April 17, 2009
By Moustapha Camara
We interview Candace, creator of the clothing line, Super Good Clothing.
MC: So, what’s with the name, ‘Super Good’?
SG: I chose the name “super good” as it’s the phrase I often use in lieu of “awesome” or “great” (although I also use those as well). Shortly before establishing my brand, I thought that would make a good brand name, it went on the short list o’ ideas, and I think I just chose it at the last minute while filling out my business license paperwork, haha. Another reason I chose it, is that I’m pretty neurotic and I wanted to choose a name that I liked, yet didn’t have a SUPER sentimental attachment to; that way, if I ever got sick of seeing the name all the time, it wouldn’t be a huge loss like I tarnished a name that had super special significance to me. haha. So yes, in short: I liked it/thought it had a ring to it, but fit the criteria of not carrying any actual personal significance. (Yes, I over think everything like this in my life. haha.)
MC: What’s the idea behind the Super Good brand?
SG: Not just with Super Good, but any of my art, I always try to combine humor with aesthetics of the cute variety. I’m a great appreciator of Hello Kitty, etc; all things that are just cute for the sake of being cute. However, I also love comedy. I think shirts that make good conversation pieces are more appealing than designs that don’t really have any back-story or punchline to them. I should say, I do have an appreciation for the “designed for the sake of the design”-genre, but just for my own personal style, I prefer designing shirts that people can look at for a few seconds and either laugh and smile, or be like “wtf?” 😀
MC: Who are some t-shirt designers and t-shirt brands that influenced you to start your own clothing line?
SG: Threadless was definitely a big influence for multiple reasons. The variety of designs/ideas as well as the core aspect of the site (user-submitted designs) I sure got me to think, “Hey, perhaps I could do this in the future!” Rather, I always wanted to do something like this since I was a teen, but upon discovering Threadless in 2003, I guess it became more of an attainable goal in my head. Oh! Also, thanks to Threadless, I became aware of American Apparel shirts; prior to AA shirts, I thought all blanks shirts were either bland and ill-fitting, or didn’t come in my size. Upon learning that there were blank shirts out there that I actually really liked, that also further encouraged me to pursue my t-shirt business. (And now days, there are a lot more companies that produce stylish and comfortable blank garments, which I think is great!)
Other than Threadless, other t-shirt designers I really enjoy: Princess Tina, 2K (Geoff McFetridge’s “I’m Rocking On Your Dime” still remains to be one of my favorite shirts/designs of all time) and countless independent artists (some of my favorite shirts I own were bought from artists/designers that don’t really have a brand, just a handful of shirt designs). As a teen, I also really liked Cosmic Debris and Doe (also Ok47; no longer in business), but those brands have changed a lot in the past ten years, so I wouldn’t say they were influences during my “super good years”, but they did at least contribute to my preference and opinion of the t-shirt genre.
MC: Out of all of the tees in you sell, which ones are your favorite?
SG: My TV shirt holds the most significance in terms of the message (because it’s true. haha), my I AM FANCY shirt is probably my favorite in terms of aesthetics, and my Incognito shirt is my favorite in terms of sentimentality, as it features one of my best buddies (as noted in the breakfast photo question, below).
MC: I see you’re in some retail stores. How did you go about landing your first retail deal?
SG: I actually owe it all to my coworker friend, Jon! The owner of Split Obsession (my first retail/consignment store) is friends with him, and he recommended me! Only recently did I learn the full back story as to how things fell into place. Apparently my friend and the co-owner Bruce (he runs the store with his girlfriend Erica) were discussing what sort of things sell, and he pointed to my Threadless chopsticks shirt (Sticks of Shame) which they just so happened to be carrying; Bruce was like “Cute sells! Stuff like that! You should do stuff like that!” and Jon was like, “Hey, I know the girl that made that shirt!” and that got the ball rolling. haha
MC: Who’s your target audience and how do you go about reaching them?
SG: To tell you the truth, since I’m still stumbling through this whole experience and learning as I go, I’m not 100% sure who my target audience is. I would say, on a broad level: Females, young (teens to 20/30-somethings) who enjoy cute and/or humorous stuff, but I try to design stuff that both genders can wear, and so I’ve been pleasantly surprised that a lot of guys appreciate cute stuff too and like to wear my designs as well!
As for how I’m reaching my target audience… I need to work on that, haha. I’m such an old man, I haven’t even made a Facebook or Myspace for super good yet!
MC: Breakfast at your house looks pretty interesting. Who are those characters at the table in that pick?
SG: Yes, thank you for noticing! My breakfast pals are (from left to right): Mortimer Caesar Big Fudge Snuffles, some weirdo, Domokun, and Quackamoley. They’re surprisingly well behaved at the table (aside from the occasional quabble over who used up all the syrup). I will say, however, that I don’t really enjoy having to cook so many waffles, as you can see they’ve all got pretty sizable appetites. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure how they put it all away; last I checked all their mouths were made of cloth and string.
…Here is a secret for all your readers: This photo is a complete lie. Don’t get me wrong, I still have giant stuffed animals that consume excessive amounts of waffles, but it’s not really breakfast. This photo was taken at like, 2:00 in the morning, and I rarely have to ever get up before noon unless I have to go to work, hahah. And in those instances I don’t eat breakfast. HEALTHY LIVING.
MC: What are your future plans for SuperGood? Where do you see your brand in the next couple of years?
SG: Currently I’m trying to work on new designs as well as other products (accessories, craft items, etc.), but I’m also trying to focus on cycling out old designs so I can bring in said new designs. As I’ve been telling all my friends, I FINALLY understand why designers retire old designs; I naively used to think (prior to starting my business), “Why do people retire old designs?? What if someone still wants to buy them??” now that I’m actually IN the position of having 930,485,093,485 shirt bins clogging up my house and managing the uh, financial burden clogging up my credit cards, I can finally understand why designs are retired and clearance sales happen. haha Ideally I’d love to be able to offer all my designs at all times (and actually, thanks to my wonderful DTG On-Demand printer, Threadsafe, my plan IS to keep all my designs available for special orders at least), but that’s for when I can afford a giant warehouse and/or get to a point where I’m just designing/making the decisions and not worrying about the logistics of the brand.
As for where I see my brand in the next couple of years, I have no idea. I really hope to keep growing and making more things. (haha such a generic answer, sorry.) People always tell me, “Don’t give up!!” and I definitely don’t see that happening any time soon. I’ve had to do a lot of re-prioritizing, and “learning as I go” as mentioned, but overall I’m still enjoying myself and have 3,904,580,345 more ideas I want to carry out. (yes, that exact amount; I’m hoping I can put my brain in a robot body if time constraints occur.)