During lunch at Naha the other day, I excitedly announced that I was going to start a t-shirt line. Ryan looked up and rolled his eyes – and everyone else went back to eating their lunch. I believe Michael added his design idea, which was: “I have a chubby for the Cubbies.” “Nope”, I said, “That’s not really what I’m going for here.” Their lack of enthusiasm, interest and suggestion wasn’t a deterrent. I knew when I made such a statement that it wouldn’t be met with jubilation. So I set off on my journey – sans cheerleaders.
In order to set up said t-shirt line, I have to talk to Canadians in Ottawa (where Shopify’s headquarters reside.) Often I receive small gifts of joy in simple forms, when I start figuring out a project. In this case: by listening to a Customer Service agent (with a full-on Canadian accent) help me upload my “Poor Sweetie” tee – each time reiterating it back, as casually as one might say “car” or “soup”.
The words and phrases on my t-shirts make me giggle. They were spawned between friends – out of absurd (and probably drunken) situations, and used for many years as inside jokes. As I was conceiving this company, I realized there are two things I like the most in this world: words that make me laugh, and the artist Ed Ruscha. So, I combined them both and started Tall Orders Tees.
No one will ever accuse me of being tech savvy. I didn’t touch a computer until I opened Bread & Wine. Now, 5 years later, I find myself building a website from scratch to make one of my teeny-tiny dreams come true. As I hear the Shopify “Guru” dryly describe something that makes no sense to me, I am reminded that I just might be one step closer to driving down the street and seeing “DUNZO” across someone’s chest.
The joy I get from hearing my Canadian friend say “Probably Not” is the same joy I’ll receive to actually see someone wearing one. Because I created something. It was a moment in time that made us all laugh, and in sharing that moment, I hope it makes others laugh. That’s all I want. That’s what drives me: the satisfaction of having entertained someone, somewhere, at some time.