Sleep Terror Clothing: Shirt Shop Interview

by on December 1, 2012

What’s the name of your shop? Your name? Your role?

My name is Jonathan Chau, I own and design for Sleep Terror Clothing.

How did you come up with the name Sleep Terror?

I suffer from sleep paralysis which causes me to have extremely vivid dreams and nightmares. Typically during an episode my mind feels awake, but my body remains asleep which causes the paralysis. I like to think that when this happens I’m breaching both the dream world and reality.

The name is actually a play on the term Night Terror. I came up with the name 3 years ago after a sleep paralysis episode when I was studying abroad in Beijing, China. I was extremely restless one night, and normally that alone can set off my sleep paralysis.

That same night I had a dream about exploring a crystal cave and all of a sudden being chased by a giant troll. I woke up afraid and in panic, and pretty much thats all I could think about the entire day. That day I drew a sketch of the troll from my nightmare.

Where are you from/live now?

I’m from Burlingame, California and I currently live in New York City.

When did Sleep Terror launch?

Sleep Terror is a relatively new brand. The Fall collection was released in August 2012.

How often do you put out a new collection of designs?

I release a new batch of shirts seasonally, but I’m trying to sneak in a couple mid-season surprises here and there.

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

Growing up I played in a bunch of local metal bands and my favorite thing to do was trade merch with other band we did shows with. I became obsessed with collecting band merch and pretty much my obsession expanded into clothing line
collectables (Johnny Cupcakes, Drop Dead, Mishka ect.) With Sleep Terror I wanted to take my love of shirts and passion for design to not only create fun-fill monster inspired shirts, but also to inspire others to follow what they believe and to encourage people follow their dreams.

What differentiates Sleep Terror from all the others on the Internet?

The concept behind the brand is completely unique, and each design has its own personality and tells its own story. I want to continue to provide customers with great quality products and an experience where they can be apart of my dreams and hopefully become inspired to follow or create their own. Plus, who doesn’t like sharing their dreams?

How’s business?

Business is going well considering that the brand just launched a couple months ago!

Can you explain where your designs come from for the visitors that haven’t read
your about page?

All the Sleep Terror designs are inspired by dreams and nightmares and the monsters that haunt them.

Do you still suffer from Sleep Paralysis? It sounds terrible, but it sure inspired some cool designs. I’m wondering if turning the terror into something positive like a business made the sleep paralysis go away. Or is that too much like a corny movie?

Ha! If the sleep paralysis go away, there go half my concepts. I still have the occasional paralysis here and there, and the dreams are still just as vivid.

Do you get people that tell you they have the same condition or they’ve seen similar monsters in their dreams?

I’ve had a bunch of people email me their dreams, personal experiences with sleep paralysis and tell me about their monsters. I’ve also had people ask me for advise on how to deal with their sleep paralysis.

How important is social media to your business?

My marketing professors at Dickinson College, Carlisle PA, laughed at me when I told them I wanted to write my thesis on social media creating a new paradigm of marketing. Today social networking sites are almost vital for a company’s survival. It would be silly for a company not to use social networking to their advantage, especially with the invaluable knowledge social media analytics can provide companies to help target and position their brands. These platforms have provided my brand with a vehicle to reach potential customers and gives the fans a voice. Interaction with fans is key, the worst thing a company could do, besides not have a presence online, is be a faceless-company on a social media platform.

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?

Here’s a picture of Francis from the band Reflections wearing our Moonster shirt in their
playthrough video for “Ceilings”.

Watch the video, might even spot our Deep Sleep shirt in there too!

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

Anyone who enjoys creature features, obviously monsters, anime, comics, horror and science fiction is going to love Sleep Terror.

What kind of shirt stock do you use? Why?
American Apparel 2001 for life! It’s my favorite type of shirt to print on, just based on feel, length and the colors never fades. As for a hoodie that we’re coming out with in January we’re using a company called ITC (Independent Trading Company). The fans deserve quality garments that are comfortable and soft and that do the designs justice. I do not believe in sacrificing the quality of my product just to make an extra buck. When a customer tells me they love how soft the shirts are that instantly brings a smile to my face.

Where do you see your business in a year?

I want to get out there more, hopefully to comic/anime conventions, and sell the shirts in person so that I can meet customers and hear about their dreams and experiences. Additionally, I sponsor a couple bands (Reflections, Totality, HULKstep), it would be awesome to tour with them and sell Sleep Terror on the road.

What’s your favorite tee design currently?

That’s a trick question for sure! They’re all my favorites!

What’s your top selling design?

People seem to like the Awake & Unafraid design a lot.

Is the world going to end this year?

Definitely not! I am an avid conspiracy theory fan, it doesn’t help that Fox (Spooky) Molder is my idol, but I believe any theory that the world is going to end on Dec. 21, 2012 is an awareness strategy concocted by the media and government to create urgency; to get people to the stores and buy buy buy!

Where can people find you? 

Instagram: @sleepterrorclothing

Coupon Code

Use coupon code TGROOVE at checkout for 15% off at Sleep Terror Clothing.

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