Designing T-Shirts for Passion and Profits

For this Round Table, I ask AJ Camara of Cashletes) and Ryan Wantland of Pennant Race the following question: How do you create designs you personally like, but still sell well to the general public?

Ryan Wantland:

Being long-time sports fans, our goal was to voice our opinion on a lifetime of one-of-a-kind feats and outlandish blunders in the world of sports. We just happened to choose cotton as our form of communication.

Our design backgrounds lead us to create clothing that is strongly conceptual and of high quality. We wanted to bring something to the table outside of the typical fan tees you generally see.

We came into this knowing that our market is a bit niche, but the people are out there. We know certain designs aren’’t going to move thousands of units, but that’s not our mission. We believe if we stay true to the brand and ourselves there are plenty of people who will respect our concepts and will grow to love and support the brand in the long run.

AJ Camara:

When it comes to designing products I put myself first and the public second, simply because I can’t stand behind a product I don’t fully appreciate myself. It doesn’t matter how great the design is, if I don’t like it I won’t feel right promoting it. I don’t let the audience create my designs, they trust my ability to create designs that will appeal to them, and in the end we all win. One thing to remember is not everybody will like your designs anyway so there’s no point in trying to please the entire world.

Best practice is not to copy other brands or follow trends. Just try to make something that speaks to you and it’ll surely appeal to other people like you. Once you’ve targeted your market this becomes easier and easier each time. The same kinds of designs you yourself like are the same kinds of designs your audience likes. Create designs you personally like and everything else will follow.