously began discussing the creation of Robit Studios we knew we wanted to do it in a socially and environmentally friendly way. Since then I began working on my MBA in Environmentally Sustainable Management which helped us implement those ideas into our business model. I believe that true sustainability is the solution that will allow us to continue living on the planet in a way we’re familiar with. The beauty of sustainability is that it doesn’t conflict with capitalism, but actually complements it.

5. Your about page says “We [Robit Studios] gear our product toward anyone that appreciates the small businesses and creative minds, or the efforts of individuals against careless corporations that pander to the lowest common denominator.” What is it about small businesses, as compared to huge corporations, that gets you excited? What has the experience of owning and operating a small business been like for you?

Small businesses rock, simple as that. Just imagine if your only choice of t-shirt had to come from Wal-Mart. It doesn’t take much more than that to get me excited about the hundreds of small independent t-shirts brands that are available at my fingertips.

The experience of being a small business owner has been great. Knowing that there are people around the world who are wearing something I created feels incredible. This summer we got to do some festivals and I met a lot of amazing people, artists and bands. We’re teaming up with an amazing artist, Sean Madden, for some new t-shirts as well as another project which we’re hoping to launch soon.

6. Two of my favorite tees from the Robit Studios Store are “Chance of Reign” and “Ragingly Inefficient.” What message are you trying to send with these two tees?

[Read more…]

5 Things We Can Learn From The Threadless Story

Threadless was started by two guys that decided to invest in the prize money they won from an online contest. They created a business that allowed its community of diehard followers to create, hype and decide what products get made. There are a lot of things that indie brands can learn from the Threadless model, here, I present five things we can learn from the Threadless story. 

1. You Can Build A Business With Minimal Startup Funds. Threadless Co-Founders, Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart started Threadless using the $1000 prize money won from another online design contest. If you have extra cash lying around, invest in it wisely, Jake and Jacob did and now they run a multi-million dollar business whose model is built on handing out cash to design winners. The point is, in the grand scheme of things, you don’t need large sums of money to start a business. If you are driven and you  have a solid idea then you will be successful – in one way or another. 

2. Community Can Drive A Business. The Threadless model is entirely built around it’s community of dedicated users. People submit designs and people vote. All the while, free hype and publicity for these designs are generated by the community itself. Threadless is a self-sustaining business, unlike old-school fashions brands like Levi’s, Guess and Quicksilver, that spend millions of dollars in marketing and print ads to generate hype, Threadless let’s it’s community take care of that for them.

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3. Make It Fun and Stick With It. Everything about Threadless screams fun. From the designs they select to the layout of the website. The point here is, if you have a theme to your business, push that theme hard and follow through. Even though the ongoing design contest is a constant, they still have smaller “theme” contests, like the current Threadless Loves Travel contest. Their product shots keep with the fun theme as do the weekly videocast. If your brand has a theme, stick to it ad push it hard. 

4. The Appeal of Limited Edition is Hard to Resist. Whenever things have the “Limited Edition” moniker slapped on it, people buy it up. I think that having a design available for purchase on a limited basis and then marketing it as such was a brilliant move by Threadless. “Limited Edition” provides a sense of urgency whenever a potential customer is deciding whether or not they should buy a tee and instills the idea of “I should buy it now or else it won’t be available next time I visit.” I’m surprised that there aren’t many indie tee designers that market their tees as being a limited prints when in fact they are, especially when they print just 50 or 100 of a particular design. I think independent designers should take advantage of the “Limited Edition” moniker. If you do, let me know if people start to buy your stuff up. 

5. The Physical and Online Worlds Can Mesh. Threadless was able to build a physical store from the success of its online store. Johnny Cupcakes did the same thing. The physical and online worlds can mesh if there is value in both. The online community is the strong point of the online Threadless store. The physical Threadless store is able to incorporate things that they otherwise would not be able to do on the online store, for instance, the Threadless Art Gallery. Building and maintaining an online store is relatively cheap compared to opening and managing a physical store. A physical store might not always be necessary, but, if your brand can grow and if there is added value to the physical store than it might be something to consider.

Was this article helpful? Let me know. Have your incorporated in Threadless techniques into your own business model? If so, how?