Be Humble

I honestly don’t know what to expect out of printing these tees. I started this journey several years ago only to wind up here with more questions that answers. All I can say is that I feel led here. There’s some deeper meaning and purpose to these T-shirts. While it hasn’t become startlingly clear to me yet, I know I’m being led and I know that even if they make the smallest of difference in the world than I’ll have achieved a purpose in my life.

So, I am more than excited to announce that after many months of planning, Holy Idea Tees has finally got its first branded tee off the ground:

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This tee features a modern day Jesus with “Be Humble” tattooed on his knuckles. This is the first of what will hopefully be many tees featuring a modern day Jesus in various situations that will hopefully spur conversation, show a man people can emulate and improve the state of their hearts.

I think it’s important to note that this particular image has been chosen as the first. It’s important because I think RIGHT NOW, perhaps more than any time in our history as human beings, we need more humility in order to exist in unity with one another. With that being said, I would be an idiot to say we wouldn’t have needed more humility at any other point in human history but there’s no better time than the present.

But what’s the story behind this image? Well, first of all, I’m looking to modernize a Jesus character and tattoos are pretty modern day. If I am to challenge the concept of what Jesus would look and act like if he lived in the year 2018, then I think a tattoos are a good place to start. Would Jesus get tattooed? I kind of doubt it but I certainly don’t think he’d be opposed to it. Regardless, His tattoos knuckles are secondary to the true purpose of the T-shirt and that is to “Be Humble”

So, I ask you this question: What does it mean to “Be Humble”?

The best way I can explain it is “not having an excess of pride”, “placing less importance on yourself”, “quiet confidence” and “not being afraid to ask for forgiveness”.

One doesn’t have to travel far into the internet to get a grasp on the sickening pride and deadly egos that emanate from it. These words and images seep into the minds of all of us. Perhaps most disturbingly, into the minds of the next generation. You have to seek out the stories of hope, kindness and love. I want Holy Idea Tees to be one of the stories you have to seek out. With any luck and over time, these tees can be used as a small form of self expression from those of us who desire a world where love takes precedence over hate and where everyone can be seen as equal participants in this life.

In the end, we don’t have souls, we ARE souls. We’re just driving these bodies around until they give out. They are the greatest instrument we will EVER receive. Lets try and make a difference with them while we can. Start by wearing the modern day Jesus Be Humble tee. You might just start a conversation…

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Be Kind

It was an ordinary day just like any other. As usual, I was struggling with hard questions like, “What’s my purpose?”, “What am I going to do if this business idea really works?” and “What in the world am I going to fix for dinner?” and so on. Suddenly, without warning, I was swept up with this overwhelming understanding to “Be Kind.”

Honestly, I felt a bit like Kevin Costner in the movie “Field of Dreams”.

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Heaven aka Iowa

Believe it or not, amidst my use of four letter words, toilet humor and the affinity for my wife’s cleavage, I’m a deep thinker. I’m in my head thinking A LOT. OCD takes on many forms. Rationalizing, calculating and weighing options (among others) are all OCD tendencies of mine (and making sure the doors are locked about 500 times before we leave the house). So, it’s hard to define anything that pops into my mind. I’ve had the thought before, I’m sure we all have, but this time it just felt different. I can’t say I heard a voice in my head, but I can’t say I didn’t either.

“God?” I questioned audibly.

“No.” It said, “It’s Rod Roddy! C’Mon DOWN!!! You’re the next contestant on the Price is Right!!!”

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Well done good & faithful servant, YOU JUST WON A NEW CAR!!!

Just kidding.

There was no Rod Roddy. I hope God is nothing like Rod Roddy.

Anyway, all I heard, felt and understood was nothing more than to “Be Kind”. But what exactly does it mean to “Be Kind” and in what capacity? It would have been nice to have a follow-up voice to clarify things a little better but Kevin Costner didn’t either so I guess I have to go with my gut. Fortunately, “The Voice” was a little less cryptic with me. I know a little about being kind so let’s just say I can start by holding the door for someone, saying “thank you” more often or sharing my bucket of cheese balls with you.

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Moments before gagging

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop

Simple acts of kindness like these in and of themselves won’t change the world but as a collective if we could all just “Be kind” can you imagine what world we would live in? It’s a pipe dream at best but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it! We live in a world now where people are consumed with themselves. Looking out for “Number One” is the upmost priority and everyone else better get outta the way! While being kind may go more unnoticed, it is planting the seeds of kindness that will reap you the reward of happiness. This is a gift you can give yourself that has far more value than money, possessions or economic status.

A tree is known by it’s fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love – Saint Basil

So, why me? Why am I being asked by “The Voice” to be kind? I feel as though I’m already pretty kind as it is! Perhaps it was more of a simple idea placed into my head because YOU need to know to be kind. Maybe it wasn’t meant for me. Maybe it was meant for me to pass along to you!

I’ve always been open to where Holy Idea Tees leads me. I quit my corporate job over three years ago to pursue where I felt I was being called. It may be a little strange to think that T-shirts, vintage or otherwise, would be a place where you’re being called but sometimes you trust that things will be laid out for you. So far, after years of waiting, they slowly seem to be. As Holy Idea Tees grows and momentum builds, I’m realizing I should no longer hold back what I FEEL in my heart you NEED TO KNOW. You need to know that the world cannot survive without kindness and love. You need to know that a random act of kindness can change EVERYTHING. You need to know that sometimes it’s something as unassuming as a blog post that speaks volumes to you.

Sometimes… maybe it’s just T-shirts that can teach you to “Be Kind”. I’ve been given this platform so I intend to use it.

Stay tuned.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness – Dalai Lama

 

Barb The Model: Flaw Pointer-Outer

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Barb The Model: Holy Idea Tees Flaw Pointer-Outer

Holy Idea Tees is a growing company. It has become increasingly more difficult for me to continue to try to do everything myself. The process of buying, “inventorying”, filing, “photoing”, processing, listing, packing and shipping is one of continual movement and I needed someone to help pick up the slack.

So I hired Barb:

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In case you’re wondering, the answer is “Yes. She is a nudist.” It is her choice and I’m an equal opportunity employer. Who am I to judge?

Barb has proven to be a very valuable asset to the Holy Idea Tees team. If there are any flaws on any T-shirts, Barb’s responsibility is to point them out in the most comprehensive way possible. This will hopefully be an upgrade from competitor listings I’ve seen that use questionable methods in an effort to limit customer returns.

I’ve seen Dirty Fingernail Pointing:

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Did you just plant some chrysanthemums?

Or use the “Nondescript-Item-To-Point-Out-A-Flaw-But-You-Have-No-Idea-Where-The-Flaw-Is-ON-the-T-shirt” method:

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Is this on the back? On the front? On the shoulder? Near the bottom?

Perhaps you could use sharp, pointy objects to point out flaws but you still have no idea where the flaw is ON the t-shirt:

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Again, thank you. However, where is this hole? The sleeve? The bottom? Front? Back?

Barbs addition to the Holy Idea Tees team adds a “fun experience” for customers browsing through photos on any of the listings in the store.

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A lot more interesting to look at than a dirty fingernail

Also, her ability to be so photogenic in key situations allows me to show angles that give the potential buyer an idea of where the flaw is on the t-shirt instead of just a close up picture of it:

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It’s the distant look in her eye that gets me every time

Sometimes she uses her extreme flexibility to show flaws that cannot be duplicated by other methods:

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Her multiple appendages allow her to point out multiple flaws in close proximity of each other:

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She even serves as a nice reference piece when showing exactly how large vintage pins are:

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And sometimes she even helps with other things like pill ball removal:

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All in all, Barb serves as a powerful reminder that no matter how small you are… you still have a purpose. Unless you’re Ken. Ken’s just weird:

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It’s actually Kenzie now.

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Wanna ask Barb a question? She’s on Instagram!

Questions Diane Sawyer Might Ask Me

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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

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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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That Moment When You Realize Why You Named Your Business “Holy Idea Tees”

When I took the plunge to self-employment, I made a commitment to my friend: the God of the Universe, that I would tithe and/or donate a portion of my profits. I did not, however, make a solid commitment to any one particular group or person. I decided I wanted the decision to donate to be made for me via an overwhelming sense of (said in deep booming voice) “You should give this person or place money… NOW!! THEY NEED IT RIGHT NOW!!”

I told my buddy God several times over the course of self-employment that I would like to have revelations on where to distribute my tithes and donations. But, aside from filling the palms of a few homeless folks, there hadn’t really been one moment where I said to my brain, “I think the God of the Universe had something to do with this.”

Until last week.

I was on my way to mail a giant, antique barometer I’d sold on eBay for my dad. It required me to go to a speciality mail store to purchase bubble wrap and packing materials to preserve it on the journey to meet its new owner in New York.

On the car ride to the store, I was having a one-way (that’s usually the way it is) conversation with my main homey God. Now, I like to continually thank God for what he’s done for me. Some may call it “praying” but to me its just having a conversation in my brain. Something like:

“Hey God, thanks for my life. Its pretty awesome.”

Or:

“Hey God, thank you for giving someone the idea for Reese’s Pieces.”

Or:

“Hey! What up God? You know, I really appreciate the fact that all my organs are still functioning properly.”

Or something along those lines. At this moment though, I asked for some clarity on what to do with the tithe money that was burning a hole in my pocket. I didn’t like holding on to it and I was worrying (something I do quite a lot) I may be missing my “cues” to donate.

Upon arriving to the mail store, I used my rippling muscles to carry this giant barometer inside and told the girl behind the counter what needed to be done. She wrapped it with bubble wrap and I strategically placed wrapping materials around everything to keep the barometer safe.

Now, I’m an introvert. I don’t dislike talking to people, but I certainly don’t go out of my way to encourage it. To my initial dismay, this girl started asking me questions about the barometer which meant I had to talk. After a few minutes of this talking which I so initially dismayed over, she shared with me about her friend’s three-month-old baby who had just died the previous night from SIDS. She was desperate to leave work to be with her and the empty look behind her eyes I hadn’t noticed earlier suddenly revealed itself to me.

This devastated me. I couldn’t imagine losing a child. I suffered through depression in my daughters early years partly as a result of an overactive brain with a tendency to imagine horrible, gut-wrenching things.

“I want to help!” I thought, “But I didn’t know these people!? They don’t know me how can I….

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*BING*

I quickly remembered the request I had made to the Master of the Universe (No, not He-Man) only a few minutes earlier. Perhaps engaging with people more often would reveal more opportunities to show grace as I feel I have been shown by my God in my lifetime. Could this perhaps be the “Holy Idea” behind “Holy Idea Tees”?

Yes. Indeed, I think it is.

The girl had inquired to me about PayPal as a source to accept donations for the family. I guided her on how to do so and requested her to email me once the fund was set up and I would donate. A few hours later, that tithe that was burning a hole in my “pocket” was now with someone who needed it far worse than I did. Granted, it is but a small consolation to losing a child but I feel there was a reason behind it and the fact I could touch their lives with some grace amongst so much grief was really special to me.

When I became self-employed, I didn’t have overwhelming confidence in myself. I wasn’t sure that selling t-shirts on eBay was a legitimate career! I can sit here now though and begin to realize that a guy like me can quit his job to sell t-shirts on eBay and actually make a legitimate business out of it. The excitement behind these words stretches far beyond monetary gain however. I feel as though there is a purpose behind what I do. I revel in anticipation to discover who I may be able to bless with my tithe in the future. 

“Thank you God for revealing to me why I am doing what I’m doing. Oh… and thanks for my wives boobs. Boobs are cool. Good job God.”

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If you’d like to donate to the family who lost the baby then click right here.

How To Tell If A T-Shirt Is “99% Brand New” Or Not (Non-Vintage)

When I started this t-shirt orphanage, I wanted to create a grading systems for the consumer so there would be no question as to what the condition of the t-shirt is in upon purchase of the item.

So I did!

In my grading system, I feel as though every grade other than 99% Brand New is pretty self explanatory: “Brand New” are t-shirts with tags, “Vintage Used” are old collectible t-shirts with wear, etc. Those shirts are quick and easy to grade but there are many factors to look at when considering if a t-shirt is 99% Brand New.

The following is my six step process for determining whether a t-shirt should be considered “99% Brand New”:

1. Look at the Tag:

Inside printed tag

Printed Collar Tag (notice missing letters and numbers)

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Wrinkled Hanging Collar Tag

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Wrinkled Hanging Inside Tag

NOTE: There are two places to look for tags: on the collar and on the inside/bottom of the shirt. Sometimes there is only one but a shirt can have tags in both places at times.

This should be the first place you look. Collar tags can be both printed or hanging and should be easy to tell if either is worn or not. Letters and numbers on a printed tag may be missing or faded because its gone through the wash multiple times. A wrinkled or worn hanging tag indicates that the shirt has been washed as well. These t-shirt symptoms indicate that it is pre-owned.

2. Look For Stains, Holes, Rips, etc:

See the stains barely noticeable on the back of this t-shirt?

See the small, white stains that are barely noticeable on the back of this t-shirt?

Just a random stain I didn't notice in the store!

Just a small, random stain I didn’t notice in the store!

Oops! Didn't notice that hole until the model tried it on!

Oops! Didn’t notice that hole until the model put it on!

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Deodorant stain

I will seek these out no matter how small or barely noticeable they are. Many times I think I’m buying a shirt at a “99% Brand New” rating and I come home to find out I’m going to have to auction it as a pre-owned “Excellent Used Condition” t-shirt. Many times this happens as I turn the shirt inside-out for ironing.

3. Look for “Pill Balls”

Pill balls come from washing a t-shirt multiple times.

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An extreme case used for brevity. I wouldn’t sell something with this many pill balls.

Pill balls can be hard to see on a t-shirt if it has been worn a few times so you have to look closely:

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See how closely I’m looking?

I take the subject of pill balls seriously. With this t-shirt, there are some tiny pill balls on it:

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It is difficult to capture such small pill balls in a photo but trust me… they’re there and this shirt would not be considered a “99% Brand New” t-shirt.

5. Turn T-Shirt Inside Out

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Look at all that…

Many times, the outside of a t-shirt can look good but upon inspection inside the shirt turns up hair, stains, pill balls or any combination of the three.

6. If There Are Graphics, Inspect Them Closely

Most all of the t-shirts I buy and sell have graphics on them. I’ve noticed that casually glancing at the graphic on the t-shirt doesn’t cut it. You have to inspect the graphic very closely to see if they have cracked or are in the process of cracking. You can detect cracking by gently pulling on either side of the graphic.

Notice the small cracks appearing when I gently pull on either side of the Undertakers face...

Notice the small cracks appearing when I gently pull on either side of the Undertakers face…

No cracks on this tuxedo t-shirt!

No cracks on this tuxedo t-shirt!

Also, sometimes graphics attract the color of the shirt it is attached to. If you look closely into the graphic on some shirts, you can see the material has started to attach itself to the graphic after it has been washed and dried:

See how the white material has begun to blend into the blue Cubs logo? The logo is no longer a crisp blue. It is faded with white lint material.

See how the white material has begun to blend into the blue Cubs logo? The logo is no longer a crisp blue. It is faded with white lint material.

That’s it! If any t-shirt has any or all of these tell-tale signs of use, it will be graded in “Excellent Used Condition” (unless it is a vintage tee).

All this inspection may seem a little obsessive but I want to be as transparent as I can be when selling to anyone. No one likes being mislead and through this process I hope I can avoid doing that.

Bored with all this technical t-shirt bullshit now? Go browse the store now knowing that I have nothing but your best interests in mind. 🙂

Holy Idea Tees Selects Men’s Model For Store

No. No. No. It's not Ryan Gosling. I just put that picture there to increase my SEO.

No. No. No. It’s not Ryan Gosling. I just put that picture there to increase my SEO.

Sorry to disappoint you. Ryan was going to model my t-shirts for me but he told me he is in the process of making a baby with Eva Mendes to which I said sarcastically, “Well! THAT is going to be the ugliest baby the world has ever seen!” Then, Ryan squeezed my cranium between his pectoral muscles until I begged him to stop.

Anyway, I tried Ryan Reynolds too and Chris Evans and Channing Tatum or Tatum Channing or whatever the hell his name is but everyone was too busy. There had to be an individual who would match up nicely with the Women’s Model for Holy Idea Tees but no male supermodels or actors were available.

So, I had to select this guy:

Click image to view in store...

Click image to view in store (don’t be scared)…

His body isn’t as on point as those Hollywood actors but it’ll do.

I thought it would be a good idea to include a male model as well since I have a women’s model for certain shirts. However, since this male model only comes in one size and many of the shirts I have are in one size, there is a limit to what he can try on. The model normally wears a medium or large so anything outside of that he won’t be trying on… unless it’s for something stupid like this:

Completely unedited image

Completely unedited image

What do you think of the model? Is he adequate? He’s starting to grow on me… and the women’s model likes him too I hear…