Getting Ugly Again

Getting Ugly Again

It’s another late night for me and you’d think I’d be ready to wind down after some craziness over the past week.  We just did Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, Cyber Monday, and T-shirt Tuesday all right in a row.  I only got to take a break on Thanksgiving Day but other than that it’s one 14-16 hour day after the next.  Oh, it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m really not.  I love this stuff or else I wouldn’t do it-  and, you guys make it all worth while.

We just quadrupled our sales from last year and I can’t tell you how much that means to us.  We pour so much into each one of our products and yet we keep feeling like we have more to offer and the more you guys buy our stuff, the better we can make things around here.  I’m sure a lot of people after putting in those kind of hours would be ready to crash but I’m feeling too motivated for that.  In fact, we might add another super special just-thought-of-it-earlier-today-kind-of-thing drop that will be available for Christmas.  I already know what you Type A planners are thinking… “oh, I already bought all the gifts that I need for this year”.  Well, this isn’t necessarily for a gift (although it would make a great one).  This is a little something for yourself to make the holidays more fun.  

You would have to be a longtime fan of Vardagen to know this about us, but once upon a time we put something into the world that took off like a wildfire.  We had a Christmas get-together at our house in Indianapolis, and my wife, Tina, suggested we make some fun shirts for it.  After she went to bed I pulled a late night and started designing the first ever Ugly Christmas Sweater T-shirts.  A moose and a deer design.  I searched everywhere online and was surprised no one had done this before.  We gave them to our friends at our party and they were so stoked on them and asked us to make more.  We weren’t even planning to put them online but decided to after the feedback from our friends.  One of my best friends took some back to NYC with him and he dropped some off at Swiss Miss’s office building.  She ended up blogging about them and orders came pouring in from all over the world.  We shipped to 55 different countries that first Christmas season!

It took almost no time for the idea to get ripped off.  That same year some small companies were copying us and even stealing our exact designs and photos. By the following year similar designs were in Target, Walmart, Disney, etc.  We didn’t stress too much about it though because we never set out to be known for that and it’s not our passion to only work on Ugly Christmas Sweater T-shirt designs.  We stopped making them a long time ago and still get people asking about them but we just haven’t had any interest in working on them… until today.

I have no idea why but it just feels like it would be fun again after a decade of the dust settling.  Maybe it’s because I still see people pull out those originals and feel like it’s time for an update.  Or maybe it’s because I’m spending December in LA this year and we need all the festive help we can get around here. I talked to Daniel about it this morning and we didn’t want to force the design, but if we could pull something off that took a slightly different approach we could perhaps get something out the door quick enough to delight some of our friends and annoy our parents when we walk in the door on Christmas.  We’re really careful about motivation and authenticity so if something doesn’t line up right, it never sees the light of day. This could have easily turned out that way but I felt like it was at least worth exploring. 

Just a few hours after our call Daniel texts me the rough draft and I’m crazy about it.  He then sends me the digital proof and I’m getting so excited that I’m already planning photo shoots and have a bunch of ideas brewing to go with this release.  I can’t believe that after a quick brainstorm his brilliant mind can piece together the perfect design so quickly! 

Oh, but there’s one last thing… I’ve got to get our print shop on board because they’re already swamped with fulfilling orders this week.  I text Derick the proof and “are you too tired to print some of these tonight?” (joking obviously).  He’s almost asleep and says “hubba hubba” and “Those are 🔥”.  I say “I need these ASAP to get images ready”.  He replies, “I’ll make sure we have enuff xO”.  He’s always up for anything I can throw at him. 

I start communicating with Tyler all the things that we’ll have to pull together quickly to make this happen, and although he clocked out hours ago he’s ready to jump in and get this project going. 

I write this blog post and maybe call that good for the day, but probably not. 

This is Vardagen and I love it so much.

Play Rough or Play Dead!

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