NekkidTees knows tees, especially those geared toward the vastly young tee-wearing crowd. “Naked is natural; nekkid is naughty” is the slogan behind the hundreds of designs ranging from funny and party shirts to geeky and naughty shirts. Throw some police shirts and cute shirts into the mix and you realize that all “nekkid people need clothes too”. Tommy tells about the tragic events leading to his opening a shirt shop and NekkidTees’ tragedy-contrasting goal of making people laugh with shirts. The interview with Tommy from NekkidTees:
What inspired or motivated you to open a shop and how long have you run the shop?
I was looking for some extra income after my wife was t-boned and then hit head-on by 2 vehicles that ran through a red light. Sending her to the emergency room and us into debt. I’ve been running NekkidTees.com since June 23rd, 2006.
What do you do for a living, or better said: what do you do when you are not fiddling around with your shop?
I do freelance graphic and web design and run around 30 other websites that I hope pan out into something big someday. I also do network / PC administration for small to medium size businesses in my area and I volunteer 42 hours a week to my local sheriff’s department helping them with IT work, Website work and also going out on calls with the Patrol Division.
How did you learn about Spreadshirt?
I was working on a logo to help support an open source project for Joomla called Joomfish. Shortly after I had finished the logo the project leader emailed me back that they needed it to meet the requirements of a printing company called Spreadshirt.com. I visited Spreadshirt.com and emailed an individual that I know very well now as Temple, she walked me through the requirements for flex printing and shortly after that I started tinkering with the idea of opening my own store as a way to generate a few bucks on the side.
Tell us about your first attempt at opening up a t-shirt shop.
My first attempt at opening a shop was rather embarrassing. It was late, something like 4am and I had been brainstorming all day and working, when I came up with the name “whoomper”. The problem is it wasn’t supposed to be whoomper but instead whomper. I didn’t even realize the extra O until someone called me from an advertising agency to do some marketing and started trying to pronounce it. I pulled up the website and laughed for a while. I no longer register domains at 4am.
What’s your favorite shirt?
“Calm down and take a deep breath & hold it for about 20 minutes”
How much time do you invest in your shop? Do you create designs yourself?
In the beginning I put a lot of long days into getting my shop off the ground and on-line. I made many different layouts until finally I was happy. Thankfully Spreadshirt’s template system was very easy to understand and work in. Now that all the hard stuff is over with I don’t have to invest a lot of time in my shop other than making new shirts! Yes I make all my shirts and since most are text based shirts it’s really easy.
Where and how do you market your shop and make it well-known?
I use sites such as Myspace, Facebook and BuySellAds. Another small investment ($50) was AdamsBalls.com. They make beer pong balls that I give away at colleges and local parties.
Who do you think your customers are?
I keep up with tracking on my site and based off link backs, comments, and free t-shirt requests my shops age group runs between the ages of 18 to 35. I get a lot of emails from college campus kids which is one of the places I really wanted to focus on.
NekkidTees targets the 18 to 35 year-old, college/funny/party market, which is well-saturated with t-shirt shops. How does Nekkid differentiate itself from the rest?
A lot of T-shirt companies focus only on what this weeks trend is. NekkidTees on the other hand is pretty much just random happenings. Here are some examples:
- Calm Down Take A Deep Breath & Hold It For About 20 Minutes: This idea came while playing Warcraft and listening to people venting on Ventrilo.
- I’m Famous But No One Knows It Yet: This one is for all those individuals out there working hard to make something out of their lives.
- I Tell Cops Where To Go All The Time: This one was created for friends at our local 911 dispatch center.
- Sushi: Created because we love Sushi. Sadly there are no places to get it where we live now.
- Party Tonight Ask For Details: Created because we have lots of cookouts and it’s easier to just wear this shirt than it is to tell everyone sometimes.
How do you approach t-shirt design and what does a design go through before appearing on your site?
I make t-shirt designs based mainly on daily happenings or from requests. Before I start I do some research on-line to see how many t-shirt companies may have the design and etc. (Thanks Google!)
From there I usually print the designs off and pin them to my wall. They make good conversation pieces when friends are over. The ones that get talked about first or commented on the most get to go on-line.
If you think back from the “opening” of your shop up to now, what would be the the most important insight that you would give a newcomer?
Be patient because your not going to be successful overnight and it really helps to know basic XHTML / CSS.
What do you like about Spreadshirt and what could we do better?
What I like about Spreadshirt the most is their customer service. If you send in an email for support it’s usually answered before the day ends. If you post on the forums someone will always reply. I love the Flex printing method offered by Spreadshirt as well. It allows shirts to last longer than most of the other T-shirt companies methods.
As for what Spreadshirt can do better… Well I will say that Spreadshirt is always listening. They compile requests from the user forums and have meetings over what ideas are doable. I don’t think you can really ask for anything more from a company other than listening to it’s user base.
What was your biggest achievement up to now (with or without Spreadshirt)?
Selling shirts is my biggest achievement with no real money invested.
Have you ever seen someone you don’t know walking around with your t-shirt on?
Sadly no, but I’m always out there looking!
What are the next steps for NekkidTees – where do you see the shop in 5 years?
NekkidTees is always evolving. I plan on adding more designs, new sections and continuing to grow. In 5 years I hope to see NekkidTees still making people laugh.
If you were a t-shirt, how would you look?
Twisted and worn out 🙂
Thanks for the interview and keep those shirt ideas coming!