What does Fake Gucci, Cam’ron, & Sneakers Equal?

Gucci Sneaker Shirt GreyAs I was doing research for an upcoming project I discovered these kids Gucci sneaker shirts. First of all I think this is a pretty well executed design that could’ve actually been a part of the adult line. However, I didn’t just see the concept that it was created because it’s a fun graphic tee that resonates with kids. I saw how it’s really a testament to how much the sneaker/street culture influences mainstream fashion and pop culture.

Gucci ForcesBack in the early 2000′s custom kicks were huge. So many people were trying to get themselves a pair of Gucci Air Force One’s. While I don’t think Gucci has ever sold or authorized the selling of their custom monogram fabric, it didn’t stop the trend from spreading like crazy. Gucci probably spent a lot of time suing as many people as they could find using their logo, but I don’t remember them ever releasing a sneaker t-shirt or anything that would’ve capitalized on the hype during the height of the monogrammed fad. It’s interesting that they’ve jumped on the bandwagon and released a sneaker shirt now, when this new wave of sneaker obsession has surfaced as a major trend.

Nick Cannon - Love Don't Cost a Thing(that’s actually Fendi in this pic, but you get the point)

It’s interesting because when we think of the stars winning in the sneaker trend right now, Gucci doesn’t come to mind. They’re trying to get a slither of the sneaker pie today, but If they had stopped fighting the Gucci sneaker obsession of the early 2000s, (they weren’t the only ones as you can see with Fendi) they could have possibly been among the leaders of, not only the sneaker craze, but also the return of the 2000 era’s trends that have been flooding the street wear scene lately.

Camron SocksThese custom Cam’ron Nike Elite socks were easily selling for over $100 on Ebay after the RIF-LA drop back in May

How much smarter it would’ve been for Gucci to have seen the hype as a compliment back then and cashed in on it. Even better…. how dope would it have been if they had gotten Cam’ron as an official spokesperson for their first ever street wear inspired line. Could you imagine the kind of Cam’ron products that would’ve have been released back in 2003?

Godly Camron JerseyThis tribute to Killa-Cam sold out the first week it was released, but they’ve restocked on Godly’s site

Camron Gucci VisorIf Gucci had seen the possibilities in the streets obsession with them back then, perhaps the song wouldn’t have been called Versace. Maybe they would’ve been the go-to company for all throwback Cam’ron gear in 2013 when it became popular again. Maybe they would have us scouring Ebay for an overpriced Cam’ron X Gucci original that’s been sold out for months. Maybe all these smaller brands would be, once again, copying them and the fashion standard they set. If Gucci had been smart they’d be one of the leaders of the sneaker and 2000s throwback trend. However, they weren’t so smart and now they’re just making a lame (and late) attempt at jumping on the sneaker fueled bandwagon with a couple of tees in kids that will probably never catch on. It never be worn by adults let alone celebrities…. and most importantly it will never be worn by Killa Cam

So what does Fake Gucci, Cam’ron and Sneaker equal? It should’ve equaled a great marketing campaign and millions of dollars.

Brand: Quality VS Quantity & Convenience

steve-jobs-home-run-quality-quoteI got a message on my ebay site today asking why shipping was so high for the Tecknicolor X Breezy Hampton bracelets. First off, I don’t think $5 is high for shipping, so I’m not exactly sure what the real basis behind the question is. However, I’m always open to constructive criticism and I like when challenges arise,  because I see them as opportunities to get better and work smarter.

photo1gg photo2benI responded and after I did I realized that the reason I gave was one that needs to be emphasized more in my branding/marketing/advertising efforts. I’ve blogged about it and featured pics on social networks about my packaging, but I don’t know if I’ve actually ever explained why the amount of energy I put into the small details are so important.

photojun22181445It’s pretty simple really. You can buy a shirt (a bracelet in this guys case) from anyone. So, why choose to buy mine? What makes my product better than any other persons? I believe the answers to those questions cane make or break a brand. I don’t want to just have random customers who liked a design once upon a time, that’s not conducive with a lasting brand or brand loyalty. I want people to know that I’m always thinking of ways to give them a better product and the best experience with Tecknicolor.

photoaug10162249To show the appreciation I have for people believing in Tecknicolor enough to spend their hard earned cash on it I go the extra mile in my packaging and presentation. Everybody loves getting gifts and I want my customers to feel like it’s Christmas every time they open up a package from Tecknicolor. Most often each shirt comes in packaging that matches the theme of the shirt and usually includes some sort of gift or souvenir. Impersonal business is old school and not very relevant in this day and age. So, I also include hand written letters to each and every person that purchases something from the brand. photomar20170333I run this business with little to no help from anyone else. It’s just me investing the time, money and effort into making Tecknicolor a success. So, this seemingly elaborate form of packaging is a lot of work and takes more time to get shipped out than if I just threw a shirt in an envelope, but it’s worth it. The response I get back from customers is astounding and has allowed me to gain loyal customers who keep coming back for the high quality service that is missing in a lot of today’s businesses.

So, to answer that question about the $5 shipping cost, the value encased with the shirts I ship out is much grater than the actual price of the shirt or shipping. Purchasing from Tecknicolor is more than just paying for a shirt, it’s paying for a brand experience like no other and I hope that you all appreciate the extra effort.

I Love My Competition

I got an email a while back from a great customer and fan of the brand who’s even offered to help me out in some areas who. He brought up the fact that he’s cool with the owner of Bobby Fresh, Robert Preston and wondered if there was a way he and I could work together. He was like well I know he’s your competition but I know he would love your work, or something along the lines of that.

There’s a guy I met in Finishline a few years back, Terrence. I was doing the Cool Grey Jordan tees and I wanted to see how the greys matched up to my design. He went and brought out the, not yet released, shoes for me to take a look at. He also asked a few questions about they brand and said he might pic a tee up from the site. He’s a super cool dude and even though he doesn’t live in MI anymore we’ve still been keeping in touch via social networking sites. He’s now started his own brand Aviation Bay and ever so often I’ll give my two cents on designs and business tactics. He saw a packaging post on Instagram and asked if he could use the idea for when he ships he’s tees out.

Pepsi's Collaboration Promotion with Doritos

I don’t have any issue with “competition”. Maybe for bigger more established brands with stock options and 401k plans it’s cool to hate another brand or have a strict “stay away from them” kind  of attitude, but that’s just not how I get down. When I see another brand doing something awesome, it fuels me to do the absolute best I possibly can, I want people the raise the bar and I love working at reaching and even raising it myself.

I love what Bobby Fresh is doing, he’s helped me to realize what a huge market is out there for us sneaker lovers. Let’s be totally honest, I’m probably not very much competition for him anyway. He’s way more established and probably funded than I am right now. If Bobby Fresh called me up tomorrow asking me to work on some designs or collaborate or whatever, I’m down! Maybe from a traditional business standpoint that’s a bad way to see things, but in sneaker culture the whole “I’ll get mine, you get yours…. buy for $160, resell for $1000″  attitude is helping to make the culture we’ve grown to love one you darn near hate. I can’t get with it.

When Terrence asked if he could use the same packaging technique I did, I said of course. I don’t think we should blatantly steal a brands designs or concepts and act like they’re our own, but that’s not what he did….He straight asked for my permission to use a packaging technique, which isn’t all that unique in the first place. I want his brand to succeed just as much as I want mine to; if we can both exchange ideas to help one another get there then lets do it. The term “self made” is an oxymoron, no one is self made. No one has ever gotten anywhere alone and no one wants to be alone at the top.

Photo Credit: Heavier

We all know that the love for sneakers fuels a lot of revenue and in my opinion there’s enough to go around. If you’ll buy one limited edition tee you’ll buy three, becuase when do you have too many shirts to rock with your newly purchased shoes? You don’t! If we thought that way we wouldn’t be buying multiple pairs of shoes in the first place. I’d even promote another sneaker related brand on my site, I’m that confident in the fact that it’s perfectly ok to work together to make each other better.

Making my dreams a reality is intertwined in helping other peoples dreams become a reality. It’s not a gimmick, I’m dead serious. I LOVE MY COMPETITION!

Presales? What’s That About?

I’m pretty new to the whole presale concept as far as the Tecknicolor brand goes. So for good measure and for those of you who may not be completely familiar with presales, I decided to say a little bit about it before you partake in the first of what may be many Teck presales.

I knew about presales, but I wasn’t completely comfortable with using the system for my brand. This was mainly becuase I was so new to the t-shirt game and I didn’t think I would get as many sales as I could just selling from pre stocked inventory. What made me actually take the whole presale thing into consideration was observing the brand Illthreads. First of all they have great products with dope graphics, and they’re masters at marketing and sales via Tumblr. They also use their tried and true presale method for most, if not all, of their shirt releases. There’s a page on their site that explains the whole process from beginning to finish. They explain it a such a simple and easy to understand way:

Have you ever tried to reserve a video game? Have you ever booked a plane ticket or concert ticket? Well Illthreads™ uses a similar method called pre-orders, which is when you reserve your merchandise now to be received at a later date.

I observed this whole process, watched fans of the brand sell out each shirt design, and even submit photos of themselves proudly rocking their Illthreads gear. I thought hmmmm…….. this really works. Because they keep their blog updated so frequently, even when unexpected situations come up, such as misprints or something, all paying customers can feel as ease with sending them their hard earned cash. All they have to do is just visit the sites to be reassured that their products are on they’re way.

Then there is the best part of presales: No excess inventory sitting around! This saves a ton of money that can be put towards more products, giveaways, site upgrades, marketing, ect.  You don’t have to worry about how many shirts to print up or how many of each size. You can make a decent amount of sales and still maintain the limited edition-ness of your brand. Overall, it’s a great set up for a start-up line, especially if you have already established a customer base.

WARNING: YOU MUST BE TRUSTWORTHY! You will never get repeat business from customers who have had bad experiences with your brand. Ripping people off, lack of communication, terrible customer service, and empty promises….are quick ways to destroy your business and news travels fast.

So presales aren’t just for sneakers, plane and concert tickets anymore. They can apply to probably most products and services out there. So this is my little piece of business advice, as well as my explanation of the next Tecknicolor shirt releases for the fall/winter seasons.

A Label with No Label

freshjive_no_branding

Freshjive founder Rick Klotz has always had an issue with branding, but loves to design t-shirts and clothing. Now it’s been announced that the entire collection from Spring/Summer 2010 will be without all forms of logo placements and branding. This fascinates me from both a design and business standpoint. I love branding however, this move is intriguing. It appears to be a clever way of marketing to an audience who doesn’t like the idea of commercialism or advertising. We’ll see.