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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

12 Insane (But True) Things about Tees

We all have t-shirts in our closets and drawers (unless you’re Richard Branson) that fulfill different functions in our day to day lives. It’s a rare bird that actually knows anything about how t-shirts are produced or the fun facts that surrounding the t-shirt business. From field to factory to neatly folded and put away in a dresser, the journey of t-shirts is full of insane (but true) things you would never guess.

  1. Cotton is a major component in the production of most tees. It takes 713 gallons of water to grow the cotton need to make just one t-shirt. Fortunately organizations like the World Wildlife Federation are working with farmers to in Pakistan and India on the Better Cotton Initiative that is yielding results like increased profit for the farmer, a 39% reduction in the water usage and almost half as much pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Go WWF!

  2. Cotton is manipulated into strong yarn by pulling and stretching the fibers in a four step continual process until they are thinner and longer. The result is yarn 30 times thinner than it began. And in the world of textile, thin = strength.
  3. Actually sewing a t-shirt together is still a manual process. A talented team of 8 can sew about 140 t-shirts per hour.

  4. 98 percent of clothing is imported from other countries.
  5. Your average designer t-shirt has a markup of 60 percent. That’s one mighty expensive tag.

  6. Brothers John and Bert Jacobs turned their love of art and selling tees into a billion dollar PRIVATE business, Life is Good, (indeed.)
  7. Plastisol ink is the traditional ink used for screen printing. It’s called plastisol because it’s actually made of PVC and plasticizer.
  8. The rotary press was invented by Mike Vasilantone in 1960 making multiple color screen printing on tees a commercially viable venture.
  9. In 2006, John Anton launched, one of the first online t-shirt design studio websites in the world.

  10. The invention of the t-shirt was essentially bringing the undergarment to outer garment status starting in the late 19th century. Hail to those forbearers that said no to stuffy and hello to comfy.

  11. A lot of donated clothing is sold and shipped to sub-Saharan Africa where it is resold in markets. Next time you’re in Sierra Leone take a look around, we bet you’ll see how discarded promotional t-shirts take on a second and perhaps more interesting life.
  12. The Hard Rock Cafe claims that their t-shirt is the best-selling t-shirt of all time, (it could be since merch accounts for 40% of their business.)

T-Shirt and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is now a fairly common practice to gain funds for a venture or project. It can be used for personal ventures, (think family reunion, new sports team t-shirts, family vacation, etc.) It can also be used to acquire funding for a professional project, (creating an app, research funds, archeological dig, etc.)

There are two different mainstream models of crowdfunding. One is donation-based funding which often includes perks like custom t-shirts, cd’s, original artwork and the like for different amounts or tiers of donations described by the crowdfunder. The other is investment crowdfunding which can give the donor shares or a piece of ownership in the venture.

Most individuals will use the donation based model for personal projects and depending on your goals, there are an array of sites that allow you to set up your crowdfund very easily. Here’s a few that work very well depending on your needs.


Free money collection which is fantastic if your simply gathering funds from family members for a the family reunion, annual family cruise, block party, or reimbursement for a t-shirt order.

You can sell t-shirts or basically anything and the built in sharing tools make it easy to gain visibility on all the social channels. Furthermore, people respond quickly because there is a built in urgency to get to the point where your campaign “tilts” or meets the goal. You can also easily view every donor to see if everyone’s chipped in if your goal is fundraising.


RocketHub is a favorite for creative artists and visionaries for social change but also is used by scientists and entrepreneurs. It’s free with low transactional fees and has a broad range of social sharing functions to spread the word. How they really shine is their affiliation with the A&E channel. If your project is really outstanding you might be offered funding from A&E or even on-air exposure for your project. For a creative venture many crowdfund leaders offer tiered rewards for the amount of the donation which often includes a “t-shirt” package.


This crowdfunding site has a global reach and takes a flat 5% of your funds. Additional charges are levied depending on the payment portals used by your funders (PayPal and credit cards have different fees.) If you don’t reach your goal, your funders don’t pay. Some of the most popular perks for sponsors offered are t-shirts, tote bags, and hoodies. This site is favored by filmmakers, musicians, small businesses, tech developers and community advocates.

Whatever your goals when starting a crowdfunding venture, we offer some of the lowest prices and high quality screen printing for your merch or perks. Even if you have a smaller project you can choose our no minimum products without having to order 100 or more custom screen printed products like some other screen printers that have affiliation with these crowdfunding websites.

Ways your Mother Lied to You about T-Shirts

We’ve all been taught by society to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, but Mom was probably the one that instilled a sense of propriety like no other influencer could have. She told you when your shoe was untied, to brush your hair, tuck in your shirt, wash your face and brush your teeth. But perhaps more than anything else, she taught you how to dress for the occasion which rarely permits wearing a t-shirt in a professional atmosphere. Mom came from a different era though. Now t-shirts are worn by some of the most influential people on the world stage, particularly in the digital fields.

Okay, we don't really want to call your Mom a liar but here’s a list of some of the most influential people who wear t-shirts to conferences, boardrooms, and national broadcasts and are wildly successful in spite of it.

  1. Rand Fishkin in a digital marketing superstar who founded the SEO and marketing community of He’s the co-founder of and was named one of the Top 30 under 30 of the Best Young Entrepreneurs 2009 in Bloomberg Business among many other prestigious accolades. While fond of collared and button down shirts, Rand has also been photographed on many professional occasions wearing a t-shirt, sometimes classed up by a blazer. Rock on Rand!
    Via Dana Lookadoo, Rand Fishkin's Showdown Session, by Creative Commons License

  2. Jay Baer is the President of Convince & Convert as well as a highly respected and engaged social and content strategist as well as an author. He’s worked with more than 700 brands including FORTUNE 500 companies. Also known to be quite fond of a button down collared shirt, he’s also frequently spotted in a trendy tee.
    Via TopRank Online Marketing, Krista Neher, Jason Baer, Jason Falls Blogger Lounge, by Creative Commons License

  3. Aaron Wall is the founder of, one of the oldest and long standing search engine optimization blogs and communities on the web. He’s invited to the most prestigious digital marketing conferences in the world and the knowledge he shares has been included in course text for MBA classes. As a young entrepreneur, he certainly has domain over his professional wardrobe which absolutely contains t-shirts.
    Via Stephen Turcotte, Aaron Wall, Author of The SEO Book. I like the Firefox t-shirt, Creative Commons License

  4. Larry Page and Sergey Brin – Co-Founders of Google Inc., this duo decided very early on not to follow the standard business model. They started out their programmatic by nature vision quest with an algorithm known as PageRank which relied on the number of links to a certain page to dictate the relevancy of query. They receive their first real funding from the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the rest is still making history. We love the fact that these men set a new trend for business wear that quite often includes a simple tee.
    Via Bruno Pedor, Larry Page and Sergey Brin introducing the G1, by Creative Commons License

  5. Guy Kawasaki has a long, distinguished career as an author and development evangelist. His first major break came during his time at Apple, he’s since started multiple companies ranging from database ventures to an angel investor matchmaking service. Currently he’s evangelizing for Canva, an easy to use web based digital designer. Since Guy is a native of Hawaii, he’s frequently seen wearing a Hawaiian style shirt but with great freedom, comes great style decisions and t-shirts are high up on his list of What to Wear.
    Via Ziv Gillat, DSC_1358.JPG, by Creative Commons License

  6. Seth Godin is an outstanding direct, permission based, and digital marketer and author. He’s been featured on TED Talks, has been invited to speaking engagements around the world, founded Squidoo, Yoyodyne, and was Yahoo’s Vice President of Permission Marketing. He’s authored 18 bestseller books including his latest What To Do When It’s Your Turn, (which is awesome.) He’s fond of t-shirts and even wrote The T-Shirt Rule. Go Seth!
    Via Erik Charlton, Godin on Leadership, by Creative Commons License