"Have you thought about ________?"

When I printed my first tee back in 2006, it was nothing more than a way to get one of my designs out there. I thought it was a cool tee, and just having it produced in real-life was reward enough. It wasn't meant to be a hugely profitable thing. However, I had in the back of my mind the realization that if they did sell, the profits would allow me to print a second tee, and so on. That eventually did happen, though it took awhile. The mentality, though, stayed pretty much the same for the first year and a half. Although I used the name Linty Fresh for the storefront, it wasn't a brand.

Of course, as 2008 rolled around, things began to quickly change. I switched to a newer, more versatile shopping cart provider and focused entirely on branding myself. As this happened, LF quickly picked up speed, and I started getting more pointed feedback: "You should start making _____!" "I wish ______ was available as a ______!" and so forth. But the one comment that always really struck a chord was: "Your stuff would do great in Asia!"

It struck a chord because I knew it was true. Blame it on my half-Japanese ethnicity or just an individual preference for cartoon iconography, but the fact remains: my stuff definitely lies on a similar plane with Asian pop culture.

Of course, the notion of expanding into places like Japan or China was kind of ludicrous to think of. Although I had friends in those countries who wanted to help out, none of them were really in a position to do so, and with the language and distance barrier, it was impossible to attempt it on my own. Sigh.

But then I came here.

To be honest, I didn't think anything much would happen for LF here. My Chinese is just barely above survival level, and trying to hook up with a clothing manufacturer here was terrifying (to put it mildly). Who'd want to tour around some American kid with a few tees in his apartment back in the States and a pipedream to go big in China? So I kind of put off the idea. I brought some of my stuff along, of course, and wore it occasionally, but was here primarily to enjoy the experience of my surroundings.

And that's when the bull that I neglected to take by the horns charged. People started asking about my brand, my clothing, and where they could get it. I actually started getting orders on my site from here in China, which was a first. And above all else, I kept hearing echoes of what I'd been told all along: My stuff would do well in Asia.

Well, here I am, 10 weeks into my stay here, and things are finally rolling. I've got a price list in front of me for a first batch of tees (5 designs) and I'm touring a local factory on Friday. The tees will be custom made to feel and fit similar to AA back in the states (tees here tend to be too short in the torso). This, of course, is not a 100% guarantee anything will happen, but even to get this close is exciting. It's a fresh start. A new slew of marketing strategies (very guerilla here!), ad campaigns, and overall branding experimentation that China is ripe for.

Stay tuned!

posted by Mr. Linty @ 9:18 PM,


At 10:47 PM, Blogger Marvin said...

Wow! That sounds amazing! I knew this might happen. Very exciting news. Good luck! :D

You deserve it!

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Valerie said...

Wow, very exciting!

At 11:58 AM, Blogger ARDT said...

Good luck Eric, China can be a very good market and production place but when Linty hits off there, you can be sure there will be counterfeits everywhere. Well keep your socks up and head for Japan too!



At 2:39 PM, Blogger DropTheBeet said...

Uh oh.. looks like Eric is staying in China forever!

At 2:00 AM, Blogger Eric Terry said...

Thanks guys! Stoked for tomorrow!


Good point! Rips and fakes are everywhere in Asia, and sometimes it's actually very difficult to distinguish what's real. However, I can't expect to get cheap prices on items that are possibly imitations when shopping and then be up in arms about a few knock offs of my stuff. That doesn't mean I welcome it, and I'll certainly try to protect myself, but it's something that I think is worth the risk.


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