Friday, November 20, 2009

T-shirts are to Xmas what Fur is to Summer

Surprisingly the above statement is not true, it just sounds good. During Christmas I actually sell a lot of t-shirts. I am always surprised by this, but the nature of the t-shirt, printed or blank, is ubiquitous. I have been selling more long sleeve t-shirts this year and I think I should pump up the presence of Thermals, but generally speaking t-shirts work well for people designing a gift and printed shirts with wacky prints continue to work as presents. This year I have been focused on strange animal designs that seem to be following a trend created by Brit on the Flight of the Conchords with his goofy animal shirts. It always looks like his mother purchased his clothes and he has never gotten around to updating his wardrobe, thus a trend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This blog must move - Evict, Evict, Evict

I like talking like a droid. The commercials and sounds remind me a fixated robot on Dr. Who that is chasing me down a hallway. Terminate, Terminate...Anyway, it doesn't make sense to keep talking about the Droid and my Verizon / AT & T exploits while I search for the perfect wireless communication system / combination of services. Unless I am discussing t-shirts and I forgot to mention the 2-color droid shirts that the Verizon store representatives were wearing for the first few days. Who printed those? I want that job. I did print the original Xbox t-shirts for the promotion when those came on the scene and a couple of jobs for a company named Ableton, but I missed the call on my AT&T phone when Verizon called for a quote on that job. Simple design, nothing flashy, just a graphic text logo. pic to follow.

I will be moving this blog to an old domain I have like to continue these trials and tribulations. This blog is supposed to be about t-shirts, not cell phones, so bye bye.

What if I threw my Droid at a wall, would it smash it? or could I get a new one?

This commercial implies that I can call on a robot or a Godzilla like character if my Dumb Dumb navigator makes me angry. Is this true?All the more reason to buy a Droid before we find out the bugs.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Showdown at the Verizon Corral

Today was the day I had to throw-down at the Verizon shop. I had been led into testing multiple phones on the basis of 30-day trials and so I did. I've now spend many afternoons in the local store at Corte Madera testing and returning the items I didn't like, Samsung with Vindows, Netbook with Wifi and a variety of other phones that did this and that. Now that I am somewhat satisfied with the Droid, which I was unaware of when I started this escapade, I am faced with multiple accounts and some lousy free phones that looked good when they were "free". Free is a word for nothing left to lose and since those phones weren't really up to speed my wife and kids didn't really care for them and we have been switching up since day 1. Finally they must've gotten tired of this and since they give me a different sales person each time I show up it has usually required me to call up the manager to get the switches approved. Today they gave me the same guy, the problem solver guy I assume.

Simply put they didn't want to let me dump or trade my Blackberry for a phone my wife would want since it had already been switched out from a Windows based Samsung Cell Phone / PDA to begin with. WTF! Why didn't they say, limited switching or that we are going to make you yell to switch again instead of "go ahead and try this phone and return it within 30 days if you don't like it", eh? The funny thing about this story is that the "problem solver" went over to a sign on the wall and pointed to it like they made me read that before I agreed. I don't think so. Take down the sign and hand it to customers then. If I am correct I think I have several legal points. Verbal agreements are binding too. F that shit about a sign on the wall. They brought out a printed copy upon demand, but it took a long time and basically it was no agreement, only the things the sales people are supposed to explain.

Here is the legal point. The sign says you can only exchange a phone once in the 30 days, however it doesn't say what happens afterwards. They tried to imply that it meant that I was forced into a 2 year agreement or that I would have to pay the retail price of the phone to turn it back in. No so fast. An agreement that is not direct on the effect of a termination within the terms of the 30 days does not in debt the user to a contract or a purchase for products that are being returned. Moral of story, is terminate and return all products instead of doing an exchange. With a termination you won't have to yell as much and the sales guy will bring the manager out quicker to upsell you on some other product. Most corporations are really just legal arrangements created by Gangsters and they just give people jobs to help them screw people with a smile, while the real culprits are coming up with new ways to rope us into contracts and obligations. In the end you may have to act like a Gangsta to not get screwed, no guns, just logic. I like Verizon, but I don't want to give them more credit than they deserve when they start pulling out the friggin' wall signs as if I agreed to that because it was hanging on the wall. LOL.

Final part to the story is that I had confused the pen I had scribbled some notes on in my pocket with a pen of my own and the "problem solver" proclaimed it was his, however, I could have it. Sensing a contract I looked at the pen closer to make sure it wasn't mine, then handed it back to him. For all I know if I had taken the pen I might've been suckered into a 2 year contract for the ink or worse. Luckily I found my pen in my pocket, that looked similar, then went back and shaked it in his face to show him I was only slightly confused and I did not want his pen. Congenially, he answered, "that's a nice pen", and I left proud that I did not fall for the old "take the pen, owe the next 2 years of my life to the Mob" scenario.
Enough with business;
Viva La Droid!

I've got the Droid now what? Tethering...

I showed up at the Verizon store at 7a.m. and was the 9th person in line to get the Droid. It was a light rain and my bagel was damp, but that didn't matter. I hadn't been this excited since the batman costume was available for my 5th birthday around Halloween. One potential Verizon Droid customer in the store was dissappointed when he determined the droid may not synch with a Mac home computer, but overall the crowd seemed happy to dump their Blackberry for the bigger screen and keyboard. My daughter wanted one too, but she wants everything new and shiny.

Now I've got the phone and all seems well, except that it eats up batteries and the screen may be getting looser from use sliding it back and forth to use the keypad. I'm about ready to port in my AT&T phone number, but I'm not 100% convinced this phone is going to allow me to tether my laptop to the internet without having to pay an extra $30 a month. I've downloaded an FTP app and setup my Gmail account to access Google, but I didn't instantly get access to all of my Google apps like Adwords and Adsense. I may be able to reach them through a browser which with the bigger screen makes the web more accessible.

Tethering the Droid: Here is what I've found out so far. JuneFabrics has a software for this here, JuneFabrics, but once I attempt to download the software it claims that I can't because it is not supported by the Droid / Verizon. I may have to manually download the file and transfer it over. Basically I think I can do most of my network solutions by simply FTP, email and Web browsing, but for the special circumstance when I need to print a label and communicate with other software I feel this may be too difficult to manage on the Droid or a Blackberry or an Iphone, but I can't afford another $30 a month. This always brings me back to a high tech phone is still only 1/2 a computer and more of a fun expensive toy when it comes to doing anything useful. If I could spend $30 a month and have internet everywhere, then I wouldn't need these fancy phones. It really is the contracts I hate for these services more than the money. I hate being locked into 2 years for something that will most likely be free and or cheaper in a matter of months. Other Droid Tethering articles

Friday, November 6, 2009

Will the Android at Verizon change my life - or turn me into a robot?

Personal Day: The Motorola Android Droid Phone is coming, The Motorola Android Droid Phone is coming; It's coming to cut you in two. It's on the way, it will be here today, it's coming just for you.

Today I am going off at 7am to buy the Android at Verizon and test the phone service and internet capabilities of this phone. I've been working over the last month on finding the best solution for my multi-tasking, driving, remote working business orientated lifestyle and have been captivated by the ads for this item. Needless to say I just want one to try.

I've got a BlackBerry in my pocket now. I've tried the Samsung Windows operating system phone and Apple Iphone and Ipod through Wifi. I've got a netbook and have tested the Mi-Fi card, as well as, the pci style car for internet connectivity. I've got AT&T phones, Vonage, Jfax, and a Magic Jack and have tried Skype. Where will it all end? Hopefully here, with the Android.

My problems are legion as I need to download files for artwork from different warehouses without the internet, process email and orders via a secure connection, take pictures of samples and send them to clients, update this blog and get decent phone reception. I like the idea of using a phone for my tether to the computer, but the additional cost seem high for the service and if I can combine it with a phone then I would feel like I am getting the right level of service for my money.

I suppose no phone can solve all my problems, but since I spend much of my time working on Google anyway, Analytics, Adsense, Searching, Google Checkout, Maps and more, then it is possible that this may provide a smoother internet when I want to use their services. That may make my other issues irrelevant as I go forward with my business, more on Google through the phone should substitute many of the things I have to use a computer for remotely anyway.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The way it is....Not the way it was - Frankie Say Relax Don't Do It

Just when you think you've paid you're dues you find out you've been dumped. That's the modern web. You can't count on anything. Par example, I have been printing this Frankie say Relax shirt, which has haunted me from the Eighties. The style is Garrish, Large block letters, the design is ubiquitous, in fact the word Ubiquitous came from this shirt. We wrote about it, sold it cheap ( to keep it real ). Then some television advertisement comes out with the shirt featured in it and it starts selling rather well online. All of a sudden I can't even find my links on the web in Google (I haven't bothered to check Bing yet). WTF. How does Google go about dropping people and juggling content and more importantly this reinforces the idea that real-world information is completely edited by strange coincidences.

It really doesn't make sense when I know I have the best printed t-shirt for this in the most colors, the cheapest price and all and all the most authentic version of this item around (I even hated it in the eighties, which is why I like it now). Overall I'm not super upset for this pariticular instance, but it is a good example since it is Halloween and I think a bunch a people want this item. I'm more upset at the unpredicatable nature of the beast within. Here is the write up we gave this item years and years ago:

"Set the dial in the wayback machine to the summer of 1984 and listen closely. That sound you hear is Frankie Goes to Hollywood's one and only hit "Relax". And associated somehow with the song are these shirts. Frankie say relax-- what the hell does that mean? Listening closely to the lyrics, we get the impression that it has something to do with what the Romans called "coitus interruptus", which translates in to english as something like "extremely frustrating". Why would you want to wear a shirt that encouraged such a thing? Beats the hell out of us, but they sure were popular, and if like us you weren't very well dressed that particular summer, this is your chance to make up for it. Buy several and take 1984 with you wherever you go."

A rather nice piece by our now deceased staff writer. Even the photo shot in our store is a real customer in a real store, not pretencious or overbearing at all. Nonetheless, this CafePress, Zazzle, Amazon, Ebay Bullshit dominates the web and keeps giving people crap. I know we aren't the best at everything, but I know we are the best at somethings and most importantly culturally relevant historically correct kitschy low-brow humor is our thing. This Frankie Say Relax shirt is essentially that and the fact that I can't find any reference to this item just goes to say that there is something wrong.

Is Y-Que banned for adult content? It really doesn't matter because there is no answer to this type of problem in a complex world of linking. I just have to go back and decide if it is worth it to rebuild from scratch something that should just be there in the mix, but that has disappeared, like Robert Dinero as Tuttle in the Movie Brazil. Not much difference. Just don't try to fix anything and your life should be fine.

If I have to keep rebuilding web pages just to stay in the mix for a public service type message like Frankie Say Relax then it makes the web seem like too much work to keep things "live". Balloon Boy is a big deal, but how many people are looking to dress up like him on Halloween (maybe I will), but he's so non-descript. Darn. The bigger issue is Frankie was a good Halloween costume, but now I've got to push on to Xmas since my main design has been mysteriously vanquished. Maybe it was a Mystery Shopper (whatever that is) and the Mystery of Shopping for a t-shirt that was soooo obvious confused them and it was edited from existence.

By the way, I spent an hour the other night trying to find an original version or image of the "Touch of Class" transfer that was famous in the 70's as a transfer. Can't be found. No where. If you have an image of this please send it over for historical purposes. On the plus side, I was researching the origin of the Mudflap girl and actually discover that Whiz Enterprises in Long Beach created this icon of our Modern World. I consider it the only true American female Madonna representing Sex versus Virginity. To think that being placed on Mudflaps, the dirtiest place on a truck, made that image famous is even more amazing. But the internet did lead me to an answer of an otherwise missing link in the world of Graphic Art. God Bless the Mudflap Girl.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's just a game called Bizniz - that's Business or (Busyness) for the rest of us

Every business is the same. Cost of products, overhead, expenses and the creation of a product that people want to buy or use. Ideally there will be a profit to justify the effort, otherwise it is what it is and that can also be called "Busyness". Once we boil down our personal efforts and realize that staying in business is just a way to stay busy, then the shit hits the fan and the ends may not seem to justify the end. Who wouldn't want to do something else than to trade goods and take risk with very little potential for financial benefit? I only bring this up because the word on the street is that the hoopla about a recovery seems false at it's core. I was at my dentist today, Dr. Randolph Yip, a family dentist who also offers Cosmetic Dental Care in San Francisco, and it was very clear that even his customers are delaying dental care because of losing their dental insurance and employment, thereby affecting the bottom line of his business. Yet, simultaneously the stock market is up 35% this year???

The unemployment rate is still rising and in the end the net effect of more people being out of work will remove cash from the retail world and thereby continue to slow the potential for profit for real-world stores. Facts are facts and the fact here is that the stock market is a projection of better days ahead for some of us. If I had the time I would detail a rationalization on why the stock market is an accurate barometer and if we all believe then it's predictions will come true, but I have loss my innocent optimism for such folly. The only way I can accept the numbers is by assuming there is a major detachment between the reality of peoples lives and the numerical statistics that we tend to gauge our lives by. Speculation is a beast that we have incorporated into our capitalistic system, which is ballsy to say the least. The only way we can say that a 35% increase in the stock market is rationale is to recognize that the market was oversold before this rise began. Otherwise we have to reach the conclusion that it is now overbought. Regardless, in the real world of business the types of people who have lost jobs are not finding an equal number of jobs available for every 100 points that the market is rising. There is no industry replacing what has been lost. There is no super product that we are making that will provide us with a backbone to rebuild the economy and provide mass employment. We are wishful, but these are not the times for mass delusions.

The magic answer to the economic problems is not to give up because the facts don't make sense with the reality. Everyone needs to crunch their own numbers and find a way to survive. I've turned a lot of corners and have somehow made ends meet over the years and realize that change is required and our old paradigms simply provided for survival, but that is no longer a guarantee as we move into a new era. I have always believed that creativity and inspiration are the essence of individual success and that translates into societal success. Trying to interpret that for our current times is like a fly swatting itself. I like to work on several different levels and mix the results. I feel like my art influences my skills and my skills give me something to do, which in the end is my business and marketing my business keeps me busy and so on.

My current problem is that I don't believe that the market reality doesn't match the real-world factual reality. At the same time I have been running ads on my websites and find that I get more business when I run ads that often times show my competitors. This is a real problem, because when I cut my ads I am cutting my revenue which helps supplement the cost of my web presence. My basic assumption is that by redirecting traffic to my competitors I may be losing business, but the opposite seems to happen each time I stop running ads. I don't want to believe the facts, but more ads seems to equal more business. I don't have a full-proof way to test this because my main revenue stream comes from my main website at Is there any rationale basis for this?

My conclusion is, if it is true that more ads equal more business, that by running ads I am providing a form of comparison shopping. In fact I think I will rename my ads and encourage my competitors to publish on my best web pages as a way to provide comparison shopping. I assume that the people advertising must have the most agressive pricing and products or they wouldn't be advertising to begin with, so if I can beat them then I am more likely to close the deal. This is my Mad Men moment when I push a new concept onto the market. Most likely other companies will benefit from this more than me since I work in a niche that is like a guy selling watches on the street corner, but WTF, it doesn't bother me to be the Guinea Pig for other businesses, I'm used to it. Packaging is the key so I am going to rename my advertising sections as Comparison Shopping Links and push forward in getting more competitors to sell through my spaces. I still don't totally understand if this makes sense from the customers standpoint, so if you have any ideas on this please send me an email or post a comment. thnx

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nobel Prize Winning Chia Obama

It is never too late to come out with another Chia and it's never too late to make fun of a controversy with a t-shirt. The Obama Chia is way crazier than any other Chia and it won't be around for long since the major seller of the item CVS Pharmacy has pulled the item. Now we are going to be left with ad after ad of the Obama Chia kinda like Head On or whatever that stuff was you are supposed to rub on your head. I do want one of those Snuggie blankets though before it gets too cold around here and they run out. Obama may definitely be the first Nobel Peace Prize winning Chia. Fact Check.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pantone Color matching for T-shirt printing - A great place to start, but...

Yes and No. Yes t-shirt printers and match pantone colors and many have complex systems and ink mixing machines that help with the process. However this is only reasonable for large jobs. I've found that even when you do match a pantone color for a print job the inks can look different wet than dry and surprise it's still not exact. Also the color of the shirt next to the ink can affect your eye which changes the perception of the color. Mixing a pantone color for screenprinting also must take into account that the person using the pantone book should use Uncoated reference chips and not coated. Screen vibrancy is nothing compared to flat cloth, so don't think that a backlight design shown on a computer is going to look the same. In fact, I think it often looks better in ink on cloth, but that is a matter of opinion. Pantone numbers are great references for screenprinting but they only put you in the ballpark. Always think of pantone colors as a range of colors or as a reference for the rest of us. The final result will be hue on one side of the color or the other. Paper printing is different and Pantones were created for that industry, which explains the difference. Screen printing is like starting a fire with two rocks compared to the detail and accuracy available in offset printing. Here is a link to links for Pantone Color systems.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cheery OH and the Friggin' Libor Bank Rate

0.68, can you believe that? Hell know. I woulda never thunk it, but it is true. The Libor is at a historic low and you should let everyone know that. Why? I'm not sure, but I am sure that it affects a lot of shit and the more people that know about it then the more people that are completely caught up in a world of isolated numerical facts that will be able to eventually bore each other to death. God Save the Libor. Oh, and I am printing this shirt with the daily libor rate printed with the date. Long Live the LIBOR!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Photo Fresco Mosaic Buddha - 10 Steps to Self Enlightment through Destruction

Mysterious Crystal Cube From Buddha for Photo Fresco Destruction

First off I am not sure where this will end. Every time I turn the page, thinking that I must be near the final product, I find a new twist or turn that makes making these things intrinsically divine. Today I found a crystal cube laying in the ground when I was looking for something to break my fresco Buddha print on. The crazy thing is that it appeared that the leaves around it were pointing to it or spelling some word in a Hebrew or Japanese font. Silly me, but if you have any idea if the leaves surrounding this "crystal cube", for lack of a better word, might spell something then leave a comment below. Otherwise it did make me look twice and simply pickup the "cube" in order to have a hard surface to break this photo fresco print on.

Photo Fresco Mosaic

So now what do I do? It's not easy to drop the Fresco, but it is kinda fun knowing that I can put all the pieces back together again. Here is a link to the Photo Gallery showing the Assembly of the Photo Fresco into a Mosaic of sorts. Here is an image of the Now Final Product:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Photo Frescos Return via Warhol Stolen Art Heist - Merge into Mosaics

Kareem Abdul Jabbar PhotFresco Mosaics in Reverse Order from Original Stolen Warhol Painting

Click for Gallery of complete Set of Warhol Stolen Paintings
This sequence of images show the image progression from digital photo to PhotFresco Mosaic

Photo Fresco Warhol Painting Mosaic Gallery Images here.

It's a long story from a place very far away. I have been experimenting over the years with merging photography with plaster to create plaster prints that are theoretically more permanent than some other mediums like Florentine Renaissance Fresco paintings survived well because of the use of plaster with the pigments. Most importantly the blending of color that occurs with wet plaster mixes pigments in a marbled way that changes as it dries and often creates something not exactly like the original.
Here is a PhotFresco version of the Warhol Kareem Abdul Jabbar Painting that was stolen in LA

As a photographer I sort of hate literal duplication of images, which is why screen printing is generally hack work that I have to do to make a living, not exactly the most thrilling task on earth. I've mentioned this many times here and we don't need to go there, but with mixing a photographic image into plaster I enjoy the duplication process as it makes the image seem more painterly, yet takes advantage of the microscopic detail that only photography can provide.

Original Warhol Painting of Kareem Abdul Jabbar from digital Crime Alert Poster of the 11 Stolen Paintings

When I was a photographer of sorts, traveling around the country in the eighties with 35mm cameras and black and white film, I realized that I enjoyed blurry photos more than sharp detail. This led to the conclusion that my photographs really didn't work for most people because it took enjoying the sense of motion that I was getting and basically it just wasn't worth showing people photos or trying to make a camera act like a paint brush in black and white. I moved towards more commercial and graphic endeavors like screen printing and eventually stopped using my own images in my work.

Over the years, as a screen printer, I've delved into Warhol style paintings and sold quite a few on the streets of San Francisco, matching celebrity and news images into color schemes on canvas and stretching them on wood. Fun during the off season of t-shirts, but I stopped as I started doing bigger works and later I just got too busy printing t-shirts. A few years back while making plaster lamp bases I started molding images into the work. Nothing has worked successfully, but every now and then I got a glimpse of where it could go and what it could be. This year I sort of got somewhere with transfering images into wet plaster and building molds that are self-contained frames. This is always interesting as a process since it goes from a wet process like photography to a dry process like a print, but it is cast in plaster which makes the final product also like sculpture.

This leads me from where I began and to where I am. I have always tried to avoid Warhol style work unsuccessfully. It's terrible because I like the merging of photography with painting and the people on the streets loved it. Personally I thought it was demeaning to do portraits of famous people, but the impact of the images was overwhelming. I was not a painter and I used inks in my printing that were also t-shirt printing inks, but more and more the images were attempts at making something that people liked and I just didn't get that far away with painting to make it somthing different, but it worked for selling paintings in a basic way and I did it over the years. My larger work was an attempt to mix images to use smaller screens and make something larger by randomly printing images all over the canvas. It was fun, but nothing like the Pollackian style that I thought it was. Later I found that only one or two images worked just as well as 50 images and this type of juxtaposition can insert meaning from two different objects. T-shirt printing designs over the past 5 years have exploited this technique to the nth degree and I'm bored with that too. Blah, blah, blah. What this means is that the Love-Hate thing with Warhol just won't go away.

Now I just finished working on a technique for Phot-Fresco, as I call it, and there was an art heist in Los Angeles of 11 Warhol Paintings. These prints were sent out on a Crime Alert from the LAPD and I was impressed with the group of prints as subject matter for my Phot-Frescos. I mixed, printed and dried a batch of flat rock paintings to get the transition from Warhol to Fresco. I was quite happy with the mix although it really didn't do enough to make me feel I could call it my own. Archiving Warhol's work was fun to show how my Frescos worked, but Where's the Art in making something look marbled in rock? Then while a stack of prints were drying in my walkway they fell some time during the day and broke into a pile of rubble. Feeling no loss I picked up the pieces and arranged them on a table like putting puzzles back together. Not only was I impressed with the Mosaic effect that resulted I now felt like I had added something to the work that I could appreciate.

Here is a photo gallery of the Warhol Stolen Art Paintings PhotFresco Mosaics. Now say that 5 times.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Typical problem - typical solution - SNAFU

This is a typical artwork problem when you have a bunch of sponsors and you've agreed to put their logo on the shirt for your event. The people are happy to provide you with a disk or business card and on it is a half readable 1" design in 15 colors that is supposed to fit with 10 other randomly supplied pieces of artwork. Somebody has to do the dirty work and put these together, but the real problem is getting something to print in 1 or 2 colors without destroying the logos themselves.

I am tired of saying that anything can be done, because anything can be done. If you've got an image then somebody and put that on a shirt, but it may not be affordable and it may look like crap. The real issue with t-shirt printing is keeping it affordable and taking a pile of crappy artwork and turning it into something that can be printed at a reasonable price. The sample shown here is just that and with the contrast increased and the designs filled in accordingly it turned out to be a decent print. When I looked at the original which was a low resolution version of the same it was hard to see the detail because of all the blurriness within the logos themselves. Always remember when you are doing a job with sponsors that you can't kill yourself trying to make their logos print perfectly or your own design will suffer. Here is a link to a larger version of this artwork. Also I am providing a link to the original artwork so you can see where they started with this design.

Typically we charge $50 an hour to play with this type of design, but if the customer seems flexible and willing to pay for a new screen in case they aren't happy then sometimes we'll do a hack modification like this one without charging. It really depends on the design. The worst job of all is getting a disk with a huge list of files that are different sizes and the customer wants them arranged around their logo. We don't touch that type of artwork without an advance deposit, warnings and disclaimers galore. Now that were done here, Where's The Ribs?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

T-shirts are where dust bunnies come from

Dust, dust everywhere, but nor a shirt to print. That's what it feels like sometimes when you try and organize shirts in a warehouse. Piles and piles of shirts that have been left-over, misprinted, returned or simply unfolded laying around waiting for their turn to be discovered. Like waves in the ocean they continuously rise and fall depending on the season in colors that reflect like the sun off the surface of the water unconciously blinding me, keeping me in a daze. I swim from pile to pile moving the shirts and refolding them like a jeweler cutting diamonds, knowing that each shirt will eventually find a home. Each shirt will eventually be matched with a design and a person then shipped to some Godless place on earth to be worn in all it's defiant glory. But why is my home here amongst these balls of lint; when will I be found? Is God punishing me for being a smart-ass and mocking this universe by making use of sarcastic humor as if it is a dominant force in our existence like gravity? How long must I swim in these cotton piles sorting them through mounds that never have a bottom? How long must I pay for the Albatross I shot? My Leviathan is within these cotton strands and I exist only to make them real. There is no escape to another realm and as Godot I must wait, and fold shirts, until I understand.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Banking On Obama

I should pay more attention to the Health Care proposal currently being discussed nationwide, but as far as I'm concerned I'm Banking on Obama as much as this design which is spray painted stencil design on checks. Most of the negative criticism sounds like people who are worried about their own health coverage, but my understanding is that the people who will be most affected are the ones who don't have health coverage to begin with, like myself. Of course the people who are in a
health care program care about the details like death or marginal care, but if you have nothing then anything is better than that. I'd die anyway or be financially destroyed if the slightest ailment comes my way, so why would I want to argue about if they are going to pull the plug, when I wouldn't even get a plug without some sort of coverage. Just pass something, then fix it later. If we can afford bombs, new cars and bank bailouts, then we can afford to do something about the lack of affordable health care we provide our citizens.

Monday, August 10, 2009

As summer winds down... Back to School winds up, up, up

Back to school sales are redundant. I agree that shopping for kids is an important part of taking care of them, but does it really have to be a major deal? Basically, sales slow down over the summer and any excuse for markdowns is justified to increase sales, but I just get sick of the jargon, like it's gonna make me spend money. School cost enough money already and especially if you have a kid going to college. Currently we are having a sale on Gildan White t-shirts and hopefully your kids needs 10,000 of them. The bigger boost to sales comes when people are back in school and at their jobs where they can spend their days shopping on the internet instead of working and buying lots of useless and semi-useless decorated garments like t-shirts from Check out our sale prices on Gildan White t-shirts for $1.40/ea, woo hoo.

Finished North Carolina and am doing States that are sentimental for some reason or another at this point.

One Nation Under a pull-down menu; One State at a Time

Which brings up a good point. This country, the United States of America, is t-shirts compatible in a backward way. I mean it is the only country that had ever based it's government on a Creed, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", created political cartoons to motivate or scare the shit out of people to join them in fighting with "Join or Die" and built it's nation off of cheap cotton and cotton subsidies. What more can you expect than a culture that creates great slogan t-shirts and thank God that I can do my part to keep the American Dream alive. Give me t-shirt or Give me Death!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Have you seen this Clown?

Of course making negative or ambiguous images of Obama may be racist and insensitive, but it is about time. Political cartooning does not go hand in hand with restraint, but restraint is what has gone on with criticism of Obama in many corners of the zeitgeist. Sure there are the standard opponents to anything the man, as President, has done. But a street level posting of a clownish Obama with the ambiguous phrase underneath may be sacrilige (msp), note to fix later. Socialism, may be a joke reference anyway as Obamas policies are more capitalistic generally. Personally I think his War policies are misguided, but the point here is that his image has been whitewashed generally by the regular critics because of his sympathetic views to liberal doctrines and this poster marks the end of that in some way. It's not clear what the poster means either, so that is what I like about the message. Obama deserves the same amount of good-hearted mocking that every President gets, which includes pasting a Hitler moustache and in this case forcing him to inadvertantly wear Whiteface makeup under the guise of a clown. This is also funnier than the images that show Obama as Abraham Lincoln when he has done very little besides getting elected to earn that reference.

Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don't mind the maggots

I had previously done the New York design and I don't have time to update it today, so I am applying this prior work to my quota of one State t-shirt a day and just updating an older webpage with this design here:

New York State Flag T-shirt

This older method with the attached cart allows the design to have text added to the design, which is a pain, but a nice option. I still have to print the design which takes longer, but maybe I could start airbrushing or spraypainting the additional text below or on top, like graffiti, of the design.

Here is another New York parody t-shirt:

New Dork City T-shirt

and another I skull / hate New York making fun of the obvious I heart New York t-shirts:

I hate New York t-shirt

And have you seen this?

maybe that deserves a new post

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another State Bites the Dust - Pennsylvania revamped

Here is the newest addition to the updated t-shirt portfolio. I had done this design prior, but at a lower resolution so this design should print better. Here is an image of the old one shown below. Once again Royal Blue seems to be the best color for the background t-shirt associated with this design. However, you can change the color of the shirt for this design by going here:

Pennsylvania State Flag T-shirt

While reviewing the news and wondering if the Cash for Clunkers program is effective, since the end result should be a lower overall market price for vehicles in the future to deflate the current pricing and less of a demand in the future as prospective car buyers jump into the fire now, while it is hot. Now I am pondering ways to make a Cash for Clunkers t-shirt program work. If I combine it with the State by State system I can have people mail in their old State t-shirt and get a new one for Free, as long as they cover the shipping and handling cost. This may be a good way to end the summer and jump start the domestically inspired State By State t-shirts that I am working on too.

Don't Mess with Texas - Texas State Flag T-shirt added to mix

Today I added Texas to the list of State by State completed Flag designs. You can find it here:

Texas State Flag T-shirt

Navy seemed to be the right color for this item.

While reviewing the State Flag t-shirts I noticed a big inconsistency with some of the descriptions on my main website. In some cases it said Free Shipping and No Taxes for t-shirts shipping to Texas. The not taxes is correct, but I have since modified my website to allow the customer to pay the shipping, which then allows me to advertise the price of the shirts at their core value. The other issue that is a surprise for customers is when they find out about the screen setup cost of $30 per color for their design. To simplify matters I reviewed my pricelist and worked in the price of shipping and screen setup for custom printing.

Pricelist for Custom printing without setup cost and without shipping cost:

Pricelist for Custom printing t-shirts and blank t shirts with the setup cost included in the printing prices and with Free Shipping for domestic orders:

Obviously the shirts appear cheaper on the above listed chart, but there is something to be said for simplicity. I added the setup cost into the screen printing side of the chart and added the shipping into the blank t-shirt side of the chart. In this way the customer can still buy the blank t-shirts and receive free shipping. Since we only print on shirts that we provide then the shipping cost are included with any custom print job too since they are buying the t-shirts from us.

I currently don't have a shopping cart setup on the new "all-inclusive" price chart, but I am going to point it to a different server since these pricing schemes are way to confusing if they appear in the same shopping cart. I notice many of my online competitors offer free shipping, but generally their price points are higher than mine so it makes sense. I have been shipping more often with Fedex lately and need to update my shipping rate chart with the new pricing I am getting, however, with the Free Shipping offer it seems that I may have to just eliminate the price chart completely.

Lately I've been expediting more often with Federal Express and the rates are high, but not as bad as they used to be. Maybe the lower gas prices are showing up in the shipping rates. As long as the economy remains slow I suppose that gas prices will remain lower than the highs. Theoretically if all the new more fuel efficient vehicles people are buying help lower the overall amount of gas that people use then the net result should be lowere demand and thus lower prices for even a longer period of time. In this way we should continue to expect a contracting
business environment as people use less resources and by definition become more conservative in their expenses. What more could we ask for than slow economic growth to help the environment?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Good concept - bad designs ; State by State update of United States T-shirts

I did a rough concept design of state flags for the United States a couple of years ago using clip art flags and creating a web interface to sell the shirts on. My idea was that as they sold I would print them. Not so. The interface was good, at and it allowed the potential customer to change the background shirt color, which isn't that hard and I used American Apparel shirts which have a good color range and they are Made in the USA. The problem was most states have colorful designs and as I got a few orders they just sat there getting old as I pondered how to make the design printable with anywhere from 3-6 colors on the average flag. In the end the customers weren't happy and I had a backlog of unfinished work. When I finally spoke with the customer I offered the design as a modified design, less colors, and not exactly what was shown on my website as a design, which usually resulted in a cancelled order. Some of the items got printed after much adoo and a few of the States looked pretty good, although they aren't what was being shown.

The point is that t-shirt printed doesn't easily reproduce artwork exactly as you see it on the web. It's easy to find a picture on a website and/or have an image that you like that was designed for a poster or business card, but they can't magically jump on a t-shirt, even for a t-shirt printer, without a significant amount of work. Also the expected demand for a product is usually less than what was expected and the orders don't just flow to create a demand instantly on the web. There are a few exceptions to the rule and they relate to t-shirt transfers and digitally output image systems that may be direct printed to the shirt. I no longer argue about the quality of those items, but they often wash out and the cost for larger production runs are still high. That said you can get individual shirts made with those types of systems as long as you are willing to pay, I just don't do that type of thing since I am a screen printer or sorts.

The solution is now to rework the designs, as I should have in the first place, and put a little D-stress, eliminate some colors, use the background color of the shirt to match the color of the flag and reduce the overall work required for screenprinting to a 1-2 color job. By modifying and recreating the artwork by reducing the number of colors in each design that will allow me to do small production runs when the time comes. So I am working on one State per day to modify and adjust the designs so that they are printable and represented on the web as I plan to print them. The customer can still change the color of the shirt and we will still use American Apparel, but the shirt will best resemble the respective State flag if it is on the color of the flag for that state. I've shown a few images above of what I started with and what they look like now.

The relevance of this is global for potential custom printing customers. Full color artwork when applied to screen printing t-shirts is usually too complex to simply print it on a shirt. Not to mention expensive and a huge waste of energy to spend hundreds of dollars on screens to make something look exactly like the original. Most artwork can be modified and simplified to work on t-shirts, but it requires that someone familiar with t-shirt printing separate the design into printable colors and in the end it will cost less. Nobody likes to pay for artwork, even me, but unless I spent my time modifying these designs they were unworkable and therefore my business for this State by State Made in the USA t-shirt concept wasn't flying. Now it has a chance and it also has a chance at being profitable since the shirts won't cost as much to make. Most importantly the shirts look better with less colors and they don't have an overwhelming amount of ink on them.I'm not going to do a new flag design today since this post will count as my day's work on this project. To view the States I've completed go here:

Arkansas State Flag T-shirt

Nevada State Flag T-shirt

Arizona State Flag T-shirt

Washington State Flag T-shirt

Ok, I couldn't resist and I had to update this design today for California.

California State Flag T-shirt

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Everything you need to know about t-shirts but were afraid to ask

The basic information about t-shirts is required to make a decision about what type of t-shirts you may want to buy. First off it doesn't take that long to order sample t-shirts and simply try them on, wash them, print them, throw them on the ground and when you are done, use them as a rag. T-shirts are cheap and so the few dollars you need to spend to test a couple of different brands will be worth it in the end.

Value: Either you want cheap t-shirts, thick durable tshirts, fashionably thin and tighter fitting t-shirts, organic t-shirts, soft t-shirts or womens cut t-shirts. Most people are driven by their budget and the price range of t-shirts is from $1.50-8.50/each for basic tshirts in the above-mentioned types. Each time you add a variable to the mix, like pockets, longsleeves etc... then you add a dollar or two to the cost of the items. White shirts are cheaper and black or color shirts usually cost an additional dollar each. Here is a general listing of the most common brands from cheapest to most expensive: Jerzee, Gildan, Tultex, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, Alstyle, Anvil, American Apparel, Bella and Alternative Apparel. I didn't mentions all of the brands out there, but these are readily available and if you can't find what you want in one brand then you can switch to another and still get something similar.

Weight: In the old days people rubbed the cotton on a shirt and measured it's worth by how thick it felt. These days it's just the opposite; people like lightweight thin cotton that shows a little nipple action. I personally am in the middle, I like medium weight t-shirts that are a bit soft. The thinner the cotton also means the more it tends to shrink. However, cotton does bounce back if you don't mind tugging your shirt after you've sent it through a was and restretching the cotton to fit again. The more liberal, meat-eaters, t shirts are cut like Hanes, Jerzee, Gildan and Fruit of the Loom brands. The thinner cotton shirts are American Apparel, Alternative Apparel and Tultex. In the middle you've got Alstyle and Anvil.

Availability: Typically the Hanes and Gildan are readily available. The Alstyle inventory fluctuates alot, especially in the summer. Anvil is up and down too. American Apparel has done a great job on keeping stock on items this year and I hope they keep it up as they seem to be replacing the Hanes Beefy T as the quintessential t-shirt. Tultex has been able to ship decent size orders and I don't do a lot with Fruit of the Loom or Jerzee. Bella is a Womens line of shirts that are also in the mix. I can get most orders to customers around the country in less than 5 days, but for orders that are mixed brands and or small orders I often have to consolidate the orders and it can take a full week to get them processed.

Quantity Wholesale pricing: The more t-shirts you buy the cheaper they get. There are some limits which are around the 500 quantity. Still, don't buy more shirts than you need to save money for any particular job. Shipping prices go down the more you buy, as well as, printing prices go down. From a business standpoint the risk factors go up when large orders are placed online so we require multiple levels of fraud protection before we ship large orders. No returns on large wholesale t-shirt orders since the shipping often is equal to more than the profit on any given wholesale tshirt order.

Export: Each country is different, but we are setting up an international section for orders of shirts made in the United States to be sold to a variety of countries outside the United States. Here is a list of the countries we currently do business with: Canada, England, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and we hope to increase that list. Large export orders for tshirts are only sent on a prepay via wire transfer basis. There are no returns on large wholesale t-shirt orders and all taxes, duties and shipping rates are paid by the importer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

T-shirts without a Country; International Shipping prices for exporting t-shirts

International Shipping prices for exporting t-shirts is simply put, expensive and cumbersome. However, the dollar is cheap and cotton is still king as a commodity. The United States is a great origin for purchasing t-shirts for export whether they were originally made in the US or not. I have started a research project to determine the shipping documents, the shipping cost and the import duties and taxes for t-shirts on a country by country basis. This is just the begining and I have determined to use Federal Express for the bulk of the international shipping of cotton t-shirts because of the control that I can maintain over the packages all the way to the importers door. The standard rules for exporting shirts from us to another country is that the order must be prepaid via wire transfer, including the shipping cost. All duties and taxes will be paid by the importer. Here is a list of the countries and a link to where I am compiling the information on each countries specific rules and fees:


England UK United Kingdom






New Zealand

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An endless array of unfinished projects

I realize the difference between being young and old is that when I was younger I worked intensly on a project and became obsessed with the tools and skills related to a subject until I moved on to another subject. Now that I am older I have every project that I have ever worked on going on simultaneously and my concentration is limited due to the amount of time I can spend on each thing. I feel that at some point all of these different hobbies will merge into an opus thus allowing me to move on to something totally new.

Airbrushing is the new talent I am delving into and it seems really cool. I've spent my entire life rejecting this skill for more graphic, hard-lined, types of printing
like screen printing. I've been using spray paint and making stencils with laser cutting and wire mesh screens, however, I was reluctant to do too much since the spray paint stinks and gives me a headache eventhough I wear a mask. The idea of water-based inks not causing a toxic cloud while I worked attracted me slowly to the air brush equipment at the art store. Now I've got an assortment of inks for textiles and I think I'm going to accentuate various black lined screen print designs with air brushed highlights.

Screen printing is basically making a stencil, so the first thing I worked on was coating a wire mesh screen with emulsion. Needless to say it was a huge mess, but I managed to get a 4" X 5" rectangle photographic stencil of Obama. Ts encouraged me to go further and I restretched the screens and spend several days making the emulsion thicker.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why T-shirts?

"Don't ask me why, don't say goodbye, don't make me blooooooooo. T-shirts, I love only you." Ok, t-shirts don't deserve to be made into sing-song language, but I often wonder why do I work on this sort of cheap cotton genre. I'm pretentious enough to be a real artist, but I keep coming back to this "two-word" format of 1-2 color 8 X 10" artwork theme. I can't say exactly why, but I think it has to do with the fact that people buy t-shirts and therefore it becomes a commodity item. I like art, but the worst thing I can imagine is that I would make something really great and the first person that sees it buys it and then it is stuck away somewhere waiting until I am dead for the rest of the world to clue in on what it means. There are too many ifs, ands and butts when it comes to the limited production artwork world and t-shirts cross all-lines from a distribution standpoint.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When the web doesn't work

You may be able to find anything on the internet, but it's no guarantee you'll find the right thing for you on the internet when you start searching. T-shirts are confusing at first since there are many different types and prices, but it's also a low-market business and requires a certain amount of knowledge of the brands and price points to make a decision about what type of shirt to buy. Personally I have run out of phone time to discuss these points with customers and it is not profitable to have low prices and keep an employee on board who can answer questions about shirts often just to help people figure out what they want. With this in mind I have decided to offer t-shirt consulting for a fee to offset the cost and to reduce the headaches that occur from spending a large amount of time discussing shirts that may/not result in a sale to offset the time spent. Basically I or an employee can answer blank t-shirt questions from 10a.m. until 12pm for $15 per 15 minutes. Simple enough, but in this way we can concentrate on our customers problems without worrying about making a sale. I'll post a phone number later. Email me at: if you would like to setup a call back time and we can reach you and talk t-shirts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How many t-shirts can you fit in that box? International shipping for t-shirts

18 adult sized standard fit t-shirts can fit into a large flat rate box. The flat rate international box cost approximately $55 to ship to Australia, so you can assume that the best deal on regular t-shirts for shipping is $3 USD/ea, not counting any import taxes or duties that other countries charge on cotton made in the USA and elsewhere t-shirts. Some brands weigh less, that means they cost less to ship, but if you aren't saving three dollars a shirt then it isn't worth it to ship them from the United States. This is why cheap t-shirts are the worse for shipping internationally and we discourage this practice. If you are ordering the more expensive items then it may be worth the hassle.

Penny pinchers beware, you may like the price, but by the time it gets to you it won't be that cheap. We also don't encourage custom printing since the added potential problems with doing custom work aren't easily resolvable when they occur.

I am working on getting cheaper international shipping prices for tshirts through Fed-ex so that I can compete by exporting more blank t-shirts and take advantage of the weak dollar. At least with Fed-Ex you can track a package and they are responsible for getting the package to the door of the purchaser, but the paperwork may be worse and the cost are generally more than the unreliable post office in each separate country.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Organic Farmers Market Certified Edible

I've stayed away from trying to sell shirts at Farmers Markets, but of late I've visited a few of these and have started thinking these may be a fun place to test market my bamboo / organic local-made t-shirt line. This is similar to how a golfer needs to play the circuit to stay on top of my game.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No time left for you

No time left for you, I got no time...

My advisor in Screenprinting when I was pursuing my general degree at the University consistently advised me to go to my suppliers catalogues for information about what to do and how to do it. I thought he sucked and just didn't know anything, but basically he indicated that the newest information and more recent techniques are learned through the products on the market. The school didn't much in the way of facilities or supplies for screen printing to begin with and most books on the subject were out-dated. Once out of school I learned through my Guru of screenprinting about tradeshows and all of the valuable resources available through the suppliers directly.

Now as I field questions I see that my job is to organize the products and information for novices to understand enough to get their job done by posting and publishing screen printing information on my websites. I like web design for this purpose, but it's not very easy to get everything in the right place to answer everybody's questions and by the end of each day I tend to think people don't read the website anyway. My first question is usually, "have you been to the website?". Which is obvious that they have or they wouldn't have gotten my phone number. The newest trend is with smart phones many calls I get are from people with small screens, but they find the phone number and make a call to ask questions instead of using their phone. I hardly have time to solve the art problems that arise with custom printing to give good phone estimates with all of the interuptions from people who did not look at the website enough to make a few simple decisions before trying to get a quote, so at this point I am going to force all phone calls to voice-mail and spend my time trying to better organize the website with FAQ and gadgets. Here is the new format for custom t-shirt printing and my blank t-shirt website here: . Post any suggestions as to what you think would make it easier to get the information you need by leaving a comment here or sending an email to:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cranked out some samples today

Photos of new samples attached randomly in this post.

Waiting to the last minute to complete jobs is not the best policy, but I have been reworking my pallets and doing much of the prep work myself to keep the ship afloat. I created a template screen with grid lines vertically and horizontally separated by an inch" in both directions creating a grid. Then I printed water based acrylic ink through the screen onto the pallets to identify if any of the platens were out of whack. Lo and behold I could find about a 1/3rd inch difference from the main / control platen.

This explained the problem that is compounded if I register a print on one pallet that is off in one direction by 1/3rd of an inch and then printed in a round-robin fashion as is standard then when I hit a pallet off by 1/3rd inch in another direction I could be off as much as 2/3rd of an inch. Not good. Now that I have identified the bad pallets I can either trim the edges to make them square or re-attach the brackets to attempt to straighten them in place. I suggest making this type of screen for repeated use just to keep an eye on things. The new screen made centering the design much easier too.

Once these arrangements were done I quickly pumped out sample t-shirts for several custom jobs, like a 1, 2, 3, attached.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate actions

Given the state of the economy I have launched a serious mark-down strategy with basic white t-shirts. This has increased business, but at what cost? Shipping cost are restrictive because the cheaper the shirts get the more expensive the shipping cost look as a percentage compared to each tshirt. They don't get any lighter the more shirts people buy, but higher weights do get cheaper and easier to ship. With the inexpensive business model I can't offer free shipping, so I've capped the shipping cost off at $75 as a maximum.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

So Much Blog, So Little Time

No new post lately as I retool my approach to this biz. I would like to think that I do this for something other than money, but the fun moments only come when I am not answering stupid questions, like, "How much to print shirts?", without any reference to the type of shirts, the color of shirts, the number of colors in the design etc... The reality is that most companies hire friendly staff to answer the phone and field calls, you know, like the good ole days, when companies used to make a profit.

Nowadays the margins don't allow for secretarial staff and by allowing calls to come into my cell phone I have become my own telephonic nightmare. The web allows people to find my number whether they are selling something or trying to find a fool who will ship shirts to Nigeria, so over the years I have become hostile when using the phone as it requires a direct agressive response to avoid spending the whole day answering stupid questions. This is bad for our legitimate customers who are now forced to use voicemail and must leave us a message. Email is another story altogether, but my current approach is that if it can't be answered through my website then most likely we can't do it.

Or, I could charge more and hire one person to answer the phone and another to answer stupid questions all day, hmmmmm. I think I'll stick to low prices for now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fashion Criminals spotted at Y-Que in LA - Wall Of Shame Mugshots

I've been focusing on the back room in the Y-Que in Los Feliz, LA and have been making it a theme room based on Celebrity Mugshots. The typical fare, you know. Then I painted a wall and put stripes on it like a line-up for taking mugshots of customers. Over the last few days I've averaged about 20 photos a day and they are pretty cool. you can see them here:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why American Apparel Rules, OK!!!!

Having traveled the planet far and wide I feel I can finally push the obvious. I've tasted cotton from the stem to the rag and although it is a complex industry, simplicity rules the final product. American Apparel has expanded beyond the galaxy of simple t-shirt manufacturing, which is where Dov (the mastermind behind the brand) began, to eyeglasses, bags and in your face advertising which has a life of its own. Those things don't really matter though from where I come from, which is finding value in the basic t-shirt for embellishment and retail marketing through the internet. In fact, those novelty items by American Apparel are simply a distraction that keep consumers and others busy while the basic t-shirt digs deeper into the mainstream market. Replacing Hanes and other brands that have controlled the wholesale t-shirt screen printing market for the last two decades is no easy feat. Many companies are now crowding the market in an attempt to gain a footing, but this is a commodity business and I think American Apparel has finally gotten past the point where it can be easily duplicated.

T-shirts are like hamburgers and even though there are much larger, stronger and better-run companies than American Apparel, they just can't make a t-shirt in the same way that McDonalds can't make a hamburger. My prior post about the excessive marketing attempts that are pushing newer product lines as if they are different proves that trying to identify with a market niche' as a specialization in the t-shirt business is an exotic sport that doesn't easily translate into consumer-level appeal. There are too many variables in this business between the manufacturer and the consumer. American Apparel, through over-extending itself on the retail front, has created a consumer-level demand that other brands can't imitate with smoke and mirrors.

I can find an equivalent t-shirt and potentially at a better price, but not by enough to make it worthwhile. The real test is in the inventory and availability. As long as American Apparel can maintain the type of inventory support that has existed in the past year on the wholesale level then I don't see how the displaced competitors who have failed at this task can gain ground in the market. There is still room in the market for these other brands since distribution is the key and American Apparel has a hybrid, non-traditional, distribution system that doesn't compete in a head-to-head fashion with the other competitive brands which are Alternative Apparel, Alstyle, Canvas, Pima, Tultex, Anvil and many newcomers. Nonetheless, I am placing my first priority on providing American Apparel to our mid-market internet and retail store customers whenever possible because they are there when I need them.

By focusing on American Apparel as our main brand for printing and wholesale I can reduce the variables required for my main shopping cart and provide more payment alternatives and shipping options. This sort of reminds me of the day when the internet became a viable marketing vehicle and every company on earth started slapping a dot-com after their name. As users we had to choose between Netscape and Explorer as we watched AOL go down the drain with great hoopla. Finally Google came in an cleaned up the mess left after the crash and combined this is where things are heading again. By combining the right products and marketing vehicles at the right time we expect to expand our distribution of our printed and blank products. For 2009 I am focusing my efforts by combining American Apparel t-shirts with Google Checkout in a seamless way. Check out the new cart as it is developed at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Not so long ago on a planet far, far away...

Once there was a time when fashionable, politically correct t-shirts were a rare commodity. Such was the history of planet Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy during the 3rd Millenium and although cotton is an inherently natural product and eventhough putting images on things is a craft that dates back to before there were dates, the idea of a concientious garment and printing process was an impossible beast to find. The times have now changes and now that Obama is President it is very easy to find "politically correct", evironmentally sensitive concientious garments, inks and cleaning chemicals. There is so much available now that the very idea is about to collapse under the nomenclature required to identify the problems that are being solved by the products that are now available. This leads me back to square one and trying to identify the correct words so that I can categorize the products that should be used to manufacture the clothing for masses that will be as organic as the people themselves are.

Corporate Responsibility, Certified Organic, Climate Neutral, Recycled fabric, Organic Cotton, Sustainable Products, ReUsable, Eco-Friendly, Green, Earth Friendly, Eco Conscious, Eco-Vertigrain, PVC Free, Phalate Free, Green Company, Solar Powered, Mixed Sources, Natural Fibers, 100% Organic, Organic Pigments, Social Accountability, Organic Exchange, Organic Trade, Fair Trade, Organic Exchange, Sustained Environmental, Organic Fiber, Avoid Contamination, Conduct Standards, Environmentally Unfriendly, 3rd Party Certification, Beneficial Insects, Physical Weed Removal, Corporate Signatory SAI, SA8000 standard, ILO Conventions, United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, WRAP certified, CERES Principles, Code of Corporate Conduct, Reduced Impact, Healthy Soil, Grey Goods, Green Goods, and on and on....

WTF!!!! I had thought that I over-thought things, but I am going to have to carry around an organic dictionary to even begin to understand what is going on in this industry. All of these phrases are in contrast and opposition to the obviously death-ridden, socially inept, destructive evil, racist, meat-eating, machine-made, imported, improperly washed, stolen, soil killing, unstandardized, un-categorized, non-convention, unapproved, cotton-killers, not recognized by the United Nations, Kyoto rejected, Basic, unfashionable, Terrorist funded, politically-incorrect, dirty, unsexy, improperly sized, wasteful, high-impact, irresponsible, Stupid T-shirts that existed before this revolution.

The problem now is choosing, for a price, the right garment and ink for the job. I tend to think that things are made similar to the way they have always been made, but for the sake of marketing companies have put a larger emphasis on writing press releases and using green ink in the printing of their catalogs. Sadly all of this Smoke and Mirrors may be irrelevant to the survival of their companies if price becomes a larger issue to the consumer since there is this thing called a Recession. I didn't see a focus on Recession-Friendly, which is going to determine which of the above-mentioned style/products survive. Once I determine the correct garments to look at we'll review the big picture issue, price and see who is left standing.