January 22, 2018

New shirts for "old school" Tooth & Nail bands

Buy Velour 100, Havalina Rail Co., Bloodshed, and Ninety Pound Wuss shirts here!

Two years ago a bunch of people encouraged me to design some new shirts for 90's bands. Nostalgia is as "in" as ever, and I am constantly designing and ordering t-shirts for my athletic teams, so I am familiar with the process. The prospect was appealing because I would have more creative freedom and fun than with sports apparel.

My vision was simple: create NEW shirt designs with the permission from the musicians. This doesn't seem revolutionary, but most of the shirts for sale online are unofficial reprints. I have Facebook ads blocked in my browser, but the rare times I get on Facebook on my phone it is littered with ads for bootleg band t-shirts.

I reached out to about a dozen different musicians, and made progress with four: Jeff Bettger of Ninety Pound Wuss, Matt Wignall of Havalina Rail Co., Trey Many of Velour 100, and Jonathan Caro of Bloodshed. They all shared my vision of new designs rather than just reprinting the shirts they had in the 90's (which would probably even sell better).

Three of the four guys had strong opinions about the designs, which is logical because they are creative, visionary people. Matt Wignall went so far as to design the shirt himself (except I recreated the original Havalina logo). Jeff Bettger had a specific vision to honor John Spalding, who passed away in 2008; I executed his design idea with a photo he shared.

Trey Many wanted the art to represent the album Of Color Bright, which was challenging but eventually doable. With Bloodshed I had complete creative freedom, and ended up polling potential buyers and they chose this incredible image from the NYC public library (free use with no restrictions).

Well, as high as the interest seemed, only the Ninety Pound Wuss shirt sold (23 of them). I am using TeeSpring to sell the shirts for a variety of reasons, but partially because of its simplicity. And with TeeSpring I know the quality of the fabric and screen printing is GREAT (have used them to order shirts for my school where I work).

TeeSpring requires a minimum of 10 orders, and the other three all failed. Well, that was two years ago, and I decided to try again because every couple months I would get an email from someone wanting to order. So a couple days ago I relaunched the sales for the four bands:

Havalina Rail Co. (buy here)

Bloodshed (buy here)
Velour 100 (buy here)



Ninety Pound Wuss (buy here)

I want to make it clear that my profit on each shirt is in the pennies. Only one of the artists wanted a cut of the profits, so the price of that shirt is a little higher. But this is very much only for fun, and not a business.

There are some downsides that I am frustrated about; primarily shipping costs. For one, if you buy multiple shirts there is no shipping discount (well, there is if you buy multiple shirts with the same design. But if you want to combine two different design/bands there is nothing; argh!). And two, I based the store in the USA because that is where most of the potential buyers are. The international shipping costs are ridiculous. I apologize about this, but it the downside of using TeeSpring. I do feel the pros outweigh the cons though, and even with the too-high shipping costs most of the shirts are under $20 total.

Finally, we need at least 10 buyers for shirt! And we are off to a solid start. The Ninety Pound Wuss shirt has 9 orders so far, and TeeSpring actually changed the goal from 10 (the typical minimum) to 6. I am not sure why, but it may have to do with the fact that the shirt has sold well before. I am hoping the other shirts will also have a reduced minimum. But surely we can find 10 buyers for each shirt below?




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