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

Earth-Rise + 40% Off

Check out this neat tee from Public Domain Clothing called Earth-Rise. Tired of the basic skeleton tee? Well, this one sort of the Sixth Sense of skeleton tees. It’s got a twist. They’ve fused a pair of astronauts and the planet earth to make on disturbing (and rather cool) skeleton tee. I dig.

Earth-Rise is available now from Public Domain Clothing for $25 and if you use the coupon code TAKE40 you can score 40% off your entire purchase.

Earth-Rise

Public Domain Clothing

Via

Heading South For The Winter

Heading South For The Winter is the newest tee from Uneetee.com and the most recent $1500 contest winner. The artist, againstbound, recently mentioned that he submitted this design to Uneetee last October, yeah, as in october 2008! What an awesome surprise it must have been to have won so many months later. You can pick up Heading South For Winter from Uneetee.com for just $12.

Heading South For The Winter

IDONTCARE by Drew & Natalie Dee

I really do enjoy perusing the Sharing Machine, the online store of creative duo and real life husband and wife, Drew & Natalie Dee. This shirt pretty much sums up how I feel on certain days. A bit bipolar to say the least. A little happy, a little sad, and somewhat indifferent. This is the perfect shirt to wear whenever you’re feeling moody. It’s sort of the whatever shirt that sums up whatever kind of days.

You can have IDONTCARE for a reasonable $16 from the Sharing Machine to wear whenever you’re having a whatever day. 

IDONTCARE by Drew & Natalie Dee


Cute microbes on sale

Hug A Tree For An Exclusive Tee!

Threadless is giving away one of their 12 Month Club Tees! All you need to do is snap a picture of yourself hugging a tree. If you don’t have a tree to hug then submit your interpretation of tree hugging! You have till Monday July 20 12 pm CST to submit your entry. Submit your pictures in the comments section of this blog post at Threadless. 

Interview with Threadless Loves Green Winner Kanzaki Choi

I had the opportunity to interview Kanzaki Choi, who this week won the Threadless Loves Green Contest! Post in the comments section here what you’ve been doing to help keep the earth green and you could win the Threadless Loves Green winning design, Show Me The Vanilla Sky..Pls!! (1 winner will be randomly chosen from the pool of people that leave a comment here). Good luck and congratulations Kanzaki! 

Coty: What was your reaction when you found out that you won the Threadless Loves Green contest with your entry, Show Me The Vanilla Sky..Pls!!?

Kanzaki: It was the best moment in my life….I was crying, screaming, howling, spanking myself and finally I found it wasn’t a dream!!! Thanks Threadless and the amazing community gave me the staggering journey.

Coty: What was the inspiration behind your winning design?

Kanzaki: The bird eyes view line drawing has its thrill, it is dramatic and epic for story telling, you can find it very common in Japanese Manga. The design is a story telling approach, I try to tell the audients how do our animal friends feels while we human beings turning the planet to a furiously polluted “vanilla sky”, though they cannot say anything to complain, we should feel guilty when seeing the vanilla sky scene from their perspective. I think the bird eyes view is perfect to deliver that kind of impact both visually and psychologically how we perceive the message.

Coty: Along with the cash prize from Threadless, you will also be receiving a ton of community donated prizes – which of these prizes are you most looking forward to?

Kanzaki: Yea!!! This is definitely one of the best part of this contest and thanks Threadless had this great idea!! :) Though it is very hard to pick they all sounds great! I would say I’m anticipating goodies from bnannas, who courtesy an original song about whatever I like!! Alvarejo, the amazing artist who courtesy an “insanely detailed” portrait of me!! Haha… how funny that will turn out!! And ivejustquitsmoking (Marco), the creative genius who will courtesy an “experimental painted pair of shoes” !!:D

Coty: Which of the Loves Green entries were your favorites, which ones did you think would win?

Kanzaki: There are just too many top designs! Threadless can simply print the Green subs for a new line of green tees!! “Carpooling is Fun!” by Alvarejo, it has so much fun and goodness in one!! Killer work for sure! “Clean-Up, Clean-Up, Everybody, Everywhere”. A great idea with epic execution by alexmdc, the winning contender of the last two Threadless loves contest. They are the winners for me, and still many designs that I really love personally, such as “The Vicious Circle of Deforestation” by Tang Yau Hoong, “The Beginner’s Guide to Tree hugging” by gumbolimbo and “Forget Me Not” by yeohgh.

Coty: What are some of the things that you do to help keep the planet green?

Kanzaki: There are many things we can do to help reduce harm to the planet, one of those that not many people know is buying less bottled water. I don’t purchase bottled water, as it uses up oil and other fossil fuels to be produced and shipped, fills up landfills, represents wasted money, produce of CO2, thus contribute to global warming. It is very simple that we can drink tap water and reuse plastic bottles to help keep the planet green.

Thanks again to Kanzaki Choi for taking the time to chat with me, and remember, leave a comment here for your chance to win Show Me The Vanilla Sky..Pls!! by Kanzaki Choi!

Show Me The Vanilla Sky Pls!! by Kanzaki Choi

Show Me The Vanilla Sky by Kanzaki Choi

Coty Loves Threadless #11 – Hearts Earth Stuff

Coty really does love Threadless and as such, it’s time for another Coty Loves Threadless! It’s episode 11 guys, we’re almost into the teens, can you believe it! Congratulations to Nature Troopers of the World by Yeoh Guan Hong for being my Threadless Pick of the Week! And BTW, I hear Mr. Festa is now doing his own Threadless Pick of the Week on the Friday Festa Dome Show – see guys, I’m catching on! If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out and vote for my TypeTees slogan submissions – I’m submitting one every day until I get printed! Come on Threadless, I need a Threadless shield that I can call my own!

Coty Loves Threadless #11 on YouTube. Also, I’ll give you a hug if you subscribe to me on YouTube!

Nature Troopers of the World by Yeoh Guan Hong is my Threadless Pick of the Week!

Nature Troopers of the World by Yeoh Guan Hong

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Avaryce Clothing Spring 2009 Line

Avaryce (pronounce av-er-is), a new brand out of Southern California, has just released their first line of tees this season called 2 Legit 2 Quit (MC Hammer would be proud). The slogan at Avaryce is “The World is Your Canvas, Don’t Let it Go to Waste.” and as such they pack every order with a random color marker and encourage Avaryce fans to go out and create something unique. If  you send in your art (created with the marker) they will post it in their Art section. 

The shirts are printed on American Apparel blanks and sell for $18. You can also pick up the Avaryce package which includes all three tees from the new line for $45 (a savings of 9 buckaroos). 

Avaryce

Green Tree by Jeremy Prasatik

Green is in and for good reason – it’s just plain good karma to be nice to the planet we live on. And this tee, by Dallas based artist Jeremy Prasatik aka jp33, will show the world that you are indeed an eco friendly fellow. This shirt is an interesting one to me because design wise, it looks like it belongs on the tag of the tee instead of the main design. The tee is available from jp33 for $25 and of course it is printed on 100% organic cotton. 

Green Tree

Green Tree

I Am Wellness

I Am Wellness is a clothing brand based out of Seattle, Washington and operated by a young couple that is dedicated to empowering the people that wear their tees and those around them. All I Am Wellness tees are made 100% in the USA which is always a good thing.

My overall impression of the company, based on their overall mission and story, is that they fill a niche in the apparel industry geared towards those interested in living a healthy lifestyle, whether it be through exercise and athletics, eating right, or living green. I can definitely see this line being sold in health clubs, spas and gyms throughout the country – I think these tees would see in those markets.

I talked a little bit with one half of the I Am Wellness team. We discussed the meaning of I Am Wellness, their target demographic and some of the lessons they’ve learned as newbies in the industry. 

Be The Wellness

Coty: What does I Am Wellness mean to you?

Brandon: I AM WELLNESS is an empowering phrase which means unlimited possibilities, unlimited potential, the ability to achieve anything no matter what current situation you are in.

Coty: You mention on your website that your brand is all about empowering the people that wear your products. How would you describe your target demographic?

Brandon: The I AM WELLNESS brand was created to empower all people to live the fullest life possible regardless of their age, current health or financial status. It should invoke a feeling of unlimited possibility and unlimited potential. Our target demographic is anyone who wants to better themselves and help empower the lives of those around them. This demographic is very diverse, it ranges from people who are healthy, sick, young, old, rich and poor – it is truly for everyone.

Coty: Prior to starting I Am Wellness, neither you nor your wife Annika had any experience in running a clothing brand. What has the experience been like for the two of you so far?

Brandon: Since neither Annika nor myself have a background in the clothing industry we had to learn from the ground up. Starting our clothing business has been a very creative experience. It has been very fun and we have met all kinds of really cool people.

Coty: What are two important things that the two of you have learned during this process?

Brandon: Two of the most important things we have learned is:

  1. Trademark your idea! Before we launched our first shirt we had already started the trademark process. Chances are, if you think you have a good idea, someone else will try and profit from it. We have already had people try and copy our brand.
  2. Be patient, have fun, stay excited and…..get a cool website! Make sure you have an easy to use website that provides detailed information about your products, cool photos, email sign ups and a place for people to receive free information (blog, spotlight, etc.). 

This is an amazing industry which takes time to grow in. Don’t let slow sales get you frustrated, as you develop your brand and grow as a company the sales will come.

Most of all, have fun, enjoy the journey and remember…it’s just t-shirts!!!

I Am Wellness

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