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Steppin’ Out…

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At Stolen Outfitters we try damn hard to distance ourselves from foolishness and time traps, in general. We try BUT are not always successful. Sometimes we get caught up and -in the process of doing so- we fall behind. We can acknowledge that. We can hone up to that. We make shirts not excuses.

This site was….challenging to build. Switching from my old method to this new platform came complete with growing pains and much assembly required. It was all worth it. The site functions as it should. It upholds the brand as we see fit. We transact sales confidently. Our marketing sucks though. I can acknowledge that. I can hone up to that. I design solutions not justifications for shortcomings.

Why does our marketing suck? Honestly, I would break it down as several parts inexperience, several parts being too cool for our own good and -primarily- fear of being received as spam.

I view SPAM as -literally- Some Poor Ass Marketing and would hate for anything I am involved in to be exiled to one of those folders for quarantine and execution.

I thought we were on to something with our Labworks Series. They were picture based. People will come here to see the pictures right? Instagram shut all that down by giving our pictures access to more people immediately. Add to that my new found love for the camera on iphones and that time invested elsewhere is explained. Should we have stopped the series? Probably not. THIS is our virtual brick and mortar situation and where the work should be archived but the popularity of IG and the need for exposure superseded my concept of “pitching from the porch”. 487 posts and 530 followers later, I do not regret the decision.

If you know a little something, you know Facebook owns Instagram. All of our IG posts ultimately travel through FB. I cross post to both FB and Twitter using IG. The thing is, FB content is constrained to our friend lists respectively. We had been urged by several people ( S/O to Melissa Irby in particular) to put a fan page together. After Boot Camping this site into being I was not exactly enthusiastic about translating this brand into someone else’s framework. The suggestion lay on ice. Then I joined the African American Graphic Designers Group on FB. I started to notice how many fan pages were out there. I was asked to be a part of a fan page which -in turn- gave me access to the admin screen. That’s when I got a glimpse at the mathematics. Stats. Glorious stats. Not long after that, I found myself Liking a page and noticed the Create Page button in the upper right corner.

It couldn’t be this easy could it?

I clicked it. 4 hours, 4 custom covers pictures and 2 custom avatars later we had a FB Fan page. We had so much media posted on IG it was easy to shift some of the most relevant work to the fan page. 12 hours after we invited people we had 127 likes. 24 hours after that I hooked up our Mailchimp account, built subscription forms for this site (you can find them on the Home page and in the sidebar to your right) as well as the FB Fan page and then wrote this piece.

I am not sure if you can tell but I am excited about what possibilities and potentials this brings within our grasp. Speaking from a clearly marketing standpoint, I am interested to see what works and what doesn’t so that we can start implementing effective marketing strategies for -not only our brand- but other ventures that require the same exposure. More than that, it just feels good to be back in the back office and being active. Ink under my nails and all that.

Yes. The numbers I quoted are meager in comparison to more popular accounts but they are more than we had yesterday and for that we give thankhs.

For those wondering, design-wise, I carried the brand over to FB by using the subtle FB blue gradient and the Stolen Outfitters fence pattern as a cover image. The avatar is styled after the FB reversed out “f”. When you toggle between this site and that page, you are supposed to feel a connection and get the vibe that someone thought that out. Even if you don’t, do us a favor and Like it anyway. Every click counts. Thanks!

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Lab Work #6

I took a little time away from Stolen Outfitters to finish up www.hollagraphics.com. It was long overdue and continuously took a backseat in favor of the development of Stolen Outfitters but now we’re back up and better than ever before. Now that that’s out the way, back to Stolen….

I recently sat down with the author of the comic Jaycen Wise (who has his own name, Uraeus, but still responds to Jaycen Wise) and discussed using some of his art on t-shirts. Thankfully for us, he agreed and I set out upon the mission of producing a print fitting of the incredible artwork provided by John Jennings. Using a 280 mesh screen and a halftone process on the image, I was able to produce what I consider to be 1 of our most detailed 1 color pieces. You can help support the advancement of the Jaycen Wise Project here.

This shirt is now available in Moss (shown), Steel, Heather Grey and White. $35

 

 

The second piece is purely a product of my subconscious. I designed the center elements -consisting of 2 automatic weapons wrapped in bandages that form an ‘S’ and the first eye as the nucleus of an oval time portal- months ago. Last night -at about 3am- the line work that adorns the perimeter of the oval, basically fell out of my mind into the piece. After studying the forms, I started to see a bird in each corner of the line work. Completely unintentional but cosmically calculated. Can you see the bird or make out what species it is? What do you see in this piece? Does it give you a feeling or resonate in any particular way with you?

The shirt will be released as Fully Auto-Mummy. Colors have not been decided as of yet. Suggestions?

 

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Lab Work #5

We constantly search for garments to print on. Constantly. Sometimes we find pieces that we love but we know we can’t mass produce. This is one of them.

I have a thing for Converse Chuck Taylors and Varsity Jackets. I believe I was born in the wrong era. I should’ve been in Coolie High. This is the Pos Eye Varsity jacket. It doesn’t have the traditional leather sleeves varsity jackets are known for but at a ratio of 60/40 ( 60% cotton/ 40% polyester ) it was ideal for silk screening. Unfortunately, I can’t track the manufacturer down and my source only has a handful left. Problematic since I uploaded the pictures to Facebook and got leaned on for a couple of orders. Looks like we may have to outsource if the demand is great enough. That’s a good problem though.

If anyone is interested in this jacket, it’s going for $75 though the price may change dramatically if production is outsourced. Use the email on the Contact Us page for specifics.

-Don

 

 

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Lab Work #4

At Stolen Outfitters, we’re not particularly fond of either zombies or snitches. Zombies are mindless consumers of the living and Snitches are not always truthful or in the interest of justice. Since we make statements through fashion, we felt it was only right to billboard this notion on a shirt while playing off of pop culture…at the same damn time.

These are available for the Fall in Sand and Moss tees ($25) as well as heather grey crewnecks ($45). Perfect for Back-To-School (especially if you write your own curriculum.)

-Don

 

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Lab Work #3

We do a fair amount of work at Stoutfitters. Basically, we do everything short of sewing the shirt (and who knows what the future holds). Something we do regularly is Print On Demand. We do keep inventory of certain key products but we try to stay swift and changeable to adjust to the market and our target demographic’s taste fluctuations. Not everyone likes our color choices and we are open to suggestions. That pertains to shirt and ink colors.

Just recently, I got 2 orders from my strong peoples, Kaz and Sean. Their orders were considered Print On Demand because we didn’t have any of what they requested in stock and/or had to devise a colorway that didn’t exist prior to the order. For example, The Electic Geometric below is listed on the site but we only printed purple on black originally. The red on black from the shop page was but a theory until it was ordered and produced. This is how we resist commitment to dead stock and having to mark things down to move them. We experiment in our lab and compare notes with our clients to find out what’s wanted and what works. It’s a beautiful thing. 

Peace to Sean and Kaz for the support!

So don’t take the Contact Us page (it’s the drop down under Blog) for granted. If you have a request as far as colorways are concerned, by all means submit it. If it can be done, we will do it. You get to sport it AND a shout out in a Lab Works post.

-Don