Co-Tee TV Episode 41: Melted, New Math and Pirates

In this episode of Co-Tee TV I wear Melted by Desired Hearts and review Modern Art and Pirates from New Math by Craig Damrauer. The shirts are based on the popular website, More New Math, and the book written by Damrauer. The site, book and shirts feature witty equations for every day living.

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You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.

Coty’s Thoughts:

Pirates and Modern Art by New Math. Pros: The New Math shirts by Craig Damrauer match the New Math website and book perfectly. Printed on American Apparel tees so you know that I dig the fit and feel of these shirts – super comfortable and soft. My shirts came packaged in a lovely New Math printed cardboard box. Excellent shirt for those who enjoy mathematics, typography or just fun witty one liners. Cons: Nothing really. The shirt is what it is and that is a compliment to the New Math book and website. Price: $20.

Modern Art

Pirates

If you want to send me a product to review, please feel free to do so. You can find my information in the contact menu above. Thanks!


Cute microbes on sale

Watch T-Shirts Get Printed

Watch as designer Dan Cruz turn his ideas into actual T-Shirts.

I’d also recommend you check out his online store, Dan Cruz NYC, he’s got interesting albeit odd tees. Here’s a taste of his shirts and some of my favorites:

Brains and Balls

The Vagabond

Geeks Eye

Einstein Rasberries

The Cubicle Project Part 2

My quest to T-Shirt organizing imortality continues! This episode I walk you through the now stocked 3X3 cubicle that I built last week. I describe how the tees are organized, give you a peek at some packages waiting to be featured on the show and show off a small but growing button collection!

Co-Tee TV Episode 30: Skilla Fashion, Power of Peace and New York

The second episode of the scheduled five this is week is here and it features an up-and-coming brand based out of New York, New York, Skilla Fashion. I review Power of Peace, a limited edition shirt, from Skilla Fashion. And if you’re wondering what the heck “Skilla” means, well, you’ll have to watch on to find out!

How many of you think I’ll survive to finish all five episodes of Co-Tee TV this week? I honestly don’t know how I will manage – but as they say (who is THEY anyway) – we’ll see!

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You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.

Coty’s Thoughts:

Power of Peace by Skilla Fashion. Pros: Excellent custom packaging, shirts come wrapped in tissue paper. Package included extra goodies like Skilla Fashion buttons and stickers. Shirt is screen printed in three different areas: front, back and inner neck. Shirts are tagless for itch free comfort. Not sure what brand blank was used but the shirt fit well and felt great. Comes with a hangtag for a professional touch. Nice, large multi-colored print. If you are into streetwear/urbanwear than Skilla Fashion will probably appeal to you. Cons: Nothing really, I was really impressed by the product that Skilla Fashion sent me, from the packing to the shirt itself. If you dig this style of clothing then you’ll probably want to check out the rest of the Skilla Fashion line. Price: $20.00

Power of Peace

Read To See How You Can A Win Bone Ranger Shirt from Zombie Liquirice!

If you want to send me a product to review, please feel free to do so. You can find my information in the contact menu above. Thanks!


Cute microbes on sale

Co-Tee TV Episode 25: Meaty Murder, I Am Wellness and Teextile

In this episode I wear Meat Is Murder. Tasty, Tasty, Murder from Threadless and review Make Wellness Not War from I Am Wellness. I also continue my summer long series on ongoing T-Shirt contest sites by reviewing If You Wish Upon A Star sent to me from Teextile. Be sure to use the coupon code SUMMER09 on your next order at I Am Wellness to save 15% off your entire order.

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This week I continue my summer long series on Ongoing T-Shirt Contest Sites. Every week, I will be reviewing a different tee from one of many different online contest sites. I’ll be discussing how each of these sites differ, how the submission and selection process work and what your rights are as a designer. Check out past reviews on: ShirtFight, A Better Tomorrow, Full Metal T-Shirt, tFuse and Design By Humans.

You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.

Coty’s Thoughts:

If You Wish Upon A Star by Tom Neal and available at Teextile. Pros: Love the shirt, great design! Nice gradient effect, most likely achieved through Direct-To-Garment printing. Printed on an American Apparel blank so you know I like the fit and softness of the shirt. Overall, a solid shirt. Cons: Not tagless. Not many extras here, just a solid shirt, I guess that helps to keep the costs down. Price: $12

Teextile

Make Wellness Not War by I Am Wellness. Pros: Lots of things to love about the package from I Am Wellness. Shirts were individually packaged in plastic to keep out odors and liquids from damaging the shirt. The cut and sew elements, from the custom neck tag to the seam tag on the lowert portion of this shirt was well done, as was the custom hangtag. Included with the Baseball tee (not reviewed here but will be in a future episode) were Bazooka Bubblegum and an Upper Deck baseball card, as well as an I Am Wellness card and sticker. The Make Wellness Not War shirt was printed on an American Apparel Tri-Blend blank, which was super soft, I loved the feel of it and the fit was magnificent. It looks like the I Am Wellness people put a lot of effort and thought into their product and brand. I loved it and I highly recommend I Am Wellness! Cons: What cons? Price: $27.95.

Make Wellness Not War

Meat Is Murder. Tasty, tasty murder. by Stu and available at Threadless. I “got” this shirt but many of my friends did not “get it” (poor souls). And for the record, I am a carnivore and will never, ever, ever, become vegetarian. It’s just not in my DNA. Price: $15.00.

Meat Is Murder

If you want to send me a product to review, please feel free to do so. You can find my information in the contact menu above. Thanks!


Cute microbes on sale

The Return on Involvement

In this post I talk a little bit about how you can invest in being involved with social medial and your customers. The return on involvement can be a tremendous one with word of mouth being the catalyst of that return. 

These are just 5 tips that I thought to list, based on things that I have read and based on past successes. There are potentially tons of ways that you can become involved with your customer base. Attack every one of those opportunities. 

If you have additional tips on how, as a brand, you can be more involved then please list it in the comments. I will be sure to use it in a future update post!

1. Bloggers Are Your Friend. As a brand in 2008 you need to know how to maximize your presence throughout InternetLAND. One of the best ways to do this is to build relationships with bloggers within your niche. Build a list of all the blogs that you can find, within your niche, and get to know the blog, the writer(s) at that blog and that blog community. As a blogger I love it when people within my niche contact me regarding feedback/suggestions, product announcements, or requests. More times than not, I will oblige to the request and if that request means mentioning a new product that that means free advertising for the person that took the time to contact me. Now imagine if that person contacted 10, 20 or even 50 other bloggers – and at least half of those bloggers made a blog post with the request. Bloggers = free advertising.

Real World Example: This one happens all the time with me, brands send me promotional items and I am more than happy to make a quick post about the product or their sale. I sometimes even do a quick Twitter post. In fact, it usually goes a step further and I end up doing a much larger feature on that brand. 

2. People Like Free Swag. If you’ve got extra stock lying around, why not give some away. The return on that investment will be well worth it. Instead of having that old tee sit around, unpurhased and unadored, ship it off to a t-shirt blogger, hand it off to a friend or even a random person. You may even want to try and send it to a famous person that you know wears styles similar to your brand. It’s about creating buzz and involvement so when you give your free stuff away remember to mention a little about your brand, where they can get more (i.e. your online store or website), and any “new” products that you have available. People like free stuff and so when they get free stuff they tend to talk about said free stuff with family, friends, and co-workers. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and giving away free stuff will get that word of mouth ball rolling.

Real World Example: Please Dress Me is doing this now by giving away free tees daily as way to promote their new T-shirt search engine.   

3. Build Mystique. Flyers are great but they often get tossed – I’m guilty of doing that. One thing that people, especially in the 18-25 year old demographic, would be less likely to toss would be stickers. Many indie tee companies have stickers printed with their logo, brand name and address of their website. Instead of plastering your site address on the sticker, i.e. www.lintyfresh.com, why not just have your logo and brand name on the sticker. The psychology behind this tip is that people can be complacent at certain times, when you give them too much information they take it for granted and will tend to forget it. Give them a piece of the puzzle and build mystique. Provide just the brand name or even just the logo and, if interested, they will definitely (I know I would) be more inclined to do a Google search on the brand or ask around about the logo. Same can be said for other promotion materials like buttons. Make them work a little. Mystique builds interest and that interest will pay off.  

Real World Example: Never In Wonderland (NIWL), recently featured in the Indie Tee Spotlight, plaster stickers wherever they go. The stickers just say NIWL on them. All it takes is one kid to see that NIWL sticker and then Google them and then a potential sale is born.

4. Be Accessible. If you’re an indie tee brand then try your best to be as accessible to your customers as possible. You’re not a multi-million dollar company (yet) so you can’t afford to have a dozen assistants answering emails and phone calls. You need to do this on your own. You need to be committed to doing this. Creating and building a good rapport with your customers is very important for 1. word of mouth and 2. trust. Consumers, myself included, trust independent sellers that much more when they know they can get their questions answered. Imagine a potential buyer, unsure about sizing, who emails you and asks whether or not he would fit a medium or larger based on his measurements. If you don’t answer this potential buyers email that might lead to a lost sale. Answer that email and 1. the chances of that potential sale increases and 2. word of mouth (yes, again) – he goes off and tells friends that “the owner is accessible”,”I’ve talked to him”, “you don’t need to worry.” One email can impact multiple sales, remember that the next time you think about skipping or auto-deleting an email. 

Real World Example: Gary Vaynerchuk, host of the very popular Wine Library TV, is noted as answering every email he receives. If he can answer emails in the hundreds and thousands, there’s no reason that you can’t. 

5. Non-Issue Replacements. InternetLAND is a very loud and vocal arena. Make ONE customer angry and that might lead to negative publicity and the loss of multiple sales. Imagine a customer that contacts you regarding a “missing” t-shirt in his order. You can deal with this customer in two ways: 1. call bullshit and assume he is lying, or 2. take the risk on the bullshit and assume he is telling the truth. Option 1, assuming you did not offer a refund or replacement, might lead to an angry customer that expresses his anger on multiple blogs and forums with a negative review of your brand/company. You save $20 on a replacement tee but potentially lose hundreds or thousand of dollars of lost sales based on one customers angry review. Option 2, assuming you sent a full refund or replacement item, might lead to that now happy customer (whether or not he lied is a moot point) to post on multiple blogs and forums about how great the customer service at your site was. You lose $20 but potentially gain hundreds or even thousands of dollars in sales because of one happy customer (remember word of mouth?). Upset one customer and they might lead to an enormous amount of lost sales. Make one customer happy and you’ll see a return on your investment.

Real World Example: “Best Buy didn’t want to honor the sale price of the 2GB flash drive Matt ordered through their website, so when Matt arrived to pick-up his purchase, the store’s assistant manager called customer service and, pretending to be Matt, asked to cancel the order.” Needless to say, the story ended up on the Consumerist and on Digg and was seen by millions of potential buyers. 

The Art of T-Shirt Folding Explained!

Here’s a great video that I found on the Emptees forum board (posted by Cole). The YouTube video, titled “How An Engineer Folds A T-Shirt” shows, step-by-step how you can construct your own fancy T-Shirt folder using a ruler, a razor blade, cardboard and some tape. 

Turns out, based on the replies in the video, this is how many of retailers get that perfect fold on the tees that they stock on their shelves. So if you’re interested in making a fancy tee folder then watch on!

And now for those of you who are too lazy (myself included) to make one of those cardboard concoctions then check out the famous “How To Fold A T-Shirt in Two Seconds Japanese Style!” video.

And for the intellectual types, check out this video explaining the “technicals” of the two second fold (who knew?!).

Jimiyo Takes 4th Place in DBH Contest

Featured Indie Tee Spotlight artist, Jimiyo, finished 4th place in the big $10,000 Design By Humans contest. Not the finish he wanted, but nonetheless, he finished in the top end amongst a handful of very talented artists. Here’s what he had to say on his blog:

“At least it’s a hot looking shirt. One color too.. and they are selling it for $24? They are going to be making some good margin on this shirt, as well as, for the $1000 payout to me, I did some massive promotions. Was all the work worth it? Not sure. The $1000 is definitely not worth the time investment, but then is having participated and reached the top tier level of the contest worth the time investment? Because theoretically, many new eyes have been exposed to my name and work. Still feel Defeated, but elated it’s finally over. Now I can start workin!” – Jimiyo

Only thing left to do now is to go and buy his T-shirt! 

Win a Glorious Nonsensities T-Shirt!

Mr. Elephant on a brain needs a new home and your torso could be it! Interested in getting a brand spanking new Glorious Nonsensities tee? Cool. All you need to do is subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “subscribe to feed via email” link here or on the side bar. 

By subscribing to the feed by email you’ll not only get site updates but will also be entered to win a new t-shirt! Don’t worry, you’re email won’t be sold or made public. Once you subscribe using that link you’ll be asked to confirm your subscription, so be sure to check your email for the confirmation link. 

That’s it! I’ll be running this freebie offer until this Friday (September 26, 2008) and then I’ll randomly select the winner from the subscriber list. The t-shirt in question is a men’s large, and even if you don’t fit a men’s large, enter anyway that way you can give it away to a lucky buddy who does wear a men’s large!

PS: I’m also looking for a name for Mr. Elephant. He say’s that the “Mr.” reminds him of his father. So, if you have an idea for a cool name for Mr., I mean our elephant buddy then post it in the comments!