Ever wondered “What prompted you to kick off a business dealing in tees?” It’s a question I’ve been asked innumerable times since launching Teebeat.com in the early 2000s. I’m not one for extensive conversations and appreciate simplicity, so my answer is pretty much straightforward:
While I was in college, I purchased a Superman tee from a local store. I rocked it to a fun fair one day and no less than 6 individuals probed as to where I got the eye-catching tee. This sparked an idea – if people lacked knowledge of where to get a tee like mine, perhaps, I could take advantage of the internet’s vast reach and sell to them. With that, I negotiated a bulk discount deal with the store, put up listings on Ebay and a basic website, and since then, it has been a continuous journey of growth.
But this only scraps the surface of the “How?” and doesn’t tackle the “Why?” But to answer that, let’s dig a little deeper.
The Call of Destiny
Just as destiny beckoned to Luke Skywalker in the famous Star Wars narrative, so did mine, formed by a unique blend of circumstances.
Child of the ’80s
As I grew up in the 1980s
, the golden era of action figures, I was naturally drawn to the exciting world of superheroes and cartoon characters. Star Wars had just kickstarted the action figure mania, and soon enough, Hasbro and Mattel followed suit, launching their own lines of captivating toys that fueled my imagination and contributed massively to my childhood memories.
T-shirts As My Second Skin
If there’s something integral to my identity, it’s graphic tees. I don’t recall myself wearing anything else for the larger part of my life, save for the LaCoste polo shirts that I wore due to the alligator appeal. Graphic tees for me were never just a fashion choice; they were a statement, a reflection of my personality, my likes, and dislikes.
Running A Small Business – In My Genes
I grew up in a family where running a small business was a norm. My father, a tremendous multi-tasker juggled a full-time job alongside several side gigs, including running a laundromat. This taught me the essence of entrepreneurship from a very young age.
Fast forward to 1999 when I decided to launch Teebeat.com. Every superhero or cartoon character tee I wore was a conversation starter, a head-turner, a statement.
That summer, an amusement park visit with my girlfriend turned into a business brainstorming session when numerous people asked where I got my Superman tee. It sparked the idea that I could leverage my access to these unique tees and the increasing popularity of eBay to set up my own online business.
While my initial goal was to make a little extra money alongside my pursuit of environmental engineering, Teebeat.com soon started growing beyond my expectations. The proceeds from the early sales were invested back into expanding our inventory, and with time, Teebeat.com became a self-sustaining profitable venture.
Fulfilling My Destiny
By 2002, Teebeat.com was generating enough revenue to match my full-time job, and the thought of trading my Dockers for casual tees was more than tempting. Eventually, in September 2002, I decided to dedicate all my time and energy to Teebeat.com.
Weathering the Storms
The journey ever since has been filled with ups and downs. We faced competitive challenges in 2008, and despite the successful run, we had to make some significant alterations in our business model. However, we survived the storm and ended up having our best year ever in 2008.
Today, I’m fortunate enough to run a business that allows me to project my love for retro characters and iconic action figures, bringing nostalgia and joy to people who share the same passions.
The Path Forward
With 2020 being our best year since the beginning, things look promising, and we are immensely thrilled for what the future holds. Teebeat.com has become an integral part of my life, and I plan on offering an array of high-quality, visually appealing and nostalgic tees for as long as I can. This is not just because the alternative is getting back into formal work wear, but because I love doing what I do.
After all, this is my destiny. I believe I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m destined to do. At Teebeat.com, every day is a new opportunity to relive cherished memories, foster old fandoms, and share the love for iconic pop-culture through our products. And we’re not stopping anytime soon.
We are continually innovating and improving ourselves, and your contributions help us grow every day. You can provide feedback on our processes, any issues you may have encountered, or simply share your design ideas with us through [email protected].