Threadbird Artist Series: Agape Attire

Happy new year! To help reign in TwentyEleven, we’re bringing you the 3rd installment of the Threadbird Artist Series. This month we caught up with Ross Kenyon, owner-extraordinaire of Agape Attire (and former lead singer for Confide). Read below to find out more about Agape’s great line and how Ross wants to infect the world with good.

Tell us about yourself… What’s your background? Why apparel?

I was born and raised in England and lived there until I was 21. At the age of 21, I felt God calling me to California to join a band called Confide so I left everything behind to move across the world. When I moved to California, I met a very special girl named Celina (who is now my wife) and we talked about starting a brand that could spread love and hope through the products. Celina & I have been running the line for almost four years now and it has been tough keeping it going while on the road with Confide but recently the band came to an end so we’ve been working on the line full time at home.

What does ‘Agape’ mean?

Agape is the greek word for “The love of God for mankind”.

Who designs Agape threads?

Well I actually come up with all the ideas and we work very closely with different graphic designers from around the world. I can’t name them because that would be giving away our secret weapons. Just recently though, we had a close friend, Jaxin Hall from Love Before Glory do some designs for our winter line.

How do you decide what designs you want to do and what goes into the process?

When the company first started, I would just come up with ideas and then have our designers work on the design until we were happy with it. The brand has grown a lot since then and we’ve recently started custom cut and sew products so we actually get to design products like jeans, shoes, hats and button up shirts instead of just screen printed t-shirts. We try to stick to certain styles and colors for different seasons.

Tell us about some of your favorite pieces?

I really like the jeans, shoes and snapbacks we released this year and that’s just a taste of what we have coming in 2011. We’re currently adding finishing touches to our spring line and then we’re going to send it in for production. I can’t release any pictures of upcoming products because we want it to be a surprise but we’ll let you know that we have new jeans, shoes and some awesome light weight, custom jackets for spring.

What do you think it is about Agape Attire that keeps people coming back?

I feel that there’s a connection between the customers and the people behind the brand. Celina & I are the ones that come up the ideas for the designs, we’re the ones that read and write back to every email and pack and ship every order. We’re not a huge company that has hundreds of people in a big factory. We’re just a married couple, running a clothing brand and keeping it personal. We’ve really gotten to know some of our customers and I really feel that Agape Attire is becoming more like a family and less like a regular clothing brand.

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

Book: Two books, The Bible and a “Survival for dummies” book.
Music: It would have to be some typical Hawaiian music so I could get into character on the island.
Something Random: A Cruise Ship

Is there a featured product right now?

Our featured product right now is our snapback. It’s not actually for sale, we made it specifically as a gift for customers that spend $200 or more at our online store. We made them very limited so if you’re one of the customers that gets one, it’s cool to know that you’re one of few that owns the first Agape Attire snapback.

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

We’d like to offer 15% off to anyone reading. Enter the code THREADBIRD at check-out.

Thanks Ross!

Below are just a few shirts from Agape Attire. Be sure to check out the rest right now!


12 Days of Christmas Giveaway: iPods, Gift Cards, Print Credits & More!

So, what is this?

In celebration of the holidays… and just having a plain ole good time… we present to you Threadbird’s 12 Days of Christmas! For 12 days during the month of December, we’re giving away cool stuff in exchange for your awesomeness.  Over $1700 worth of prizes!! Here’s how it’s gonna work:

  • There will be 6 giveaways between Dec 8th-15th. At a random time each day, we will post on Twitter and/or Facebook about how to win for that day. Each day will be different. Some days you’ll have to be quick, others clever and still others… just plain lucky! But to win you MUST be following us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.
  • There will also be 6 giveaways between Dec 16th-23rd. You’ll receive 1 entry for every 50 apparel items you order from us during the month of December . For example, order 1,000 shirts, and you are entered into the giveaway 20 times.

So, what are we giving away?

  • Dec 8th – 1000 Business Cards! 14pt Gloss or Uncoated
  • Dec 9th – 250 Vinyl stickers! Up to 5×3 in size.
  • Dec 10th – 250 1 inch Buttons (up to 5 different designs)
  • Dec 13th – 2gb iPod Shuffle (in the color of your choice)
  • Dec 14th – $25 iTunes Gift Card
  • Dec 15th – $250 in Printing Credit with Threadbird
  • Dec 16th – 1000 Business Cards! 14pt Gloss or Uncoated
  • Dec 17th – 8gb iPod Nano (in the color of your choice)
  • Dec 20th – 250 Vinyl stickers! Up to 5×3 in size.
  • Dec 21st – 250 1 inch Buttons (up to 5 different designs)
  • Dec 22nd – $25 iTunes Gift Card
  • Dec 23rd – $500 in Printing Credit with Threadbird

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Now, go FOLLOW US and LIKE US!!


Threadbird Artist Series: Arkaik Clothing

This is the 2nd installment of the “Threadbird Artist Series”. Each month, we’re interviewing a new artist/company 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 Jordan Abidor from Arkaik Clothing, the world’s biggest Dino-crushing empire!

Arkaik Clothing

Where are you located?

We are located in Tempe, Arizona. As of tonight we have an official headquarters right near the University I attend, which will allow us to have a larger storage space and deal with orders and customer service issues easier!

What does Arkaik mean to you?

Arkaik to me has always been about making connections and having fun. As a business major, I really wanted to better understand and explore many aspects of business and Arkaik has allowed me to do that while having the absolute time of my life.

How did Arkaik get started?

I originally saved up Christmas/Birthday money when I was 16 years old to print the first Arkaik line, from there we relied upon profits from printed lines to print future lines, etc. We have had a pretty nice linear growth rate since day 1 that I am incredibly proud of.

Who designs your swag?

I’ve never enjoyed limiting Arkaik to just one designer. Each line we generally pick an Arkaik theme and I decide which designers styles/influences would mesh best with that theme! A few of the artists we consistently use are: Survival, Mike Gaboury, and Alex Mitchell (Co-Owner).

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

Honestly, I love seeing all the places that Arkaik is spreading to me. I never believed that Arkaik would have the national/international presence that it has today, touring bands text/call me everyday to tell me how many fans they see at shows rocking our gear, and we have just shipped an order to Latvia, our 80th Arkaik country! For me, that is always the coolest part of my day/business/life.

What do you think it is about Arkaik that keeps people coming back, and why?

I believe that a large part of what keeps our customers coming back is our customer service. Since I run my business off my Laptop/Droid I am able to respond to emails nearly instantaneously, and can communicate with any fans or customers who tweet at us or post on our facebook wall. I have always been a huge believer in having a deeper relationship with my customers than them just being ‘customers,’ since each and every one of them are truly the reason we are where we are now.

What are you most passionate about outside of Arkaik?

I am an entrepreneurial addict. I can’t help it, I think it’s something in the water. But when I’m not doing Arkaik related things, I generally group up with some of my friends that are in a few of my business classes and we work through different new and exciting approaches to business. This is also one of the main reasons why we leased the warehouse, as it came with 4 attached offices, allowing my ‘entrepreneur group’ to actually have an office and to make our ideas into realities.

A couple random desert island questions… if you could only take one?

  • Book: 1984
  • Music: Can I bring my Zune? So much music on it. If no, Justin Bieber.
  • Something Random: Probably my Fiance Meghan, and our dog Stella

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

Yes, the code THREADBIRD will get 15% off until January 1, 2011

Thanks Jordan!

Below are just a few shirts from Arkaik Clothing. Be sure to check out the rest right now!


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.


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 nick@threadbird.com.

Images from Pantone, Threadless and ICanHazCheeseburger.