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Tale of the T-Shirt
Here’s a story…

It starts with a little “good” advice I have heard from many people about how to make money with my music… and that is … “why don’t you sell T-Shirts!” Dubious, about entering the clothing industry, I have refused to engage this plan until … now?
Let me explain.
I have thwarted every attempt to persuade me to endeavor in the business selling related paraphernalia, until I met my girlfriend. She is very supportive and when we first started dating it got around to her family I was a “starving musician” and they got the idea… “why don’t you sell T-Shirts!” They even had the shirts to give. Still in the honeymoon stages of the relationship I had realized that I had been trumped and must submit.

The Tale of the T-Shirts

First, I should mention that with all stories the beginning isn’t really the beginning. There is always a story before.
This story actually begins in Massachusetts where a young artist (my girlfriend’s brother) is contracted by a rock band to design and produce some 1000 t-shirts to promote their band and to sell at their concerts. The band had the foresight to understand this profitable clothing venture… unfortunately for them, they broke up before the venture was completed. The Shirts were already purchased by this point and wound up sitting in the basement of my artist’s mother. And stayed there for years, until of course my girlfriend met me and the idea was set in motion. So my girlfriend’s mother and step-father loaded their car on a trip to New York from their home in Cape Cod and brought the Shirts with them. (Please understand this transaction actually included passing off the shirts to another party in Boston and then bringing to New York City, but let’s keep this simple.) I am still wondering if it was with the parents’ intention to help out or to get rid of the albatross circling their house.

Now, the Shirts are sitting in our apartment. Please bear in mind that 1000 shirts are 4 “small” boxes and 2 large boxes weighing either 35 or 55 pounds. In a New York apartment… we call them furniture. There were impossible to fit in a closet, and with the limited space they are almost impossible to hide; however, my girlfriend is a genius when it comes to this and her solutions amaze me.

At this point, you would think we are set and could make the designs and get the Shirts made. Does anyone know how to make a design for a cloth shirt? I do. At least, I do now, after I researched it and found out the process. The “do-it-yourself” kit cost several hundred dollars including the ink. The drying process is also an involved procedure which basically meant we were going to turn this Harlem apartment into a full fledged sweat shop. I even thought of enslaving illegal immigrant Chinese workers. (just joking:)

The next mission was to try to find some shop that would take the Shirts to print the logo on them. My girlfriend and I figured that we could find some deal where a shop would want to do this and give us a discount. We were grossly mistaken. All the places we checked out, wanted to charge us more for using our own shirts. Perplexed, we even tried to get a friend to come to our aid to no avail. Enough was enough, after about a year I had decided that I wasn’t going to pay rent for the Shirts to live with us in Manhattan and they got shipped out to be stored in my mother’s garage in Long Island.

And there they sat in the garage, with the other lost items of the family. In a menagerie of poor unwanted orphans abandoned by their original owners waiting one day to be claimed. And a few shirts made their escape undoubtedly as gifts or spare clothing to the unwitting passer by of my Mom’s abode. And very gently and lovingly, my mom would remind of the space they were occupying as suggestions of their dispersion and diaspora were discussed.

But you know me… now I was committed. The Shirts were now my responsibility and I refused to accept that all the efforts up to this point were in vain. I wasn’t about to submit to some mass exodus such as a garage sale or clothing drive and thwart the hopes of these poor defenseless blank slates of clothing awaiting to fulfill their existence. No, I would find some way… or more accurately… my girlfriend would find a way.

One of my girlfriend’s friend is an artistic entrepreneur of the clothing industry with her company, Culture Consumer. When she heard about our plight she had offered to help; however, she lives in Oakland, California. After devising many plans of bringing her to New York for a “working” vacation we finally just decided to send the boxes to her and put them on the mail truck going to the west coast. After a long journey going cross country, (via ground mail) they arrived safely in the hands of their new temporary home. (What stories they experienced on the way I do not know… perhaps ask the Shirt yourself and it might tell you…;)

The logo was designed. To our chagrin the image selected was copyrighted, fortunately for us it was graciously donated for receipt of one of the shirts. The presses commence. When my girlfriend went to visit her family and friends in San Francisco, she helped with the final effort to finish the first 200 shirts off the factory line. (I am not sure if it was a sweat shop but I was told it was a bright sunny day) The mission now was to get them back to New York City. Being a little thing, my girlfriend could barely lift one box forget about two! So she improvised and made two little suitcases out of the boxes by creating makeshift handles and proceeded to cajole good Samaritans to return with the Shirts via air on her flight to New York.

A happy ending to a much traveled shirt, donated with love, harbored by family, and designed as well as created by a most wonderful and helpful friend.


“But wait!?” you ask, “what about the line, ‘why don’t you sell T-Shirts!’ So you want to know where you can buy one of these well traveled Shirts. Now you can get one of our shirts at CultureConsumer.com. I encourage you to go to CultureConsumer.com and pick yourself out another original by Helene. So there you go, another happy ending to a capitalistic country! And don’t forget that we have a new 60x60 CD out for sale at Amazon, iTunes, and CDBaby. Plus don’t worry, now that I have you hooked on the Shirts… you won’t be able to resist the new line of coffee mugs, key chains, baseball caps, sweatshirts, jackets, iron emblems, toy “Vox Novus” mascot, a 60x60 clock, the Vox Novus brand cologne and perfume, designer handbags, etc.

Buy the T-Shirt !
at Culture Consumer
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