Miles to Go: Shirt Shop Interview

by on August 29, 2012

What’s the name of your shop?

miles to go

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you love classic literature. Is that true?

yeah, i have been a heavy reader since i was 16 and when i decided to do a clothing line almost 5 years ago, i decided i wanted to have a theme that was something i was truly interested in so i didn’t get bored quickly.

And the name Miles to Go is from the Robert Frost poem (Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening). Right? Or is it the autobiography of Miley Cyrus?

ha, its robert frost. as much as i love miley cyrus, she wasn’t an inspiration for the name. i was operating before the book came out and hoped maybe it would bump traffic but all it did was muck up google image searches for miles to go.

Where are you from?

i’m from a northeast suburb of philadelphia, but i have been living in phoenix, arizona for the past 7 years.

Do you have a bricks and mortar store?

no, in this day and age, a brick and mortar is something you consider once you are really moving a lot of product.

When did you launch your business?

the exact date is foggy because i never intended to have a clothing line in the beginning, but it was around september of 2008.

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

i had always printed back when i was younger and in bands, moved to phoenix and worked part time at a print shop. once i had the resources around me again, it made me start thinking about doing my own line. i had been making belts for brands since 2001 and it was probably about time i did my own thing.

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

i make a real effort to capture the essence of the books i cover and the amount of thought behind each image is something not all brands have. i consider myself the art director and my job is to maintain cohesion and assure it all looks miles to go. plus, not many companies could honestly pull off doing a line inspired by literature. takes a lot of reading.

How’s business?

business has been good lately. kind of in between seasons for me, but i recently had a feature on G4’s attack of the show and it brought in a bunch of new customers. thats always a good thing.

How important is social media to your business?

i rarely tweet. i mean, i may be the worst twitter user in history, but i do use facebook a lot and i really consider miles to go to be more of a community and listen to feedback. a lot of the miles to go supporters have become friends.

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

the crowd that buys from me tends to be a bit calmer overall, so i haven’t gotten any off the wall pictures.

What type of person is a prime candidate to be a customer of Miles to Go Clothing?

my main demographic seems to be 18-24 on up to early 30’s, or at least thats what facebook claims. the miles to go buyer tends to be well read, educated and well spoken. when i do live events and meet people, we can usually talk forever about books. i have some awesome supporters.

Where do you get your designs?

i commission artists for the designs and really it comes down to pairing the right artist for the book i want to do.

What kind of shirt stock do you use? Why?

i use american apparel and that came from working in the print shop and seeing how much garbage there was available to print on. its really expensive these days, but for a customer not familiar with AA, when they get the shirt and it’s a lot softer than most they own, they will love it.

On store page for your Dracula design it says: “Dracula is printed using discharge and water based inks onto a 100% cotton american apparel tee.” Can you explain that for the layperson? Is that process a big part of the reason that design looks so spectacular?

discharge ink gets printed like regular ink but it has an additive in it that removes the dye from the shirt and re-dyes the fibers. so, instead of the ink sitting on top of a shirt, its in it. after a first wash, it will feel like a blank shirt forever and never crack. no heavy weight from plastisol inks. water based also has barely any feel to it. it makes for a much nicer end product.

Where do you see your business in a year?

i never really look too far ahead with miles to go. i try more to enjoy the moment and plan for new designs. i have been flirting with the idea of offering miles to go to retail again, but at the same point, i love it being small.

What’s your favorite design currently?

my favorites always change and tend to sway with the new art i get, so right now i’m really into the upcoming art for “looking for alaska” and “on the road”. if i had to pick my favorite from one in my store now, i’d probably go with “anthem” or “howl“.

What sells more men or women’s shirts?

i have mostly stopped making women’s shirts because when i do, the girls still buy the mens/unisex anyway. i still sell to probably 30-40% girls but they just don’t buy the girls items when i make them.

Is there a subject matter that you sell most of?

anytime i do a sci-fi based design, it seems to appeal to a larger audience. a lot of those books are known at least on the surface by people that haven’t read them.

What type of item sells best in your store? I see belt buckles, wallets, posters, belts, buttons, bookmarks, stickers, etc.

i make the belts, so they are easy for me to do, but i sell 95% shirts.

What are the top three selling designs at your store?

moby dick, invisible man and slaughterhouse v (everything was beautiful and nothing hurt).

Is the world going to end this year?

nah, i don’t believe in that stuff. and, even if it does, i live my life trying to be the best person i can be, so whatever comes, if anything, i am ok with it.

Three books everyone must read?

any vonnegut, fahernheit 451 and “howl” by allen ginsberg.

Anything else you want to add?

thanks so much for wanting to know more about miles to go!

Where can people find you?

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