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.

Purpose

When I left the corporate world, amidst all the static in my head, my intention was to change the world with my own printed T-shirts. I didn’t know exactly how I was gonna do that, but I trusted the path would be laid out for me if my heart was in the right place and I kept love as my purpose.

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Now, over three years later, the static has begun to clear and I think I’m finally ready to start making my own. These last three years have been a necessity for finding out the intricacies of running a business as well as developing a comfort zone for someone like myself who needs to know EVERYTHING before jumping all in.

So what will be the purpose of printing my own tees? As simple as it sounds, I want to spread love. I want positive messages with a humorous and creative tilt and tees are a great way to express that. They are a simple medium, however, they are one of the biggest forms of expression today. They’re kind of like wearing a billboard on your chest!

Currently, in a world full of hate and vitriol, love is something we’re currently lacking. In fact, some people say it’s the answer to everything. I tend to agree. If there’s one thing we can always use more of… it’s love.

I hope I can help fill the world with a little more of it.


All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbor as yourself. – Jesus Christ

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another – Jonathan Swift

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend – Martin Luther King Jr. 


Stay tuned to my Instagram, Facebook and right here on the blog for updates 🙂

If you’re the praying type, please send a few my way 🙂

 

 

Urgent Delivery Leads To Lifelong Memories

“Your Buyer Opened A Case Against You”

These aren’t words I like to see in the header of an email.

Usually, someone hasn’t received their vintage T-shirt (thanks USPS) or their tee arrived damaged (thanks again, USPS). Things happen. What can I do? Quite simply, I handle it as politely and as professionally as I can.

On this day, I quickly reviewed the case and found the buyer hadn’t changed his mailing address when ordering his vintage tee. It had been sent back to my P.O. box. The email was wrought with panic: “Definitely need this by Saturday!” it said.

This wasn’t the first time a buyer needed something urgently. However, Saturday was less than 48 hours away so I’d have to get it out quickly. Vintage tee in hand, I rushed to the post office a little before 4 p.m. and got it sent out with expedited shipping. It was almost a guarantee to get there on Saturday.

I messaged the buyer to let him know all was well and his package was on its way.

This was the item:

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In my business, I get thrills from a number of things. Finding valuable tees in unexpected places is one. Giving old T-shirts new life is another. Getting a handsome return on an investment is a monetary thrill. But making someones day is priceless.

This is the message I received back from my new friend Patrick:

“Chris  — what an awesome, comforting response.  U r dealing with a 75 year old IT novice.  I am blown away by ur response, chris.  cannot thank u enough.  This is a brothers four tee. U r probably too young to know of them, but they are my all time favorite group, and my grandkids know all their songs.  We are going to a brothers four concert on sunday, and they were going to sign and present this tee to my granddaughter. U literally saved the day, Chris!!  So very refreshing to deal w/folks like u!!

I don’t why, but good customer service is rare. However, I pride myself on it. I’ve lived my whole life around the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” By taking the extra steps to ensure Patrick’s vintage T-shirt got to him on time, I literally “saved the day”. I gotta say, that’s an unforgettable thrill.

Patrick kept me up-to-date and gave me a little more background once the tee got to him in time for the concert:

Hi, Chris. Some background– at a prior concert, one of the brothers four– Mike Mccoy– took a liking to my grandson, who knows all the words to all their songs. During the concert, grandson Luca was singing along in his usual animated fashion. The bros 4 noticed this, and wanted to make a guitar for my grandson.  Since they are a vintage folk group from the 50’s– 60’s, it was highly unusual for one so young to know their music. So, Mike Mccoy wanted to make and present this guitar to Luca. That blew us away, but we did not want my granddaughter, Magda, left out.  Hence, my quest for the T-shirt.  Everyone, esp. the bros 4, were blown away by the shirt.  So, Chris, many many many thanx for ur considerable part in making this happen!

 

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Luca, Magda, A Really Cool Vintage T-Shirt, and the Brothers Four

The great thing about selling vintage tees is that the buyer often has an emotional connection to the shirt. I hardly ever get to know what that connection is, however. In this case, because of the care I put into it, I got to hear a wonderful and heartwarming story of a simple T-shirt literally bringing people together.

When I started this little vintage T-shirt company three years ago, I did it with a goal to show love in what I did. I know that sounds silly when talking about selling old T-shirts, but it’s true. What I’ve come to see is the love in every emotional connection with a T-shirt. The buyer “loves this band” or “loved that TV show” or “loved this brand when they were a kid”, etc. So I treat every package with love and as if it’s going to someone like Patrick every single time.

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.

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!

Star Wars Memories

My sister is talented. Not only in her writing ability, but in her life ability. She’s been able to overcome so many things in her life and has conquered many more. Part of her healing process is to write and when she does she illustrates so well what its like to be her. So, when I asked her if shed write a nostalgic piece about this t-shirt I’d found, I was ecstatic when she said, “yes!”

My sister with her 1983 Return of the Jedi t-shirt :)

My sister with her 1983 Return of the Jedi t-shirt 🙂

Without further ado:

The summer I turned nine years old was not particularly memorable, looking back. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. My siblings and I spent the sweat-soaked Oklahoma days making our own fun: catching toads to save them from the sadistic little boy down the street, who had a penchant for throwing them into the outdoor air conditioning fans. When we weren’t adding to our amphibious menagerie we were running around the neighborhood with friends, looking for Bigfoot in the hills behind our house, or working with our father on the family home he was building just outside of town. We didn’t expect much from life, and most of the time we were right not to.

Every day was much like the last, until, out of the vast reaches of a faraway land known as Hollywood, there came something that worked like a shaft of brilliance into our black and white days. One day, my brother was invited to a birthday party. The entire passel of ten year old boys trooped off to see something called Star Wars. When he came back home, he was changed. Altered in his DNA somehow. Full of excitement, he tried to relate to us, his younger siblings, just how incredible this thing was that he had seen, but it would never do. We had to see it for ourselves.

So, one sweltering afternoon, my mother carted us to the cinema to see for ourselves this phenomenon that was sweeping the country. The line of people waiting to get in wrapped around the shopping center, all the way to the double doors of the Safeway grocery store.

The world was black and white back then

The world was black and white back then

Everyone was abuzz. I could feel the mounting excitement as the line began to move, and within the hour I was plunged into an experience that would forever change my expectations when it came to movies, and life in general.

Epic space battles and fantastical creatures came to life before my eyes. The line between real and fantasy was forever blurred. An adorable young desert-dweller known as Luke Skywalker churned my wee burgeoning heart into knots. By the time I left the theater, my imagination was set afire. Who was to say what lay just beyond the reaches of my own, small life? Like Luke, perhaps I had a destiny that belied my modest beginnings.

I saw Star Wars more than once, and when The Empire Strikes Back came out I did the same. The wait for each one to be released was interminable, yet the reward was so, so sweet. I developed the world’s largest crush on Luke Skywalker and his poor, orphaned soul, spent hours daydreaming about meeting Mark Hamill, had posters of him papering my walls.

By the time Return of the Jedi appeared, Star Wars was a Brogdingnagian enterprise whose effects were felt around the world. My anticipation for how the series would wrap up was through the roof. Would someone die? Would Luke defeat Vader once and for all? Would Leia and Han put aside misunderstandings and get it together?

I was not disappointed. The movie appealed to me on every conceivable level and I went home feeling as satisfied as if I had just dined on a seven course gourmet meal. I saw it again and again.

It’s funny to think that something as simple as a T-shirt could bring so much happiness, but as I wear my Return of the Jedi T-shirt from Holy Idea Tees, I am reminded of simpler days and the genuine joy that comes from something as wondrous as spellbinding story. I can imagine that I am that young girl again who didn’t mind sweating for an hour in a line that stretched around the block to sit in a darkened theater and forget about her mundane life for a while.

After all, in a galaxy far, far away, Luke was waiting.

Thanks for the guest spot sis 🙂 Love you 🙂

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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