What’s the name of your shop? Your name? Your role?
My name is Matthew Johnson and I’m the lone wolf behind the indie clothing and art brand known as Seventh.Ink.
Where did the name Seventh.Ink come from?
Seventh.Ink is a derivative of my graphic design company, Seventhfury Studios. I wanted to keep the same idea in there but branch out into another identity.
Where are you from/live now?
From Minnesota originally, but now I’m in the Tampa, FL area.
When did Seventh.Ink launch?
In October of 2007.. I just celebrated five years! Pretty wild when I think about it.
What was the inspiration for launching a t-shirt business?
I wanted to get my art out there and really do something that I thought I would enjoy. It’s not easy, but it’s been worth it so far and I love what I do.
What inspires your designs? Everything is so bold and eye catching?
It used to be pop culture, but lately I’m finding my style is inspired by nature, history, stories, that sort of thing. Gods, goddesses, monsters, madmen.
Are there any specific artists that inspire you?
About a million.. and a few that I’ve been lucky enough to call friends. To be specific, lately Godmachine, Palehorse, and Derrick Castle have really been pushing me to improve as an artist.
Are you inspired by darker subject matter? There are a lot of skulls and weapons in your designs?
Sometimes, but again I’m inspired by a lot of things that I personally find interesting. I mean, there are a million illustrations of skulls out there but for some reason people keep on drawing them. What is it that inspires so many artists to do that? I’ve been trying to find the answer.. while drawing more skulls.
How often do you launch new releases?
This year I’m finally getting away from quarterly releases and I’m going with a “when it’s done, it’s done” timeline for my releases. There have been countless times when I’ve pushed myself to the limit for self-imposed deadlines while all along I could be doing things at a more realistic pace and not frying out my brain. But, I do sometimes push out new products in between major releases such as prints, custom Mini Munny figures, original art, that sort of thing.
What differentiates Seventh.Ink from all the others on the Internet?
I’m a one man brand up and down. Everything is done by myself aside from product production (printing), and I put a very personal part of myself into my presentation. Even the website and marketing materials are all done by me, which is an upside of being a graphic designer…
It looks like you take great care to keep a certain vibe with the product designs, the web design, etc. Is this a conscious decision?
Yes, because I’m a graphic designer and illustrator I’ve found a way to bring everything together in one package that I call Seventh.Ink. I always hope that the customer experiences the extra time I’ve put into finessing the site and my marketing materials, because those are more personal touches that I add to the brand.
Great! Snowballing, which is good. Starting a shirt/clothing company is more time consuming and expensive than people often think, but over time you start to reap your rewards and I’m starting to get to that point.
How important is social media to your business?
It’s very important, and the funny thing is that the newer trends tend to generate more fans. I’ve been getting crazy on Instagram lately, it’s my new obsession.
What’s the weirdest picture of someone wearing one of your tees that you have seen? And/or have you run into a stranger out in the wild wearing one of your products? And/or celebrity sightings?
I haven’t actually seen a very weird picture of someone wearing one of my tees, but maybe that’s an invitation for people to get on with sending me one! I’ve run into a few people wearing my designs and have heard stories from my friends about people they’ve seen, which is a pretty cool feeling. No celebrity sightings, but as soon as I catch a shot of Megan Fox wearing one of my shirts you’ll be the first to know.
What type of person is a prime candidate to be a customer?
Anyone who likes personality and art to make up their wardrobe. And, because of my newfound love of screen printed posters, people who love that same art on their walls.
What sells more. Guys or girls?
Guys, hands down. My stuff is more appealing to the guys, but there are quite a few girls who are starting to hop on board and that rocks.
What kind of shirt stock do you use? Why?
I use American Apparel because they feel great, they’re made in the US, and they have a solid product with a variety of styles and colors.
Where do you see your business in a year?
Hopefully pushing more prints and even more original designs that are a little farther out there.
What’s your top selling design?
Lately the top sellers have been the Gods & Goddesses shirts, namely Poseidon which just sold out. People love their Greek mythology, which is good because I’m currently working on a sequel series that is set for release at the end of March..
What other merch besides tees do you sell?
Accessories such as stickers, buttons, keychains, and handmade leather items (which rock pretty hard). Also, lately I’ve been doing screen printed posters and I’m really loving it so I’m going to continue to do more of those.
On your About page, you mention Seventhfury Studios? What is that?
That’s my graphic design company, which is basically my freelance company. I do branding, marketing design, and web design/development through Seventhfury Studios.
You also mention that you are a father…how’s family life?
Things are good! My daughter is getting her molars in now, it’s been very loud around here lately..
Anything else you want to add?
Buy my stuff! No, seriously, it’s been a great ride with Seventh.Ink and I’m excited to see where the next few years takes it. At the moment I’m having a massive 50% Off Clearance Sale, which is a good opportunity for people to try out Seventh.Ink.
Where can people find you?
Website – www.seventhink.com
Instagram – @seventhfury
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Seventh.Ink
Twitter – @7thInk
Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/Seventhfury
Society6 – http://society6.com/seventhfury/prints