Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Bad Stuff

Part 2 - The Bad Stuff

You're probably thinking that running the greatest chess t-shirt company on the planet is a dream job. Well, I'm here to tell you it's not all Grey Goose and Grandmasters.

Here are the tough parts:

1. Inventory. Ok, not very exciting, but very important. I HATE to disappoint customers and run out of stock. But the problem is that we can't just go and print a handful of shirts. Our shirts are printed by an amazing shop that prints for huge name brands. We feel very lucky to have them print our shirts. So in order to keep our costs reasonable, we have to print large quantities.

And this assumes that I am able to get the blank shirts from our supplier. For instance, right now we are out of a few sizes on the Horsey design. My supplier will not have the "faded demin" colored shirt in stock for approximately 12 weeks. 12 weeks?!?!? Are you fucking kidding me? How can anything in 2009 take 12 weeks to accomplish? I just got off the phone with a 12 week old kid who already had his first IM norm under his belt.

So from time to time, we run out of stock. Hopefully people understand that this is just one of the fun things you get when you deal with a smaller independent company.

2. Photography. This has been an eye opener. I have now realized that I have taken for granted every single professional photograph that I have ever seen. I have never understood or even dreamed of the amount of detail and work required to get good shots. I guess I always just kind of thought that if the picture sucks then you need a better camera. Still working on this, making headway...but we have HUGE room for improvement here.

3. Search Engine Optimization. This is like playing chess with Google, except Google doesn't tell you the rules. I am constantly beating my head against the wall with this. I mean, come on!! There are not that many chess t-shirts out there...and you are going to tell me that Endgame doesn't deserve to be ranked on the first page? This means that there are millions of chess players who have never heard of Endgame. That makes me so angry, I want to punch a kitten.

4. The Internet can be a lonely place. It's strange to create something for people all over the world and never see them face to face. Or typing a blog in a dark room when you are never really sure if anyone other than my mom is reading it. Sure, I can see the traffic numbers, but are people really reading? Are they getting it? Do they dig Endgame? Believe it or not, some people do not like our designs...I know, I know...its hard to believe and it technically doesn't make them bad people. But there is a certain amount of arrogance in me that believes that every single chess player on the planet is going to love every design we create.

But in the end, the Bad Stuff means nothing.


SonofPearl said...

I'm reading. I dig it. Don't punch the kitten! ;-)

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Ok, Ryan, the kitten is safe...for the moment!

Polly said...

You should see all the crappy chess tee shirts on ebay. 99.9% of them I wouldn't be caught dead in. If you want really good exposure at a tournament come to the US Amateur Team East in New Jersey over President's Day weekend. 1500+ fun loving chess players in one location! It's worth the trip east. Put together an Endgame team all wearing your shirts.

Check out my archives. I've written a bunch of posts on playing in that tournament. It's by far my favorite tournament.

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Polly - I'll have to look into that. Last year I was at the US Amateur Team West, but I believe that was only 400 players. Thanks for the info!

And, yes, I have seen most of the shirts on ebay. This is exactly why I made my first Endgame sketches back in 2001. Every time I look at things like that, I always wonder to myself, "Seriously?? Someone liked this idea so much that they wanted to put it on a t-shirt??" But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;-)

Polly said...

You gotta come East! Totally awesome event. I like the new design.

BTW I'm very insulted that I'm not on your Who wears endgame page! LOL I thought the pictures from Amsterdam were kind of cool.

John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Polly - haha...I'll have to look through your pictures again...