Memory Lane

When you’re looking for your niche, try taking a walk down memory lane. We all have places and people that defined our youth; the amusement park with the best flume ride around, or the gym teacher who acted more like a drill sergeant. Fond memories can inspire great ideas.

For my mom, it happened on a lazy Sunday stroll down Westminster Street in Providence. I caught her glancing up at a URI building. “Whatcha thinkin’ about?,” I asked. “The tea room…” she murmured distractedly, a look of nostalgia washing over her face.

 

Wiki Commons

The sight had triggered a fond memory from 45 years before. The building was once home to The Shepard Company Department Store, the largest department store in New England. It opened in 1880, occupying an entire city block until it went bankrupt almost 95 years later.

Dressed to the nines, my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother would head downtown for an afternoon of shopping. But the best part, my mom recalls, came after the purchases were made and it was time to visit the elegant Shepard’s Tea Room.

On her very best behavior, my then eight-year-old mother would practice her best posture, and speak as formally as her grandmother did at the time - quite different than how we talk today, she explained to me. She would ask, “Grandmother, may I order a slice of chocolate cake?”

Her grandmother, while offering a knowing smile to the waitress would say, “You may, but you’ll never finish it. You are a small girl, and a slice of their chocolate cake is big enough to feed a grown man! Go ahead and try, then.”

The waitress returned moments later with a generous serving of the decadent dessert. Wide-eyed, my mother would grab her fork and get started. As the adults conversed, she slowly and purposefully finished every last morsel.

“I can’t believe you’ve done it! Do you see?,” Grandmother would ask the table full of women next to them. It was the highlight of her day. They’d finish their tea and be on their way home - the women, satisfied with their purchases, and my mother, satisfied with her conquest.

I told her it was a beautiful memory. She described it with such detail that I could taste the cake, and feel her excitement as she took that last bite. Gazing up at the building myself, I read the words “The Shepard Stores.” To me, it was another URI building. But to my mom, it was a precious memory, and a welcomed walk down memory lane.

I wondered how many locals had similar experiences at the department store back when it was open. Maybe they were cashiers, or servers in the tea room. Maybe they visited during the holiday season with their own families. How many memories could one building hold?

Of course, there’s no answer. But I started to think if she designed a shirt as a nod to Shepards, I’m sure those memories would come rushing back for so many others.

That’s exactly what Teespringer Derek Thomas has done with his Madison Hardware Co. commemorative tees. Madison Hardware Co. was once the most famous Lionel train store in New York City, full of toy trains and parts. Lionel is a top manufacturer of model trains and accessories - an American classic. Madison Hardware Co. was a collector’s dream, known for personal service and the best stock around. It closed in 1989, but the legacy lives on.

Train Collectors Association

As a 20-something train collector, Derek never had the pleasure of visiting Madison himself, but wanted to preserve its place in the toy train community. That’s what brought him to Teespring, and now that community of train enthusiasts are reliving their own fond memories through the shirt.

We sat down for a one-on-one to find out more about this commemorative tee, and original idea.

Q: What was the motivation behind the tee - do you have a personal connection, or fond memories?

A: The motivation for the Madison Hardware shirt is to keep a name alive that represented almost hallowed ground in the toy train community. Madison Hardware was THE place to go if you needed parts or an odd item that Lionel Trains produced from about 1925 all the way through the late 1980’s. Folks would place orders and travel from all over the United States just to visit Madison Hardware. When the New York store closed in the late 1980’s, New York City, and the train community as a whole, lost a major icon. I was too young to ever visit the store, but if you ask most Lionel collectors if they know the name Madison Hardware, they’ll immediately respond.

Train Collectors Association

Q: What kind of feedback have you gotten from your community?

A: Folks love the shirt so far. We have sold almost 100 shirts in just three weeks. For a small community, that’s a big deal. Many people have sent their memories of Madison Hardware along to me since we announced the shirt. I’m just glad to keep the name alive and bring back some good memories for those who visited the store.

Q: Do you plan to offer additional designs in the future?

A: Yes! The response has been so wonderful that we do plan to move forward with other projects. Lionel Trains has even reached out to me to discuss the shirts and what they represent to the hobby. I want to give folks something vintage and classy that they can wear in public. The train folks know what it is, and everyone else just sees a neat vintage shirt. I aim to keep bringing out these same kind of designs.


Take a stroll down memory lane and see what you find along the way. Identify people, places and things that shaped your world. Are there icons, phrases or symbols that would work well in a design? After all, everybody loves a good throwback. 

Why We Test at Teespring

Have you ever arrived on a Teespring campaign page, and noticed that it looks just a little different than you remember it?

Maybe some of the wording is updated, or the number of days remaining has a refreshed look — whatever the detail, you’re pretty sure it has changed since you saw it an hour ago.  

Then when you visit again, that change is gone.

What you’re witnessing is an ongoing cycle of a something called A/B testing, and its purpose is simple: to create the best possible experience for Teespring buyers and sellers.

Here’s how it works:

  1. We dig through our customer surveys and analytics to find places where the user experience can be improved on Teespring.

  2. We develop a theory about what may be causing an issue, and then create an update that is designed to resolve it.

  3. We show this new, updated version to 50% of Teespring website visitors for a few days, and measure whether it solves the problem. (Note: a victorious test is determined across millions of visits, and measured to a degree of concrete statistical significance. Our process is extremely statistically rigorous.)

If the updated version is successful, we make it a permanent part of Teespring, and look for the next feature to improve!

If it’s not successful, we go back to the drawing board and look for an alternative way to improve the experience we’re working on.

With that in mind, you can probably see why we’re so serious about A/B testing at Teespring — it allows us to constantly enhance the site in an extremely measurable way.  It offers buyers an ever-improving experience, earns campaign creators ever-increasing revenue, and gives us an ever-growing satisfaction with what we’ve built (although to be honest, we’re never quite satisfied).

There’s also one more benefit, and it’s a big one.

In addition to testing ideas intended to fix smaller user problems, we also A/B test every major new feature released at Teespring.  If the test shows that our new feature isn’t up to snuff, we roll it back and revise it until it outperforms our goals and expectations.

This allows us to make sure that every single feature released on Teespring.com is not only something we think is amazing, but is also a 100% verified, bonafide improvement. We simply won’t have it any other way.

Speaking of features and tests, we’d like to take this opportunity to announce our next big A/B test here at Teespring: a brand new look for the campaign page. Stay tuned for another post with a sneak peek of the new look, and details on the proposed enhancements. Coming soon!

Sincerely, 

Jesse Avshalomov

Head of Growth, Teespring

P.S. - If you’re curious about A/B testing, you can find some great info here:

A Formula for Success

Engineering student Hung Kieu knows firsthand that the profession can be stressful, and that engineers and students could use a bit of comic relief. So he created the Engineer Memes Facebook page, which has gained half a million “Likes” since 2012!

His formula for success has included plenty of relatable and humorous content. His international community formed as people began “Liking” and re-sharing content like this:

image

Engineer Memes

When Engineer Memes reached 250,000 “Likes,” Hung wanted to create a shirt his fans could connect with. This presented another problem to solve. Hung’s fanbase was comprised of electrical engineers, computer engineers, civil and mechanical engineers. How could one shirt represent them all?

He decided to take a collaborative approach. Hung shares, “Looking into each discipline, we tried designing a shirt that all engineers could relate to. We released prototypes of the design and asked for feedback. With this information, we improved upon the design, and once we knew it was what people wanted, we released it.”

So he posed questions like this one to his community, and was flooded with great responses:

image

Engineer Memes

Once a winning design was settled upon, the “Trust Me, I’m an Engineer” design took off organically on the Engineer Memes page. The massive, highly-engaged community gobbled up more than 4,000 shirts when it first launched. 

image 

http://teespring.com/engineermemes

And as people started sharing - and wearing - Hung’s design, the demand grew. He has since sold more than 15,000 products over eight campaigns.

image

Engineer Memes

Looking to replicate Hung’s formula for success? Heed his advice: “Work with what you’re passionate about, and post high quality content. Be original and try to have fun!”

Good luck, Teespringers!

And the Winner Is…

Every idea needs someone to believe in it. Someone to bring it to life.

Just think: if Hadley Rouse hadn’t pursued her vision, our unofficial mascot Mar(tee) would still be homeless. More importantly, you wouldn’t be helping to raise all these donations for the Save the Manatee Club.

Hadley is the talented creator of the Pocket Mana(tee) - winner of our #TeeUp: Return of the Mana(tee) contest:

As inventive as the design is, we’re even more drawn to the designer behind it. We caught up with Hadley, who shares her passion for illustrating, animals and more:

Q: Tell us a little about yourself!

A: Designing t-shirts is one of my most absolute favorite things to do in the whole world! I started freelancing as an illustrator a couple years ago, and it didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to focus on tee shirt design almost exclusively.

Q: What inspired you to enter?

A: My 4th of July plans had gotten rained out, so I was at home checking out the Teespring Facebook page for new campaigns (I’m a sucker for anything supporting animals - especially dogs!). When I saw the #TeeUp competition, I knew I had to enter! I’ve never met a manatee in real life, but they look like gentle giants and I had no idea that humans were posing such a threat to their habitat.

Q: How did you think up your design?

A: My design urges everyone to keep manatees close to their hearts…literally! Just like a good ol’ fashioned white tee that Martee’s riding in, I’m hoping that manatees will never be hard to find.

Q: You won! How does it feel?

A: It gives me a great sense of pride knowing that I’m a member of the team that helped create a campaign for the manatees! Save the Manatee Club has a passionate fanbase and Teespring has the means to print and deliver awesome apparel into their hands. It is an honor knowing that I helped make it happen as the designer.

Aside from raising funds to help Save the Manatee efforts, I’d like to think that my design on a tee would create a sense of camaraderie among manatee fans worldwide, and hopefully inspire some conversation about these adorable creatures if it was ‘spotted in the wild’ by anyone who may not be familiar with them, or the threats we pose to their future.


In addition to her clever design, we would like to thank Hadley for her generosity. As winner of the #TeeUp contest, she received a $1,000 prize, which she will be donating directly to the Save the Manatee Club!

Want to keep Mar(tee) close to your heart, and support the Save the Manatee Club? Click here.

image

Teespring and Jake Owen

image

Jake Owen

You know him, you love him - we’re talking about country chart-topper Jake Owen, our latest partner!

Jake burst onto the country scene with his hit single, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.” His latest number one single, “Beachin’” is all about feeling the sunshine on your face, singing along to your favorite song, and soaking up the moment.

Jake created this limited-edition gear featuring his carefree lyrics from the song: “Whatever happens happens.”

image

http://teespring.com/jakebeachin

Can’t get enough country? Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter and his website. Happy beachin’, ya’ll!

 

Searching, Made Simple

We’re proud to introduce our brand new search feature! You’ll notice a search box in the upper lefthand corner of our website. Consider it your gateway to custom apparel that connects with your lifestyle.image

Pretty cool, right? When was the last time you walked into a store and said, “Point me to the clothing that supports dog rescue, please.” Or how about, “My dad’s an engineer and his birthday’s coming up. What’s in stock?” That’s where our search feature comes in. Search away, because there’s a good chance that another Teespringer has created what you’re looking for. And if you don’t see what you had in mind, you can always create an original design yourself.

Click here for a quick video of how it works.

image

Once you enter a search term, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the results page. If there are more than 12 results, you can click to view additional designs in that category:

image

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for (U2, anyone)? Try using a variation of your original search term. For example, if you first searched “animal,” try “animals.” Or narrow your results down with a search term like “animal rescue.”

And check back often, as new campaigns are launched every day.

Happy hunting!

image

mamacita.rita

The Importance of Imagination

Kudos to you, Teespringers! You flooded us with super creative entries to our #TeeUp: Return of the Mana(tee) Contest, and voting is underway for our final 6 designs. Check them out, and let us know which is your favorite. The winning design will be featured on a tee, with all proceeds benefiting the Save the Manatee Club.

We’ve enjoyed letting you dream up our unofficial company mascot, his name, and now, his home.

As much as these were lighthearted contests, they were also real challenges to stretch the limits of your imagination.

As children, our time is less structured, with more room for play and more time to dream. In an instant, our eager minds would turn a kiddie pool into a roaring ocean. A playground would become the set of American Gladiators. And who hasn’t built a fort in the living room? My brother and I would build forts that looked like the linen closet exploded in a heap of sheets, pillows, and towels. But, to us, it was a palace, and we, it’s highly skilled architects. We knew the secret password, and how to cross the drawbridge without signaling the man-eating sharks in the moat below.

KidFun.au

As we grow, we tend to lose touch with our imagination. Playtime is slowly replaced with homework assignments, sports and music lessons. We spend much of our adult lives coloring inside the lines. We set our alarm clocks, meet deadlines and check tasks off the ol’ “to-do” list. The rigidity of a daily routine can leave little time for free thinking, but don’t let it stifle your imagination!

Imagination fuels innovation and creativity, so keep in touch with it as if it were an old friend.

We promise to continue to offer ways to explore your creative side, and think outside the box. But make it a priority for yourself, too! Find ways to add a little more fun into everything you do. Doodle. Dance. Play pretend. Create.

Like our #TeeUp finalists, let your imagination loose.

Skinny Artist

Finding Your Niche

People rally around the most unexpected things. We’ve watched groups come together over everything from their distaste for olives, to a love of late night reading.

But, this is nothing new. Folks have been banding together for more than 350,000 years, when the Neanderthals lived in small tribes out of necessity. They hunted and gathered, and protected their sick and elderly.

Religious groups began assembling around 4000 BC, and cave paintings that date back to 6000 BC depict wrestlers, sprinters, swimmers and archers. This is when athletes began meeting - and competing - based on shared talents and an appreciation for their sport.

More “modern” clubs began forming as early as 445 AD, with the invention of the printing press. Book discussion groups were established more than 1,500 years before Oprah started her famous book club.

Our search for common ground is an age-old practice. We inherently want to be a part of something bigger.

For fans of The Beard Collective, it’s (you guessed it) facial hair that unites them. Manly men from far and wide share pictures of their beloved beards, garnering social “Likes” and a whole lot of respect. 

image

The Beard Collective Facebook

As much as it’s a beard fan club, The Beard Collective is also a unique brand, based on strength and masculinity. Manliness is what their modern apparel is centered around. For example, meet the “Viking” and “Mountain Man,” which were launched here on Teespring:

image

Recently, they released this Skull design, and their “The Brave Never Shave" tee features a particularly burly beard, which this faithful Beard Collective fan is sporting:

image

beardcollective Instagram

With every successful campaign, their following grows, inspiring new designs to be worn with pride.

Be motivated by the beard, Teespringers! This group built an entire brand around a single, unique interest. However obscure your hobby may seem, we can almost guarantee that someone else is into it, too.

Finding those people can be a challenge. But The Beard Collective reached fellow enthusiasts through great social growth and authentic, quality, custom apparel.

So, what are you into? Baton twirling? Photo-bombing? Sand castle building? Whatever your pleasure, get out there and find your niche.


image

beardcollective Instagram

Red, White and You

Independence Day is almost upon us.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that everyone has the freedom to pursue their ideas without fear of failure. Let all men and women be free to connect with others who share their interests, to explore new opportunities, and to create great things.

Let creative freedom ring!

Enjoy some patriotic swag from your fellow Teespringers:

We know you value your independence, Teespringers. This week and always, celebrate your creative freedom - and by all means, pursue your happiness!

Have a beau(tee)ful Independence Day!

Teespring Support Blog Series, Part 2: Seller Payouts

image

fabri_lima

Don’t fall prey to the question monster. He exists to spread confusion and doubt. When he glares down at you with his beady eyes and pointed teeth, laugh in his face.

Today, we continue our Teespring Support Blog Series to help further your success.

In this post, our Customer Support team answers some questions from Teespring sellers about how to get paid.

You’ve reached your campaign goal and your campaign has ended. Now what?

image

coco_wun


Q: When will I get paid?

A:  After your campaign ends successfully, and your shirts have been assigned to a printer, it’s payment time! This usually happens 24-48 hours after your campaign ends successfully.

Once your profit becomes available for withdrawal, you’ll want to request a payment by following these simple steps:

  1. Log into your Teespring account

  2. Click your email address on the top right of the page

  3. Choose the dropdown menu option that says “Get Paid.” From here, you will see a list of your payout options

image

Q: What are my payout options?

A: We’re happy to offer you 3 great options - pick whatever’s most convenient for you! You may choose to receive payment via bank check, PayPal, or direct deposit.

Please note, direct deposit is only available to sellers with a U.S. bank account. You may have an international address, and still be eligible for direct deposit as long as you have a U.S. bank account.

Here are some more payout details:

  • Bank checks will be sent through the mail, and take about 2 weeks to arrive.

  • Requesting an international bank check? No problem! The process is a bit different. When you fill out your request for the check, you’ll have to enter Teespring’s address first (3 Davol Sq., Suite B300, Providence, RI, 02903). Then let us know of your correct address, which we’ll forward to our finance team. They’ll intercept the payment, and make the necessary change on our end to issue your check. International bank checks can take up to a month to arrive. 
  • PayPal payments take between 4-6 days to process. Once Teespring sends payment to your PayPal account, you can transfer the funds from PayPal right to your checking account.

  • For direct deposit, please request a bank check. We’ll provide our finance department with your e-mail address and direct deposit request. They’ll invite you to bill.com, which allows us to offer direct deposit. Once you have joined bill.com, our finance team will intercept your bank check and process the funds directly into your bank account via bill.com. Direct deposit typically takes 5-7 days.

 

Q: Hey, where’s my payout?

A: It takes a minimum of 3-5 business days for your payment to be processed by our finance team.

From there, a bank check will take about 2 weeks to reach your mailbox. International bank checks take about 4 weeks. PayPal funds will typically show up in your PayPal account after 4-6 days, and direct deposit takes 5-7 days.

Keep in mind, variations will occur. There are a lot of moving parts, but we promise your pay day is on its way!

Why let that question monster lurk about? Reach out to us at support@teespring.com. For payouts - or anything you may need help with - we’ve got your back.

[This is Part 2 of the Teespring Support Blog Series. Stay tuned for additional answers to your FAQ, coming soon!]