November 29, 2008
TM: When did you decide that t-shirts was your thing?
SD: When I went to my first job interview in college and realized suits were definitely NOT my thing! As for funny shirts, I realized a few years ago that the right shirt, with the right humor, in the right situation was one of the best ways to make an impression and meet new people.
TM: How long have you been running your online shop?
SD: About a year and a half now.
TM: What have you learned?
SD: I have learned a great deal of respect for anyone who runs a successful online shop! It’s definitely a lot of work. Really, the lessons learned are way too many to mention, but it has been both interesting and fun.
TM: That is one funny duck! What made you decide to have a talking duck explain the shirts in your shop?
SD: From the beginning, one of our goals was to create subtle designs that were funny to people in the know, but could be worn anywhere without offending people. We obviously haven’t achieved this with every design, but we realized that the most subtle designs often required an explanation. The duck was a natural fit, as he was already part of our company logo.
TM: Which t-shirt is your absolute favorite?
SD: That is tough to say. Our shirts are situational. For instance, our ‘I Don’t Believe In Pre-Marital Sex, She Has To Be Married’ shirt is great for wedding receptions. ‘Everyone Starts Out A Winner’ is great for any sporting event, ‘I Bring Nothing To The Table’ is perfect in any business setting, ‘Nice Snatch’ great for baseball games and ‘Curious Jorge’ is good when making a run for the border.
TM: Do your run your shop alone or do you have a team?
SD: We have a team of people with different responsibilities.
TM: How do you go about creating a design? Do you go with an idea that instantly comes to your head or do you spend a lot time thinking about the design?
SD: First, we come up with the idea or slogan, which often happens while out drinking with a group of friends. Once the general idea is conceived, we spend time discussing, tweaking, and refining it. When the concept solidifies, we begin working with our artists to develop the perfect design.
TM: What marketing techniques have you used that worked out great for your shop?
SD: Joining T-Shirt Magazine! We have experimented with email blasts, banner advertising, affiliate marketing, Google adwords, radio spots, and event sponsorship to name a few. At this point it’s hard to say what has worked out the best; however, it’s clear that our focus on search engine optimization is , paying off. We believe SEO is our most important marketing tool, providing the greatest return on investment.
TM: What’s in the works for the future of GAFY?
SD: We continue to bring on more partner sites, and we also have plans to launch the ability for our customers to create and submit their own designs online. This will give them complete freedom to economically print what they want on a shirt.
TM: What tips could you give to others trying to get into the t-shirt biz?
SD: Be prepared for a lot of work. It can be a very rewarding effort, but be patient and keep at it. We have recently formed a new partnership and launched a new division of GAFY, www.GreatApparelForYou.com, that handles fulfillment for people starting online t-shirt businesses, but don’t have the capital to maintain an inventory. We print and ship orders as they arrive via Direct-To-Garment printing, the same method we use for www.GAFY.com. The business owners create and manage their storefront, and Great Apparel For You manages everything else (garment ordering, printing, custom packaging, drop shipping, labeling etc). It would have been GREAT if something like this was available when we were getting started!