Great Scott! Jon Wye’s T-Shirt Time Capsule!

I have been a big fan of Jon Wye’s since nearly the start of this blog. He was one of the first people to reach out and contact me about their products and was even one of the first to send me a product to video review. Of course, I’ve been trying to pay it forward ever since – blogging about his T-Shirts and belts whenever I get the chance (and even stopping by his brick and mortar shop in NYC!).

And now is a great chance to talk Jon Wye. For a limited time, you can score an amazing deal on some awesome Jon Wye tees. For $30 you will get 3 Jon Wye tees. One of the tees is guaranteed to be new, either seen on the website or not yet released. The other two t-shirts are any combination of new, vaulted designs from years past, or tees that we purposed for display/ modeling shoots (laundered of course). As a bonus, all orders will come with a Jon Wye key chain or Pirate Chef sticker. Now that’s a great deal for $30! Go pick up a Jon Wye Time Capsule pack now from the Jon Wye online shop.

A Visit To Jon Wye’s New York City Boutique

I’ve been a fan of Jon Wye since he first contacted me in 2008 when I was just starting out with this blog. He was one of the first guys that saw potential in my website and he even sent me one of his custom leather belts for me to check out and review. I was a newbie to the blog scene back then and so it was a bit more difficult to get products to review than it is for me now. Needless to say, I was blown away by his generosity and by the fact that he was excited by my site and what I was doing.

Since then, I’ve been following the Jon Wye brand and have provided updates here whenever possible. The most exciting news from Jon Wye recently was the opening of his brick and mortar shop in the Flatiron district of New York City. It’s a little boutique that is located inside The Limelight, an old church that has been converted into a three story market space for fledgling creatives and entrepreneurs.

Jon Wye is known for his custom made leather belts and his store has every variety that you could ever want. It’s an eclectic style that will appease anyone who is looking for complimentary accessories that do not comply with the status quo. Jon Wye is much more than the status quo, he is original and his products inspire creativity.

Unfortunately, neither Jon nor his right hand man, Jeff, was there when I stopped by. However, the nice young lady that was manning the store was quite nice. I told her that I knew Jon and that I had blogged about his products in the past. She was more than happy to allow me to snap photos of his shop and I was more than happy to snap away.

The shop itself is amazing. I shouldn’t be too surprised considering Jon has an impeccable eye for detail and perfection. It’s a small space but it is pretty grand. There’s a fireplace in the shop and also a cheeky little painting of Jon that graces you as you walk up the steps to his shop. And of course, you’ll find all of his T-Shirts and belts neatfully displayed against the walls. Located on the top floor, it is as if the Jon Wye shop is the centerpiece of The Limelight. When you first enter the old church and then look up, the bold red and yellow Jon Wye insignia just captures you.

If you are ever in New York City and have any interest in T-Shirts and/or quality leather products, then Jon Wye is a must stop destination. Tell him that I said hi!

Jon Wye
656 Avenue of the Americas
3rd Fl Limelight Marketplace
Manhattan, NY 10011
Neighborhood: Flatiron

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Toronto/New York Trip Day 6

Day 6 T-Shirt of Choice: Thirsty for Blood Hungry for Tacos by Seibei / Guilty Pleasures by Wotto for Tilteed

NYC Neighborhoods Visited: SOHO, Nolita, Theater District, West Village, and Flatiron.

We started our day off with a late morning subway ride to SOHO for lunch at the famous Lombardi’s Pizzeria. They are renown for being America’s first pizzeria and since we had a taste of Grimaldi’s the day before, we just had to tickle our tongues with a taste of Lombardi’s. Located on the corner of Mott St. and Mulberry St., we were surprised when we saw that Lombardi’s had no line. We had surely thought that this famed pizzeria would have a line shooting out of its door, considering that we waited nearly an hour before we were able to get a seat inside of Grimaldi’s yesterday. In any case, we blew off the no line to the face that we were there just little after 30 minutes from opening. And anyway, we were both hungry for good pizza so no line was a good thing!

I’ve argued with a bunch of hardcore Lombardi’s fan about the superiority of Grimaldi’s, but with no firsthand experience of Lombardi’s slice, I was a bit biased. We ordered the same pizza as we did at Lombardi’s (pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms) but this time we also added spinach. Like Grimaldi’s you pay a bay price for either a small or a large and then pay extra for toppings of your choice.

Lombardi's Pizzeria

Lombardi's Pizzeria

So which was better, Grimaldi’s or Lombardi’s? My first thought was that they were very similar to one another. So similar that I could not choose a favorite between the two. But after a few minutes and my second slice, I had found a clear favorite. Grimaldi’s is indeed my favorite pizzeria in the state of New York. Hands down. The pepperoni had a spicier kick, the sausage was tastier and the cheese, oh my goodness the cheese at Grimaldi’s was thicker, cheesier, and there was just more of it overall. And let’s face it, more cheese is always a good thing. Plus, you’re eating a pie under the Brooklyn Bridge – that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. If you’re in New York, and have to choose between the two, I’d recommend that you cross the Brooklyn Bridge and have a taste of New York’s best, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

After Grimaldi’s, we crossed the street and had a taste of Rice to Riches, a rice pudding specialty shop. The first thing you’ll notice is the colorful and chic decor and then you’ll notice the clever and witty sayings throughout the shop poking fun at skinny people. Rice to Riches is definitely not a place for the carbohydrate conscious. Both Michelle and I ordered a small serving each, I had the Sex, Drugs, andl Rocky Road topped with mixed nuts and Michelle had the Chocolate Chip Flirt. First note, the serving sizes are huge and a small is definitely big enough for two. The pudding is very rich and is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Rice or Riches

We then walked down Stage St. and stopped by American Apparel. They were having a sidewalk sale and we were able to pick up some great items for $8 a piece. I grabbed a couple of Raglans – yay!

A quick subway ride to 9th, between 15th and 16th Streets, and we were at Chelsea Market – home of the Food Network. On the bottom floor of this large building is a market that is scattered with a variety of different restaurants and open markets. I even scored a free gingerbread cookie by checking in at One Lucky Duck on Foursquare. Have I told you how much I love Foursquare?

Apple Store at Chelsea

Once we had our fill of Chelsea Market, we explored the Chelsea area quite a bit. And then we made our way to Jon Wye’s flagship shop on 47 W 20th Street. If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know who Jon Wye is, since I have featured him multiple times on the blog and on Co-Tee TV. Jon Wye recently opened up a brick and mortar store. The shop is actually located inside of an old church that has been transformed into a three story market and gallery known as The Limelight. Unfortunately, Jon wasn’t in – he’s busy in DC working hard on his products at his factory. I did, however, have a chance to explore this shop and was thoroughly impressed by what I saw. I’ll be posting more photos of his shop in a separate post so be sure to check back for that.

Jon Wye New York

Jon Wye New York

The Museum of Sex on 5th Avenue was our next detonation. The tickets are priced at $17 a piece, however, I was a but underwhelmed. I expected more sex. Don’t get me wrong, the museum features three floors of sex exhibitions, but none really shocked or offended me. I was expecting to be shocked and offended. Not really. They currently features five difference exhibitions, Sex Lives of Animals and Rubbers were the the ones that I found to be the most interesting. Who knew a rhino’s dick was so huge.

By this time it was about 4pm, so we decided to head back to Times Square. Before heading to our hotel we made stops at the Hershey’s store and the M&M’s store. Both were a bit meh for me and just too crowded to even browse the products. I wanted some dark chocolate Kit Kats but was not willing to stand in line for it. If you’re in New York and have to choose between the two, then I’d suggest passing on Hershey’s (the store floor is small and crowded, and you can find most of the products at your local store anyway) and instead hit up the M&M store (it’s 3 floors big and the wall of M&M’s is impressive).

After a short pit stop at our hotel to freshen up, we hit the subway once again toward West Village to pay a visit to Carlos, also known in the T-Shirt universe for his baking and lifestyle collective, Oven Fresh Dreams. Carlos has released some limited edition tees in collaboration with Nicolo Nimor of Nick Automatic and Greg Abbott. Carlos invited us to stop by the bakery that he works at, Amy’s Bread. What’s awesome about this is that I actually had this planned on my itinerary, based on some suggestions that I had read prior to his invitation. How serendipitous of him to invite us there! He hooked us up with some excellent brownies and we even chatted a bit about NYC and the food scene. Not surprisingly, Carlos is a foodie, much like myself and Michelle! Cool dude. Support his brand Oven Fresh Dreams and if you’re ever in NYC, pay a visit to Amy’s Bread to treat yourself to something special.

To West Village

Oven Fresh Dreams

Amy's Bread

The West Village area is filled with an amazing assortment of small restaurants. Carlos suggested one called Little Havana, so that’s where we planned to go. It was located right across the street from Amy’s Bread on Cornelia Street. But alas, it was closed. So what to do? Eat a New York hot dog, that’s what we did. Michelle spotted Gray’s Papaya, which she had learned about from a J-LO movie and I had heard about it on the Food Network (or was it the Travel Channel?). Needless to say, I had a few hot dogs and the flagship papaya drink. Simple hot dog, but still very good. You get a nice crunch from the encasing, which is the sign of a good hot dog.

Before heading back to the hotel we decided to stop by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I was a bit hesitant, because it seemed like a tourist trap to me. And for the most part, it was. I’m pretty sure that most of the museum’s artifacts were replicas. It’s okay, I still enjoyed looking at the bizarre and absurd. But at about $25 a ticket, I’d pass on it if given the chance to go again.

Ripley's Believe It or Not


The Mysterious Mr. Vegan Hunter

Our old friend Jon Wye has just released his newest T-Shirt which is part of his Pirate Chef series. The shirt is called The Mysterious Mr. Vegan Hunter and it features a fatherly rabbit who is relaxing in his rabbit-hole study, reminiscing on his days of great harvesting. He is even taking a little time to enjoy a good vintage of carrot juice whilst polishing his most trusted shovel.

I think the shirt features a super fun design that would have probably gone very well with the Threadless crowd if it had been submitted there. You’ll also find the Pirate Chef logo printed on the back of the T-Shirt.

The Mysterious Mr. Vegan Hunter is printed on a super soft 100% combed cotton Olive T-Shirt and is available now from Jon Wye for $29. For extra savings, use the coupon code “5up” for $5 off your entire order!

Jon Wye The mysterious Mr. Vegan Rabbit

New Jon Wye Tees, New York Shop and Sale!

Our favorite custom leather belt designer and purveyor of fanciful T-Shirts, Jon Wye, has released a new line of tees and has opened up shop in what some argue to be the greatest city in the world, New York City.  The new line features some wonderful and witty illustrations featuring everything from ants and robots to squirrels and the ever wonderful weasel. He also has expanded his Pirate Chef line, which is a welcome surprise (i’ve always been a fan of it). Raise your hand if your think Jon should turn Wonder Weasel into the next great animated series.

The new tees can be had at prices starting from $25 but you can save some cash this TODAY (Tuesday) if you use the code “CyberMon” at checkout (you get 20% off your entire order). The money saving deals last all week long too:

  • Cyber Tuesday: 20% off
  • Cyber Wednesday: reduced to 15% off
  • Cyber Thursday: reduced to 10% off until Saturday Dec 5th at midnight

Jon Wye

Jon WyeJon Wye

In other news, Jon Wye, is now available in a brick and mortar shop in the heart of NYC at Bryant Park. “We’ve built an entire store that looks just like a classic library, complete with FAKE deer head, real working fireplace, bar, red leather high wing back chair, and custom built furniture in a classic library style.” If I was in NYC I’d definitely stop by and say hi! I have to say that the set-up looks totally amazing and luxurious to boot! And that wall of belts is pure awesomeness.

Jon Wye in New York City

Jon Wye in New York City

Jon Wye in New York City

Jon Wye in New York City

10 Tips From 10 Great Indie Brands (Part II)

Can you believe it guys? Another 10 Indie Tee Spotlights have come and gone. How the time zooms by when you’re having fun, huh! So just like last time, I’ve got a wrap up post for your consumption containing ten, count em’ TEN  great tips from the last 10 featured Indie Tee Spotlight brands. Enjoy with tea and a comfy tee!

1. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously. “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.” -Steve Orlando of Robit Studios

2. Hating Your Day Job Can Spark Inspiration. “We both really wanted to start our own tshirt company, with designs we couldnt find in stores. It also helps we both hate our day jobs. Ill never forget checking out Emptees for the first time and saying wow, this stuff is amazing I really want to wear this. ” -Brothers Jason and Jeff of Zombie Liquorice

3. Trial and Error Works. “There is so much knowledge available on the internet for the taking. The key is being able to sift through it. And then once you think you’ve sifted through all you can handle you take the plunge and start to put your money on the line and test things out. So my whole shop, process, everything came from being willing to learn and never be too set in my ways, which is something I think a lot of people get hung up on. You have to be fluid.” -Jon Wye of Jon Wye

4. Your Brand Should Mean The World To You. “It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing to be at the helm of a boundless and opportunistic endeavor. The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.” -William Matte, Jr. of Prestigious Clothing

5. Create Something That You Would Wear and Won’t Lose It’s Appeal. “That’s a good question. There’s no real formula or specific criteria here, but generally each shirt should be something that (a) we think is inventive, humorous or unique (and hence, won’t lose its appeal over time) and (b) something that we ourselves would wear out in public.” -Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing

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The Jon Wye Workshop

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you know how much I dig the gear that Jon Wye has been pumping out. For the uninformed, Jon Wye is a belt and t-shirt designer based out of Washington, D.C. If you need a quick review of Jon Wye then I suggest you check out Indie Tee Spotlight #14 for an interview that I did with Jon, Glorious Nonsensities Episode 1 for a video review of one of his custom belts and of course, head over to his website to buy Jon Wye stuff!

Also, Jon recently posted a video on his website that introduces his brand and shows off his Washington D.C. workshop. He has got a lot of cool machinery!

Also, it’s Attack of the Coupon Codes time, you can save 5 bucks on your next Jon Wye order with the coupon code “5up”. 

Pirate Chefs by Jon Wye

Here’s the newest tee from designer t-shirt and belt maker, Jon Wye. It’s called Pirate Chefs and it’s a play on the old skull and crossbones concept. It’s part of a new series that will include an upcoming Pirate Chefs belt (see a preview of the artwork of the Pirate Chefs belt below). 

I like it! And I can actually see Jon taking this a bit further and building on this Pirate Chefs line by including other tees and belts. I’m interested to see the rest of the artwork for the belt and the characters that will be included on it. Might some of those characters carry on to a future Pirate Chefs tee? What about a Pirate Chefs belt buckle? There’s so much you can do with this, Jon!

Pirate Chefs by Jon Wye

Pirate Chefs Belts Preview

Modeling Your T-Shirts 101 (Part 2)

Modeling Your T-Shirts 101 is a guest post that was written by tee and belt designer, Jon Wye. In Part 2, Jon discusses how to take model shots creatively  on the cheap. If you missed Part 1, check it out, Jon discusses how to create quality product shots using a DIY lighting box.

Method 2: Work The Camera In Your Kitchen.

With the previous method you can make your tees look as good as the big boys and the quality and style of the photos works for a small designer and a large designer.

But if you want to have your t-shirts on models (my new choice for displaying the tees online) it’s not that hard, just takes a little more time and patience.

1. Fabric Store Field Trip. Start by taking a field trip to your local fabric store or even your local home décor store. Head straight for the upholstery and home furnishings fabric section, look for the thick stuff. Make sure to bring your camera.

Jon Wye at the Fabric Store

2. Have fun! With a friend, pick out your top 5 or 6 favorite fabrics and start photographing each other posing in front of the fabrics or laying on them on the floor.

3. Review. I picked out many fabrics that I loved in person but ultimately looked bad bad bad through the lense of the camera.

Have Fun When Choosing Fabric

4. Two Yards or More. When you’ve found the fabric that suits your best, buy no less than 2 yards worth. You will need enough to go over your head and below your waist.

5. Positive Reinforcement. Treat yourself to a McDonald’s Cheeseburger, you’ve earned it!

McDonald's Cheeseburger

6. Hang and Tighten. Go back to your pad and hang your new fabric. Make sure it is very tight and shows no wrinkles.

7. Prepare Lighting. Bust out as many lamps as you can find and shine the light away from the fabric. Get some white paper, or better yet, some white foam board, and bounce the light back on the fabric. Indirect light is the best light for modeling.

8. WHITE BALANCE YOUR CAMERA. Again, this is very important. Photoshop can only correct so much. You will need to take a picture of something WHITE that is in front of the fabric (but not with any part of the fabric in it) and balance your camera off of that image. Again, consult your users manual. White Balancing takes some reading to understand, so don’t beat yourself up. Essentially you are telling your camera what your consider to be pure white in the photo, and your camera should adjust all the colors it sees around that. You’ll probably need to do some Photoshop work, but not a lot.

9. Work The Camera. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. That is very important. Too often I see model shots where the people are looking far too serious for their own good! To me, it’s a turn off! I laugh, thinking, are you really that full of yourself to strike a pose that looks more like a epileptic fit with make-up on.

Model It!

Modeling Your T-Shirts 101 (Part 1)

Modeling Your T-Shirts 101 is a guest post that was written by tee and belt designer, Jon Wye. In Part 1, Jon discusses how to create quality product shots using a DIY lighting box.

After four years of trying various photography methods for T-shirt display I’ve learned a few things that, with the help of Coty, thought I might pass on.

When I first started my company I was convinced that the photos had to be the best. I pulled in a favor from a professional photographer friend. Rented backdrops, rigging, lighting, lighting, lighting. Lighting is expensive. Asked a few attractive friends to help model. I even hired a professional hair and makeup team. My girlfriend, Nikki, was the hostess and helped provide a constant source of conversation and food.

It was the most professional endeavor I had organized to date! The photos came back amazing! My T-shirts were looking like a million dollars. The products looked hot, the models looked hot. Everything was in place.

I launched the new photos of the new products. Day one, day two, day three: where were my sales??? I didn’t get it. I had created some world-class imagery! Surely people would see my stuff and want to buy.

I realized many many months later that the problem wasn’t the photos, it was the fact that my site, my fans, my image, my WALLET wasn’t ready for a photo shoot like that. I was trying to walk the walk too early, portray myself as a bigger designer than I really was. So I took a step back and asked, are they buying me or my tees? And the answer was both. All the fancy photos were distracting from me, the small designer, selling you my vision.

So I took my licks and kept pushing ahead. And so I keep it small time, but really fun and classy!

And over the years I have come up with a few good methods for photographing on the cheap and hip, and just wanted to share some of them.

Method 1: The Abercrombie Method (no models)

Despite whatever violent ideas come to mind when you think of Abercrombie they have an impressive and consistent method for t-shirt photography; the precisely wrinkled head-on t-shirt photo. Check out their stuff, you’ll understand. Basically they take a freshly ironed shirts and do some hand wrinkling to make it look rugged, wearable, hip, and intentional.

But how do they get such good lighting and all those cool mini shadows that form from the wrinkled tees? The quick answer is a professionally lit photography room, but I’m guessing if you are reading this then you probably don’t have one and neither do I. But you can create a mini lighting box!

1. Paint It White. Get two 4 ft. X 4ft. board and paint them a matte white finish. Make sure it is matte white! And paint on enough layers to be completely opaque. The t-shirt will lie on one board and the other will go on the top of your creation.

White Paint

2. Built The Frame. Find a way to build a 4 ft. X 4 ft X 4 ft. frame (I used PVC pipes and fittings). Place that frame over the 4 X 4 board you just painted.

PVC Pipes

PVC Box

3. Cover It Up. Drape a WHITE cloth over all four sides of the frame. You can buy something called white duvotene cloth from many stage supply houses, and it will block out excess light from within your frame, but still keep the interior white.

4. Cover It Up. Take your second painted board and cut a 5 inch hole in the center of it, this is where your camera lense will go through.

5. Add The Lights. Go to the hardware store and buy four duel fluorescent lighting fixtures (3 ft in length). Buy some DAYLIGHT BALANCED bulbs to go in them. Now screw those into the white side of the 4 by 4 board that has the hole in it. Starting to make sense?

You are basically done with the build. In the end you should have a 4 by 4 by 4 cube that has a white board as a base (one that you lay the t-shirt on) and a white board on top that has lights attached and a hole in the center for a camera.

Lighting

6. Set Your White Balance. Turn the lights on and watch that baby glow. Don’t put any t-shirt in the box yet. Before you start shooting you need to WHITE BALANCE your camera from the light and color inside the box. Consult you camera’s manual to determine how to properly white balance. This is extremely important or your images will turn out like crap.

Cameras

7. Take some photos. Start putting those t-shirts in your new lighting box and start snapping away.

Octopus Boy by Jon Wye