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 http://www.storenvy.com while Threadbird will continue to offer quality screen printing that outdoes the competition every time http://www.threadbird.com.

People

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 printing@threadbird.com 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.

Sale!

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.


How to choose the right t-shirt blanks

There are tons of different t-shirts brands out there, so don’t feel bad when you have no idea where to start when ordering yours. Hopefully this guide can help you out. Here are our four most popular shirt styles:

100% Cotton

This is probably the most common style of tees out there. When in doubt, go with a 100% cotton shirt. These shirts are affordable, produce great printing quality and work great with discharge inks — one part of our top-secret ink recipe, which produces a super-soft print that we have won multiple awards for. But 100% cotton is also known to shrink a little bit in the wash. Our most common 100% cotton options include:

Basic weight is 5.3 oz., but you can also request the heavier 6.1 oz. in these brands, which costs a bit more.

When you buy a t-shirt at a non-specialty store, you are probably buying one of these 100% cotton options.

Why you might choose 100% cotton tees:

  • If you are on a tight budget — you should go with a basic 100% cotton shirt. It’s the cheapest option.
  • If your audience is Joe the Plumber — the average t-shirt wearer usually likes this shirt.
  • If your shirts are to be worn for any type of physical activity — you defintely want to have a thicker shirt, so opt for the 6.1 oz. weight.

100% Ringspun Cotton

This is our second most popular shirt and a heavy favorite for clothing companies. When it comes to quality, this is the route you want to go. Ringspun tees are thinner and softer than normal 100% cotton basics, and often called “fashion tees.” These provide you with great printing quality, and they can be printed with our discharge inks. Ringspun cotton shirts include:

If you are buying a tee in a store that is a bit “higher end,” you are probably buying one of these shirts.

Why you might choose ringspun cotton tees:

  • If your audience is more discriminating than Joe the Plumber — if you can spend even a little bit more, I would recommend going with an affordable ringspun brand like Tultex or the Anvil Fashion Tee.
  • If you are a band — bands are almost always on tight budgets, but I always think bands should at least upgrade to the ringspun as they can be only 50-75 cents more than basic shirts if you print through Threadbird. You get a nicer shirt without killing your bank account.
  • If you are a clothing company — definitely go with the American Apparel 2001/2102 or the Alternative Apparel AA05, as this has become a standard in the industry. Clothing companies, your goal should be to print on one of these two brands. If you can’t do it off the bat, at least use the Tultex/Anvil Fashion Tee as you build up some cashflow.

50/50 Poly/Cotton Blend

These are nice shirts, usually a little softer than 100% cotton, and they don’t shrink as much. They are 50% cotton and 50% polyester. The only problem with them is that we can’t print on them with our special soft inks. Threadbird Printing uses a discharge underbase on all shirts except 50/50 tees. The best printing alternative for 50/50 tees is waterbase inks, which also produce a soft print, but which cost a bit more. If you don’t want to pay extra for waterbase, know your inks will be thicker. You can get 50/50 blend tees from:

Triblend

When we printed our first set of Threadbird logo tees, we decided we wanted to go all out. We wanted a shirt that made people go “wow” when they first touched it — and they do. We went with theTriblend American Apparel tee, and this shirt feels amazing. They are 50% cotton, 25% polyester and 25% rayon, and they are probably one of the softest shirts you will ever feel. Due to its makeup though, these shirts almost always come in a heather. Also, you can’t use discharge on these shirts, so we used waterbase inks to still get a super-soft feel. But be warned, these are pretty expensive, and the most expensive out of my four options listed here.

And of course, you can request virtually any other t-shirt blank available. We have wholesale accounts set up with most blank tee companies known to man, and if you ask us about something new, we’ll probably be able to make something work if you just ask nicely.

So which option is right for you? It really comes down to cost, who your audience is and what you are going for. These options are not necessarily listed in order of price, and pricing can vary quite a bit per style and per brand. For pricing options, view our price chart at Threadbird Pricing, or email me for a custom quote.

As for me, my personal choice is Alternative. It’s what I am wearing right now and what I can probably be found wearing 75% of the time that I am wearing a t-shirt. If not, then I’m wearing American Apparel. But at the end of the day, I do feel like American Apparel 2001 is the best all-around shirt for getting the results you really want.

Any questions or thoughts? Just drop me an email at nick@threadbird.com.