What do you get when you combine a love and respect for hip-hop music with dope artists, designers, and t shirt enthusiasts from all walks of life? My Main Man Pat, that’s what! My Main Man Pat is a unique company dedicated to connecting lovers of art with lovers of hip-hop in a fresh way, through unique t-shirt designs that you won’t find anywhere else.
Every Monday, two unique designs are uploaded and sold for one week and one week only. Like what you see…buy it! Got a unique design that you’d like to see featured? Feel free to suggest. My Main Man Pat welcomes it all, encourages it all, and works hard to give the people what they want. Founder, and self-proclaimed hip-hop head, Patrick tells us more.
TM: When and where was the concept for My Main Man Pat born?
My Main Man Pat was born in the city I have spent the majority of my life calling home, Toronto, Canada. Many of our first shirts were designed by graduates of a local design school, and we have always done all of our printing locally. I’m very proud to call the T-Dot our home.
As for the when, I like to think the monster was first created back in 95 when I picked up my first hip-hop CD. It was the Delinquent Habit’s self titled CD, and I still got it on the shelf. The concept for the site, however, was brought about a little under two years ago over cocktails with my sister who I would describe as a serial entrepreneur. I wasn’t loving my job at the time and needed something I could be truly passionate about and MMMP was the answer.
You’re a self-proclaimed “hip-hop head”. What does this mean and how has it influenced your love for art?
Well, it’s one of those terms that’s means something different to everyone who you ask, but I will attempt to my personal definition into words. For me, it’s someone who takes pride in acquiring and sharing their knowledge and love of hip-hop culture. As this is my interpretation, I have spent a ton of time tracing back the roots of the art and pondering it’s future. It has always been a labor of love though, and the shirts are my way of sharing that love.
What prompted you to sell tees on a daily/weekly basis via your site versus a typical brick and mortar business or traditional t-shirt brand website?
To be straight, I was reading an article about Shirtpunch at the time and loved their business model. It made a ton of sense from an operations standpoint, and I wanted to create something that would keep people coming back to the site on a regular basis. I also tend to get bored real easy and I love the challenges and rewards that come with putting two dope designs up each and every Monday. All this said, a brick and mortar has always been a goal so do not rule anything out for the future.
Who are the designers behind the shirts offered on My Main Man Pat?
In short, fellow hip-hop heads with a penchant for design. It’s actually rather difficult to get more specific than that, we have worked with 30+ artists across 5 continents of all kinds of different professional backgrounds. The only generalization I can make is that they are all very talented individuals who have been an honor to work with.
What sets My Main Pat apart from the rest now, and were there any other sites/brands that had an influence on My Main Pat in the beginning stages of your development?
As far as I know, there are no other websites out there that do it exactly like we do. I mean, there are a bunch of daily/weekly shirt sites out there, and more hip-hop brands than I can think of, but none that combine the two. I also like to think we provide a level of service that stands out from other online stores.
As for influences, Shirtpunch was a big influence for the business side, and Moose Limited had been my biggest source of t-shirts prior to launching My Main Man Pat, so I would say those are the biggest two.
Screen Printing, Direct to Garment, or Heat Press/Plastisol Transfers; which do you prefer and why?
I like my shirt prints like I like my hip-hop, old school. As such, screen printing is our preferred method of application, it’s a more human process and I swear you can feel that love in the shirt. That said, seeing is how we only operate online we don’t sleep on technology and the benefits of DTG cannot be ignored. The machine our print shop uses delivers equal if not superior quality and it’s nice not to be limited in the number of colors we can use. Still though, screen printing wins out, it’s just got soul….
In honor of the two unique designs uploaded to your site weekly, what are two do’s and two don’ts as it relates to owning and operating a successful t-shirt brand/business?
Haha well played!
DO your homework and be realistic. I know I don’t have to tell t-shirtmagaize, but a lot of new t-shirt companies are started each month and en equal amount close up shop. That said, DO think big. There will be frustrating times but the night is always darkest right before dawn…
DON’T think people are going to find you. If you’ve done your homework you will know how many other options are out there for folks, you’ve got to be at where they are already hanging out. Also, unless you have puff daddy money, DON’T try to compete on price. Instead focus on making a quality product that people are going to love regardless of the price.
So I order a tee from My Main Man Pat, in fact, I order a few. What level of service can I expect from the beginning of the process to the end, and what makes my experience at My Main Man Pat different from my experience at any other daily/weekly site?
The one thing I can always promise is an honest process. There are a lot of moving parts at work so things rarely go exactly as planned. We’ve had shirts ship late, shirts ship early, and packages get lost in the mail (both of which were replaced), but I’m very proud to say that of 1500+ shirts shipped, we’ve been asked for a refund a total of one time.
Is hip-hop still alive?
Abso-fuckin-lutely. I might even say it’s stronger than ever. 2013 was a great year for releases if you knew where to look. Cats like Homeboy Sandman, Reks and the Run the Jewels crew are preserving the culture while taking it in all new directions. Plus you’ve got certified OGs like De La Soul, the Wu-Tang Clan still making quality beats, and as long as MF DOOM is around real hip-hop will never die.
Can I order a tee even after it’s been featured and replaced by two new t-shirt designs?
It’s highly unlikely, but it never hurts to ask. I usually order an extra or two of every design we print, but the doper the design the quicker they get snatched up. We run an annual contest where people can vote on a favorite design from the past 52 weeks, but that is the only time we offer re-prints.
How important is evolution in the t-shirt business?
As important as evolution in life, if you’re not adapting you are dying. It is not all that different than the hip-hop game, you can only live on your reputation for so long…
What does the future hold for My Main Man Pat?
About the only promise I am comfortable making at this point is that we will have two new dope designs up come Monday ;). Beyond that, we have been in the process of moving our site to wordpress for months and are very close to flicking the switch. The hope is that this will allow us to introduce a lot of nuances to the site, including discussion threads and a voting system for future prints amongst other things. As for the long term, as I said if you are not adapting you are dying and I don’t want to make any promises I can’t keep, but if you’re readers have any ideas I always love to hear em.