Shout Out Sunday. Interview with 713 Shirts.

713 Shirts is located in Houston, Texas and ships shirts all over the globe.  Their name is derived from the area code of the city they were created in and inspired by, but their style and focus stretches far beyond the city of Houston.  Not only do they print shirts, but they can also print custom stickers, banners, wall and window decals, labels and more.

Tell readers about your 713 shirts and how long have you been in business for?

I’ve been in the printing business for about five or six years now and I started the 713 shirts website about three years ago.  IMG_4846IMG_3982IMG_3643After grinding it out online for a couple of years we were blessed to be able to open up our store a little over a year ago.  Being the printer and the designer, I wanted to do something really unique with the shop.  So my vision was to offer a custom retail experience to our customers where you can come in and select one of our designs, pick a shirt color and style, and walk out with something original.  So far it’s been really cool when our customers come in and embrace that. We’re always dropping new designs, trying to staying current with whatever’s going on, and of course we want to be affordable to everyone so we have a bunch of shirts for as low as $7.13.  In addition to the shirts, we make some awesome stickers, and recently launched our Sticker Slab line.  We also do graphics and custom printing and have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of good people over the years.

How did you come up with the name for 713 shirts?

The name is the original Houston area code, and is representative of the city where I started from.  But more than that, I wanted a name that would be easy for people to remember when they’re searching for us.  I had a website before but the name was too long and I got tired of having to spell it out for people.  I guess I learned from that mistake.

When did you realize you wanted to become an entrepreneur selling shirts and was there any name brand/business owner who work influenced you the most?

My degree is in psychology, and I worked social service jobs for several years.  So selling shirts was never really part of the plan, but I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. My dad had a business right down the street from where my shop is and I’ve been hustling in some form or fashion since middle school.  Initially, I was cool with just designing shirts for other people, but one of my friends was always pushing me to try and build something more; so being in the business and having the mentality I have, it was only a matter of time before I started to sell my own stuff.  As far as influences go, I would say that pop culture influences me more than any individual or brand.  Comic books, grand theft auto, those championship shirts with the caricatures on them.  I guess that’s the type of art I like, but I’ve also been to places like the Louvre and the Van Gogh museum and taken a few ideas.  To be honest, I don’t really pay attention to other clothing brands for any fashion influence; I really just create stuff I want to see and hope people like it, but I do think branding is important so I pay more attention to things like marketing tactics.  There are a few artists in the city that I’m cool with and they make me step my game up from time to time, but most of my designs are kinda random.

Are any of your clothing being sold at any other stores or only your website?

We have our store in Southwest Houston and we’re open six days a week.  Of course the website is always open for business, but we’re not available in too many other places.  In the beginning I put a lot of shirts in stores, but it was mostly consignment and I always hated having to debate over inventory sheets or chase down people to collect my money. When you’re getting started, you have to do what you can to get out there, but as you grow, you adjust your tactics.  We still do wholesale orders, but once we opened the store, we scaled back on the efforts we put into making and maintaining those connections.  I do have plans to start putting the Sticker Slabs into more outlets once we establish the brand a bit more.

What are the pros and cons of being a business owner?

The biggest pro is that I’m the boss.  If I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to.  If someone comes in my shop acting crazy, I can politely decline the job. I get to set the hours, choose the music, wear what I want etc.  There’s also no filter. I can think it, design it, and I print it in the same day if I really want.  So there’s no middle man. That’s not always a good thing, but the creative freedom is unparalleled.  My parents are both immigrants, so I’ve always valued “the American Dream”, and there’s a certain satisfaction you get from knowing that you built something out of nothing.  Some of the cons include no sick days, no paid vacation.  There’s a lot of late nights and early mornings, but when you’re working for yourself it’s a labor of love.  I’m still amazed that I’m allowed to keep my shop open and print until 3 in the morning if I need to or I can close early because there’s a World Series game on.

Do you think the high demand for sneakers, has had an effect on sneaker tees or t-shirts in general?

When I started doing full color printing, I used to do a lot of sneaker specific shirts for new releases.  But to be honest, I got tired of it.  Some people base their whole business off of matching another companies designs and I’d prefer our shirts to have a longer shelf life than the latest pair of Jordan’s.  I do think that people’s love for their sneakers has created a huge market for shirts that complement their footwear, so one thing I do try to do is allow people to customize their experience.  We can do custom shirts from scratch, but customers can choose from a couple hundred designs, choose from a bunch of shirt colors and styles and create a unique shirt that still matches their kicks. Gatorade 6s came out? No problem.  You can walk in and get an orange illuminacho print on a green shirt and walk out fresh in about 5 minutes for only $7.13!  People come in all the time and make shirts to match their shoes, and that was always part of my vision, but I want them to still be able to wear that shirt if they decide to switch it up and rock some chucks.

Where would you like to see 713 Shirts at in the next few years?

With our custom retail approach and awesome original designs as low as $7.13.  I would hope that everyone in the country is checking us out and ordering fresh tees on a regular basis.  I would like to see our stickers everywhere because I think they’re really great. We’re getting into things like hats, pins, keychains and etc.  The way the shop is set up, it wouldn’t be out of the question to think about opening more stores or expanding to other cities, but good printers are hard to find.  The internet has made the world smaller so we just hope to reach as many people as possible.  Continue to build up our name as the go to place for custom graphics and printing and continue to do cool jobs with awesome people.

For a first time buyer, what shirt or items would you recommend to purchase from your website?

It’s always been my aim to make my shirts accessible to everyone.  If you want to check out our company and make sure we’re as awesome as I say we are.  I would recommend ordering one of our $7.13 shirts.  If you’ve never owned a DTG shirt, and aren’t sure about the prints, we always keep a few available for only $10 in the $10 tees section.  The site is up to around 200 designs and we offer a few different styles of shirts, so take your time, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.  We’re pretty responsive on social media and through email or pick up the phone and call us during business hours.

Do you feel like you have achieved all your goals as a business owner?

Not even close.  good thing about goals is you can always set new ones, so I have long term and short term goals that I’m working on every day.  I guess the ultimate goal for me is to build something that lasts long after I’m gone, so hopefully I can achieve that.

If you could give any entrepreneur/ business owner any advice about starting a business, what would it be?

First I would tell them that a positive mindset yields positive results.  Then I would tell them to take pride in their work and try to perfect their craft whatever it may be.  My actual business advice would be to own the means of production if possible, but at the very least know the processes involved in the production of your products.  I would also tell them to diversify their investments and to create multiple sources of revenue.  My biggest advice would be to teach yourself whenever possible.  When I started, I didn’t have money to pay someone to build a website, so I took a couple weeks and taught myself how to do it.  I’ve never taking a graphic design course, but I put a few semesters in on YouTube.  Perfection is the enemy of progress, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; make mistakes, move on and do better.  Be on time, save your money, etc, and last but not least, I would say that consistency is key; put the work in and it will work out.
Thanks!

Thank you again for your time and letting our readers get to know you. Please let everyone know how you can be reached ( twitter, IG, FB, websites, etc)?

You can find us on Instagram, Facebook and twitter as @713shirts, you can visit our website at WWW.713SHIRTS.COM, you can also email us at713shirts@gmail.com, and our store is located in southwest Houston and can be reached at 281-501-1190.

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