Everything about this T-Shirt design is perfect. Love it. It actually feels like vintage Johnny Cupcakes and I can definitely appreciate that. A nice nod to probably my favourite (spelled that way in case Banksy is reading) street artist.
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.
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.
Yesterday I posted a flyer regarding the upcoming Johnny Cupcakes Hawaii event, which includes a lecture, Q&A, and Pop-Up Shop. A couple of hours later, I received an email from Johnny with this updated flyer. Yeah, Mr. Cupcakes emailed me. How rad is that?!
See you guys and gals this Saturday. What Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirt will you be wearing?
I’m sure that by now all of you Johnny Cupcakes fans have seen (and bought) the Johnny Cupcakes x Nickelodeon series of T-Shirts. They’ve also been releasing a series of videos and the third and final installment, I thought, was worth mentioning. The final video really shows the creative process that went into the project and demonstrates how much of a passion project it was for Johnny and his team at Johnny Cupcakes. Awesome inside look!
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.
7959 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, California 90048
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 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.
Hey T-Shirt fanatics, welcome to my 2010 Holiday Gift Guide series! I feature some of my favorite T-shirt related items and even some things beyond T-shirts that I simply just love and would like to recommend to all of you. If there’s something that you think would fit in this list then please feel free to link to it in the comments! Enjoy and please feel free to share on Twitter using the Hashtag #GiftGuide.
I think that it is safe to assume that for the most part, all of you who read this blog religiously, are freakish addicts when it comes to T-Shirts. Or else, you just have a better appreciation for them compared to the casual T-Shirt wearer. So what would make great gifts for you, The ultimate T-Shirt fan? This post is written for those looking to buy gifts for T-Shirt enthusiasts. So that means, if YOU are a T-Shirt enthusiast then you should definitely forward this list to your friends and family members whom you THINK might have you on their Christmas shopping list. Needless to say, a generic graphic tee from Target just wont cut it, but these products probably will.
The Threadless Book: Special Edition Hardcover with Sketchbook. I’ve mentioned the paperback version of this book numerous times on the blog and have even reviewed a copy. However, the $15 paper back version is no match when compared to the special hardcover edition. The special edition comes in a nifty case that has a soft texture and a burnout illustration on it. The book itself has a cloth-bound hardcover and a bookmark ribbon. On top of that goodness, there’s a satiny hardcover sketchbook, where you can sketch all your billions of tee ideas. Price: $75.00.
Threadless 12 Club Subscription. This will probably earn you a billion brownie points. Any fan of T-Shirts will lust for a Threadless 12 Club Subscription. With this gift comes 12 exclusive T-Shirts, one being sent to the gift recipient every month for 12 months and will only be sent to 12 Club members. Price: $200.
Johnny Cupcakes Accessories. Because a true Johnny Cupcakes fan probably already has every Johnny Cupcakes T-Shirt. Instead, help them to accessorize with these non-T-Shirt Johnny Cupcakes accessories. Price: $50.99 (iPod Earle), $29.99 (Umbrella), $24.99 (Belt).
FlipFold. Ultimate T-Shirt fans probably have a ton of stray T-Shirt lying around. Why not help them get organized with the FlipFold. This handy device will help to make the mundane task of folding T-Shirts quick, fun and consistent. Also great for those with OCD. Price: $34.98.
Glennz Accessories. I love Glennz Tees, but they don’t just make T-Shirts. They also make Mousepads, Calendars, and Laptop Skins. These humorous gifts are guaranteed to keep the smiles coming long after the gift is given and opened. Price: $12.95.
Zombie Liquorice Buckle. This belt buckle is definitely not for the squeamish. This item measures 3″ by 4″ and weighs almost half a pound. It was made by a local craftsman, and was not imported. Only 60 were made. Price: $20.00.
Set of 3 Ugmonk Prints. Ugmonk is one of my favorite indie brands. I love the minimalist approach to designer and founder, Jeff Sheldons, work. Price: $60.00.
Olly Moss Prints. Olly Moss is undoubtedly one of my favorite indie artists. His work has been featured numerous times on Threadless as well as The New York Times, The Independent and GQ. Price: $50.00 (Sea Saw), $25 (Now Panic and Freak Out).
Black Rock Collective Playing Card Deck. Every T-Shirt fanatic knows about the Black Rock Collective. If not, well, they’re not serious about T-Shirts. The Black Rock Collective, or BRC, is a group of internationally located artists, illustrators and designers who come together to share ideas and feed off each other’s talents. This absolutely desirable deck was lovingly created by 36 artists of the Black Rock Collective. Price: $20.00.
If you’re a Johnny Cupcakes fan then you know that it isn’t too often that they offer discount codes. Well, from now until Monday, November 29, 2010, you can score 15% off your entire Johnny Cupcakes order. How sweet is that? Pretty darn sweet. Plus, Johnny Cupcakes just added a bunch of new T-Shirts and other goodies, so be sure to take a peek at all the new stuff.