Going eCommerce

June 5, 2008
25 years ago I decided to close the doors on a successful little t-shirt business to pursue a career in illustration. Before that, I kept quite busy designing, printing and selling shirts during high school and college. I Followed the Stones and Dead on tour back in the 70s when it was semi-legal to bootleg shirts. But primarily, I sold a ton of shirts at West Virginia University and other colleges as I embarked on a "5 year 5 school plan." But as the trademark police mounted in the 80s, I decided Illustration was the better career choice. Besides, the fumes from the ink had me half looped. So, here we are in 2008 and I'm back in the t-shirt business. WHY? Because friends from WVU kept requesting me to reprint some of my WVU shirts from the 70s. The entrepreneurial side of me finally gave in... ...long story short, I went up in the attic and salvaged the old B/W designs which were drawn on krinkly old tracing paper with a #2 rapiograph pen. I was afraid if I sneezed, they'd vanish. SO, I scanned, restored and colorized them in Photoshop and presto! A complete line of vintage 70s WVU shirts and posters to market as well as my latest WVU design: High Street, The Street That Never Sleeps This was a quick little animation I posted on youtube. It's starting to make it's way around some of the WVU blogs and drive customers to www.findharri.com. Ya gotta love youtube! Crank your speakers for this one if you like banjo pickin'!
ABove is High Street, the new WVU t-shirt/poster that is currently selling at WVU's Book Exchange, several bars and my eCommerce site. One note of interest, because of the strict college trademark laws, I could NOT use any of the TMed WVU logos and captions PLUS the revered MOUNTAINEER could not be "cartooned." I had to remove the Mountaineer from the drawing. If you know anything about WVU, the Mountaineer is the school mascot and has been rated as one of the best college mascots in the country. The Mountaineer played a major role in my WVU designs and now I couldn't use him. With a little photoshop magic, the Mountaineer quickly became BANJO EER with an exploding banjo. And his coon skin cap became his lively side kick, "Little Coonie." If you want to know the story behind findharri , we'll need to sit down over a couple cold ones. Flaherty, where's the pub with the cheap cold ones? See you there in July!
OK, as you can see, my drawing skills were very crude back then. Maybe I can blame that on the ink fumes or was it something else in the air.... :^)
Here's the colorized version of Sunnyside with a few updates. For small orders, I print digital transfers on an Epson 1400 printer, then use a heat transfer machine to print the shirt. The results are incredible and the transfers today are light years better than they were in the old days. For larger orders, I leave the printing to RPS, a local screen printing co. that does beautiful work. SO, am I crazy for getting back into the t-shirt business? I guess time will tell. The plan is to go from college to college developing a line of products for each school similar to the WVU line. Next up is Penn State and after that Flaherty will help me with Ohio State. I'm currently talking to some printing companies about using variable data printing (VDP) and print-on-demand technology for personalized products all available at www.findharri.com. If you'd like to hear more about VDP and how you can use it to personalize your illustration promotions, come to ICON5 and listen to my talk on Personalized Promotions or meet me and Flaherty for a couple cold cheap ones.... Oh yeah, did anyone find HARRI?