I kicked off the Indie Tee Spotlight last week by highlighting Eric Terry’s brand, Linty Fresh. Now in my quest to find the next great indie tee maker to spotlight I thought I’d go straight to my mailbox and highlight a company from which I received a freshly purchased tee from.Â
This week Glorious Nonsensities spotlights Indie Tee designers Andrew Marshall and Stephen Thompson ofÂ Pyknic Clothing. Marshall and his business partner, Stephen Thompson, have turned the indie tee design scene upside down since first opening up shop nearly 2 years ago.Â
The Pyknic brand mantra is “Life’s a Pyknic so eat it up!” and it’s fair enough to say that their clothing line more than fits the slogan. With funky and loud t-shirt designs that sport typical things you’d find at picnic, Marshall has found a sweet spot that is as appealing to junior high kids as it is to college students.Â
We were fortunate enough to chat it up with Pyknic duder Stephen Thompson.
Coty: How did you come up with the idea of using typical picnic stuff as the centerpiece of your designs and ultimately your brand?
Pyknic: Well for two years we were geared at the surf-skate-snow market. It is very hard to compete against big brands with great brand recognition on international scales (ie. Billabong, Quicksilver, etc.) with huge budgets. When we took a step back and looked at the overall picture: why would consumers or stores buy our shirt versus one by Billlabong, for instance, with similar designs? It would not matter if ours was better, they had a name to go with theirs.
So one night we went to Red Lobster and that’s when we turned our [picnic] tables. We thought of a new direction we could take the brand that was logical to our name and could create its own niche. Weird or not, people enjoy food as much as they do clothing. The two together would be dessert.
Coty:Â I’ve read that you use “contracted artists.” What percentage of the designs that actually make it to print are your own work as compared to those that are outsourced?Â
Pyknic:Â A lot (if not all) of the shirts are actually concepts that we have created and thought out. We’re very fortunate to work with some great artists that can also see our vision and execute.Â
Coty:Â You’re known in the indie tee world for making it big by actually scoring a deal with Hot Topic. How did that come about? Do you plan on connecting with other retailers? Do you have any plans for international domination?!
Pyknic:Â It was a last minute decision but we decided to attend Bamboozle Left. Upon returning home, I received an email from a Hot Topic buyer who was actually out at the event and loved the shirts. After a few phone call meetings, we got things rolling and eventually started putting merchandise in the stores.
I actually just got back from Magic Tradeshow and Agenda Tradeshow. There were a good amount of stores interested and either placed orders or planned on emailing that over. Right now most of our accounts are international. We have taken Europe, Asia, and Australia by storm. Most recently we distributed our newest line to all of them.Â
Coty:Â Pyknic has turned into a nice venture for you. Do you plan on continuing the brand after college? Where do you see Pyknic in the next 3 to 5 years?Â
Pyknic:Â Next year the Chef and I plan on moving out to California where we will be close to different production sources. Most of our products are sent out there as well so it only makes sense.Â
In the next 3 to 5 years, I see us in more major US outlets with the possibility of our own.
Coty:Â Any words of inspiration for up and coming indie tee designers wanting to make it big?
Pyknic:Â I think the most important thing is to be unique. The last thing anyone wants to do is get lost in the shuffle. Very cliche but practice makes perfect, no one’s a hit overnight.Â
When we started this brand three years ago, we saw ourselves in this position eventually. We knew it took a lot of work to get to this point but we were willing to do whatever it took. “If you can dream it…”
*Special thanks to Stephen for chatting it up with us! Be on the look out for next weeks Indie Tee Spotlight! And if you’re an Indie Tee Designer and would like to be featured here then please feel free to contact me to find out how you can do just that.