Diane Sawyer: Why did your brain choose vintage t-shirts over other more “well-known” items to sell to make money like cars, diamonds, insurance, real estate or rare mid-century shrunken heads?
Chris: I can relate it to being a kid in the baseball card store in the late 80s or early 90s. Back then, I went into a store called “C&C Cards” and spent my hard-earned “crabgrass-pullin” money on wax pack after wax pack trying to get the last three or four players to complete a set. Flipping through endless racks of old t-shirts in someones closet and finding a deadstock Screen Stars t-shirt is equivalent to the rush I’d feel as a kid when I’d find a player I liked amongst the sea of other faces.
Ancient photo of Chris obsessing over his baseball card collection
DS: So, why would you want to suffer sifting through endless mounds of old t-shirts only to find a few nice vintage tees and subsequently sit on them until the right buyer comes along 10 months later?
C: I guess because it’s just something I love doing. Its fun to see what I might come up with next. I honestly can’t come up with a better explanation than that. Call me odd or call me quirky but I think Joss Whedon said it best when he said, “Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.”
DS: What are your plans for the future of your business and can you please stop picking your nose for the remainder of this interview?
C: My bad. I forget where I am sometimes. I don’t even know if I know exactly. I just wanna get out there, get down in the trenches and find some rare, different, eclectic, eccentric, esoteric vintage t-shirts and document it. After that, I’m waiting for a sign.
DS: A sign? What do you mean by that?
C: I don’t mean a voice from the heavens or getting struck by lightning or anything like that. Its more of like a feeling. A feeling that it’s time to move forward to plan B.
DS: Okay. So what’s “Plan B?”
C: Plan B is everything that happens right after Plan A. Duh.
DS: Alright, seriously. Quit fucking around with me and get to the point.
C: Has anyone ever said to you, “Welp. On to plan B!” after something goes wrong? There’s nothing they can do to go back and change what happened in plan A, so they move on to plan B. That’s kinda like life! Life is a continual game of rolling with the punches and moving on to plan B.
DS: What’s that gotta do with Jesus?
C: What? I never said anything about Jesus?
DS: Well, it’s in your name: “Holy Idea Tees”.
C: No. No it’s not.
DS: Okay, so its implied.
C: “Holy” doesn’t imply Jesus. It implies that I promised my personal God I would give back 10% of what I make from the business if I could work from home and support my beautiful wife and child and be present more in our family than if I worked a 8-5. The name stems from that promise.
DS: I guess that’s commendable. Lets see if you can keep it up.
C: By the way, just because the word “Holy” is in my name doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a Christian. I could be a Buddhist or Hindu and still be holy, right?
DS: You are correct, but you live in Oklahoma and were raised Catholic. Common knowledge wouldn’t lead me to believe you were either Buddhist or Hindu.
C: Whatever. All I’m trying to say is don’t pigeon-hole me because of my name. To me, being “holy” is more than just being pious. It means doing right by one another, doing good business and just not being a dick.
DS: Speaking of dicks, you have been known to dish out some cuss words from time to time. Isn’t that being a little “unholy”?
C: I’ll be the first to tell you I’m a hypocrite. Bad language is probably the least of my issues. Quite frankly, we’re all hypocritical to different degrees. I don’t want “Holy Idea Tees” to be a business that puts itself on a pedestal but one that operates on what my heart and soul is telling me to do and sometimes that involves the human aspect of cussing, doubt, worry, flatulence, etc. I want this business to not only involve helping myself, but others as well. Thus the word “holy” in its title name.
DS: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 15 years?
C: Well, The vintage t-shirt industry has been around a while and has a few big names. In five years, I want to be one of those names. In ten years, I want to be the biggest name. In fifteen years, I’m going to be 50 and I figure I’ll retire with my hot wife to the Bahamas or something like that. With all that being said, I just want to be happy. Like I said earlier, I still wake up every day to Plan B and continue following the signs.
DS: Okay, well we really need to wrap this up because I have to interview the president in about 30 minutes. Any final thoughts?
C: I’ve got a lot of really cool old t-shirts. I would encourage anyone who likes to flip through t-shirts to browse my obsessively categorized store in eBay or follow me for daily interests or funny/cool shit on Instagram or Facebook.
DS: Chad, it’s been a pleasure.
C: It’s Chris.
DS: Oh, right. That’s what I meant. HA!
C: Oh HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Diane, the pleasure is all mine.