Single Tease

January 24, 2009

We interview Tamera Lawrence, co-founder of Single Tease.

TM: How did you come up with the concept for Single Tease?

TL: My friend and business partner, Kristin, and I are single women and came up with the concept when we became frustrated with the dating scene. We would go out and men would look at us, but not always approach (I started giving her a dollar if she approached a guy.) We weren’t sure if they just didn’t know what to say, or if they assumed we were not available. We knew there had to be a better way. That summer we went on beach weekend and bought these cheesy beach shirts and got a lot of attention. That’s when we realized our concept, create a line of clever messages that would let a guy know we were available and approachable!

TM: Your t-shirts are very simple in design. How do you differentiate yourself from other t-shirt brands with simple text t-shirts?

TL: Our brand is about creating conversation starters for singles. Our messages have intent, to let someone know you are available and approachable. Our product is designed to facilitate that connection: 1) the messages are only printed in bright white on a dark background for readability close and far, 2) most of our messages have a smaller line of text to bring the other person closer to read the complete message, 3) placing the message on the front and center on the t-shirt allows for a face to face connection, and 4) placing the logo on the back of the right shoulder also works as a conversation starter. One little-known secret, there is a different message in the tag for each size. For example, for the small size, the tag reads, “Let’s start with SMALL talk and a smile.”

TM: A lot of t-shirt entrepreneurs want to know how to get celebrities to wear their tees. How did you get Mariah Carey to wear your t-shirt?

TL: It’s WHO you know, timing and some luck. My best friend’s good friend’s sister is a stylist in Hollywood. We sent her a box of our SingleTees and Mariah Carey just happened to be filming her “Touch My Body” video. Our “boy scouting (are you prepared?) t-shirt was perfect for the last scene in the video.

TM: How do you come up with and decide on which phrases to use for your tees?

TL: Kristin and I come up with the messages. We’re both graphic designers and have been branding, naming, marketing companies for 18 years. We have a panel of 10 colleagues, men and women, who provide us with feedback on all new messages. The messages also need to meet four criteria: 1) non-explicit, 2) suggests you are available, 3) suggests you are approachable (a fun element) and 4) promotes conversation.

TM: It seems that your target audience is, well, single women. How do you go about reaching your target market and spreading the word about your brand?

TL: We reach our target audience a number of ways:
1) Retail shopping events for women such as Girls Night Out by
2) Diligently sending pitches to all the fashion magazines
3) Exhibiting at wholesale shows
4) Selling our product through retail stores
5) Bloggers and online sites like T-Shirt Magazine! and
6) Loyal customers who love our product and spread the word.

We have a customer whose 74 year old mom loved her “say hello” SingleTee so much so that she bought her mom one for Christmas. Another customer bought SingleTees for three of his good friends who are single who then told their friends…

TM: The dogs look so funny with those t-shirts on. What made you decide to come out with t-shirts for dogs?

TL: We decided to come out with the SinglePup doggie tees after Kristin moved to LA. The Californians know how to dress their dogs! Knowing there’s a viable market also helped to meet the requests of single women who were a bit shy to wear a SingleTee, but okay with putting a clever message on their pup. Yes, it’s a known fact that dogs are a conversation starter, but how does the other person know the owner is single and looking? We had the most fun developing the messages for the SinglePup line!TM: What are in the works for the future of Single Tease?

TL: In March, we will celebrate our second year in business and we have some exciting ideas to make SingleTease a resource for singles. First, we are expanding our product line to reach more of the singles audience: SingleTees for Men (much requested and anticipated) and SingleTote canvas bags (to help save the environment and get a date) will be available this first quarter. Second, we are aligning our blog with our product side to form a community for conversations!

TM: What are some tips you can give to other entrepreneurs who want to get their brand out there?

1) Research and learn from your competition. Read about what they did to make their business successful.
2) Hire a lawyer to set up your corporation.
3) Don’t invest too much too fast, time or your money. Just like a new house, you need to live in it awhile before you paint the walls.
4) Know your weaknesses and hire professionals to do what you can not.
5) Trademark, trademark, trademark.
6) Join a network of entrepreneurs. You’ll need the experience, advice, and support of like-minded people. One great network for women is Ladies Who Launch.

For more on Single Tease, check out their site.