We interview Jason Sadler, founder of ‘I Wear Your Shirt‘.
TM: The concept of ‘I Wear Your Shirt’ is simple, yet genius! How did you come up with the concept?
JS: Well, thanks for the compliment! The concept was more of a eureka moment on late night/early morning. I was laying bed at 3am racking my brain for a way to make some extra money without actually “working” and it came to me… I wear shirts every day of my life, no matter what, and should let people choose what shirts I wear. Also, I’ve had some experience in advertising on the web and I know how worthless Adwords (text links) and banner advertising can be, especially for smaller companies or startups.
TM: When did you decide that t-shirts were ‘your thing’?
JS: I’ve always been a t-shirt fan, owning a couple hundred of my own. It’s funny to think I won’t wear one of my own t-shirts for an entire year. I have come to realize how much I enjoy American Apparel shirts. I think spending an extra couple bucks is well worth it to have a nicer looking, higher quality and better fitting shirt.
TM: It seems you’re getting a lot of coverage about your ‘cause’ and word is spreading quickly. How did you get big publications like the LA Times and the NY Times to follow your story?
JS: When you use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Ustream.tv on a day to day basis, with thousands of people on all of them, the word can spread. I attribute a lot of my success to Twitter and Ustream.tv. You can meet anyone in the world, in any industry, of any corporate position on Twitter. Where else can that happen? Ustream.tv has been great for me because they believe in the concept and have featured my live show (3pm EST daily). They also bought January 1!
TM: How did you go about attracting well known companies to “advertise on your body“?
JS: Having a decent network of contacts of my own has been a big help. I’m a firm believer in the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I learned that fairly young, even though I’m only 26, I’ve had a good amount of work experience both good and bad. When I first thought of iwearyourshirt.com a few months ago in September, I immediately sent out a mass e-mail to my friends and contacts asking for advice and feedback. The website wasn’t even up, I just wanted to know what people thought of the idea and get them talking about it.
TM: I seems like, through your videos and pictures, that you’re practically marketing for the brands whose shirts you’re wearing. Did you have any previous marketing experience?
JS: That’s my entire vision for iwearyourshirt.com. I’m not your pitch person; I’m not saying whether you are the next big thing or how great your company/product is. I am simply in a different and hopefully more interesting way, for you to advertise/market your brand for a reasonably small price. Where else can you pay a couple hundred bucks and have someone take photos, create a unique video, do a live video stream and all of that in front of thousands of people across multiple social media outlets? I’ve worked at advertising agencies, professional sports leagues and teams and a myriad of other jobs, all of them giving me a better understanding that my passion is marketing and out of the box thinking.
TM: How does it feel to be getting 365 free t-shirts? Where are you gonna put them all?
JS: If you’ve had a chance to check out my Flickr page, YouTube videos or Ustream.tv live video streams you will have seen my closet. I cleaned out the walk in closet in my bedroom of all my clothing. I went to Target and bought an additional 150 hangers to give me 365 total hangers. I am organizing the shirts by months, somewhat OCD, but it will definitely help in the long run. Having an extra 365 shirts is nice, but also gives me a chance to do something philanthropic. At the end of every month I am going to donate the previous shirts to a charitable organization. I might keep a few here and there, but want to try to do something good with the shirts.
TM: What tips can you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there looking to start a business?
JS: I’ve learned a lot in a very short period of time and continue to learn things on a day to day basis. The first and most important thing is that nothing is an overnight success. I thought I’d get the website up and the days would fill up without me having to do much work, especially the first 100 because of the price. Before I started wearing shirts, I was constantly trying to meet new people, connect with more friends on Facebook, grow my Twitter followers and get my name out there. Now that things are underway, I spend just as many hours creating content and keeping up with e-mail as I did before.
Another tip would be to not drink the ‘hatorade’. I created an internet based idea and with that comes all of the haters. They constantly comment inappropriately on my blog and press stories, send mean or hateful e-mail and if you’ve ever read a front page Digg post, you know what I am talking about. Take these things with a grain of salt, ignore most of them and hope that those people get grounded and can’t use the computer in their parent’s basement.
And last but not least, stay true to what you believe and know that if you are dedicated the sky is the limit. People are paying me to wear their shirts!! That didn’t happen because I bought a domain name and sent out a couple e-mails.
Check out this video by Jason Sadler:
For more on ‘I Wear Your Shirt’, check out the site.