August 15, 2008
We interview Tim of ‘Off The Ledge Tees’.
TM: First off, what’s the concept or idea behind ‘Off The Ledge’ tees rather than ‘on the ledge’?
OTL: The idea behind the name was that the co-creator Luke spent the majority of his childhood playtime attempting to remove himself from the gene pool. No story illustrated this more than the time he and a friend were chasing each other on the roof a garage and Luke ran out of solid ground without knowing it. Being the good friend I am I laughed at this story and called him names, and somehow this seemed to mesh with what we were thinking about for the feel of the site.
TM:When did you decide that t-shirts was your thing?
OTL: Luke and I both have a collection of tee shirts that go back a number of years, and I just woke up one day a few years ago and realized XL tie-dyed shirts from spring break 94′ were taking up too much room in my dresser. We started jotting down some ideas that we liked and off we went.
TM: How long have you been in the t-shirt biz? And what have you learned?
OTL: This all started a few years ago, and every day has been a learning experience. Marketing has turned out to be a real science experiment, and is a harsh teacher about any mistakes you made early on. We’re starting to sharpen up our efforts, and have even put into motion the creation of a printing/fulfillment solution that will not only drive this site but potentially many others. Keeping the profit margins wide and finding your audience is what it’s all about, which isn’t an easy thing to nail by any stretch but it’s been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see where we are in another 2 years.
TM: Which of your shirts is your favorite?
TM: Do your run your label alone or do you have a team?
OTL: Luke and I are the primary two, but we’ve had other people involved from the start. We consulted with Blackstripe Design for the site design and a friend Josh Smith for the OsCommerce integration. For the designs we’ve always been about getting a number of people involved, and our “Friends” section will reflect that once it goes up (soon…).
TM: Where do you get your inspiration from when it comes to designing t-shirts?
OTL: It’s always the little things you find yourself talking about more than once that eventually register as something that a lot of other people are talking about as well. At this point it’s all about presentation, which is tough to get everyone to agree on. I’ve seen plenty of shirts where I like the idea but not to look of it, so we just try to find the best way to say something and send it out and see what happens.
TM: What has been your best marketing vehicle in attracting customers?
OTL: Google AdWords has driven a lot of traffic, and MySpace has gotten us a good number of new customers as well. Sites like this one that concentrate traffic into people who are specifically looking for shirts are always a great help as well.
TM: Can you tell us a bit about your new printing/fullfilment business? When and why you decide to break into that market?
OTL: We have a friend in northern California who is an unbelievable engineer and has literally built from parts a DTG (Direct to Garment) printer solution. We are in the process of adding about 4 more to the fleet and at that point will be seeking out clients. These are people who run sites that move decent but not huge amounts of shirts who don’t want to pay minimums for bulk shirt orders, or want one-off customs. One of the most cost prohibitive things initially was buying a decent number of each shirt in each size, and if we can help new sites get off the ground or give other sites the ability to sell shirts of the comic/logo/whatever, then everybody wins.
TM: What tips could you give to others trying to get into the t-shirt biz?
OTL: As much is it is about starting a business, it’s about who you are selling to.
For more info on Off The Ledge Tees, go to: www.offtheledgetees.com