June Jollies from Linty Fresh!
Yuuuurp, new month coming up in just a few hours, and as usual, LF's got new goodies on standby...
And I'm gonna host another midnight madness coupon. Just like last time, it'll only be active for an hour (from 12AM-1AM, EST), and will be good for 25% off price at checkout!
The code is "JOLLY"
Here's the new additions to the LF collection:
F is for Fresh
This one first debuted on Emptees not long ago, and now it's ready for your wearing pleasure! It's even got a rad little 3D "LF" print on the back of the sleeve (see the product page for more pics once this product goes live).
This one also first saw the light of day on Emptees, initially a tiled pattern by myself and Jared (J3concepts). As it turned out, the hoodie it was originally mocked on was too pricey for immediate production, so in the meantime, get the minty goodness on a simplified tee!
posted by Mr. Linty @ 8:40 PM, ,
Well, I never thought I'd see the day, but it looks like I've just about run out of tshirt designs. Of course, this is due in full to the fact that my external hard drive (which held all my LF stuff) crashed, leaving me with fragments on my flickr to recreate stuff from scratch. It sucked, but that's life.
But here I am, and it's weird that I'm almost out of stuff to print! It's actually a little worrisome, too, because with my increased production, it means I've got absolutely NOTHING ready for my July release. A scary thing. And I've been so busy with the business side of things lately and all this show prep stuff that I just haven't had the time or motivation to plunker down and come up with some new stuff. What's a guy to do?
A contest, that's what!
I've found from experience that one excellent way to force myself to produce good work is to pit myself against other designers. Because it's competition, I end up really pushing myself (not that I don't work hard on LF stuff, it's just... different!) And what better place to host it than Emptees, a community of tee lovers and designers? So on Wednesday night I pitched the idea and suddenly had 20+ applicants looking for a chance to refine their skills too. (I opted for an all out T-brawl as opposed to a one on one). I also asked for design themes, which were to be 3 words each. The topics were crazy, but in the end, the one that was chosen (by random), was:
"Music is life"
The other contestants didn't seem to happy about it, but I thought it was a fun one! It's been awhile since my last music-themed tee, and I have some ideas for this one. Anyhow, entries are due next week Wednesday at midnight. I'm pretty retarded for doing this now since I'm so busy, but I like to get my designs to my printer 30 days before I need the tees back, so I'm sort of running out of time anyhow. Stay tuned! I'll be sure to post my entry here.
posted by Mr. Linty @ 6:59 PM, ,
A good cause
I bought this poster last week:
The artist, Eric Smith, is a guy I know from a design community I frequent. Recently he was diagnosed with cancer. He explains further on his website:
I have learned to saturate each moment in front of me with all of my energy, as well as many other tremendous lessons. I decided to create a poster series with some quotes that have driven close to my spirit throughout this whole ordeal. Proceeds from the sale of these posters will be donated towards the Live Strong Foundation.
It's a cool poster for a great cause. He's got other ones too, so check them out:
It kind of reminds me of something my mom said to me recently. Knowing me and my ambition and seeing how I can often get on a one-track mindset when trying to accomplish something, she advised: "Remember, life is everything. The people around you, the moments you experience, everything that happens. Not just where you end up."
It's good advice.
On a lighter note, I find it interesting that Linty Fresh daily gets hits from people googling the key words "fresh girls".
posted by Mr. Linty @ 9:38 PM, ,
Zombies ate my high score
I was totally supposed to come up with some designs for another button pack to release at the show, but I slacked off. A few months ago on newgrounds I found this ridiculously addicting zombie game and consequently wasted ludicrous amounts of time trying my hand at booby trapping a 2-D terrain full of the walking dead. Anyhow, recently I discovered that the newest installment in the series came out, and it's even more addicting than the last... Oh geez. Check it out here.
Oh, and see if you can beat my high score - 3,210,560,000. Ha!
I guess the only solace for wasting my night away on that is the fact that last night, according to plan, I made another 200 "Linty Fresh" buttons. They're going out in orders now and I expect to hand them out at the show as freebies, so I'm stocking up as much as possible. I even ordered another 1,000 pieces online last night. But yeah, this new button saver is amazing. I can't believe I put up with that old one for as long as I did. I'm pumping these things out in a fraction of the time it used to take!
Umm... Oh yes! I got this email recently:
My name is [removed] I'm a community advocate and business development coordinator at Ning.com.
Your shirts were recently featured on one of our networks 'T-Shirt Magazine'; I saw your stuff and we really love your work here at Ning. We'd like to feature you on our Ning Blog of artists to watch and artists who've benefited from the exposure on Ning.com. Would you be interested to do an interview via email or phone?
In the meantime I'm going to pick up some LintyFresh swag for some upcoming events :)
Anyhow, he sent over the questions later that night and I went through and sent it back with pics the next morning. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the questions were really different than the one that Rumplo had sent. Ning's angle was a little different and they focused a lot on the art/business side of it, rather than just the medium of tshirts themselves.
Anyhow, I'll post a link to the Ning blog once it's up.
posted by Mr. Linty @ 11:24 PM, ,
Getting things ready
It's crazy how much is involved in doing a show. I mean, I had NO idea how much work, effort, and money it'd be, but it really adds up. Not that it isn't fun, because it's super exciting to see things coming together, it's just... endless? The nice thing is that for a lot of this stuff, once it's done it's done, and I won't have to worry about it for future shows. Things like getting the displays to look right, figuring out how to situate everything, getting the signs and the banners printed, and buying all the equipment (tables, chairs, panels, tent, shelves, clothing rack).
And most of the stuff is done (or so I think). I'm pretty happy with how I've got my booth setup, for one, which was something I avoided sorting out for awhile. I really had to think back to the shows I've been to, and what I did and didn't like about my shopping experiences. For example, it always bugged me when the booths were cluttered and packed with stuff. I'm not claustrophobic, but seeing so much stuff all at once can be overwhelming to the casual shopper, and if you've got stuff strewn on the floor and reaching out from the walls, people won't feel comfortable maneuvering around it all. Or at least I never do.
So, I've made a conscious effort to keep things simple and neat. Each tee will be wrapped around a 13"x13" cardboard square and attached to a wall panel. That way people can see all the tees up front, without shuffling clumsily through piles of merchandise. (Another peeve of mine) Another benefit to keeping the clutter down is that it'll provide space for my customers to walk around. I know I tend to shop at shows this way because I'm always scared the vendors will latch on to me and try to sell me something. And that's something else that I'll be mindful of being behind the sales desk for once - not being too pushy! People can see you sitting there, so there's no reason to get in their face. If they have a question, they'll ask. Be observant, but be quiet.
Another technique that I'll be using is one that was suggested by David Murray, the guy behind the wonderful creations at Seibei. He recommended having a clothing rack at the edge of the booth (where foot traffic passes) with all my tees on hangers. Reason being, it's more visible, and people may be less apprehensive browsing when there's some distance between them and the vendor.
So what's left? Well, promotional stuff for one. I want to have some LF take-aways for people who want to look me up later online, so I'm planning on doing 1,000 or so buttons with just the LF logo (see pic). I also have 1,000 stickers en route from stickerrobot.com. Unlike the old ones I used to have, these will be on UV-protected vinyl, glossy and die-cut. They're going to look amazing!
I also need to assemble about 50 button packs. I haven't made more since they sold out on the site, though I still have them up for sale there since they're quick enough to produce when orders come through. And hopefully, if time permits, I'll be able to come up with a 4th button pack. I'm still not sure what of, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.
The last thing is the signage. Last night I designed the pricing sign and a URL sign (which shows links to my myspace/blog/storefront). Both of these will be displayed on the main table. I also want to have a sign somewhere mentioning the youth-large tees I've still got from the first 4 prints back in 2006. Reallllly trying to get rid of these guys, so they'll be just $5 a piece. I'll need a similar sign for the long sleeves as well, since they're easy to miss. And of course I can't forget the main vinyl banner which will be displayed on the outside of the tent. I have some interesting ideas to give my booth a really unique look, but I have yet to really sit down and design something.
I'll post with more pictures as things progress...
Oh, and check it out! The interview I did for Rumplo is now on their blog!
posted by Mr. Linty @ 8:47 AM, ,
It keeps me going:
Ok, so this blog is typically dedicated to JUST Linty Fresh stuff, but honestly, music is a big part of what's inspired many of my LF creations, and at the very least it supplies a steady stream of background noise here at "HQ". Oh, and how RAD are my headphones, right? They're an ancient pair I've had forever and the sound was too good to just throw them out when the ear pads started peeling, so I got out the trusty duct tape and they've been like [semi] new ever since!
So here's what's been in heavy rotation on the ol' (as in, literally monolithic, 3rd generation) iPod:
Death Cab for Cutie
She & Him
Also stumbled on this cool Blogotheque entry with Bowerbirds. This is my favorite song of theirs, and hearing it performed this way was a cool treat:
In other more directly-related news, the interview I did with Rumplo last week will be published in their next newsletter, which comes out tomorrow. Can't wait to see it!
posted by Mr. Linty @ 10:32 PM, ,
Stuff and Stuff
Came home to a myspace message from Johnny Cupcakes:
I like the name too.
Hope all is well.
Huh. Wonder how he heard about me...? I hadn't added him as a friend until his request just now. Weird, but cool.
So I spent like 3 hours making buttons yesterday. I've got about 400 of them now so I'm pretty well stocked for the show. Probably will do another huge batch of logo buttons as freebies though, and I'm thinking of designing another set. What would you rather see, a button pack featuring monsters, ninjas, or robots? I'm torn.
Speaking of torn... A bunch of friends always get together on Sundays for some intense ultimate frisbee and I was hoping to join up, but unfortunately I've got to design a bunch of signs for my booth... I also just bought a scale so that I can print off postage here at home, so I gotta get that thing set up...
Tonight I bought a ton of other random junk for the show like these huge tupperware crates for storing the tees and a nylon shoe rack which I'll use to display the belts. I still need to purchase (or rent) the credit card scanner/printer combo thing, which I'm anticipating will be a headache.
As for the products at the show, it looks like it'll be just tees and belts this time around. The test wallet that I had printed didn't turn out too great (the bulges caused the ink to pool before drying), so I'll have to put a delay on those till I can figure something else out. And the bags hit a snag too. The ones that I wanted to use are of really poor quality, and just about all the customer reviews on them are negative, so I'll have to find an alternative offered on colors I can work with. Hoodies are on hold too, until the weather gets a bit colder. And as for the onesies, I just didn't have time to get around to it, and I'm afraid it's too late now to add more things to the queue.
But I'm not too worried - a lot of this is to test the market anyways, and I'll have 18 tees and 9 belts to show for, so that should suffice for now. The ICE show in December should be pretty insane, though. I'm thinking by then I'll have another 15 tees, 5 belts, and a collection of new items to show. I may end up just leaving the old stock at home in that case. We'll see.
OK, off to grab a bite and then do some signs - hope y'all had a fab weekend!
posted by Mr. Linty @ 7:01 PM, ,
Interviewed by Rumplo!
So last week I got an email from the dude that runs T-Shirt Magazine regarding an interview he had hosted with the founders of Rumplo (a tshirt reviewing website). Rumplo's been good to me by sending me a lot of traffic through featuring my shirts, which other people seem to be uploading. Anyways, in the interview, Rumplo is asked to name their favorite tee brands. Somehow, someway, I was in their top 4...?! Weird, but cool.
Anyways, I was pretty stoked about getting all kinds of traffic from the interview and then randomly I got an email from Rumplo asking for an interview with me. Anyways, here's a peek at the transcript: (the pic up top will be included in the article)
R: So the word on the street is that you've got about a dozen designers working on some unbelievable T-shirts over there at Linty Fresh -- is this true?
ET: That's what I keep hearing too! But actually it's still just me doing all the design work. In fact, the entire operation here at Linty Fresh is a one-man show. See, for me, LF has always been more of a personal project and less of a boutique showcasing a bunch of artists. As time has passed it's really become a reflection of me as an artist, so the style is constantly mutating, although I hope there's an underlying vibe to keep them all together.
But yeah, I'm pretty stubborn with keeping it all in house. From time to time I get emails from other artists interested in contributing designs to my site, but as good as their work often is, I always turn them down. Sometimes it's really tough to do because their stuff is so awesome, but keeping that same focus has really forced me to grow artistically (since I'm not relying on someone else's talent), so it's a good thing in the end. The one exception to this is a collaboration tee that's coming out next month. But for the most part, it's just me. Keeping closely connected with the other parts of the process (fulfilling orders, communicating with customers, and managing the storefront, to name a few), has also always been really important (and enjoyable) to me.
R: How'd you get started making T-shirts?
ET: Back when I was in middle school I was commissioned for the first tee I'd ever done. It was for a construction company that belonged to a family friend. Unsurprisingly, it sucked and he had to get someone else to do it. A few years later I (successfully) did a tee for a band I knew, and later on I found Threadless. You'd think I would've totally quit on tshirt designing altogether though, because even after 20 submissions, I never won! (Although looking back a lot of those were crap too!)
But even though I never snagged a win, I learned a ton about using a limited color palette, designing with vectors for print, and other techniques that would eventually pay off. Plus some of my submissions there eventually became prints for Linty Fresh. The first of these was "Once Upon A War". To drum up sales I emailed practically everyone I knew and took preorders. It actually sold really well, and it got me thinking about printing more and more and going solo. That was back in February of 2006, and it's just crazy to think that I've done about 15 tees and lately even some belts in that time!
R: If you were to start out all over again what would you do differently?
ET: More research! I have a bad habit of getting into things impulsively without working out all the details, and this was a prime example. In the beginning I made things really difficult for myself and for my printers because I didn't understand the screenprinting process at all. In my head, it was "I'll make some cool vector art and keep the color count low, and they'll do the rest". That system worked ok for awhile, but being naive to the process meant being naive to the possibilities, and in the end that meant I was limiting myself. I also would have shopped around more for a printer. The first 9 tees for Linty Fresh were done with major imprinting companies, and although I give them top marks in quality and consistency and speed, they charged a lot and they weren't willing to experiment with me, which ended up becoming more and more desirable as time went on. The printer I'm using now is not only much cheaper than those big guys, but he's creative and loves pushing the boundaries, so it's a good match for me. Networking, too, has been an essential aspect to this experience that I definitely didn't appreciate in the beginning. Joining forums, asking advice from other guys in the business, and just talking to more people in general would've been a smart thing to start with. Learning from my own mistakes has been effective, but not ideal.
R: It seems like you spend most of your energy on your own shop -- why don't you submit your designs to places like Threadless or Oddica?
ET: To keep it special! I want the relationship between myself and Linty Fresh to be as exclusive as possible. If I were to design for other brands, or let other designers design for my brand, it kind of takes away from that aspect of it. Plus, when I work really hard on a design, I'd prefer to put it in my shop instead of selling it off to someone else, especially since I'm putting out multiple products on the first of each month, which means there's a big need to constantly come up with fresh and new ideas.
R: Can you tell us a bit about your T-shirt making process? How long does it take you to make a T-shirt, from designing it to shipping it? What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the process?
ET: Most designs take 5-8 hours to do, but that's never done in a single stretch. Usually the first part is the concept, which is mostly done away from the computer - thinking about it while doing something else, making little sketches, or collecting pictures and other scraps. Then I go digital and start the graphic work, which always starts with picking out colors and an overriding style of lines and shapes. Then I start the drawing (still all by mouse, because I'm a caveman like that). The design work usually wraps up after a couple of days and then I'll prepare the file for my printer, separate the colors, get the exact pantones picked out, and send that off to him. Usually it takes him three weeks to get the tees back to me. So the whole process takes a month or so.
I guess my least favorite part is waiting for the shirts to come, because it's out of my control. If you haven't noticed, I'm kind of a micro-manager... ;) The other steps are awesome, though, and all for different and specific reasons. Designing is cool because I get in my own little world and I've got my music going and it's just a very visceral and connected feeling for me. During this period, the concept is still evolving, and often a narrative even forms for it, which goes up on the product page when the tee is released. But even the more mechanical stuff like fulfilling and shipping the orders is really cool to me. I don't think I'll ever quite get over that feeling of getting an order from someone - that acknowledgment that someone digs my stuff enough to drop their cash for it and wait patiently for it to be delivered. That's just so awesome to me!
R: How does your (awesome) blog tie into all of this?
ET: The LF Blog (www.linty-fresh.blogspot.com) keeps people informed of the latest happenings of Linty Fresh. I've worked hard to dispel any illusions of LF being bigger than it is, and that definitely comes across in the stuff I write about. Even if it's something as small as getting a couple of new shelves to store my expanding inventory, I'll write about it, because that's something that's exciting to me, and it means I'm growing. (To this day I'm still running the entire operation out of a single room in my house!) I also write about upcoming releases, designs in progress, and my thoughts on being an entrepreneur. To me, the blog serves as a second layer of involvement that people can have with me and with Linty Fresh. It allows them to get a glimpse of what's to come, and often I ask for feedback on future releases, so that's been helpful.
R: What's next for you? And what's next for Linty Fresh?
ET: Quitting my day job! For awhile it was the means through which I could afford to print tees, but as Linty Fresh grows, it's become less and less necessary to hang on to. It's a little intimidating to think of not having it there as a safety net, but at this point it's taking up more time than it's worth and LF is showing no signs of slowing down, so I think it's time. The next thing is a show I'm going to on June 7th here in Atlanta called the Indie Craft Experience (http://www.ice-atlanta.com). I'm honored to be among the 100 vendors chosen for the show, and since it's my first, I'm getting pretty anxious about it, but hopefully it'll all go smoothly.
As far as future plans, I've gotten a lot of requests for hoodies so I'll be releasing some of those towards the end of the year, and new belts should continue to trickle out as the months pass. I definitely want to expand into new products too. Although the staple of LF will always be graphic tshirts, it's somewhat of a saturated market right now and I'm itching to find something completely new to explore!
So that's that. It was crazy getting back into town with all the orders that had piled up. Woot featured me again and this time the sales were excellent, so all those orders had to go out, plus a few orders for the two new tees. But even with that out of the way I've been busy getting back into the normal pace of things now that Eli's gone. We had an awesome time for sure though. NY was awesome!
posted by Mr. Linty @ 8:19 PM, ,
It's May! As usual, I released some new stuff on the first of the month (yesterday). I won't be able to ship them till I get back since I'm in New York right now, but they're still available for order:
The first one, "The Dotted Line", has a cool dotted line & scissors print on the back, too. Check out the store for more pics!
The second tee, "Mack Hated Mondays", is an ooooold design (over 2 years) with a few changes, and now featuring my first ever sleeve print. It's got "Linty Fresh" in that monster/horror 1950's movie poster font and a little UFO. It's pretty rad!
Oh, and I got a cool email this morning from a guy at T-shirt Magazine telling me that they just did an interview with Rumplo (another Tshirt rating site), and that they mentioned me as one of their favorite tee shops! Super cool.
posted by Mr. Linty @ 12:24 PM, ,