Believe it or not, we read every email sent to us via the contact form. We don’t reply to everything, but we read them. Occasionally, we’ll receive an email worth sharing to the rest of the world.

A few months back we got an email from someone who prefers to remain anonymous. He was asking about art and sharing ideas. Here’s what the email said:

Hi guys! I’m really a big fan of yours. What I loved most about zerothreetwo is that you feature articles, blogs, or…whatever the correct term should be…is mainly about Cebu. I, myself, love Cebu. Even though sometimes, (okay most of the times…) this city is kinda frustrating for amateur artists like me. Well, a perfect city doesn’t exist anyway so, hell yeah let’s forget about that and just go back to the fact that we both love Cebu. I’ve always wanted to share my ideas to people. But it’s kinda hard. I’m even having a hard time explaining this to you coz…lots of things are going inside my head right now and I just can express 10% of it… I’ve always wanted to try the printing industry…specifically shirt printing…and share my ideas…my art…through prints…tshirts…okay to be more specific…a clothing line…the thing is…I’m really scared guys. I don’t have any idea about this industry. How to start…what to do…marketing stuff and etcetera…

What I’m really trying to say is that…do you have any tips for me? I know this sounds weird, right…just a random sender asking for some advice about the shirt printing industry…or clothing line industry…I’ve heard about rhipstop and nick automatic…I really admire the people behind these clothing lines because they were able to establish their own clothing company…and they’re Cebuanos…I mean…I’m just a nobody. It’s really hard to start from scratch…am pretty much aware about that…well… I was just hoping that you guys can give me some advice about starting my own clothing line…words of wisdom maybe…*fingers crossed*

I’m not sure if you guys will be able to read this, but let’s just say you did, just wanted to thank you in advance and just know that I’ll be waiting for your reply. Haha. In a serious note, I love you so much guys. Thank you so much for your time in reading this even though I’m not a potential client or what haha…really appreciate it. More power to you!

Another one of my favorites. I wish this piece was placed in a more well lit spot.  Art by Happy Garaje

Mini sculpture from Happy Garaje

Below was our response:

Hi random*************city,

First of all, thank you for sending us this email. It’s great to hear from people who follow Zerothreetwo. That’s one of the main motivations that keep us going. When we started Zerothreetwo, the point was always to be helpful to people. So of course, I’m here to help anyway I can.

“this city is kinda frustrating for amateur artists like me”

I understand what you are saying. We’ve heard it time and time again. In the local music industry, we kept hearing the mantra that it’s difficult to get support for local music. It’s tough to get a good crowd. People don’t clap. Etc. etc.

The truth is… it’s hard to be an artist. That’s why there are so few good ones. Zerothreetwo loves hearing about local artists like Uzi Emperado, Chad Manzo and Happy Garaje. What do they all have in common? They are prolific in their art and equally prolific in sharing it to as many people as possible.

I don’t consider myself an artist, but from the outside looking in, it seems to me that artists should listen to that instinct to share their ideas to people. You even mentioned it in your email.

“I’ve always wanted to share my ideas to people. But it’s kinda hard.”

As long as you can get those ideas out of your head, then in this day and age, you can share it to lots of people very easily. There are many avenues for artists to share their work.

You can always find like-minded people who are interested in art as well. Visit a few art shows or go to a gig. They are out there.

In the digital world, this is where it gets interesting. Start sharing your work with your friends in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Look at how the artists you admire share their work. Follow what they are doing. I’m not saying you follow their art. I’m saying follow how they share their work. Some visual artists share their work on Instagram. Others make a full-fledged website. It doesn’t’ matter what medium you use. All that matters is that you are able to get the idea out to people.

“I’m really scared guys. I don’t have any idea about [the clothing] industry. How to start…what to do…marketing stuff and etcetera…“

I’m going to be honest with you bai… we don’t have a clue as well. When we started the site, we just did it for fun. When we realized a good number of people were reading the site, I decided that I wanted to keep this going. In order to do so, I needed to make it financially sustainable. That’s why we decided to start selling merchandise.

killapinas saw

Killapinas

“do you have any tips for me?”

I wouldn’t say we are in a position to give tips. We’re figuring it out as we go along. That being said, there were certain things that we did that were very helpful along the way.

Talk to people who are in the industry. Very early on, we talked to Doyle See, the owner of the brand Killapinas. He was very helpful in setting expectations and giving us an idea of what the local industry is like. Later on, he became one of the few people who helped us design some of our best shirts.

Find a reliable supplier. Unless you are doing the printing yourself, you’ll need someone you can rely on. Early on, we used to order our shirts somewhere in Pardo. It was a disaster. The shirt quality was something we were happy with, but they were not easy to contact, which forced us to drive all the way there just to check if an order was ready. There were numerous times when we drove there and found out that they hadn’t even started on our order.

We finally got lucky when we found Jake Maningo. His family owns Kulas Ideas and Creations. We switched suppliers and get most of our clothing from them. After months of releasing new shirts and shirt designs, the decision was made to officially make Jake part of the Zerothreetwo family.

Make your brand mean something. This is the toughest part of the equation. People don’t choose your brand because they think it has good quality or a good fit. Obviously, it’s important, but people who buy your brand will do so because your brand means something to them. You mentioned Rhipstop and Nick Automatic. What do they mean to you? This is what Zerothreetwo is trying to achieve as a clothing brand. The best thing I’ve read in terms of building a brand in this industry is by Bobby Hundreds. He wrote a piece called The 10 Rules of Brand-Building. Make this your bible.

Look for distribution. Everyone starts by selling their clothing to their friends, doing meet ups, selling from the back of their car or even door to door. Find a way to make your merchandise easily accessible. Allow people to buy it easily and without hassle. You could do this by selling online, wholesale, consignments or even opening up your own store.

The very first Zerothreetwo shirts.

The very first Zerothreetwo shirts.

Everyone starts as a nobody. Everyone starts from zero. Don’t let that deter you. If you are an artist and want to share your art, you don’t need to start a clothing line right away. Share your art online. Share it to as many people as you can. If it’s any good, people will let you know it is good. At some point, once you get a good following, you can ask your audience if they would want shirts with your art on it. So even if you have zero money, you can still gauge and let people decide if they would support your clothing line.

Starting a clothing line is much more than just printing shirts and hoping people buy. It’s about making a connection. And from what I hear, it’s a long process. Don’t take our word for it. Zerothreetwo has a long way to go. Like you, we’re learning as we go along.

Want to get in touch with Zerothreetwo? You can email us.

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