Think About It: Dress Royale

Think About It. That’s one of the first things that I thought about when I saw the goods over at Dress Royale. The designers really thought about their designs and how it relates to what is going on around the world. They thought about the messages that they wanted to convey and then they implemented it with art. Dress Royale is inspiring. I dig this brand.

The first shirt that caught my eye is called Sleep and it’s about the pharmaceutical industry. An industry that I feel is very corrupt. Sleep is available now for $18.

“For the first time ever, in 2006, global spending on prescription drugs topped $643 billion. The United States accounts for almost half of the global pharmaceutical market, with $289 billion in annual sales followed by the EU and Japan.”

I too can be guilty of succumbing to a marketing campaign. We all consume more than we should at times. Some of us take unnecessary consumption to a whole other level. Consume is available now for $18.

“Brainwashing refers to a systematic process in which manipulative methods are used to distort an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making.”

I am one that can actually appreciate a good ad. I really enjoy a great ad when I see one, which is rarely. Place Your Ad is available for $18.

“In 2010, spending on advertising was estimated at more than $300 billion in the United States and $500 billion worldwide.”

Plaid Nation Visits Threadless!

Have you heard of the Plaid Nation? Before today, I had not. The Plaid Nation is “a rolling celebration of creativity and a demonstration of social media in action.” A bunch of creatively minded people (from the Plaid design agency) is traveling across America, from Detroit to New Orleans on an exploration of the social media sorts. They are setting out to meet with creative, marketing, brand and internet workers, and celebrating their innovations.

The Plaid Nation recently passed through Chicago and stopped by the Threadless headquarters. Check out the clip below featuring an interview with Threadless marketing mastermind, Bob Nanna. You can also see snipits of the Threadless offices and Bob also explains how the look of the Threadless Headquarters came to be!

For more information about the tour, check out The Plaid Nation website. The tour started on July 20 in Detroit and will end on July 31 in New Orleans. Other cities that the tour will be covering include: Milwaukee, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis.

One Brand’s Trash, Another Brand’s Treasure

One Brand’s Trash, Another Brand’s Treasure is a guest post written by Blake from You Design It where they offer custom t-shirt printing. He’s a t-shirt fanatic that wants to rid the world of suits, one tee at a time.

How many of you out there have a pulse on your brand?. You know what I’m talking about, you eat, sleep and breathe your brand. If you’re talking, chances are…you’re talking about your apparel line. You know as good as anybody that you have to hustle hard day and night to succeed. T-shirt lines are a dime a dozen and only the cream rises to the top.

In the early stages of your t-shirt line, there is going to be a lot of noise you’ll have to filter through. You’ll have your lovers and haters, your friends and enemies, and plenty of know-it-alls along the way. You’ll be inspired by other brands and repulsed by others. These are all very normal situations and just a standard part of the process.

The next best thing to learning from your OWN mistakes when trying to mature as a brand, is to learn from OTHER’S mistakes before you. With the transparency that the internet now provides, you can follow the successes and failures of the brands you’re trying to emulate. But beware, because it’s a very fine line you’ll have to walk.

Let’s take this full circle and go back to the beginning. Remember the pulse question? This was where we established that you and only you know your brand the best. What works for one brand may not work for another and vice versa. Let me give you an example.

It’s safe to say that both The Hundreds and Johnny Cupcakes have seen enormous success for being different than the norm. They have both danced by the beat of their own drum by maintaining styles that are unlike any other in the retail markets. And although they are extremely different, I stumbled across an instance where they were very much alike.

There was a recent post on The Hundreds blog showing some of the samples that they tried but never put into production. The one that stood out to me the most was the Cobra Kai spoof called “Cool Guys”.

The Hundreds

It immediately reminded me of a recent release by Johnny Cupcakes with their own reference to Karate Kid’s Cobra Kai. In the post by The Hundreds, they made it clear that the samples would never go into production. Yet Johnny Cupcakes, no doubt, is reaping big sales with their version of the artwork.

Johnny Cupcakes

The take-home moral of the story is that one brand’s trash may be another brand’s treasure. The Hundreds knew it wasn’t for them, and Johnny Cupcakes felt it fit like a glove (or maybe I should say oven mitt).

You just have to cut through the noise and go with your gut. At the end of the day, your brand is an extension of you.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Seibei Story

The first two 5 Things We Can Learn From… posts featuring Threadless and Johnny Cupcakes proved to be quite popular. This time around I dissect Seibei. Seibei is a one-man brand that was conceptualized and developed by David Murray. Murray is a 26 year old college graduate who majored in Japanese Literature. Lucky for us, he decided to focus on making cool art instead. 

With such popularity and a cult following, Seibei must have done something right. Here I look at 5 things that we can learn from the Seibei story.

1. Your Website Should Be An Extension of Your Products. You don’t even need to click on the store, or see any of David tees or other products, and you already know what his style and what his goods will look like. His website is an extension of his products. He showcases many of the monsters that he prints on his tees throughout his site. And why not? The colors that he uses on his site reflects the colors often seen on his tees. Why would you have a sophisticated, modern and simplistic site design when your products are all about fun, humor, vibrant colors and monsters! Extend your products through your website design. 

Seibei

2. Take “Advantage” of Your Fanbase. In a good way, of course! David takes “advantage” of his fanbase through his Seibei Nation promotion. The Seibei Nation is his version of a street team. A lot of people consider word of mouth the purest form of marketing. Word of mouth is what a street team and esssentially the Seibei Nation is all about. And of course, remember that if they rub your back be sure to return the favor. Every time a Seibei Nation member brings in ten $10 or more sales they get a free Seibei T-Shirt. People LOVE free things so why not take advantage of that. BTW, use coupon code COTY for 10% off your next Seibei order!

USE COUPON CODE COTY FOR 10% OFF!

3. Be As Transparent As Possible. If your company is a one-man show, and even if it’s not, it may pay off to be as transparent to your audience or customers as possible. David is as transparent as can be on his blog, often posting about things not related to tees but that show off the fun side of his life. David loves to make posts about food, by doing this, maybe he’ll appeal to other food lovers who will then be interested in his tacos and sandwich tees. By being transparent, you make yourself the face of your company. You are living proof that your company exists because of you and your hard work. People are able to relate with you much more when they see a face. When people can relate, they often are more prone to opening their wallets and spending their hard earned cash. 

Seibei

4. Make Art and Craft Shows Your Friend. David hits craft and art shows pretty hard. A quick glance at his blog shows that he’s attended a ton of these, including: Craftacular, Boston Bazaar, Renegade, and Stitch Austin. What’s so important about attending craft and art shows? Well, it helps to give you brand exposure in the offline world. Sure you have an online store, but when you attend a craft show, people can actually see your goods, they can touch it and purchase it right then and there. Secondly, attending a craft show will help you to actually see what demographics are interested in and are purchasing your products. This should give you an idea of what you should maybe do for future product releases – build on popular products, build on what your target demographic is interested in. 

Seibei

5. Trust Your Gut. When David submitted his Give Us A Kiss design to the Cornelius Hearts Threadless contest, he had high hopes and was quite excited about it. Things didn’t turn out so well for the design. Voters were quick to give it low scores and the submission was prematurely dumped from the voting process. Understandably, David was miffed about this – mainly because he was so enthusiastic about the design. He decided to go with his gut and have the design printed despite it not being seen favorably in the eyes of the tee loving community, Threadless. The shirt that Threadless once abandoned is now a staple of his online store and I don’t doubt that it is one of his top sellers. The ultimate vindication came when Jake Nickell, one of the founders of Threadless, stopped by Seibei’s booth at Renegade Chicago. Nickell loved Give Us A Kiss and even purchased one. Trust your gut. 95% of the time your gut is right, which is totally worth the 5% of the time it is not. 

Seibei

Wheww, those are my thought about Seibei – what are yours? Leave them in the comments section!

Linty Fresh Live Show #3 Review

This evening Eric Terry of Linty Fresh hosted his 3rd Linty Fresh ustream chat. He had a special guest this time around, Vincent Maglione. Eric, as usual, answered questions regarding Linty Fresh and Vincent was there to talk about search engine optimization (SEO), web design and coding. Here are my notes from the show for those of you that would rather read then watch. A ton of questions were asked so click on to read them all!

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Linty Fresh Live Show #2 Review

Online video chat by Ustream

Eric did a great job with his second Linty Fresh live show! There were about 40-50 viewers watching the live feed the entire time which is a great turn out. For those of you who missed the show and want to watch it check out the embed above. I’ve also provided a transcript of the show below, for those of you who rather not watch the full 2 hours, or just missed a few questions, or just like text better. Thanks again, Eric!

The following Q&A was taken from the Linty Fresh Live Show #2. I had to type really fast so they are not direct quotes. But it’s as close as I could get. Enjoy with tea and a comfy tee!

Is it a good idea to use models for product shots or not?

Difficult to use models every month so very hectic. Can be flexible, time wise, if you don’t use models. More professional to use models and people may be more likely to purchase your product.

What do you use for your newsletters?

I use campaignmonitor.com to keep people in touch. Don’t over do it or it will be ignored like SPAM.

Do you change your style when doing commission work?

Yes, like to keep the LINTY FRESH style for LINTY FRESH.

How do I define LINTY FRESH’s target demographic?

Online: Guys 15 to mid to late 30′s. In person I sell more to the ladies, between tweens and 30′s. Girls less likely to buy things online vs. guys. Hipster scene if I needed to classify it, though a lot of people enjoy it.

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The Importance of Branding

Emptees user Quest has posted an insightful forum post titled The Importance of Branding and It’s Impact On Your Business. If you’re planning on starting your own brand or line of tees then this is an excellent resource that you should definitely checkout. 

The Elegant Scoundrel

And to no surprise, the author of the article runs his own line of tees, The Elegant Scoundrel. He has put together an excellent 1st series of tees that jive well together. You can find his full line of tees at his online store. 

Here are excerpts from his Importance of Branding post:

1. Have a solid concept behind your brand.

“You know the main reason it is so hard for tee shirt companies to actually make it big? Because EVERYONE is doing it. Literally, hundreds if not thousands of companies, organizations, and individuals each year make an attempt to create Tees that sell. Most fail. Why you ask? Because the market is flooded with companies that do the EXACT SAME THING. So how do you succeed in an industry that is flooded with the same thing? Differentiate yourself from the masses, by being unique…”

2. Don’t Force Your Name.

“You know the main reason it is so hard for tee shirt companies to actually make it big? Because EVERYONE is doing it. Literally, hundreds if not thousands of companies, organizations, and individuals each year make an attempt to create Tees that sell. Most fail. Why you ask? Because the market is flooded with companies that do the EXACT SAME THING. So how do you succeed in an industry that is flooded with the same thing? Differentiate yourself from the masses, by being unique.”

3. Don’t Unveil your company too early.

“Speaking from personal experience, hold off announcing your presence to the world before you really have anything to show. As tempting as it may be to tell everyone and anyone who will listen that you are now the Supreme Overlord of the Illustrious (INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE), hold off until you have a solid collection of things to keep the public’s attention…”

4. Be passionate about your work.

“If you have a true passion about what you are doing, and where you plan to go, that will be evident to those around you. But don’t just focus on the shirts themselves. Find other nuances of the industry that fascinate and inspire you, and learn as much about those topics as possible. Knowing about the inner workings of the biz and how things are made and presented will not only give you a clearer understanding of the industry you wish to be in, but will also give you things to keep you motivated and keep you inspired when your plain sick of seeing .PSD save files and the same graphic you have been staring at on your monitor for the last week straight…”

Disobey by The Elegant Sqoundrel

Gitchers: The Free T-Shirt Site

I stumbled upon Gitchers as I was perusing the Girl In Your Shirt site, a few days ago. The concept of the site is very simple: you register and tag yourself with a few words and a category and then you wait for participating companies/brands to search out your demographic. If you match a particular demographic (i.e. age, sex, category) of interest then they may select you to receive a free company branded tee. 

Each account registered is associated with one free tee, but they say that you can register for more than one account (i.e. for you, your kid and your dog). And yes, I did say dog, apparently, some of the brands that they work with have doggie wear items as promotional items. 

Registration is quick and easy. There’s no long survey to fill out, nothing to buy and they mention that your information like email and address are protected from the companies searching the database. Companies interested in participating can also register, however, there is a 100 shirt minimum give away policy. Gitchers is currently only available to US citizens. 

If you want to roll the dice to see if you’ll receive a free targeted t-shirt, then go ahead and register from Gitchers!

Softwear by Microsoft

Microsoft has turned to hip-hop icon, Common, to spearhead their new venture into T-Shirts. That’s right, our buddies in Redmond have decided to pour a couple more bucks into trying to be hip. Maybe the Apple rebuttal commercials weren’t working and so they had to revise their marketing game plan? The new collection of tees, known as Softwear by Microsoft can now be found on the Microsoft site, though, there are no links to purchase the tees just yet (it says they will be available by December 15). The collection consists of 4 tees designed by Microsoft, dubbed “Classic Designs” and 4 tees designed by Common.

Being the Apple fanboy that I am, I would never be caught in one of these, but, I am sure that since Windows has more than 90% OS marketshare, there will be people interested in buying these.

We need Apple lead designer, Jonathan Ive, to dream up some Apple branded tee designs. Though if he did design them, they might end up being simply solid (and blank) white, black or grey tees. At least they would match my Apple gear!

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