Crocktees: Shirt Shop Interview

by on August 24, 2012

What’s your name, and the name of your shop?

Tobin Jones
Crocktees Tshirts

Where does the name Crock Tees come from?

Honestly was looking for a name that was unique and not taken. After much deliberation, i.e. random thoughts, came up with Crocktees. The shirts are all in fun and a bit of a crock anyhow so figure the name suited the site well!

Where are you from?

East coast originally, but now living in the mean streets of San Francisco.

Do you have a bricks and mortar store?

Nope. Everything is on-line except for the client work I do. Have done work from charities to friends to bachelor parties  but try to keep it more fun than work.

When did you launch your business?

Been going on for 3 years now. In that time have opened up taverntees.comand our redbubble store which is comprised mostly of mash-up and contest submissions.

What was the inspiration for launching a t-shirt business?

Had been making tees for myself and friends for quite a while. Honestly the great companies out there like Threadbird and Spreadshirt make what I do possible. When the technology came around to be able to print low quantities and shirts on demand, I got a lot of requests saying, “Hey, why don’t you do that?” So I did!

What differentiates your shop from all the others on the Internet?

I really try to keep the site fresh. If there is a new topic on the net, or just something new in pop culture I try to jump on it. Tshirts should be fun, so honestly I am more worried that the site makes people think or laugh rather lots of sales. Although lots of sales is great too!

How’s business?

Been great! The art is always improving and we have another tshirt available on RIPT apparel Friday, Aug 24th. Love getting feedback from people and love doing some client work as well.

How important is social media to your business?

Very. I rely almost solely on social media for advertising. It’s the best way I find to get the word out about new tshirts or deals. Mostly twitter, but also try and keep up with Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook.

What’s the story on the Taverntees?

A local bar called Shotwells, GREAT bar by the way, asked me to sell some of their  shirts on Crocktees. I figured why not build a new site around drinking shirts. I am a big fan of advertising and vintage typography as well so started doing
research into defunkt brands. I got an email from the grandson of Horlacher Beer’s last owner saying how great it was to see the old brand up. Absolutely made my day.

What’s the weirdest picture of someone wearing one of your tees that you have seen?

Sarah Palin. I kid you not. But wait… it wasn’t exactly my tshirt. I was way ahead of the curve on the Jermey Lin Linsanity tshirts enough to grab first place on google and get the design out before everyone else. It was a bit close to the Knick’s logo so I took it down by request, but that’s not where it ended. Soon after I saw a picture Sarah Palin holding up a newly purchased Linsanity tee thinking oh my God, that’s my design. But on a closer look it wasn’t. Very very slight differences, plus I was never at MSG. I got a few calls for bulk orders from NYC,  and it was pretty clear that someone did a knockoff of my design. It was different enough and detailed enough there’s not another explanation. So I was kinda mad and honored to be copied at the same time. But it was probably for the best considering the Knicks weren’t so happy about any Linsanity stuff to begin with. Plus I’m not exactly a big SP fan. Big fan of wolves, we hang out. They hate her.

What type of person is a prime candidate to be a customer of Crock Tees?

I would hope anyone. Well at least anyone over the age of 16 or so since the subject matter tends to be more adult. But I have had everyone from Hong Kong teenagers,  to British dads, to American grandmothers buy tshirts. So hopefully that can continue!

Where do you get your designs?

Mostly either watching tv or out drinking with friends. Also have had quite a few requests and ideas mailed in. Pretty much anywhere and everywhere there is inspiration, which is why the site is a bit scattered but hopefully always interesting.

What kind of shirt stock do you use? Why?

Try to use American Apparel because of how well they print. But have also used Gilden, Bella, Softstyle etc. With women it’s harder to find a tee that suits everyone.  Depends on the customer or client for what I recommend there.

Where do you see your business in a year?

More of the same hopefully. Always growing and changing! Been a great ride so far, so I hope to continue.

What’s your favorite design currently?

The Black Power design that will be hosted in RIPT is my current favorite. Still makes me laugh. Have a few in my head though that I will get out as soon as there is time. Always something new on the horizon!

What sells more men or women’s shirts?

Pretty equal actually. At first it was women, possibly because they are more active on social media statistically. But overall it has evened out.

Is there a subject matter that you sell most of?

Either the j-pop designs or political designs. Depends what is current. As times a shirt gets mentioned and then sales spike, then it’s on to the next topic.

What are the top three selling designs at your store?

Right now Resavengers, Trafalgar Law Jolly Roger, and then believe or not the Tits McGee design. Anchorman is one of my favorite movies, but I’m still surprised by that one.

Is the world going to end this year?

Haha, hope not! But I do plan on being somewhere nice just in case.

I have to ask, what’s the connection with the Denver Stiffs? I’m a huge Denver Nuggets fan from waaaaaaay back.

So Andrew Feinstein, quick shout to his new restaurant Jake’s in Denver, is an old friend of mine. He started the original Denver Stiffs website which eventually became part of SB nation. So I made some shirts for him and fans of the team and the site. He even got to interview George Karl… pretty much all from being a great fan. Not bad!

Anything else you want to add?

Make sure to check out Black Power on RIPT on Friday! Honored to get printed there again as they are my favorite of the one a day sites. Always quality work so you know if you can get printed there it’s a solid design.

Where can people find you?

Find Crocktees on:

@crocktees on twitter

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