Some people are so happy to pay to have a bespoke piece of clothing that advertises their Twitter username that Wellington company ‘tweet4yourtee’ has built a business on the back of it.
The use of such social media as a marketing, communications and selling tool is being used as a case study for its own business.
The start-up venture, which ‘director of awesomeness’ Tom Reidy says is the fastest to breakeven that he’s ever had, was thought up last December when he was having a curry with business partner Andrew Butel. The idea expanded, and the two brought in designer colleague Warren Sue and a tee shirt printer known to the company.
Since its official launch in January 2010, tweet4yourtee has developed to the stage that one employee spends about 20 hours a week on the business, with 70% of sales being to kiwis and 30% to American fans of the site.
“We want to push the boundaries that are affecting our own businesses,” Reidy says. “We’re using the social media and seeing how we can create fans who are crazy for what we are; tee shirts for twitterers.”
As well as tees selling for US$39, t4yt also produce one-off hoodees at US$69 and US$29 undees, in what was originally another fun extension but which has had a number of sales.
“We’ve deliberately set out to be a premium brand, and have a very specific style and quality,” he says.
Though communication is carried out via Twitter’s 140 character messages, ordering of the fan/user twitter address is carried out through the website. As yet there is no secure facility for Twitterers to pay via credit card over their phone.
Reidy says he’s a fan of the one page business plan and that t2yt’s growth intent is based around speed and connections. There’s very little the company can do from an intellectual property protection point of view; instead it will rely on developing relationships with it fans, ensure that a fun environment remains a signature part of its style and develop an international brand based on speed.
Next month t4yt is making a special line of pink and pink influences tees, all sales of which will result in a donation to Breast Cancer Awareness.
Reidy says his company wants to use social media and build “viral fan love.” T4yt deliberately doesn’t put its address on the Twittered tees of the people it sells to. “We want them to talk to each other,” he says.