January 16, 2009
We interview Tim Fox and David Cree, owners of Soge Shirts.
TF: Well how we got started in t-shirts was pretty funny. Originally Dave and I talked about starting a bunch of different websites to make money off the advertising. We were working on content for a vitamin nutrition site and an astrology site. One day though at his family reunion I said “hey man, what if we did t-shirts?” ’cause I always had some t-shirt ideas and Dave is a top notch artist with lots of t-shirt ideas himself. I thought it might appeal to our creative sides more than just simply generating content for tons of websites that we would have to continuously update. Coming up with t-shirt ideas and making t-shirts is a lot more fun.
TM: How long have you been in the t-shirt biz? And what have you learned?
TF: We started back in August 2007, so Soge Shirts has been running for a bit over a year. The list of things that I have learned is so long. I learned that I knew nothing about the t-shirt business when I first started and nothing about marketing. I know some things now, but it’s still a work in progress. I try to read as much as I can about marketing and the t-shirt industry. The bookstore and the internet are my two best friends. We’re trying to make Google page rank our friend, which is difficult, but the holy grail of every t-shirt line. T-Shirt Magazine is a great resource, by the way, and has a lot of great articles for those that want to get into the industry. If it sounds like I’m kissing ass, I totally am, but I really do think its a great resource.
DC: There are successful funny t-shirt companies. There are many offensive and crude humored companies that seem to market well with a younger, more pop culture oriented groups. We decided to run eclectically with the funny, rude, cute, cuddly, crazy, imaginative, and amazing t-shirt designs, and give it a more younger feel by remembering our younger days. Days when we thought the simplest things, when twisted, would make us bust out laughing. Random and clever humor, seemed to linger in our minds. We thought if we can capture that sense of humor from back in the day, and put it on a shirt, we’d stand out somewhat from the “funny t-shirt” companies.
Our humor is satirical, cartoon-ish, dry, and ironic. We learned to stick with that group of designs, yet incorporate as much as we can, to other groups who might not be turned on by this type of style. We expanded to bring artistic and alluring graphics to those who enjoy eye gripping graphics, and cool designs. We stepped left and thought back to our childhoods, and if we had an idea about a children’s shirt we would have liked to wear when we were 8, we then know parents can relate to a younger sense of humor. I used to cry a lot when I was a child, and our design with a crying baby, titled “mommy’s alarm clock” is a perfect fit for a child who has no off switch or snooze button. We try and take subjects and ideas that most people are so uptight about or feel so strongly about, and twist them to allow for a new perspective of those ideas, with a lighter enjoyable feel. Life can be heavy, and we want to spread a lighter side of life, with those who appreciate an free spirited lifestyle.
DC: We are planning to allow for our fans, and customers, to share the designs, and feel of Soge Shirts, with anyone they chose. Visitors will spread the word of Soge Shirts, and help us reach those heavy-hearted individuals, who could lighten up and enjoy being in the moment. In return we want to offer a way for them to grab free gear, and tees from us. It’s a point system, where different actions and networking tasks, will earn you points to nab free tees and merchandise, just by sharing something they like, some other friends, family and random co-workers who need their inbox stuffed.
TM: What would you say your niche is and what has been your best marketing vehicle in targeting that audience?
TF: Our niche is mostly humor t-shirts which is of course a very saturated niche and a tough one to compete in. Most of our shirts are humor tees, but we branch out into the kids, teens, and artistic shirts as well so that no one can really say that we don’t have something for everyone. Our best marketing vehicle is word of mouth and online communities. If you can get your barber to talk about your line and the mailman too then everyone is going to know about you. That reminds me I got to give some free t-shirts to my barber and mailman. Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, and running our humor blog has also led to many customers and many new friends.
For more on Soge Shirts, check out their site.