Artist / Designer Resources
It is not easy for t-shirt designers to start up these days. Doing all the designing, making the shirts, accounting, marketing, purchasing, selling and the list goes on. This area of the site will list valuable resources to help folks in various areas of running and operating business. Along with other related information that include member contributions, articles, ideas, real life experience and stories.
Carl and Ann Beam Paper Media Art
Carl and Ann Beam were the first as far as we know that used Digital Heat Transfers ( aka Photo Transfers ) to create Art works beyond t-shirts, mouse pads and more even in their early stages.
Here is an example of their work in the Government of Ontario Art Collection Archives: Einstein and Sitting Bull by Carl Beam, this Photo Transfer work measures 29 1/2" x 45".
To view more artworks, please visit their website:
Carl Beam, Ann Beam and Anongonse Beam. Neon Raven Gallery
To learn more about Carl Beam,
here is a good resource: Canada Council for the Arts Carl Beam Bio
Photo: Ann Beam
In the late 80's the Liberty Center aka the Liberty Art Center located at Liberty and Mowatt in Toronto's west end Parkdale area was a place where the transformation of a warehouse to artist studios was developing. The Liberty Center building was built in the early 1900's, it's massive brick structure and architecture remains standing today.
During this period, the Building was purchase by the late Rudolf Gunther, a German imigrant who came to Canada with a Banana and a handful of chainge. Soon after his arrival in Canada, Mr. Gunther started a small leather retail business. He invented the *Trucker Wallet *, the wallet that is linked to pants with a chain. This little invention expanded Mr. Gunther's little leather business to a multi leather store chain and factory, then called Royal Leather, best knowed today as Danier Leather.
Back to the Liberty Center topic. When Mr. Gunther sold his Leather Business, he started investing in real estate Properties, the Liberty Center was one of them. The idea with this property was to take an old warehouse, renovate it, and transform it into Artist Studio Condos. Well, the idea was great but due to the slow general area development the building was being renovated by it's tenants, the artistist for the most part.
Who were the tenants ? they were artists, designers, musicians and others that were simply looking for a change. Below are some Old Liberty Center Tenants:
Etric Lyons *Kush*
Dee *Detroit Bunker*
Beam 103 recording studio
Liberty Street Theater (Marcus)
Bringing back Monday Night Jams
We are trying to bring back to life the times at the Liberty Center (Liberty/Mowatt) building/warehouse monday night jams that were held at the Beam 103 recording studio in the building. But now we would like to make it so that you bring your axe, drum sticks etc. along with a new thing... a t-shirt to print on. Yes, the idea is to make your own t-shirt as you sit out on the jam. The new location is at the Spot. 2009 Monday Night Jam & Crafts at the Spot
It's all about community
Terri Lynne Waldron, a true journalist that digs deep into community issues and the arts, spotlights a Positive Side of Parkdale reality.
From the 80's at the Parkdale Liberty Center to now on Queen Street, The Shop continues to be all about community.
The Shop during Art Crawl.
Interview with The Shop by: Terri Lynne Waldron
Q: Why did you want to start a t-shirt business?
A: I guess for the same reason you are a journalist, because it's something we enjoy doing.
Making one of a kind custom t-shirts is fun job, there is always a story behind every shirt and most of the time clients share these stories with us. It's like a 20-45 minute mini co-operative create/crafting project that walked in out of the blue.
Fun it is, but when you consider the time it takes to make 1 custom shirt for $ 30 (American Apparel t-shirt included) and how many shirts can be made in a days work, there is no real profit there.
In order to stay in business and offer the "One of a Kind" custom t-shirt service, we reach out to businesses in the community like Rasheeda Wilson from Fern Cliff Day Care and others and offer them special rates on Company Shirts. In return they place Bulk Orders and continue to do so on a yearly basis. These Types of sales are what support/supplement the 1 Off's Custom T-Shirts Service. So in a sense, with out the support from the community businesses, designers, TV people etc. we would not be here.
Q: How long have you been at the 1267 Queen St location? There is a term that says that, 'Location is everything." Does that ring true for your reasons for choosing the Parkdale location?
This store has been here for about 4 or 5 years now.
Yes the Retailing Manual does say " Location, Location, Location " are the 3 most important things when starting a retail business. In our case this does not apply. The reason being we provide a Specialty Type Service and our clients come from everywhere. We are not 100% dependent on walk/drive by traffic as an Off The Rack Retailer would be.
Choosing Parkdale to open up shop involved a few deciding factors, Good Rental Rates without the regulations of shopping mall type lease, a Strong Artistic Community and a Queen Street Address that is easy to find.
At the time, we felt that the East of Spadina Queen street was getting too populated, expensive and it was losing it's true origins that made it hip with major brands and development moving in. This made Parkdale a cool place to be, artistic people know that Parkdale is cool and that's what made it attractive to us, without big billboard advertisements displaying how cool it really is. So here we are.
Q: A sign on the side wall of your store says CUSTOM T-SHIRTS WHILE YOU WAIT. If I walked into your store at 2PM on a Tuesday and asked you to create a t-shirt with am image on it, how long do I have to wait to get it?
Just like it reads " While You Wait ".
Well, to give you a little background on the term " Custom T-Shirts While You Wait ", This term originated in the 70's when you could walk in to a custom t-shirt store and get your name, slogan etc. printed on a shirt using die-cut iron on letters, known as ‘journalism tees,’ or choose a stock transfer like " I'm with Stupid " and have it printed on a shirt. These shirts were and continue to be a fashion statement on their own and in some cases a way to express yourself in ways you normally wouldn't...!
This Term and how we make t-shirts while you wait has NOT changed much here.
We continue to use the Old School Die-Cut Type Iron-on Letters along with our NEW Custom Cut process that allows our clients to create their own Entire Words Slogan or single color designs on the spot. This is a big part of the business and all made while you wait.
With some of our regular clients, they make the shirts them self’s, they look thru our scrap box, find the letters/designs, lay them out/placement on the garment, they create collages etc. right here in the store and we encourage that, we just help them pressing it on with the Heat Press Machine.
Now if you are looking to print " YOUR OWN DESIGN " with more than one color, you need to provide us with your artwork and in most cases this is not possible to do while you wait. Because it may involve screens or other processes to achieve the look and feel you want. It's also NOT cost effective to make 1 T-shirt when your design has MORE than 1 color, we recommend you buy Photo Transfer material available at various craft/office supply stores and make it yourself using your home bubble jet printer to make the Iron-on Transfer, then iron-it on.
Q: What type of t-shirts are the best sellers (Britney Spears...maybe as a kitsch idol)? And why do you think those best sellers sell well?
A: The top sellers are the custom slogan shirts we make for people.
As for top selling iron-on's, Britney is not even on the top 1000 list. These Licensed Britney Iron-on's along with a bunch of other pop/rock titles, we purchased from Impulse/Stahls when they decide to close out the collection due to a shortfall of popular demand and inflated price/unit. We could not allow this deleted collection of classic pop/rock artists ( Beatles, Doors, Santana, Alice Cooper, 3 Stooges and others ) to end up at a dollar store printed on on dollar t-shirts. These artists simply do not belong there. So we bought them all. Yes we paid a good buck for them, we feel they are well worth it and eventually they will sell.
Our top selling ready to apply iron-on transfer designs in the community are our Parkdale Shirts, “ Miss Parkdale “, “ Parkdale Alive with Pleasure “, “ Parkdale is for Lovers “, and a few others.
Q: What type of buyers do you get in the store: Queen Street hipsters? Young kids looking for that cool trendy t-shirt (Vote For Pedro).....?
A: Our client base is a wide range and all ages, moms that come in with their kids and re-live the time when they made custom shirts them selfs, artists, designers, brands, retailers, businesses and so on. This week we made shirts for Jason Agnew the host of Bite TV, thru the years we have made shirts and custom iron on's for hundreds of celebrities and Brands, Andy Kim " Rock Me Gently ", Moe Berg, Howie Mandel, Barbie, MacDonalds, Mountain, Modrobes ...!
Q: How do you think, (if at all), the best selling shirts reflect the people in the community?
Because our best selling shirts are the ones people create them selfs, for us this is a clear indication that Parkdale is a creative artistic based community.
Q: Do you feel any sense of competition with the store, I'M WITH STUPID?
None at all. Having this retailer open up a t-shirt shop across the street from us is a good thing. Just like if a Sew On Patch and Buttons retailer would be since it fits in with what we do.
Maybe this area will get more popular as the place to buy t-shirts, just like " Sam The Record Man " with A&A Records next door scenario, it became the place to buy music. So perhaps when people are looking for Parkdale they may eventually say, it's where " The Shop " is, you know the lipstick color t-shirt store.
Yes we have seen this city block change since we set up shop, with new retailers and galleries. Let's not forget about the ones that were here before us, Made You Look, Cadillac Lounge, The Stones Place and so on... , they attract visitors from everywhere and that's a good thing for any start up business.
When we first opened, we were surprised to see the number of people that live and work here that came in to buy stuff to show their community support, they continue to shop here for which we are grateful.
Q; Are there any type of custom shirts that you refuse to make...or does any request get filled?
Generally no, since we are not in business to judge individuals for what they want to print on a shirt. Making Your own custom t-shirt is all about the freedom to choose what you want printed on the shirt. Sure we would refuse to make you a shirt when the message is clearly to encourage gun violence for example, or if you are not an adult and want to make custom panties.
We have never refused to make a shirt here because there has never been any such requests.
Jamie Mays - T-Shirt maker - The Shop For Custom T-Shirts
Sick On Sin Brand
Canadian Artist/Designer Jennifer Krebsz and Michael Lalonde (creator of Orneryboy), team up to create the Sick On Sin Brand.
TBible Interview with Jennifer Krebsz
- What is Sick on Sin ?
Sick On Sin (www.sickonsin.com) is an online store for clothing and accessories that was launched in December 2005. We carry shirts for men, women and kids with a wide selection of unique and cute designs; as well as a ton of devilishly delightful 1-inch button and magnet sets. Sick On Sin is also the official retailer of merchandise for the comic, Orneryboy. Sick On Sin is based out of Ontario, Canada – however, it attracts a worldwide audience (one of our biggest fans is in Cyprus!). It is owned and run by me (Jen) – I look after everything from making the shirts to packing orders to writing web copy to coming up with new design ideas to doing all the marketing. However, I get huge help from my talented fiancé, Michael Lalonde (creator of Orneryboy). Michael does all the designs for the merchandise, as well as designed the Sick On Sin site. He has a real knack for drawing adorable stuff!
- What made you start your own business ?
Who doesn't dream of having their own business!! I had entertained the idea for a while, however I was working full time as a Kids Website Producer and didn't really have the time to explore it. When it reached the point where I knew that it was something I really wanted to try I bid farewell to the corporate world. I then spent the next few months figuring out all the logistics of ecommerce and getting the store ready to launch. There were several things that drove my decision to start my own business – the interest in selling merchandise online, the ability to work from home, the curiosity to see if it would be successful, and the desire to work for myself... I think when it comes to starting your own business, you need to just accept that it's a risk and might not work out - but unless you try, you have no idea of how successful it could be. So many people I talk to tell me they wish they could break free from 'the man' and go on their own but that they are too worried. Unfortunately you just need to throw caution to the wind and try it. Of course, it's good to have a plan in place before handing in your notice – and to have a little bit of survival money saved up!
- What does Sick on Sin offer society/consumers ?
Sick On Sin offers up some super cute merchandise that brings smiles to people's faces and warms their hearts. What else does the world need! Haha! It also provides a smooth and enjoyable online shopping experience, and the knowledge that your supporting a lil' indie shop – not some huge, uncaring corporation.
- What inspires Sick on Sin's stuff ?
The majority of the inspiration comes from things I personally love or would want to wear. For instance, I am a vegan, animal-loving gal who digs skulls and zombies - hence the desire to carry pro-veg, animal and goth/punk type stuff. I view my target audience as people similar to me and Michael, and I've been really lucky in the fact that there seems to be a lot of people out there who dig the same sort of stuff as us! Obviously current trends play a small part in the inspiration of some ideas (e.g. Our 'Carbs' magnet set was in response to the Atkins craze). In other cases, trends help to bring attention to a product that would have already existed. For instance, would I have done an 'I Love Zombies' shirt if zombies weren't so popular at the moment? Yes, because there have always been zombie fans - myself included (and I think it's a kick-ass design). However, would the shirt be one of the hottest items if zombies weren't currently so popular? Probably not.
- Do you feel a sense of competition from other designers ?
Not really. Michael has a pretty unique artistic style – and it's the style of the designs that make them so great. However, I do expect that I will see some of my design ideas popping up on other sites. Unfortunately, that's not really something you can avoid though...
- What 3 most important things "you feel" are needed to run your own business ?
1) Great Customer Service - I have years of customer service experience which has proved to be incredibly valuable - not only when dealing with actual customers, but also when dealing with suppliers and business contacts. The ability to interact with people in a professional, friendly, helpful and diplomatic way is extremely important and can really make a difference in how your business if viewed and how successful you are.
2) Discipline - if you aren't good at getting work done without a boss looking over your shoulder, then having your own business probably isn't for you. You really need to have the discipline to sit down and do work - even when you don't feel like it.
3) Passion - loving what you do makes all the difference in the world. If I am spending the majority of my waking hours focused on something, I better love it! And obviously, having passion for your business drives it to grow and be successful.
- How does society reflect on Sick on Sin designs ?
I can't say that society really reflects on our designs. Unless in the way that many of our designs are geared towards the interests / likes of certain sub-cultures (e.g. vegetarians, goths, crafty folks). While society isn't necessarily driving the ideas...it does provide the audience for those ideas.
- What's next for Sick On Sin ?
Focusing on Marketing and PR are priorities right now. I'm lucky that I received a large amount of attention the moment I launched due to it being connected to Orneryboy, however now I am working on really getting the name out there. I'm also looking at adding some new products to the store such as underwear and bags.
Thank you Jennifer.
To contact and view Sick on Sin stuff please visit the Sick On Sin Site
February 12th. 2006.
The Man Behind the Shirt - Conrad Black
Even Stuart McLean owns 1, the " I Love Conrad Black T-Shirt". Us here at TBible, being Canadian and all, we always listen to Stuart McLean's CBC radio show The Vinyl Cafe and so do alot folks across Canada and beyond, one of his story telling radio shows was in part about this shirt * I (Heart) Conrad Black* and the gal that made it... The Man Behind the Shirt.
Wait, there's more! I Love Conrad Black Shirt article in Globe and Mail
INTELLIGENCE Dressed in Black?
Feb. 3rd. 2007 by MOIRA DALY.
"It's not exactly "Free Winona," but hanging in the window of The Shop, a Parkdale custom-T-shirt emporium, is perhaps the first small sign that Conrad Black is making the transition from corporate pariah to urban folk hero. It's a simple white T-shirt with a message in basic black type: I Conrad Black." ...more!
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Lucy's Good Finds below are links to website tools and information found on the web to help you with your Website and Internet Business.
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