Allen Mudgett… family man… graphic artist… half man half… um…udge? Mr. Mudgett is a gentleman of many talents and the highlight of this month’s In the Studio with… We sit with Mudge for an in-depth look at what a disc golfing, ale drinking Spreadshirt designer brings to the table.
So, this is the demographic part of the interview. In 100 words or less, please tell us who you are, what you’re all about, what gets you out of bed in the morning and the song currently playing on your car radio.
Hello, I’m Allen Mudgett aka Mudge – a proud father of two lovely twenty-something girls. I enjoy family, friends, pets, volleyball, disc golf and fine ales. I’ve been a self-employed graphic artist for over a couple of decades now. Each day that I have the freedom to make a living while creating art is a day worth waking up early for… although my boss can be a bit of a jerk ’cause he works me way too hard 😉 Current song is “Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Root ’cause we just saw them last Thursday night at a local venue.
Were we to categorize your designs, we’d probably put them under the “this guy does a little bit of everything” category. What would you say inspires your designs and tickles your creative funny bone?
For the first 20 years of my career, I did sports caricature and illustration for officially licensed products all day… everyday. So yeah, these days I do like to dabble in just about everything. Besides, it’s refreshing to explore other subject matter. Also, there is a little voice in my head that constantly reminds me that I need to eek out a living. Creating and selling t-shirts with a variety of fun themes that include sports, skulls, dinosaurs and animal humor is a fulfilling way to do that… and as the saying goes: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
The internet is full of companies that want to help you get your designs on clothing and apparel. What made Spreadshirt the right choice for you?
Actually I was pulled into the world of Print On Demand by one of your competitors. After a few years, I learned that this particular company really didn’t care about the well-being of the artists and creators of the products that put them on the map. After certain incentive programs were pulled away, I looked into some alternatives. Spreadshirt seemed to have a business model that was worth looking into, so I gave it a try.
Sell on Spreadshirt, open your own Shop… it’s like choosing sweet potato or curly fries. Sometimes there’s no need for debate, and other times you just have to order both. What made your choice of opening your own Shop and selling on Spreadshirt the right option for you?
At first it was because Spreadshirt offered two approaches in getting my designs onto products… in a vector or a rasterized format. I’m a big Photoshop guy who really wanted to test the waters in Illustrator. I liked the idea of the flexibility of scalable art. Unfortunately, I felt like the vector approach was too restraining so I uploaded mostly .png files, and never really got around learning Illustrator.
When you close your eyes and envision the people who buy your products, who do you see? What kinds of marketing do you use to speak to them, directly?
I see myself and the friends that I had when we were younger. I basically design stuff that I would have worn back in the day. Also, I have two daughters that are in their twenties now. I think of them and their friends when I design, as well. I use social media such as Facebook and Pinterest to get some of that marketing in. I figure that is also a great way to reach this target audience.
The journey from mind to matter is a long one and different for almost every artist. Walk us through how you take your designs from concept to product.
I’m always looking around, listening and thinking. The ideas just flow, and I jot them down in my readily-available notebook. After I’ve collected them for a while, I go through the best of them and brainstorm- often going off on tangents, but coming up with something that would be fun to create and hopefully appeal to a future customer.
How much time do you dedicate to your Shop / designs each week? This can include anything from sketching and graphic design work to creating products and maintaining your Shop / designs.
It’s hard to say, because when I’m not on assignment, I work on my print demand shops full time. I don’t keep track of time because I just do what needs to get done. I am still working hard to find the best way to bring in a residual income.
Efficient, effective marketing of designs and products is a common thread with our most successful sellers. What types of marketing do you do for your designs and Shop, and which do you find the most and least effective?
I set up several Facebook Fan Pages and use multiple Pinterest Boards for the free marketing. I’ve also paid for Adwords and Facebook ads too. I’ve found that the pay-per-click method just seems to drain my bank account… I must be doing something wrong.
Everyone’s got a favorite flavor of ice cream and a flavor they’d be happy never seeing again. Let’s pretend the features available for Spreadshirt Partners are flavors of ice cream: which one makes you want a double-scoop, and which one are you feeding to the dog?
I like that I can categorize my shop and arrange my products in any order that I wish. Not having a search bar in my shop is a noticeable limitation, especially with the number of designs that I have, But I’m not sure if I am ready to feed anything to my dog just yet.
You’re trapped on a deserted island. You can watch one tv show, listen to one band, eat one food and drink one drink. What are your choices?
I think that TV show might be… “Lost”. For me, It is a classic that would stand the test of time and more importantly- repeat viewings. Gotta have more than one band, though. How about two bands- one with a male and one with a female vocalist? I’d listen to Peter Murphy and Kate Bush. The one food would probably have to be ice cream. Let’s face it- I’m stranded. Drink of choice would be a Dark and Stormy. I prefer Jamaican Ginger Beer and a nice dark rum like Meyers. Thanks for the opportunity to be on your blog!
Mudge sounds like a guy who’s really got it together! Running a successful SpreadShop, managing his designs on the Spreadshirt Marketplace, all while raising two girls in their twenties?? The last one is a job in itself!
Whoever you are, whatever you do, if you have a little time, some great ideas and the initiative, you can make Spreadshirt work for you. With a target market in mind and little bit of elbow grease on the marketing end of things, putting some extra cash in your pocket with t-shirt designs is a breeze.
Thanks, Mudge, for the time and the insight. If we happen to end up on that island with you, be sure to have a cold Dark n’ Stormy waiting for us!