Trust

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A little over four years ago, I left my corporate job to pursue my own entrepreneurial dreams. On May 10 of this year, I posted a shot on Instagram of the building where I formerly worked with a caption stating the happiness I had over being my own boss, making my own decisions and basking in the sun instead of being trapped inside a building on a beautiful day.

After that post, in a sickening twist of fate, everything started to crumble around me. Things had been feeling unsteady, but I failed to heed the warning signs because I’m a stubborn SOB. I believed God would get me through because I trusted Him.

However, things did not get better. In the last several months I’ve taken one humbling hit after another. I’ve questioned everything about myself. On more than one occasion I’ve cried tears of shame, doubt, embarrassment, anxiety, hopelessness and frustration so deep my soul hurt. I can say without a second thought that this season in life has been my hardest.

Believe it or not, I’ve been running from God my whole life. I’ve “mailed in” my commitment hoping He might not notice. I’ve viewed Him as a stern, heavy-handed father much like my own earthly dad who tried to force me into being something I wasn’t. Because of who God felt like, I took His gentle calling on my life and shelved it. Instead of using His gift of entrepreneurialism to convey a modern day Jesus, I started flipping vintage tees for quick cash because it was easier and required less of myself all while using the name “Holy Idea Tees”. It worked for a little while and was profitable, but not sustainable. Now, in one more humbling hit, my return to Corporate America is inevitable so I can contribute what I promised financially to my family when I left the rat race four years ago.

As much as I hate to admit it, I thank God for allowing me to walk through the valley. We’ve become closer because of it. I’m beginning to believe that pain endured isn’t so much a consequence as it is the perfect gift He gives me so I have the strength to make it through life. I am becoming a better man because of my trials. I now feel ready to represent the company name. I have to be the best example of what I believe a modern day Jesus to be and not “mail in” my commitment. Now, as Holy Idea Tees gets closer to printing its first two tees, I can say that the name finally makes sense. It’s going to start conveying what it’s meant to do: the “Holy Idea” of modernizing Jesus.

Moving forward in life I know there will be more pain to endure. Life is not devoid of it. However, it’s interesting how being down can make you look up. I will still trust Him. I can find peace in that.

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Then you will always trust in God and find that he is the source of your joy – Job 22:26

Holy Idea Tees Crowdfunding Video Update #4: MOCK UPS!

I have some mock ups! Please let me know what you think so far in the comments. In the next couple days, I should have some actual “hard copies” to show you.

I wanted to let all of you know how thankful I am for the shares, thoughts, well-wishes and contributions you have all made. With the contributions, I can get the first round of tees printed, pay the web designer as well as the extremely talented artist who drew these images.

The crowdfunding is continuing through the end of this month so feel free to check out https://www.gofundme.com/holy-idea-tees-launchfor a more detailed account on what I’m trying to do. Lastly, but certainly not least, thank you to those of you who have made recent contributions.

Questions Barbara Walters Might Ask Me

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Barbara Walters: Good evening. I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my lifetime but no one has ever made me shiver in my pantaloons as much as “Chris” of the nostalgic website and eBay store “Holy Idea Tees”. Chris, how are you doing today?

Chris: I’m good Barbara. Thanks for having me. 

BW: First things first, would you please take that ridiculous pizza hat off of your head?

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C: Oops, sorry. I work from home and am used to wearing this all day.

BW: That brings me to my first question: Why did you decide to leave Corporate America to work from home and pursue a dream of fame and fortune through the vintage T-shirt medium?

C: Well, it’s simple really. I hated working for “The Man”.  He (The Man) always had HIS best interests in mind. They were really stupid, boring ideas. Mine were better and more exciting. I got tired of doing things that only squelched my creativity. So… I quit. Now I get to do what I want while wearing a pizza hat all day. 

BW: You bring up your creativity, what are some of the things you do to feed that animal?

C: Not enough things honestly. I’ve spent the better part of two years building my store so I’d have a foundation to build upon. It isn’t until just now with over 1,800 vintage tees in my store that I feel like I have something to market. I would have been hitting the marketing/advertising side a lot more often but when you’re just one person trying to build something you have to prioritize. With that being said, you can expect a lot more activity from me on Instagram, Facebook and on my blog in the next month as I really try to build those avenues. I’m also toying with the idea of a YouTube channel.

BW: I see. So, you’ve had no one helping you? You’ve been doing this all on your own?

C: Well, that’s not entirely true. I have my business partner who also happens to be my beautiful wife who I go to for business advice and second opinions. She also handles all the shipping if and when I have to go out of town. She moonlights as a vintage T-shirt torso model as well so I get to take pictures of her in the vintage tees for the website from time to time.

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BW: Do you enjoy taking pictures of her torso?

C: Yes. Yes I do.

BW: Do you think that perhaps you enjoy it a little too much?

C: What do you mean?

BW: You know what I mean.

C: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I get you. Yes, I suppose I do. She has a very nice torso. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

BW: HAHAHAHA!

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C: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

BW: HAHAHAHAHAHA *BEEEEEEEELLLLLLLCCCCH*…………..

C: ……………….

BW: Oops, sorry about that. I had a giant pastrami sandwich for lunch. It was delicious. It gave me a little indigestion. It was about this big.

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C: I’ve never had pastrami before. 

BW: It’s fantastic stuff. You should try it.

C: What the hell are we talking about? 

BW: I belched and everything got derailed after that. Let’s get back on track. So, your wife helps you, is there anyone else?

C: I have an assistant named Barb. She a nudist doll who identifies (in any number of unique ways) flaws that may be present on the tees in my eBay listings. She gets looked over quite a bit but she’s a very pivotal part of the team here at Holy Idea Tees.

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Barb pointing out a flaw

BW: I see. That’s very, uh… creative.

C: It’s an untraditional way to stick out in someones mind. No one else uses a tiny nudist doll to point out issues. 

BW: You’re right, I can’t say I’ve seen that before.

C: I also use more traditional methods to “stick” out. 

BW: What are you doing?

C: I’m putting all these high quality, weather resistant, die cut Holy Idea Tees stickers on my face.

BW: Aren’t those going to hurt when you pull them off?

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C: Well… I didn’t quite think that though.

BW: Do you need some help getting those off?

C: No. That’s okay they should come off fairly easilaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHAHHHHHHH….

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C: …….HHHHHHHHHAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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BW: Wow. Those are some pretty high quality stickers. Where’d you get those?

C: From this place online called StickerApp. All you have to do is upload your image and within a couple days they’ll have as many stickers as you want delivered to your house. I put a Holy Idea Tees sticker with every vintage tee that’s purchased from my eBay store. My goal is to have a sticker on every car in the U.S. by next year. I’m about one trillionth of the way there.

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BW: What’s the name of that place again?

C: StickerApp. It’s like the word “Sticker” with “App” right behind it. StickerApp. Just don’t stick their stickers on your face. I think I’m going to have to go soak mine in some ice water.

BW: Okay, I appreciate you taking the time to let me ask you hard hitting questions. Sorry for belching pastrami leftovers in your face. Before you go to soak your face, let’s take a photo together.

C: Thanks Barbara, it’s been a pleasure.

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Totally unedited photo of Barbara Walters and me


Did  you know I was also interviewed by Diane Sawyer? You can read that interview by clicking here.

Hi! I’m A Historical T-Shirt Preservationist

I’ve always struggled trying to tell people exactly what it is that I do. Usually, when I tell people “I sell vintage T-shirts on eBay” it is followed by them saying, “Oh, so do you print your own designs or what?”

*facepalm*

*facepalm*

No, man. No. Were you even listening to what I just said?

I’ve learned that most people just don’t understand and, well… that’s okay! “Vintage” is a MASSIVELY overused term. With so many modern day tees printed with that “vintage look” (i.e. “retro”) I think people get confused with the notion as to why someone would want to sell “old” T-shirts. Why not just print your own that are new but look old?

Well, maybe it’s for the same reasons why Mike and Frank of American Pickers enjoy picking through piles and piles of “junk” to find that airplane propellor or car battery sign.

Mike and Frank of American Pickers

It’s the history of the tees that fascinate me.

While I may never know the story behind the T-shirt itself or the person who wore it, I can research why it exists at all.

For example:

Click photo to see item in store

Click photo to see item in store

This is an easy one. Everyone knows the story of OJ Simpson and his incredibly overhyped trial. It wasn’t long before anyone and everyone was trying to capitalize on it. Who knows how many were printed or how many still exist today. All I know is that I have one perfectly documented within the pages of eBay and that’s awesome. Now it just needs a good home (I’m looking at you Guy Who Buys OJ Simpson Trial Stuff).

How about this one:

Click above photo to see item in store

Click photo to see item in store

I love this T-shirt because of it’s history. It was printed at the dawn of the age of video games. Sierra is best known for its multiple lines of graphic video games that started in the 80s and proved influential in the HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES. Sierra is now owned by Activision who is a major player in the video game arena. So, I assume this tee was probably provided to players of the antiquated games of the 80s (remember 80’s era 3D?). This isn’t just a cool tee, it’s a historical artifact.

Granted, not every T-shirt provides me with a history lesson, but many tees are wrought with emotion. Whether it be from a marathon, someone’s tour in Desert Storm or from an aerobatic airplane show (where the exact plane pictured on the tee eventually crashed into the ground killing the pilot) each shirt was bought or obtained for a reason! I can feel that reason. In the same way an archaeologist uncovers dinosaur bones and forever links himself to the dinosaur he found, I’ve found the same relationship with the T-shirts in my inventory.

This is more than just a job and more than just selling old T-shirts. It is preserving the past for others to experience.

That’s why I’m a Historical T-Shirt Preservationist.

 

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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A Post With Lots Of Links

Glad to see you made it to my blog. If you’re reading this, you were probably directed here via one of my eBay listings or a link I put on my Facebook page or maybe you just found this blog because you were interested in vintage t-shirts. Whatever the case may be, this post is here to tell you that I’m not blogging regularly. The intention is certainly there but the time is not. I created this blog to talk about certain unique finds, tricks of the trade as well as being a central area to talk about how my business works and the specific guidelines I follow to be the best in this small little industry I forced myself into several years ago. It is here on this blog where I want to let me creative juices explode all over it’s pages but, as I said earlier, time is of the essence when starting a business. When you’re only one man, time needs to be spent in these formative moments where the rubber hits the road i.e. making THE MONEY or making MAMA HAPPY! If either one of those things is suffering, then all of this would not be possible.

So, if you’d like to follow me here, please know that it’s not updated regularly at the moment but I would strongly encourage you to follow my Facebook page where I do most of my updating for the time being. I know you don’t want to miss out on new and coveted vintage t-shirts like this 1981 Rolling Stones tee:

Click photo to view listing

Click photo to view listing

Or this vintage 1990 Ice Cube “Dead Homiez” Hip-Hop tee:

Click photo to view listing

Click photo to view listing

Or this unique vintage t-shirt of people with butts for heads playing craps:

Click photo to view listing

Click photo to view listing

Or any number of the hundreds of t-shirts I currently have available (both vintage and new). So, add me to your favorites on eBay or Facebook as those are my main sources of communication with the outside world and where you’ll find the latest updates on blog posts. There are many great works in store for this blog so I don’t want you to go too far 🙂