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So I was out most of yesterday at the local mall. We went to get some new eyeglasses for my wife, but the hour long wait at LensCrafters turned into about 3 hours.

I figured, might as well take this time to do some "work"/research :)

So I parked my butt on a bench, and watched a pretty diverse cross-section of American public walk by (as I tried to keep my two toddlers wrangled). This was a big mall in Sacramento, CA.

It was interesting seeing the different t-shirt "markets" respresents. The slogan (words on a t-shirt) wearers, the brand wearers (rocawear, enyce, fox racing, quicksilver, volcom), the tall tee wearers, the band t-shirt wearers, the fashion/artistic t-shirt wearers.

I think I may have seen every t-shirt type represented there. I was taking a mental tally of which was more prevelent, and if I'm being honest with myself, I'd have to say that the fashion/stylistic/artistic/off center t-shirt designs were the winner.

A few things I found interesting in my "research":

  • A lot of the tall, urban t-shirt wearers preferred blank t-shirts. Most of the time layered with a white t-shirt underneath.
  • The "fashion/artistic/tribal" style designs were crossing into other markets.

    That is to say, the urban/brand clothing lines were varying up their logo/brand by changing the print location, using "tribal"/floral type artwork to display their name. Even the slogan t-shirts had some varied print locations.
  • I was surprised how many people wear "brand" names (and rhinestones). Like there were a lot of women wearing "bebe" rhinestone t-shirts, lots of shirts with just quicksilver or rocawear on it in a stylized font.
  • And the biggest note: the t-shirt market seems to be GROWING! The outside of the GAP store had signs all the way around it saying "the Gap T-Shirt Shop", focusing their marketing on selling different t-shirt designs. Almost every clothing related store made that their focus.
I ended up buying 2 "life is good" t-shirts from the Discovery store. $20 each, nice stonewashed garment, good sizing, and simple iconic designs with a neat message.

What are you seeing out there in your t-shirt "research"?
 

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Rodney, this is something magical i tell you.

I too was thinking about starting a thread here all about whats up at the mall ?
I mean, with the Holiday season around the corner, this is a great topic.

serious.

as for whats hot at the mall ? im hoping others post stuff cause im out in RR Land, nothing but leafs turning gold around here.
 

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Rodney said:
What are you seeing out there in your t-shirt "research"?
Lots and lots of people (mostly women) wearing shirts that are WAY too small for them. What's the deal with that?

Sorry.. not really on topic. But honestly, just now when I tried to think of what kind of t-shirts I've seen lately, that came to mind first.

That and tourists wearing shirts with nonsensical english phrases on them - always entertaining!
 

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Jasonda said:
Lots and lots of people (mostly women) wearing shirts that are WAY too small for them. What's the deal with that?
AA told us that 80% of women are a medium... and people believed it ;)
 

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Speaking on the Urban Shirt Market ... a new unexpected compatitor is making there presents felt ..

In the Hood , Arab guys own almost every corner liquer store around , and now they are opening up clothing stores right next door to the liquor store , selling heat pressed shirts , and knock off name brand stuff that they produce themselves or get from east coast. Im seeing them pop up every where in the bay area .. ..
 

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Jasonda said:
Lots and lots of people (mostly women) wearing shirts that are WAY too small for them. What's the deal with that?
They call them "sausage casing girls" here.
 

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Rodney said:

And the biggest note: the t-shirt market seems to be GROWING! The outside of the GAP store had signs all the way around it saying "the Gap T-Shirt Shop", focusing their marketing on selling different t-shirt designs.
Rodney, can you tell us what type designs the Gap was selling ?


yep, Women are extremely sensitive to size lables.
 

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Rodney said:

  • I was surprised how many people wear "brand" names (and rhinestones). Like there were a lot of women wearing "bebe" rhinestone t-shirts, lots of shirts with just quicksilver or rocawear on it in a stylized font.
This never ceases to amaze me!

I have always wondered why people thought that this was cool, but now I'm glad that they do.

This is the very thing that inspired me to do what I'm doing with my clothing line. Some of my stuff has a message, but some of it (I'm almost too ashamed to even admit it:eek: ) is exactly what Rodney was surprised about: "CONQUER" and my tag line in some stylized font.:p

I figured if that's what the people in my market want, I shall give them plenty of it!;)

The Life is Good shirts definitely give inspiration. That's the kind of stuff that keeps me going.
 

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A day at the mall people watching is like a day at the beach...so enlightening but sometimes frightening as well. Even those urban cut super long tees are being sold at Walmart. Has anyone developed a specially fitted baseball cap that you can wear properly cocked and skewed sideways?
 

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Greg, that is one tough market to crack. You are a brave guy and your dedication will see you thru... I can understand why "sales reps" are so important to you.
 

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Well, thank you, Lucy!

It is very competitive, but I think that's where having a niche comes in.

Hopefully, those that buy my kind of products think that it is stylish, but also like the positive message (my niche) that is integrated with the urban wear.

You can learn a lot by people watching (sounds like a "Badalouism"!) and can get great business ideas that way (ok, now I'm sure it's a "Badalouism". Just not sure what number!)

My 2 boys play a lot of sports. Just going to some tournaments, I see how into the sports some of the kids are, and especially the parents. They have all sorts of t-shirts with sayings about their sports. So I've decided to print up a few and sell them to kids and parents on my boys' teams. I'm even thinking of building some kind of site dedicated to it. All thanks to a little people watching.
 

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These were more like funny sports shirts for kids, or "witty" sports one-liners.

For instance, a wrestling shirt that says, “My kid pinned your kid” with a kid holding a safety pin over another kid.

Or a crazy baseball shirt that says, “Wanted: ME. For: Hit and Run!”, and picture of a player hitting a baseball.

Kid stuff like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Rodney, can you tell us what type designs the Gap was selling ?
They had a variety. Some words, some stylish graphics (wings, tribal, etc), lots of distressed/vintage looks. You can see it advertised pretty big on the main page of gap.com as well.

You can learn a lot by people watching (sounds like a "Badalouism"!) and can get great business ideas that way (ok, now I'm sure it's a "Badalouism". Just not sure what number!)
That was another unexpected outcome of the people watching. Getting some good business ideas sparked.
 

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While I was shopping at the mall, I noticed more word slogan t-shirts and stylish women t-shirts. With women stylish t-shirts they are all starting to look the same.

I also sell funny sports t-shirts. Kids enjoy them.
 

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MotoskinGraphix said:
Are we teaching kids branding at such an early age?
We have been since at least the 50's. It's worse now than it was then, but I don't think it's any worse now than it was twenty years ago.
 
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