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stripedshirt KickSTOPPER

26 May

striped-shirt-logoWell Striped Supporters, the jig is up!

After 5 years of trying to get stripedshirt to take off, I’m giving up.  But in true Laura fashion, I wanted to do so with some flare and with a very public admission of defeat.

A few weeks ago, over dinner with friends, we hatched this idea of doing a stripedshirt KickSTOPPER.

And then, at lunch with another friend, we kept rolling with the idea and doing a video of my IndieNoGo.

I knew the vision of the video immediately: it is modeled after the brilliance I think is Mike and the launch of the Dollar Shave Club 3 years ago.  I’m no Mike (and knew I couldn’t swear since I wanted kids to watch the video!), but I thought we could do something in the same spirit.  Something cute, funny, short and sweet, and brutally honest.

And so, here today is the unveiling of the video for the stripedshirt KickSTOPPER.  It’s real, it’s true, you can really get 50% off your order at www.stripedshirt.com just by entering “kickstopper” at the coupon code at check out.  It is deliberately a very public – and hopefully funny – way for me to tell the world stripedshirt failed.

Why?

I think of it kind of like a relationship.  Until you tell all your friends your boyfriend broke up with you, they are going to keep asking about him every time they see you.  Everyone asks me “how are the stripes?”  Now I can just point them to YouTube!

I’m also doing this because I gave stripedshirt 5 years and I’m quite proud of that effort.  Being an entrepreneur is really hard, and there is no shame in the fact this business didn’t fly.  We are always talking about businesses launching, about start ups.  We rarely talk about shut downs!

Now I am, with the world’s first real Kickstopper campaign, and a rare public admission of a failed business.  Check out the video, and if you like it, pass it on!  (Cause it wouldn’t hurt if I sold a few more shirts!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP_KBl9sWmk

Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement along the way these past 5 years.  It is beyond appreciated!

(please no lawsuits, Kickstarter or Indiegogo, all I got to give for a settlement is a bunch of stripedshirts!)

Happy 15th Birthday Vineyard Vines, My stripedshirt Inspiration

4 Jul

stripedshirt color combinations

 

Today is not just 4th of July, the day we celebrate America, our Independence and all that.  It’s also the anniversary of my favorite brand, my inspiration: Vineyard Vines.

And, if I’m right, today is their 15th anniversary.    This is a company I’ve admired since they began, and I like and wear the clothing for more reasons than just its sheer cuteness.  That whale is a representative of the wearer.  Meaning, when I wear Vineyard Vines it kind of says I love Martha’s Vineyard, of course, but really the entire Cape Cad area, Massachusetts, East Coast, all things preppy, classic, timeless.

Vineyard Vines is a brand that IS my style and represents my personality.  It is an extension of me.  As good, special, unique clothing should be, and stripedshirt is trying to be.  Preppy.  Classic.  Timeless.

Doesn’t hurt that the story of the founders is pretty cool too.  Two brothers, Shep and Ian Murray, got tired of the NYC business scene and cut and ran December 1997.  By July 4, 1998, they had a Jeep full of patterned ties they were personally pedaling around Martha’s Vineyard.  The brothers are still involved now, but have grown the brand from coveted items you’d see in specialty shops and boutiques in beach towns to 25 – and growing – of their own stores  and a great online site, and fun blog.  Their photos capture the spirit of their clothes, and often are real live Vineyard Viners.

Shep and Ian say:  You can still make a living doing something you love with people you like. You just have to give two weeks notice.

I did that myself, when I quit a long and happy career in PR April 30, 2010 and started stripedshirt.  From my day one, I had Vineyard Vines in my mind as my business role model, my inspiration.  Course, the fact that they were at $60 Million in 2007, less than 10 years in business, is a little intimidating.  I don’t think stripedshirt will be as big as Vineyard Vines, but I surely hope we are as happy as they seem to be, from that first tie sale their day one July 4, 1998 to 15 years later, July 4 2013!

Happy 15th, Shep and Ian.  You inspire me, and many!

 

Happy One Month Til Summer: the Summer of Stripes!

28 Apr

royal blue and white stripes with hot pinkMom and kids in yellow and white striped shirtsMom and son in red and white stripes for 4th of July, AmericaToday is one month until Memorial Day, the official start of Summer. At stripedshirt, we are making it the Summer of Stripes! We have 15 great color combos now, awesome shirts for women, kids and babies, its time to get em out there, and into more hands.

The shirts are perfect for Summer: nothing more crisp, Preppy, nautical, sailing club, pool party, park and picnic. I’ve been loving navy and white stripes with Kelly green; yellow and white with indigo; royal and white with hot pink, purple and white with turquoise. Great, bold, color blocking fun for Summer.

And don’t forget all your USA moments, whether Memorial Day or 4th of July, that red and white stripe will suit you well (and be able to be used for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and perhaps Halloween (if you want to be Waldo, Olivia the Pig, a pirate or French sailor).

And when you have that family reunion, family photo, family vacation, day at Disney, an amusement park, a fair or festival, outfitting all the women, kids and babies in the same stripes is a sure-fire way to stick together and look a-freaking-dorable at the same time.

At less than $20 a shirt, why wouldn’t you get some stripes? Order up NOW, be ready to be part of the Summer of Stripes!

I Love What I Do. FedEx Does Too!

31 Mar

Several months ago, I was fortunate enough to be chosen by FedEx to be part of its amazing FedEx + Me program for small businesses, being piloted in Austin. I had heard of this program at least a year prior, and was so anxious to be a part. But they were looking for very young, very first time business people, who were also starting their own businesses. At then 39, and starting a new chapter with stripedshirt after 18 years of PR agency life, I was hardly a new-kid-on-the-business-block. But they took pity on me or something :) and let me into the program end of 2011. It has been amazing! Such a great group of businesses, people I respect and admire, and who are such a great support network to me. And FedEx does so much for us, from inspiring speakers, to training sessions, to small groups brought together for information sharing. Perhaps the very best value – to date- from the FedEx + Me program, was me winning a professionally produced video!!! I was so excited to be one of five selected, and wow they were good! I went into a studio end of February, and the next day, a crew came to my house – I mean stripedshirt world headquarters – and filmed several of my friends and their kiddos. Less than a month later, and LOOK what I got!!!! So darn exciting! I love, and appreciate very much! Thank you FedEx!

Reluctantly Pinning My Way Around a New Social World

25 Mar

Thanks to my dear friend Aaron Strout, aka Citizen Marketer, for posting my thoughts on businesses and Pinterest on his blog! Appreciate! Link here, and full blog post from me below: http://blog.stroutmeister.com/2012/03/reluctantly-pinning-my-way-around-another-social-world/

Reluctantly Pinning My Way Around Another Social World.

Last month, I finally broke down and joined Pinterest. I didn’t want to. I held off for as long as I could, for a few reasons: I have a hard enough time keeping up with Facebook and Twitter, my two social means of choice; I heard Pinterest is a time sink hole, hours suddenly vanish and you are still pinning away; and I heard Pinterest is for housewives with lots of time on their hands: that cannot be me!

But you see, it is exactly my customer. Now at nearly 1.4 million users DAILY, Pinterest users are nearly 70% women, 50% with kids, most in that coveted 25-35 year old age bracket, and most with upper middle class or above household incomes.

THAT is exactly my customer, my target. You see, not only am I personally almost exactly that demographic (thought aged out now at 40), but this is who I market my business to. I couldn’t afford to miss Pinterest, for my brand, especially now with the opportunity to get in and “get pinning,” while it is still evolving.

My business, stripedshirt.com, focuses on fan-wear for women, kids and babies. Two color combination striped shirts to support a team, school, cause, organization. Women, aged 25-35, with kids and with disposable income are my ideal target. Pinterest gathers them all for me. OH AND my product is extremely visual – multi color shirts. Pinterest is built for beauty, color, great images, physical goods, pretty products, designs.

I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for my business since day one, simultaneously setting up these business table stakes while getting my URL and building a website. But, I had not yet taken the Pinterest leap as of a month ago, honestly, out of fear that I’d get personally sucked in and lose more precious hours of my already-too-short days to yet another online social time suck.

I was intrigued, of course, especially by the recent “tipping point” for Pinterest. See, Pinterest is hardly new. It started Thanksgiving 2009. It’s been around over two years now. But this one is a strange one: it took off very slowly, plodding along really until something magical happened that other startups would likely kill to replicate. Somewhere around September 2011, Pinterest started taking off like a rocket ship. (Was it truly the power of PR? Pinterest was included in a Time Magazine Top 50 Best Websites of 2011 list in August. Who knows. Again, if the magic trigger could be identified, oh, how others would jump on board!)

Per Wikipedia, in January 2012, comScore reported Pinterest had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. And founder Ben is now a beloved name and face to thousands of Mommy Bloggers and average middle aged American women. I heard he was mobbed, rockstar-style, when speaking at the AltSummit conference in January.

Somehow, refreshingly, Pinterest ignored the latest start up mantra of “Fail Quickly” and stuck with it until that magic moment when it went viral about six months ago. Shouldn’t be a surprise, Pinterest was BUILT to be viral – pinning and repinning is all about the “network effect” and, like Twitter, you don’t have to be friends to follow, or like, or pin. Also like Twitter, search in Pinterest is great (unlike Facebook), to find what you like, dig into topics of interest, find other inspirations.

And, a bit like Etsy, Pinterest is super easy, and all-inclusive about “selling” – simply add a dollar sign ($) to your image description and it beautifully tags the image as something for purchase. And you can post and pin your own stuff with ease, pimp your own goods! (Please, Pinterest, take your time in monetizing this feature, I know you will, but for the poor start ups out there, take your time!)

For all these reasons, I broke down and personally joined Pinterest, to be able to promote stripedshirt, my ecommerce business, THROUGH my own personal account. That’s deliberate. I do believe there will be strict rules for businesses on Pinterest, soon, regarding ecommerce and affiliate programs, percentages of sales to Pinterest and others. And I know soon we’ll be hearing a lot more about trademark and copyright rules with images. The big guys, and brands killing it on Pinterest like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living can roll with those punches. Little startup me wanted to be more cautious.

For now, I’m one of the 12 million pinning away in Pinterest, and my business images, my products to shill, are clearly featured on my own boards, with information, URLs, pricing details indicating they are products for purchase, easy clicks to transactions. My friends are repinning my stuff and the images are starting to spread beyond my personal network to the wider Pinterest world.

Have I gotten a sale yet directly from Pinterest? Not that I can tell. But brand building and visibility is king. And again, if I’m a brand that cares most about Moms with kids, it would be dangerous to dismiss the power of Pinterest and be absent from it. It’s where my customers are, it’s where I need to be.

How about you? Have you also reluctantly pinned your way into a new social corner?

(Good) Things Happen In Threes!

2 Sep

Today and yesterday – very good days! Three amazing things.

First, yesterday, a super cute gift shop in Austin, Atown (@AtownTex) agreed to carry my shirts! Taking in first inventory momentarily.  

Second, the fun of College Colors Day has gotten a lot of great buzz going, and I always love an excuse to wear my maroon and gold. 

Finally, I just read a blog post that makes me want to cry! http://elzabelz.blogspot.com/2011/09/friday-favorite-game-day-outfit.html I’m so very appreciative! Thank you Elz!  

And, so, on National College Colors Day, lets get some convos going, give me a reply, a blog response and tell me – what colors do you love best?

YEAH to all NCAA teams! Here’s to a great striped (football) season for all!

The power of red and white stripes

14 Jul

Now that we have passed 4th of July, and the official “Stars Wear Stripes” day, I thought I’d ponder some other favorite red and white stripes.

When I started stripedshirt over a year ago, I knew the name right away, knew the logo, what I wanted my marketing identity to be. I also knew MY colors. So many color combos, and over time, stripedshirt will literally have dozens of options. But red and white was my beginning, MY universal identifier.

Why? Especially b/c people could say MY colors should be maroon and gold (BC – coming soon), red and gray (Ohio State – avail now) or dark orange and white (UT – avail now). But red and white it always was to be.

Sure I like Nebraska, Wisconsin, the St Louis Cardinals, just as much as the next gal (unless they are playing UT, Ohio State, the Red Sox).

But this was really about the Power Of Red! And how cool and crisp, how sharp red and white looks together. Striking. Classic. High Impact. So, while just American Flags are on your minds, thought I’d remind you of a few other red and white stripe stand outs. What did I miss?

The American Flag!
Candy Canes
Red Stripe Beer
Where’s Waldo
Barber poles
Light houses
Popcorn containers
Olivia the pig
Raggedy Ann
Circus tents
The (red and) White Stripes

stripedshirt goes live! Happy Black Striped Friday all!

26 Nov

We are live! Release here. Thanks for all the support from all!!!

stripedshirt Launches Fan-wear Built Just for Women, Kids and Babies

Two Color Combination Horizontal Striped Tshirts Let You Show Your Colors

Austin, TX, November 26, 2010 – On Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, stripedshirt officially opens for business. The retail brand launches first with an ecommerce website – www.stripedshirt.com – selling fun, fashionable fan-wear built just for women, kids and babies. Two color combination horizontal striped Tshirts will let wearers show their colors and support their favorite teams, whether college, professional sports, organizations, high school or little league.

Over time, the signature stripedshirt, a stylish, fitted crew neck short sleeve, will be available in over 30 different color combinations. At launch, the signature stripedshirt is available in:
• Dark orange and white, for University of Texas
• Red and gray, for the Buckeyes of Ohio State
• Red and white for schools like Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Boston University, Cornell, Miami University, MLB teams like the Cincinnati Reds or St. Louis Cardinals, and our favorite East Dillon High of Friday Night Lights or McKinley High of Glee; and
• Maroon and gray to cheer on Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and University of Massachusetts

Next up will be:
• Maroon and gold for Boston College, USC, Florida State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Iowa State and even the Washington Redskins
• Green and white for the Boston Celtics, Michigan State, Ohio University, Baylor, and to be a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Additional color combinations will be made based on user demand. The signature stripedshirt will be available in 13 sizes, from 3 month old babies to women’s XL. All shirts sell for $19.99, with flat shipping of $3 per Tshirt. Orders can be taken immediately at www.stripedshirt.com.

“I’ve had this dream, for 12+ years, to start a company to let sports fan women like me support our teams, and literally show our colors, in fun, fashionable ways,” said stripedshirt Founder, Laura Beck. “Until now, the team and school Tshirt options for me, and then for my children, were oversized men’s Tshirts with huge logos or names on the back. It’s time for fan-wear to be built for the rest of us! I’m so excited to have stripedshirt go live today and can’t wait to see where it goes from here.”

About stripedshirt
stripedshirt was founded in May 2010, and launched in November 2010, with a focus on fun, fashionable fan-wear for women, kids and babies to let them show their colors. The first products of the online retailer are two color combination horizontal striped Tshirts in dark orange and white, red and white, red and gray and maroon and gray. Additional colors, and products, will be added over time. Consumers can shop at www.stripedshirt.com. For more, follow www.stripedshirtblog.com or @stripedshirtz.

What the @$#P)(*$% Does ShirtShorts Mean?

20 Sep

Some peeps are asking, so here tis. After 18 years of PR agency life, and juggling it and mommyhood the past nearly 6, I knew in starting my own biz I wanted to call it Too Short Industries. As in Life Is. And I Am. NOT homage to the washed up rapper. And my midlife crisis business was always to be stripedshirt.com, from way back 12 years ago. When thinking about a blog name ShirtShorts made perfect sense. A combination of both businesses, and, generally, Short blurbs about Shirts. Voila! And don’t worry, making fun of it, or critiquing won’t deter me. Remember, my self-bestowed title is Chief Shortie.

Midlife crisis takes a T-shirt turn

1 Sep

So, 4 months ago today, was my last day at Porter Novelli, ending a nearly 14 year run there, nearly 10 with the Austin office. Loved (nearly) every minute of it. So what prompted the big change, the new path, taking on a new chapter? Stripedshirt! Something brewing in my mind for 12+ years, back to days in Boston, and “casual Fridays” featuring a variety of my own stripedshirts, even a shot named as such at our favorite Charley’s on Newbury. The idea: stylish, subtle, spirited fan-wear for women, kids and babies. Truly, literally really “show” your true colors, in cute 2 color combination horizontal striped Tshirts. The past 4 mo’s, working hard to get stripedshirt going. With any luck, the first 4 color combinations will be available before Thanksgiving! Keep watching stripedshirt.com, and hopefully my ShirtShorts will be interesting. This was my first blog post ever. Please be kind!