Threadbird Artist Series: Fright Rags

One of the coolest things about working at Threadbird is getting to work with great people… and great artists. This week we’re starting a new series of features called the “Threadbird Artist Series”. Every so often, we’ll be interviewing a new artist that you may or may not have heard of. Help spread the love: Tweet the blog post, pass along the emails, tell your friends… and buy their stuff!
This week we interviewed Benjamin Scrivens from Fright Rags.

Fright Rags

Tell us about yourself… and why “Horror”?

My name is Benjamin Scrivens and I studied and worked as a graphic designer before making Fright-Rags my full time job. Horror movies have been a part of my life from the day I saw the original Halloween at the tender age of 4. Since then, I have practically lived and breathed horror in some form or another. It’s just always around me and present in pretty much anything I do. So when I was thinking of starting my own business, something horror related was a natural choice for me. As for t-shirts, I just felt that there wasn’t anything out there that spoke to me as a fan. All I saw were one/two color poster art reproductions. I wanted something smart & original so I decided to design shirts that I would wear myself. And when I posted the designs on a horror forum that I was an active member of, others liked them as well. It was then that I thought I could actually sell a few of them for fun.

I started the website in September 2003. My first batch of shirts sold pretty well, which allowed me to design and print a second series, and after that I just kept going. All the while I just looked at it as a hobby, but as the years went on, it started to develop a following. I got more serious about it in early 2005 and decided to take it as far as I could go with it. Within just a few months, we were selling to Hot Topic and the online business was growing exponentially, though I was still managing everything myself. Finally, in early 2008, I decided to quit my job and dedicate my full time and attention to Fright-Rags and have done so ever since. In that time we’ve grown out of two offices and I’ve taken on two full time employees and one part time employee. To this day, I see Fright-Rags as a way to bring horror fans of all ages together to share our common love for the genre. We just happen to provide the wardrobe!

What’s the most exciting thing about getting up to do what you do every day and why?

Working with people who have the same passion for horror as I do and using Fright-Rags as a conduit for all the connections we make with our friends, customers, and business partners. I get to work with my friends and just have fun celebrating something that I probably should have grown out of years ago. But here I am…33 years old and instead of wearing some button-down shirt and working in a cubicle farm, I can throw on my Evil Dead shirt and jeans and go hang with my friends at the office while horror movies play in the background. It’s amazing and I feel lucky and blessed to be able to do what I do.

How do you decide what characters/movies you want to do a shirt of and what goes into the design process?

At this point, the process is multi-faceted. Sometimes a designer presents me with an idea, and we discuss what to do with it. I always have a list going of things I want to do, or requests from people. And from there I just work with a designer and we collaborate on what we think looks best.

What do you think it is about Fright Rags that keeps people coming back and why?

While I do believe our original designs and quality printing are high on the list of what makes people come back to us, I also feel as though it is our connection with our customers that strengthens the bond. Because we are fans ourselves, we speak the same language. We’re not selling to people…we’re just creating stuff that people – and ourselves – want to wear. Plus, we show people how we do it…we show the stages of how a design is brought to life, what it looks like when it’s being printed, and even where we work. I believe in transparency of business wherever possible and I enjoy showing people the process and allowing them to be a part of it.

What are you most passionate about outside of Fright Rags… explain?

My wife and my two children are certainly my number one priority, and I enjoy all the time I get to spend with them and love being a dad. Between Fright-Rags and that, I don’t have much time for anything else, haha. However, I do enjoy exercising (biking, running, weights) which I do regularly, as well as ski in the winter. I also have a passion for great beer (mostly American microbrews) and the occasional fine cigar.

Give us your 3 must see horror movies?

  • Halloween (’78)
  • Night of the Living Dead (’68)
  • Psycho (’60)

A couple random “desert island” questions… if you could only take one of each?

  • Book: I love books…especially Stephen King. I also love business books (more on the philosophy or work and business), but I’m not sure any of those would do me any good if I was stranded. So I think I’d pick The Ultimate Survival Guide by John Wiseman.
  • Music: Ugh, this is a toughy…especially because I have a pretty wide range of taste when it comes to music, and what I listen to largely depends on my mood. But if I had to pick one specific album, it may have to be the Ramones “All This Stuff and More” Vol 1.
  • Something Else?: A Swiss Army knife.

Is there a featured product right now?

We just released some new over-the-zipper print hoodies that are fantastic (thanks to Threadbird!).  And on Friday October 29 we will be releasing 6 brand new designs that are some of our best yet!

Is there a sale going on or a possible Coupon code we can give out with the feature?

Sure, customers can use THREADBIRD10 for 10% off their next order. Expires 12.31.10.

Thanks Ben!

Below are just a few shirts from Fright-Rags, be sure to check out the rest right now!

Storenvy Printing is now Threadbird Printing

Storenvy = Free Online Stores + Social Shopping Marketplace
Threadbird = Quality Screen Printing that Crushes the Competition

Since 2008, Storenvy has offered two things: (1.) awesome online stores and (2.) awesome screen printing. Both services have grown and have their own passionate users and customers that we absolutely love. Well, as of today, we’re announcing that we’re making the screen printing service its own thing: Threadbird.  This gives us the chance to give each service the attention it deserves.

Storenvy will continue to offer FREE online stores and a killer social shopping marketplace while Threadbird will continue to offer quality screen printing that outdoes the competition every time


Scott Anderson (@holidayatsea) and (@nickroccanti) have taken over Threadbird, while Jon Crawford (@NewMonarch) and Janette Crawford (@janettecrawford ) continue to expand Storenvy. The two companies, now separate, will continue to support each other just like they always have!

About Threadbird.

We’re the same people, the same shop and the same printers printing the shirts the same awesome way. At Threadbird, we’re growing and expanding to offer new services and even better sales and customer service support. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @threadbird & fan us on Facebook for awesome sales and updates.

Everybody meet Shane.

A good friend of mine, Shane Stiles, has recently joined our team. If you email he will most likely be the one responding. We’re stoked to have him on our team helping take things to the next level and improving our overall customer service.


To celebrate Threadbird’s new name and website we’re offering a killer sale. From now until the end of September get $0.70 off of our list price on all printing. So get your printing on! 

Mailing List

Last but not least, if you aren’t already on our mailing list, be sure to sign up right now so that you don’t miss important sales, discounts and updates.

The three most important tools to have when ordering screen printing

To make the process of ordering screen printing as awesome as possible for both you and your printer, there are three tools we recommend that all printing clients have on hand. And our list might surprise you.

1. A Pantone Matching System (PMS) formula guide.

Pantone guides can be a bit on the pricey side, but if you are getting ready to drop a lot of dough on screen printing your precious designs, it’s probably worth the investment. Pantone Formula Guides run about $100 new, but you can usually find them used on eBay or Craigslist for about $50.

For those of you who are already confused — Pantone is THE world authority on color. Since the 1960s, its matching system has been standardizing colors throughout the art world. More than 1,500 colors each have a number assigned to them (e.g., PANTONE 185 C) to help artists communicate their color visions to printers, which is their ultimate purpose. Because the color callibration of computer monitors all differs a little bit, this system makes sure we can all stay on the same page.

The Pantone Matching System (not to be confused with Pantone Process, Pantone Fashion + Home or Pantone Paints + Interiors) specifies solid (spot) colors. Important: At Threadbird Printing, we use the Coated numbers. Of the Pantone books available, you need to get the PANTONE Formula Guide Coated, which usually comes in a set along with Uncoated and Matte. (These labels refer to types of paper, because ink colors differ when printed on glossy or matte papers.) If you’re an artist, you’ll probably want all these sets anyway, but the Coated is all you need for Threadbird Printing.

With your PMS guides, you’ll be able to specify exactly which PMS colors should show up in your prints, which ensures that we are able to give you exactly what you asked for and we don’t have to do any guessing or mind-reading on your behalf. We always prefer that you provide us with your PMS colors, but even if you don’t, we use all spot colors for printing and will specify PMS colors for you, which you will see listed on your mock. Even though our mocks provide digital proofs, you won’t know your true colors unless you have a Pantone book.

Of course, if you are printing simple shirts using standard colors, Pantone color matching usually isn’t that big of a deal.

2. A ruler

Yep that’s right, a ruler. Go ahead and laugh. But you will be surprised at how often people screw this one up. When you get t-shirts printed, it’s important to let your printer know exactly how big you want your design to end up. And don’t guess or assume. Make sure you really know.

Some tips: It’s always good to measure your artwork on a few different sizes of tees. With screen printing, the print will be the same size on every shirt you print. (Screen printing pricing is based around the making of your custom screens. If you have a large range of shirt sizes, like Girl’s Small to XXXL, you can order your screens in different sizes — but each time you do that is considered a new order.) Make sure your design will fit appropriately on the smallest size you’re printing and the largest size you’re printing.

And make sure to double-check your measurements on a shirt being worn by someone. One major mistake people make is that they don’t consider that the design will look different on a shirt laid flat than a shirt on a body. Prints always looks bigger when a shirt is being worn, because the side seams curve around the body. Always check your measurements on yourself or a friend to see how it will really look.

Again, if you print through Threadbird Printing, we send a digital proof that shows you roughly how the design will look before it actually goes to print. In our mocks, we use an adult medium for the example, and we confirm the exact print size of your design for your approval.

You would be surprised about how many people specify a certain print size and then change it after they see the mock, or worse, complain about it after they receive their printed shirts.

3. A calendar

Most people don’t realize how long it takes to get shirts printed. Long story short: You need to plan ahead of time. Most printers have their turnaround time listed on their website, so always look for that. But it also doesn’t hurt to ask your printer for an estimated turnaround time for YOUR order, including shipping time, as turnarounds can change unexpectedly. Some common hold-ups include:

  • Blanks on backorder — we have no control over this, and it happens a lot! Anytime your blanks might be delayed, we’ll let you know ASAP and will work out the right solution for you.
  • Changes to mock. We send everyone a digital proof to make sure you’re going to get exactly what you want, so if you have changes, some time could be added to your order.
  • Late mock approval. We give you 24 hours to approve your mock without a delay in service, but sometimes it takes you a while. It’s OK, we understand… especially if you understand that it may add some time to your order.
  • Custom-printed tags, bagging, etc. These add-ons can make your shirts way cooler, but they can also add up to three days to your order, which many people don’t realize.

For Threadbird Printing, most basic orders are done in 5-15 business days (that doesn’t include weekends!), PLUS shipping time. Our shirts ship UPS Ground out of the Chicago area, so they can take anywhere from one to four days to get to you. And just because they could be done in as few as five business days plus one day shipping, please don’t make assumptions about your delivery time without confirming a timeline with us.

If you need shirts for an event or have some other deadline in mind, plan conservatively, and ALWAYS let us know what your deadline is. It’s never good to rush through these things, and if we have to charge you a rush fee, it can get costly.

These little tips may sound silly, but by taking them into consideration will make everyone’s life better, and you will be a lot happier in the end. Of course we would love for you to consider using Threadbird Printing for your next run of tshirts. But even if you don’t, you can use this advice with any printer you work with!

Any more questions? Feel free to email me at

Images from Pantone, Threadless and ICanHazCheeseburger.

Storenvy Printing (now Threadbird) on “I Am The Trend TV”

Last Thursday night at the print shop was awesome. Thanks to everyone who came out, and especially to I Am The Trend, who hosted this amazing video podcast. I know it’s an hour long, but there’s a lot of useful info in it, like…

  • All about Storenvy’s next big website launch, which will be coming in a month. (I revealed lots of secrets about the system that you can only hear if you watch!)
  • How to run a successful T-shirt company — how much money to start with, how many shirts to print, how to promote yourself, product photos, customer service, etc. Good stuff from Tim at about 16:00.
  • Tips on tee printing for bands.
  • Iain schooling everyone on screenprinting at about 41:00. (Half-tones: Let Threadbird do them for you! Pantone numbers: Iain knows them all by heart.)
  • My food cravings right now.

From left to right in the video are Craig and Tim from Assault (they publish some great tutorials, check them out), Adam from I Am The Trend, me, and Beau from IATT. Jumping in later are Jud from ShirtFight and Iain, who runs the Threadbird print shop. (Sorry that it starts with me rambling, but someone forgot to hit the record button earlier.)

Tune into I Am The Trend’s weekly video podcast every Thursday night at 8 p.m. CST! Thanks again everyone!

Award-Winning Screen Printing!

Last month, we entered our first two screen printing contests ever — and won First Place in both!

The first contest, put on by One Stop Inc. (a basic apparel provider) and sponsored by Anvil, awarded us First Place in the “Multi-Colored Screen Printing on Dark Garments” category for a shirt we printed for Zombie Liquorice.

The second contest, put on by TSC Apparel (a basic apparel company that also owns Tultex), awarded us First Place in the same category for a shirt we printed for our BFFs, Stereo Bear.

We already knew our stuff was top-of-the-line — but wow! We are truly flattered. Thanks so much to everyone involved.

Vote for your favorite t-shirt company in I Am The Trend’s Tee Madness

To celebrate March Madness in the t-shirt world this year, our friends at I Am The Trend kicked off some bracket play of their own to let people vote for their favorite t-shirt companies. 64 teams were randomly seeded and announced on March 12.

The bracket is now down to the Final Four, where two of the four contenders use Threadbird for their printing! Vote now for our homies Assault Shirts (up against Full Bleed) and Arkaik (up against KKBB Apparel).

Threadbird has donated $150 worth in printing credit to the winners of Tee Madness, and each of the Top 4 companies take home a nice bounty.

Good luck!

Vote for your favorite t-shirt company now »