Another Fine to Zebra Tees: memories of t-shirt websites past and gone

Feb 16, 2016 — There are a lot daily pop-culture t-shirt websites. We should know: Day of the Shirt is tracking 45 of them right now, as you read this. But, not all of them last forever. We went on a dinosaur hunt though our archives and discovered 19 t-shirt websites that had gone extinct. Perhaps you remember them:

Another Fine Tee, Arteesel, Blue Box Tees, Comic Strip Tees, Companion Tees, Cosmos Tees, Gimmick Tees, Goodjoe, Limiteed, MuzikShirt, Nowhere Bad, SpookyTees, Tee-1000, TeeRaiders, Timey Wimey Tees, Tshirt Fight, Ubertee, Weekly Shirts, and Zebra Tees.

More than just a shirt

These websites didn’t just sell pop-culture designs, many had a unique hook. Goodjoe focused on community and volunteerism. Comic Strip Tees printed a monthly comic. MuzikShirt focused on music and audio paraphernalia. Zebra Shirts printed every design in black and white. SpookyTees were, well, spooky with a Halloween horror theme all year round. And you can probably pick out the websites dedicated to Doctor Who (hint: there are more than one). And T-Shirt Fight posted 2 designs and let buyers choose the winner.

Victims of success

So what happened? We can’t say for certain, but sometimes it’s too much of a good thing. For a small 2-3 person company, their most valuable commodity is time. And that time has to be divided into several different areas, such as finding artists, ordering materials and blank t-shirts, printing, shipping and fulfillment, customer service, marketing, and, of course, updating the website itself.

An unexpected flood of orders can actually be bad for business: not having enough blanks in stock may cause printing and fulfillment delays; even a tiny percentage of packages lost in transit results in a big absolute number. And when customer service gets overloaded, unhappy buyers take to social media and initiate expensive charge-backs. Even after things recover and customers receive their orders, it can be enough to throw in the towel.

T-shirts are for forever

T-shirts are a durable commodity and all of us fans are what keep these small businesses around the world designing, printing and shipping t-shirts every day. While running a design and production shop can be daunting (and rightly so) we take solace that T-shirts and their designs can live on in our closets and dressers long after the website stops loading. After all, that’s what keeps us coming back for more.

Do you have a story about a t-shirt or website that’s long gone? We’d love to hear it. Email us at [email protected] or tweet us at @dayoftheshirt.