Tag Archives: coffee shop

win a FREE shirt

Guess what, shirt-wearing public! We have some new designs!

With these, however, we are doing an experiment – of which YOU can be part! If you can help set up “odd guy art” with a shop in your area, we’ll send you a FREE shirt.

Sound like a lot of work?

Not really. Think of all the little gift shops, boutiques, and coffee houses in your locale. Just send us their contact information, we’ll wow them with our goods, and if they order from us, YOU get a FREE Shirt (a $28 retail value).

If you can help us find a home for our new designs – or ANY of our designs – we’ll order them in larger quantities so that we can sell them on our website as well.

 

Cheers!
Marie and Graham

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T-shirts now available at…

As we enter 2011, we are excited to feature two retailers who are now selling our T-shirts and caps.

The photo above depicts our “odd guy art” display at Paradigm Coffee and Music (on 8th Street in Sheboygan). They are currently featuring our “Bike Me” design as their “Shirt of the Month.” Our 1970’s vintage banana bike adds more fun to the display and has been attracting a lot of attention. For those of you with an eye for old bikes, this is a Columbia Tripper.  Paradigm Coffee and Music is a very popular coffee shop (with great food, too) that attracts nationally known musicians to its stage.

When you venture down to the Blue Harbor
Resort along the Sheboygan River, you will discover “Aras, Beks and Pottiers,” purveyors of fine gifts. They currently stock three of our T-shirt designs. We are very happy to have our shirts included in this high quality gift shop in the centre of Sheboygan’s resort and conference area.

Stop in at both when you are in town. You  won’t be disappointed. Buy a shirt!

                                                                                                              Aras, Beks and Pottiers

We have several more outlets who are planning to stock our shirts in time for the spring season. We are excited to increase our growing number of retailers as we head into the new year. If you would like to see our shirts in one of your favourite apparel stores, gift shops, coffee houses, or bike stores – or anywhere – tell them about us (or tell us about them) and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Graham

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how can we help you?

Well, good morning! Come on in and make yourself at home. There’s some coffee over in the corner there and a blank easel for the kids to draw on while you shop.

Ah, good question. We mainly design and sell our own T-shirts featuring the kind of art we ourselves are drawn to; art that is odd or witty or cool.

See this shirt here? It’s based on DaVinci’s “Last Supper,” only it’s also a still life of pears. Like all our shirts, it’s screen printed on 100% cotton.

And since we often hang out and work in coffee shops, we were intrigued by the artwork that the baristas make in the foam of their lattes. That’s what inspired this shirt:

And if you’re like us, we find mechanical designs as fun as the are perplexing. This design begs the question, “Is the bird operating the gears or are the gears operating the bird?”

Thanks! We’re glad you like them so far. Might we interest you in a shirt that reflects our enthusiasm for bicycling? (You’ll soon recognize a theme here):

If you grew up in the 60s or 70s (or even if you didn’t), you might appreciate the sentiment behind this bit of nostalgia:

The next set of shirts are sure to be conversation starters. They’re based on historical events that never actually happened. Try this one on for size:

Bet you didn’t know that there was also a Victorian-era “Run to Eradicate Rickets” in 1862. Here’s “proof:”

And the 1918 London Triumvirate? The European precursor to the modern-day triathlon? It’s all right here on the shirt:

Sure, you can try them on. The fitting rooms are over there next to the Monet. Go on. We’ll wait!

Oh, I see the women’s cut is a little snug on you, sir. You’ll want to try the roomier Mens/Unisex style. All shirts come in both cuts.

Ah yes, you’re referring to the little guy printed on the back of each T-shirt. That’s our logo, “odd guy art,” whose face changes color with every shirt:

Our shirts are all pre-washed, so don’t worry about them shrinking. Have you decided on purchasing something today? (Pause). What?! You want one of each? Excellent, sir! Graham will ring you up back at the register (just right of the Renoir) while I refold your shirts and bag them for you.

Thank you for stopping at “odd guy art!” Feel free to visit our online store.

Cheers!
Marie and Graham

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All content and images;
Copyright © 2010 by Hetzel and McAllister. All rights reserved.

if “Plan A” doesn’t work, there’s B, C, and D

While a successful enterprise begins with a well-researched business plan, one must also remain flexible. “Odd guy art” is no exception.

Our intent when we started this T-shirt design company was to rely solely on internet sales. But when we launched six months ago, we were immediately met with, well, cyber silence – despite months of research and prep and eager attempts at social network marketing.

So we evolved a little. We designed a display stand and began selling at local events and outdoor summer markets. What a relief to see our sales take off! But we had to pack it up when summer came to an end. (If you’ve ever visited Wisconsin in the fall you’ll understand why we don’t sell our wares outdoors after mid-October).

So we evolved again. We researched some more (we are nothing if not stat junkies) and decided to sell our shirts wholesale. So far, we’ve had great initial success approaching retail shops, so we’ll add those venues to our repertoire .

Though we won’t give up on internet sales (patience, Grasshopper…), we are very pleased with the direction that “odd guy art” has taken. Statistics dictate that a successful internet presence takes two years to achieve, after all, and we are happy to do all we can in the meantime to serve you.

Oddly yours,

Marie

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sales calls: “odd guy art” style

 

Yesterday Graham and I packed up our gear and hit the road, hoping to convince area retailers to buy our T-shirts. That might sound simple (and ultimately, it was). But prior to this big event, we spent two months preparing. Here’s what we did:

1. We identified which stores to target. We asked ourselves, “Where would members of our demographic shop?” Based on that (and with our particular designs in mind), we chose art boutiques, bicycle shops, coffee shops, and art-related gift shops.

2. We calculated our wholesale pricing. Graham’s previous entrepreneurial experience was of great help here. We considered our material and labor costs to reach a reasonable wholesale price that retailers seemed pleased to accept.

3. We designed a wholesale marketing package. We bought yellow folders and filled each with the following: A line sheet identifying our products, full-color trifold T-shirt-shaped brochures, a full-color oversized postcard detailing our company, our business cards, and our order forms.

4. We re-researched our products and services. We wanted to be prepared to answer questions about our T-shirt composition, weight, country of production, and sizing, along with information on the screen printing process, shipping methods, and payment terms.

5. We developed a loose script and rehearsed it. Since we chose not to make formal appointments with prospective buyers, we wanted to keep our visits brief but fruitful. Our first question (after a cheerful greeting and an expression of sincere interest in their store) was, “Do you buy merchandise from independent vendors?” The conversations took off naturally from there.

6. We packed samples of our products. Depending on what type of store we entered, we brought in the samples of our merchandise that would most appeal to its customer base.

7. We made a follow-up spread sheet to fill in afterward. We listed the name and location of each store, contact information, date of contact, spaces for dates of future contacts, and notes on the visit and other particulars.

So far we’ve tackled our home city and its surrounding county. (Imagine our delight when the very first buyer said, “Yes!”). Next, we’ll hit the shops we’ve identified in nearby Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. After that, who knows? Maybe you’ll spot an “odd guy art” shirt in YOUR city. In fact, if you have an artsy/clever/eclectic store in mind, please let us know! We’d be truly grateful.

Cheers!
Marie

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TNN documentary Part 2: The Designing

The second part of the TNN (T-shirt News Network) documentary, “The Making of ‘odd guy art’ Part 2: The Designing,” aired at 1:27 this morning. If you missed it, we’re pleased to provide it for you here, so that you may watch two middle-aged entrepreneurs navigate their way through 21st century design:

Ancestors of Marie and Graham

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we’re goin’ wholesale

This is a big week for “odd guy art.”

We’ve decided to approach several stores in our county to see if they’d like to purchase shirts from us at wholesale pricing. We figured what we’d lose in profit, we’d gain in sales quantity. That’s the plan. Fingers crossed.

If that goes well, we have a list of more shops in the Milwaukee area. And if that works, we’re off to Madison. Then Minneapolis.

"Wholesale Or Bust!"

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The focus right now is on preparation. We’ve developed some glossy, full-color, T-shirt-shaped, tri-fold brochures depicting our designs; an over-sized postcard featuring all of our products; and a “line sheet” including product photos and information.

We’ve identified our target retail market based on our designs, so we plan to approach bicycle shops, coffee houses, boutiques (both art and clothing), and book stores.

We’ve been rehearsing our message; focusing on how our products have sold remarkably well at art fairs, and how that will equate to solid resale success – a classic win-win situation. For now, instead of cold-calling, we’re going to do something called “warm calling.” This involves walking into a shop and leaving behind our materials with the buyer (and perhaps chatting briefly, but never long enough to encroach on his or her time). We’ll then follow up with a phone call.

There are pros and cons, of course, to warm-calling versus cold-calling. But our research suggests that for us, the warm call is the best approach. We can always switch to the cold call if/when necessary.

So wish us luck. We’ll keep you posted, one way or the other. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us below.

And now… Road trip!

Marie

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fonts, a minor vice…

When I was 13, I was selected by my teacher, Mr. Coates, to be one of two “school printers.”  We were presented with a wooden chest full of lead type and an Arab treadle printing press. (These days they wouldn’t allow school kids within a hundred yards of that thing). We learned to set type (backwards, of course) and discovered quads and leading (yes, the real thing not the virtual version). We printed tickets and posters for all of the school events and ate lunch with lead black fingers by the press.

I had a wonderful two years gaining printing experience before I was head-hunted by Mr. Lax to be one of his librarians. So now I was sorting books and handling the printed page en masse for the first time. I soon discovered that some book spines couldn’t be read because of some “clever” choice of font. My emotional reactions (small angry ones, in that case) made me take notice.

Several years later after I finished school, I joined the family printing business (proudly operating under the name “Graphic Reproductions”). The original logo artwork (which I wish I still had) was set by my dad a few of years before in Letraset “Brush Script.” I remember that choice of typeface being quite a big thing at the time. When I joined in 1974, I already thought it looked old fashioned, but what was the new kid in the business to do?

Brush Script

I took over the design of letterheads, business cards, and event cards. As long as the customer and I were happy, all was well. So now I got to experiment… sort of. Of course, customers had their own ideas. Builders liked the blocky fonts, plumbers the bendy ones, and far too many people wanted “Old English.” But it was freedom of sorts. The best times were driving in to Sheffield several times a week to “Andrews Stationery” to select some new sheet of Letraset dry transfer lettering. Everything was hand set in Letraset then, which was a wonderful way to learn about the individual fonts as each curve and edge was burnished down with a spent ballpoint pen. Claremount, Garamond, Univers SF, Arnold Bocklin. I remember Arnold Bocklin seemed to be used all over Sheffield in the late 70’s early 80’s, mostly by plumbers.

Arnold Bocklin

Then the reign of the “Athena” print and poster stores gave way to the clairity of “Habitat” and “Ikea” furnishings and the style magazines of the day were suddenly crisp and clean and beautiful. Large round typefaces covered pages with tiny fine-line sans serif text tucked tightly below. Wow. This was the future. I saw that the most amazing thing on the page was white space. And the way the type corralled that space could be beautiful. I realised that there was a case to be made for changing a word in a headline purely based on how its shape affected the space around it. Aggressive design; a dangerous path, but impressive if trodden carefully.

With the coming of computer-based typesetting, the number of font choices available to us has exploded. Hand scripts in particular are becoming heavily used (and to good effect when chosen carefully). They can be fun, even joyous; yet the best ones are still attractive and well-balanced.

Designing a font is no easy matter. Imagine you have 26 characters (besides the numbers and special characters), and these 26 characters must look like they belong beside each other in any order. Tricky.

When choosing our font for “odd guy art,” we spent several weeks sampling hundreds of possibilities before settling on “Hasty Pudding,” which we felt not only captured the quirky personality of our designs, but also worked well with our logo’s three closely-set words. The natural inclination of this font visually separates the three words even when we delete the spacing (as in the web address). This made it the perfect choice for us.

Hasty Pudding: Our chosen font

Graham

Inspired by an article at the BBC magazine web site ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10689931 ).

Saturday 19th June, Fountain Park, Sheboygan

We’ll be out and about with “odd guy art” again tomorrow. Once a month, arts and crafts merchants are invited to join the farmers market in central Sheboygan’s Fountain Park. We’ll be setting up shop under our brand new canopy and having some fun in the sun. T-shirts, caps, canvas tote bags, and our art/postcard design reproductions will be available. Come out to see us between 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM and grab some “odd guy art” goodies.

Marie is back from DC, just, so she’ll still be catching her breath. She’ll will be at Fountain Park with me up until late morning before rushing off to play a charity gig with her band (Sheboygan Light Rail) in a different Sheboygan park. So stop by if you are in the area, or come to the area to stop by. See you there!

Graham

Friday night retail therapy

Friday evening was a blast and kicked off a great weekend for “odd guy art.” We expected a quiet night; people wouldn’t expect to find T-shirts for sale at a bicycle-based fun night in a coffee shop. But boy, were we wrong. Our shirts and tote bags attracted a lot of attention and sales were brisk. We also discovered that our target demographic is just about right except that we were also making sales to much younger people, too. This was a very exciting discovery.

On top of that we made some great new connections. We received an invitation to sell at the NOMO Expo at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, July 8-11th. NOMO is all about using your bike for transport (Non Motorised transport) and is very close to our hearts. It’s also right in our target audience of artistic, earth-aware, thoughtful people. (Basically us, and the people we love). A great Friday night led to an excellent Saturday through residual sales, website and blog visits, and the general “feel good” factor of a successful night’s work.

On Sunday, I bid a sad farewell to Marie for the week as she heads to DC. After the intensity of a business start-up and the creation of our designs, I feel like I’ve had an arm cut off. So I am holding down the fort (figuritively speaking) and having a bit of a tidy in the studio. Maybe I’ll finally get that water cooler fixed, but I doubt it somehow.

Until next time, have fun, wear T-shirts.
Graham

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