Johnny Cupcakes x Hawaii Lecture and Q&A Recap

The Johnny Cupcakes lecture could not have come at a better time. The theme for the lecture was the notion that “Real success is being happy doing what you love.” I took that to heart. So much so that two days later, I decided that I would quit my day job. Nonsense? Truth. But I am getting a a bit ahead of myself.

Here's a photo of me in my Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirt. I'm excited for the lecture!

The Johnny Cupcakes event was set to kick off at 7pm at the latest Honolulu art hub, Loft In Space. I’ve never been there so I was excited not just to see Johnny Cupcakes, but also to see what the vibe was like at the Loft. I lie. I was 99% excited to see Johnny Cupcakes and maybe 1% excited to see what the vibe was like at the Loft. Nonetheless, I showed up at the Loft In Space about 2 hours before the event. My good friend, Joel, tagged along. It was only fitting since he is the one that takes all of those photos that you see of me in T-Shirts on this website [thanks, Joel]. He also digs Johnny Cucpakes.

You could tell that Johnny Cupcakes is a relatively novel brand in Hawaii since there was practically no line when I arrived. In fact, when a line did start to form about 45 minutes before 7pm, I was at the head of the line. Yep, a T-Shirt blogger at the front of the line to listen to a T-Shirt entrepreneur talk about his brand. Fitting, don’t you think?

Johnny Cupcakes ballons outside of Fresh Cafe / Loft In Space.

Waiting to get in. I was the first in line.

Inside the Loft In Space, Johnny prepares his Pop-Up Shop.

Of course, they let all of us sort of marinate outside of the Loft for a bit before letting us in. Thankfully, the line grew. It grew pretty long. I guess that’s an effect of something that we locals here call “Hawaiian Time.” Everything seems to move a tad bit slower here. Which isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. I was just stoked to see so many likeminded Johnny Cupcakes fans in line here in Hawaii. I was stoked and pumped.

Eventually they did let us into the Loft In Space. The old warehouse behind the Fresh Cafe turned art gallery/lounge is not that big. The place was tightly packed with fans hungry for Cupcakes. When Johnny did come up and take the stage, there was a thunderous applause. It was exciting. The suitcase tour that had eluded our tiny state in the past was finally here. Wow.

Johnny Cupcakes being mobbed. Not really.

Real Success is Being Happy Doing What You Love.

The Johnny Cupcakes Stage.

Johnny, whose real last name is Earle, started off his talk by mentioning some of his early business ideas. He did everything from selling lemonade to holding garage sales (when no one was home) to selling itching powder at school. Each of these examples were filled with anecdotes taken from Johnny’s youth – many of which were hilarious. He was definitely born to be an entrepreneur.

Eventually, Johnny talked about how Johnny Cupcakes was born. How he hustled in the beginning by selling his tees out of his old car and even meeting strangers at the mall to save on shipping costs. He talked about how he lived with his parents for the first few years of Johnny Cupcakes and eventually took over their house with boxes of Johnny Cupcakes stock. From there, he talked about how the brand took off and how he was eventually able to take some risks and rent retail space in his hometown, just a few blocks from his childhood home.

The DJ and Johnny Cupcakes Pop-Up Shop

Johnny promised that he would meet each and everyone that attended. And he did.

When things really took off for Johnny Cupcakes, Johnny the man was able to stay grounded. He talked about how he did not succumb to buying fancy cars or lavish gifts. Instead, he would put his money back into his business. Eventually, he did buy his own home and turned the basement into an old school arcade. That was his gift to himself. No jets, no fancy cars, no opulent mansions, but instead a room full of vintage arcades. That’s awesome and respectable.

The rest of the talk was spent on how you can do things to reinvent your brand. He talked about the importance of being original and doing things that no one else is doing. He talked about the importance of not becoming a fad that will fade quickly. He talked about attention to detail. He talked about the importance of packaging and why it’s important to carry around unique business cards. And of course, he talked about how he has been able to leverage the concept of limited edition items to his advantage.

To sum things up, the Johnny Cupcakes x Hawaii lecture was awesome. It was everything that I expected and more. I didn’t expect him to take the time to meet with everyone that attended, but he did. Seriously, after the lecture another line formed so that people could meet and chat with Johnny. I probably spent 20 minutes or so chatting with Mr. Cupcakes. He’s a cool dude! There was a lot of information shared by Johnny, a lot of which I will be using and taking advantage of. It was great.

Johnny's mom, Lorraine Earle, works the Pop-Up Shop.

But what’s this about me quitting my day job? You see, I used to do two things. I worked as a neuroscience research specialist (this was my post-doc, something that PhD’s usually automatically do after they spend years working on their PhD’s) and also as a University lecturer. I found out quickly that I loved teaching at the University. I love being a professor. The research part, not so much. It might have been the environment that I was in, but whatever the case, I was not happy at my post-doc. I teach Psychology 100: Introduction to Psychology early in the morning, 8:30am to be exact. When I’m done at 9:30am I’m super stoked about my lecture and interacting with my students. After teaching, I would then go to the lab and do the research stuff for my Post-Doc. I found that at the end of the day I hated everything. I went from loving what I did in the morning to hating the world in the evening. Not good. The Johnny Cupcakes lecture helped me to realize that I was not happy doing what I was doing. I figured that I needed to focus on teaching and becoming a better professor. I needed to focus on getting a full load of courses to teach next semester and the one after that. I needed to focus on finding a regular lecture gig. And so I did. I quit my post-doc – the biggest risk that I’ve ever taken in my life, all because of Johnny Cupcakes. Oh, yeah, and quitting gives me more time to make this blog shine. Fuck yes. Let the hustle begin.

Do More of What Makes You Happy.

Johnny Cupcakes on the left and Coty on the right! We both like to make funny faces.

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Johnny Cupcakes x New England Patriots Crossbones Mashup

Superbowl XLVI is fast approaching and I’m not sure who you’ll be cheering for, but for me it’ll be all about the New England Patriots. And of course, Mr. Johnny Cupcakes will be cheering for his home team too. To celebrate, he has even released a super limited edition Patriot Crossbones T-Shirt. It’s the classic Johnny Cucpakes crossbones design mashed up with New England Patriots colors. I like!

Patriot Crossbones is available now for both guys and girls at the Johnny Cupcakes online shop for $24.99. Snag one now. Tom Brady is getting old. This design might not be back for a very, long time.

365 Days of T-Shirts: Day 7 – Buy Some Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirts

So today’s project was more like an “activity.” Since I’m in Los Angeles, I thought it was a must to check out the Johnny Cupcakes boutique on Melrose Avenue. Now, I’ve been to Johnny’s Boston shop on the swanky Newbury St. in Boston. This shop seemed a bit bigger than the Boston shop. I picked up a couple of tees that I’ve been wanting to pick up for some time now, including the iconic white and black Crossbones T-Shirt.

If you do decide to stop by Johnny Cupcakes on Melrose Avenue then I would suggest that you also cross the street and check out the Kid Robot and Loyal Army Shops. You’ll find a ton of trendy T-Shirts there as well.

Now, go buy some T-Shirts!

*I’ll also be doing a separate post covering my visit to Johnny Cupcakes in Los Angeles, complete with photos of the shop! Check back for that.

Johnny Cupcakes
7959 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, California 90048
(323) 653-2253

Day 6: Buy Some Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirts

All artwork belong to their respective owners.

The T-Shirt 365 project is free of charge, meaning, you can use the materials provided here as many times as you would like. However, I do ask that you DO NOT repost the actual project files on other websites. It would be better if you simply linked back to the particular blog post on my website! It’s good karma for you and it’ll make me super happy to see the linkback!

The goal of the project is to have enough material so that I can make a book encompassing the entire project. If all goes as planned, we’ll have something amazing available in 2012!

Johnny Cupcakes X Hello Kitty

Johnny Cupcakes and Hello Kitty? I’m just as confused as you are. One is relatively new brand, founded by Johnny Earle in 2001 with its origins in Braintree, Massachusetts. The other is a character from a company that was founded in 1960 by Shintaro Tsuji in Tokyo, Japan. So what is the connection between the two and why on earth would they collaborate? I’m not too sure.

Other than each brand having a collection of kawaii (Japanese word meaning cute) characters, each brand seemingly caters to different types of people. But heck, these are two of the coolest brands on the planet and ever since Mr. Cupcakes announced the collaboration, I’ve been interested to see what they would come up with.

The collection (so far) includes 3 T-Shrits, 1 tote bag and 3 different stickers. For the most part, the T-Shirts feel more Hello Kitty than Johnny Cupcakes (with the exception of the black logo mashup tee). How do I know this? Well, my girlfriend LOVES Sanrio and really enjoys buying her friends Hello Kitty items. She has seriously gone on a couple of Hello Kitty shopping sprees in the last year. Needless to say, I’ve seen the inside of numerous Sanrio stores, in multiple cities (e.g. San Francisco, New York, Hawaii).

I actually think that these tees make a bit more sense than the Johnny Cupcakes X Looney Tunes collaboration that we saw a while back. I wasn’t much of a fan of those tees. And although I’d probably never wear anything from this Hello Killy collection, I think that the collaboration is a good thing for Johnny Cupcakes the brand, mainly because Sanrio fans who are new to Johnny Cupcakes will likely be attracted to the JC style.

The T-Shirts are priced at $40 a piece and are available now at the Johnny Cupcakes online shop and the retail stores.

Weekly Recap and Linkology | July 25, 2010

Around This Blog:

This past week has basically been all about one thing: COMIC-CON! I did a ton of posts on and related to the biggest geek event of the year. And it all culminated in The Best of Comic-Con Costume Spotting 2010. If you missed out on the daily costume coverage, be sure to check out this all in one exclusive post!

Comic-Con 2010 Costume Spotting

Also, be sure to check out some of the cool photos from the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World printing press station that was set up at Comic-Con.

Scott Pilgrim

T-Shirt Blogging Friends:

Have you voted for CotyGonzales.com yet over at T-ShirtBlo.gs? I’m currently ranked #4 so please help me out by giving a vote of 5 stars! Virtual hugs, kisses and high fives will be dispersed appropriately!

Vote for me on t-shirtblo.gs

Seibei gave a little sneak peek of an upcoming shirt, which debuted at the Renegade Craft Fair LA. Via Seibei.

Seibei

Check out these great photos of Portland, Oregon by none other than johnny Cupcakes. Awesome stuff. Via Johnny Cupcakes.

portland_creperie

Spotted this awesome Anti-Eco shirt over at T-Shirt Reviews Blog. The shirt is called A Little Radiation Brightens My Day. Via T-Shirt Reviews Blog.

anti_eco_tees_rad_07.08.10_rz

Other Coty Links:

If you’re in the market for a new iPad stand then be sure to check out this list of 5 ultra sexy iPad stands! Via SwipeTap.

5 Ultra Sexy iPad Stands

I still can’t get over how freakin’ awesome this Graffiti marriage proposal is. Via TumblrTrends.

Threadless News:

Threadless had an AMAZING week this week. They stopped by Comic-Con and even held their Comics-On Tees Launch Party! This weeks Threadless Pick of the Week goes to Every Night I Have the Same Dream, Issue 3, Vol. 1 by Cliff Chiang.

Every Night I Have the Same Dream, Issue 3, Vol. 1 by Cliff Chiang

Every Night I Have the Same Dream, Issue 3, Vol. 1 by Cliff Chiang

Johnny Cupcakes Raids Thailand Copy Cat

Vantage Eternal Shop in Bangkok, Thailand has been doing a very bad thing. They have been selling counterfeit Johnny Cupcakes goods. With the cooperation of the Thailand authorities and of course a good trademark lawyer, Mr. Cupcakes was able to have the illegal goods confiscated.

“Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I say that it’s the sincerest form of getting punched in the face. Or the sincerest form of asking for a field trip to court. Every day is a battle. Seriously, every day. Today we won a big one. Bangkok, Thailand. I was informed by quite a few Johnny Cupcakes customers that this store was carrying hundreds of fake Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts. We even got this person kicked off of eBay for selling fakes. Well well… their store was just raided by police, over 400 t-shirts were confiscated, and the owner was arrested. He’ll be going to court shortly.”

Of even more interest to me is the photo of the “Infringer’s Board” (see below for photo) that Johnny posted. This is a white board that features brands who have caused intellectual property damage from around the world. The list includes:

  • Urban Outfitters
  • Hot Topic
  • Billabong
  • Pastry
  • Kohls
  • Random Bakeries
  • Various Online Stores
  • Stussy (iPhone Packaging)
  • Thailand
  • Korea (Ku Sung Bum, Koo Sung Bum, Benny Frying Pan)
  • Stockhold
  • Malaysia (Padini)

There are some big names on that list.

Johnny Cupcakes Raid

Johnny Cupcakes Thailand Raid

Johnny Cupcakes Thailand Raid

Johnny Cupcakes Thailand Raid

Johnny Cupcakes Infringemers Board

New Batch of Johnny Cupcakes Goods

Johnny Cupcakes just released a new batch of tees, and I have to say that this might be one of my favorite releases. The Warhol inspired Soup Can T-Shirt immediately caught my attention and Legalize Cupcakes once again infuses an old school illustration style that we’ve become accustomed to with Johnny Cupcakes. A plaid heavy aqua version of the classic crossbones design rounds out my favorites from this release batch.

Also of note is the Johnny Cupcakes Crossbones Umbrella. I’m in the market for a new umbrella and this just might be it.

The new tees are priced at $35.99 a piece with the new Make Cupcakes Not War colorway priced at $38.99. You can snag the fancy Johnny Cupcakes Umbrella for $29.99.

Explosion

Legalize Cupcakes

Gingham Aqua Crossbones

Soup Can

Johnny Cupcakes Umbrella

Umbrella

Benny Frying Pan Rips Off Johnny Cupcakes

So this is a trip. It looks like a korean “brand” named Benny Frying Pan has decided that they want to be just like Johnny Cupcakes, literally. The Korean based Benny Frying Pan changed the name, but nothing much else. As you can tell from the comparison images below, Benny Frying Pan is a clear rip off of Johnny Cupcakes.

Even a close look at the two logos and you’ll notice that the cupcake are still there, but the fake version decided, hey, a fork and spoon would work better than bones. But you can’t fool us, it’s still a rip off.

I don’t understand Korean, but I would LOVE to read the Benny Frying Pan “History” and “Concept”, which they do have posted on their website, albeit in Korean. They even have a section dedicated to their “Logos” with the quote:

“Our icons are expressed to passion and pleasure, including Trust, Promise, Community, Understanding and Fun.”

It’s pretty sad.

So what do you guys think? Should Johnny Cupcakes pack up his suitcase and burn Benny Frying Pan at the stake? He should at least splash them with some scalding hot cooking oil.

UPDATE: It looks like Benny Frying Pan also has a US / .com version of their site. You can check it out here. Lots and lots and lots more rip off designs than on the Korean website. They even have fitted caps.

Bakes On The First Date

Mak Cupcakes Not War

No Carbs

Fat Boy

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Johnny Cupcakes Totes + Freddy Krueger

Our favorite cupcake hustler, Johnny Cupcakes, has just released a some new goods and they’re available now in his online shop. First up are some new Johnny Cupcakes branded totes. The tote designs include the popular Make Cupcakes Not War moniker, the fat kid and a classic crossbones design. The totes are priced at $19.99 a piece.

Make Cupcakes Not War

Johnny Cupcakes Crossbones

Johnny Cupcakes Fat Kid

Johnny has also released two new tees, both of which are in commemoration of the recent A Nightmare On Elm Street remake. Freddy is back and Mr. Cupcakes is excited! Both shirts are available now for $35.99 at Johnny Cupcakes. I should mention that growing up I was horrified of Freddy Krueger. Horrified. I remember catching it on TV when I was maybe 6 or 7 and being totally horrified. Needless to say, this theatrical reboot is on my must watch list!

Johnny Cupcakes X Freddy Krueger

Johnny Cupcakes X Freddy Krueger

By the way, the Johnny Cupcakes Suitcase Tour is still on the road, so if you want to catch him before he heads back home to Boston then be sure to check out the tour page on his website!

Johnny Cupcakes Serves Up A Lot of Ice Cream

Very cool. A must watch for fans of Johnny Cupcakes (and Ashton Kutcher), T-Shirt enthusiasts and ice cream lovers.

“I thought it would be rad to treat all of my customers to ice cream sandwiches if they showed up with their Johnny Cupcakes t-shirt on. 300+ Johnny Cupcakers showed up & boy did we eat a lot.” – Johnny Cupcakes