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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

Banishing Negativity and Encouraging Positivity – The Birth of a Clothing Line

Malique Hawkins Clothing Line

Sometimes our customers share back stories about why they are designing a shirt. We love to hear them and are continually amazed, moved, and inspired by some of the motivation behind a custom t-shirt design. In the case of Malique Hawkins, we had not heard his story but could sense there was a whole lot of awesomeness to reveal if we asked the right questions. We reached out to him to learn how he was using his t-shirt designs and learned that this young entrepreneur is not only using his t-shirt for business, but to help promote a really positive message. Here’s the entire scoop of what we learned from this truly impressive young man.

What were you involved with that inspired you to create The Movement Clothing?

Although I’m only 16, I have been public speaking for eleven years; I was 7 years old when my public speaking journey began. I speak on topics regarding social injustice and how to overcome it. The Movement Clothing falls perfectly in line with the message of combatting the negative forces we face while bringing awareness to issues plaguing our communities.

Malique Hawkins 1

What problem did you see that needed to be addressed?

The main problems I saw were the four (4) areas that I focus on in my business: bullying, suicide, racism, and violence. When we come together to promote positivity, regardless of race, gender, age, or religion, we can do something about these issues and hopefully make a change.

Is there anything you feel is unique about your approach to addressing these issues?

I think the most unique thing about my business is the fact that it’s a clothing line that promotes positivity and unity in our negative world. We often see people speak about various issues and/or write about them, but this is different. By creating a clothing line with apparel that is aesthetically pleasing while also spreading the message of positivity, the idea of “No Negativity, Promote Positivity”, becomes a lifestyle for those who wear the clothing. Not only do they know they’re wearing the shirt for a good cause, but they actually want to wear the shirt simply for style purposes.

Malique Hawkins 2

What are some of the biggest hurdles you've faced creating momentum for The Movement?

The biggest hurdle I have faced has simply been getting people to jump on board and support The Movement. People put their money in a lot of different places, so I have had to work hard to get people to recognize my vision and support it. I often hear people say, “I don’t need another t-shirt!” My response to this, “It’s not just another t-shirt; it’s a Movement!” I also believe people think I’m just doing this for the money, which prevents them from purchasing a shirt. In reality, however, I do this because I love it and awareness needs to be brought to the issues of bullying, suicide, racism, and violence.

Who has inspired you on your journey?

I have been inspired by the many people who have lost their lives to suicide, racism, bullying, and violence in the Hampton Roads area (Virginia) and across the world. Their stories prove there is still a lot of work to do. Therefore, I have to do my part and keep promoting positivity in a world that desperately needs it.

What's the best advice you could give someone looking to make positive changes in their community?

The best piece of advice I could give someone looking to make positive changes in their community is to just do it. This may seem cliché and even sound like I’m making it simpler than it really is, but I’m not. I decided I wanted to make t-shirts to promote positivity. After finding the money, doing some market research, and coming up with my logo, I placed my first order approximately one week after coming up with the idea. Now, I can honestly say I am a successful entrepreneur. The biggest key is just taking the first step.

Malique Hawkins 4

How did you come up with design for your t-shirts?

I chose a tornado for The Movement Clothing’s logo. When I think about a tornado, the first thing that comes to mind is how powerful it is. I knew this would be the perfect logo for my clothing line. When we all come together and promote positivity and unity in our negative world, we can make a dramatic change and make things move like a tornado does. The rest of the shirts’ design came with me trying different styles until I found the one I thought looked the best.

Malique Hawkins 5

What role do custom t-shirts have in furthering positivity?

My shirts and visors can play a big role in furthering positivity because it is a mobile billboard for the cause. Someone seeing the message, “No Negativity, Promote Positivity”, on the back of my shirts or on the front of my visors can be encouraged to promote positivity themselves. It could also be a simple reminder to do the right thing versus going through with something bad they were planning to do that day.

Malique Hawkins 6

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I plan to continue to bring awareness to these issues through speaking engagements, participating in events, and working to expand The Movement Clothing to a national business. Right now, The Movement is in 26 states, which means we have a little less than half of the nation to go. I plan to reach much bigger audiences and get more exposure so I can spread the message of “No Negativity, Promote Positivity” to people everywhere. When this happens, we can all take a stand collectively against bullying, suicide, racism, and violence.

Malique Hawkins 7

What is the going rate for a Movement shirt or visor?

I want to keep the cost affordable, so The Movement Clothing shirts start at $15. Shirts are currently available in short sleeve in various colors (adult sizes small through XL are $15 and 2X and 3X are $20). Visors are currently available in black and white for $15. Long sleeve shirts have been removed from my website for the summer; however, long sleeve shirts start at $20. Adult sizes small through XL are $20 and 2X and 3X are $25. People can visit my website to see what’s in stock and to make purchases: Orders ship within 24 hours for orders received Monday through Friday.

Malique Hawkins 7

Where can people find you and The Movement?


Instagram: @TheMovementClothing and @MaliqueHawkins

YouTube: Malique Hawkins and MTM Entertainment

Facebook: Malique Hawkins

TV Interviews about The Movement:

Rush Order T-shirts – A Guide to Guaranteed Delivery

Rush order t-shirts header

We take our ability to deliver great customer service very seriously. That’s why we know it’s important to set our customers’ expectations appropriately when it comes to deliverability of printed apparel. We know that there are timeline emergencies even when it comes to ordering custom t-shirts. Occasionally, rush order tees are a necessity. We try to help out as much as we can by offering three different deliver by date options including “lightning” delivery in 3 business days. We guarantee our dates and in some cases we even delivery earlier than scheduled. Having an agile team of customer service reps, artists and printers makes us stand out in a competitive landscape. However, educating our customers on timelines is very empowering. Our goal is to give you the tools to order like a ninja. That’s why we’re putting this guide together to help you understand what’s at stake when you need custom t-shirts fast!

When you find yourself in a pinch these pro tips should help you have all your ducks together for a stress free ordering scenario. Don’t worry, even if you don’t have everything just yet, we’ll do all that we can on our side to help get the right information to us to process your order as quickly as possible.

Have a solid idea of what you want – When you’re looking to get t-shirts fast, knowing what you want is going to speed things up immensely. What makes t-shirt orders drag along is when there is a lot of going back and forth between you, your customer service representative and the artist involved in the order. Although we offer fantastic advice on all things related to t-shirt design and products, sharing your vision from the get-go will help everyone zero in on the perfect solution, fast.

Know how much you can spend – It doesn’t make sense for your sales person to offer you products and print applications that are too far out of your budget. While we do offer many types of products, having an estimated budget will help us narrow down our recommendations. Even down to the brand. With our knowledge of apparel products we can quickly ascertain what brands will fall in the realm of the price point you need to be at.

Have all assets on hand –If you know you’ll be submitting artwork, have those files ready to go on a moment’s notice. A huge part of our process is getting the artwork prepped for screens. Unfortunately if we’re given low resolution artwork, we either need to recreate the art which can be time consuming, or wait until you’ve been able to contact the artist who originally created the art to get it in a suitable format for printing. On a side note, when you have custom art created for you by an artist, try to get the artwork in as many file formats as you can so the artwork can be reproduced in a variety of mediums like print and web.

Specifics on colors – If you know you need an exact color, please deliver the information as a Pantone (PMS) color. HEX, CMYK, and RGB are not suitable for color matching on printed apparel. The matching system was formulated with the garment printing industry in mind. If you rely on the way a color appears on a computer monitor you could be surprised with the results. The only way to know for sure is to reference a PMS book in person with your own eyeballs.

Rush order t-shirt instructions

Give us all the details – If you need your shirts for a specific function or event, sharing that information will help us determine what products would best suit your needs. For example, if you need custom t-shirts fast for the new construction crew starting work on a big job your contracting firm just landed, we would recommend a really sturdy t-shirt like the Hanes Beef T which can stand up to a lot of repeat washing and has a thick feel to it. If your rush t-shirt order is for a dance team, we might recommend performance wear like the Sport-Tek PosiCharge Competitor Tee or trendy eye-catching neon colors like The Concert Tank by District.

Have your quantity finalized – Once an order is placed in our system, that is our green light to go, particularly in a rush situation, your order will be queued ahead of other orders. That means the blank apparel product will be ordered in most cases on the same day. If you add more sizes or make changes to the order quantity, it can throw a wrench in the works and cause delays. Our warehouse is a finely oiled machine. The days print jobs are laid out ahead of schedule and an entire press cannot sit idly by while we wait half the day for the straggler products to arrive. If you must add more pieces to the order the deliver by date might have to change or other methods of print like direct-to-garment may need to be utilized and those pieces shipped as their own order using this alternative method of decoration.

Know your shipping address – Sometimes a rush order for custom t-shirts comes from a surprise event like a last minute decision to participate in a trade show. Knowing where you need the goods shipped is critical to receiving them in time. A change to the final delivery address even after the product has been shipped isn’t unheard of, but depending on the flexibility of the courier, it can cause a hiccup in delivery time.

Payment – If you’re stuck with a last minute custom t-shirt need, be prepared to pay by a method that offers the least hurdles. That is a credit card. Checks take time to reach us by mail and we don’t start production without payment. We do accept purchase orders from schools, municipalities, and government organizations but if you can pay by credit card, it’s the way to go for super-fast processing.

The last tip might seem like a no-brainer but your availability will be critical to ensuring a fast turnaround. If we’ve told you we will send an email or call for further verification on aspects of your order, look out for it and be prepared to reply. If you have requested a photo of the first shirt, you need to be available by phone at the time of the scheduled print. Setting up a press for screen print takes time and if you miss your window for approval, we tear it down and rebuild for another print job. Waiting on that job to finish could mean the difference of an entire day and when your timeline is crucial that could ruin your event.

Can I use Quotes on Custom Tees?

Quotes on tee shirts

You’re wondering if you can include a catchy quote on your latest t-shirt design. Addressing copyright and trademark usage when it comes to printed apparel is a very ambiguous subject that gives plenty of designers and their apparel printers cause to pause and ponder.

In a nutshell, it depends. We’ll address the different scenarios that impact whether you can use quotes in your t-shirt design whether for personal use or reselling for a profit.

One of the first things to understand when it comes to anything that can be defined as intellectual property is that even if it’s for the personal use of one of our customers, we as printers cannot print anything we feel falls under protection because we make money from our services. That is often a point of confusion for our users when they don’t intend to use the end product for any commercial purpose.

What is Intellectual property?Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” Intellectual property rights were first introduced in the late 19th century to address the international issue of rights to profit from productions of the aforementioned kind but also to limit the extent to which these creations could be covered.

It is outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Without these protections and structured limitations, the world would be a less creative space.

Trademark, service mark, and copyright are synonymous to many people but this perception is incorrect. Each is actually referring to different designations. A trademark is used to identify goods as being produced by a specific entity while a service mark refers to a service being provided like screen printing or apparel manufacturing. Copyright protects artistic creation like novels, songs, and movies.

trademark v copyright

The trademark would protect the product; the copyright would protect the media that is used to promote the product such as slogans, although a slogan can also fall under trademark. Furthermore a trademark can be established by common law if the trademark is consistently used in the act of commerce.

Copyright protection is automatic once a creative work has been brought into being. The extent of protection is quite generous too. The work is protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years if published as an individual. If the work is created anonymously, pseudonymously, (think of Dr. Suess), or for hire, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

Back to the burning question at hand, “Can I use quotes on my custom tee?” As previously explained, any published work is automatically copyright protected. However ideas cannot be copyright protected so if something is said in conversation, those words do not fall under copyright. Unless of course they are reiterating in speech what has already been copyright protected from a creative work.

Quotes are generally safe to use of they exist in the Public Domain. These are works for which copyright protection has expired. If it’s documented as existing in the Public Domain, you’re generally safe to use it in your own original works of art such as a printed quote on a tee.

There are even exceptions to copyright protection when it comes to works designed to be used in parody, critique, or review. In this murky realm, a creator really takes on the chance of liability if the copyright holder chooses to challenge the use of their creative works in your creations. If the primary purpose in the use of copyright protected material is for financial gain, this circumvents the argument of using the work in a fair-use defense.

Parody is subjective and in the worst case scenario, you might find yourself defending your position in a courtroom.

You can arguably use short sentences since there has to be a reasonable amount of creativity used in a work to be considered copyright protected.

National anthems cannot be copyright protected so that “star-spangled banner can yet wave” all over your tee without any worries.

When not to use quotes on a t-shirt:

Don’t use quotes from movies, song lyrics, books, poems, or speeches that have been prewritten and recorded on any media. If the author is still alive, you may not quote their work. If it’s recognizable do not use the quote. The exceptions are works that have fallen under Public Domain like Shakespeare, the Bible, or anything from the Government.

This post was not written by a lawyer, nor does it constitute any type of legal advice. It’s intended to be a guideline to consider when designing custom t-shirts for print regardless whether for personal use or commercial use. When using our services we make the ultimate decision whether we will print a design or refuse the job and refund your order.

Trademark = Brands

Copyright = Artistic Works


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