There is no doubt that the typical geek uniform consists almost entirely of t-shirts, jeans, and the occasional pair of flip flops. Authentic geeks can’t really afford to spend money on fancy-schmancy clothes with 95% of their budget spilled into gadgetry. TeesForYourHead.com, a dynamic duo of self-proclaimed geeks, aim to serve that audience creating fashion that appeals to those of their own ilk – geeks.
Started in mid-2012, TeesForYourHead was launched by a husband and wife team. If you doubt their geek creds, then let me put your mind at ease. Tom, one of the designers, has studied and continues to call things in physics, computer programming, science and math “fun.” It takes a special person to consider physics “fun.” Tom is also an artist. It seems understanding how the world goes around did not negate his creative eye from appreciating what makes it beautiful as well. He sparked the idea of TeesForYourHead by mentioning to his wife Karin (also a designer for the brand) that he wanted to make a few t-shirts.
Karin, on the other hand, is one of the friendliest personalities I’ve ever met. Having someone mispronounce your name is one thing. Having it cross genders and changed completely is another. When interviewing Karin, I did just that. I started an email off with “Hello Kevin.” How did she respond? She signed her emails Kaervin. Awesome. Not only is she witty, but she too is cut from a cloth made of nerdy tech. She is a linguistic savant having a particular draw to typography and words in general. She refers to herself as a “word geek,” and speaks additional languages such as French and Spanish.
They make no excuses or claim any alibis – they are uniting all nerds. If you look at their line, however, you will see a collection of shirts that really span the gamut. I’m absolutely certain a few of these shirts will become staple products for many a geek. There are others that clearly show Karin’s attraction to words and Tom’s attraction to mathematics and science. When working with Karin, she told me one of her goals was to create shirts that would become conversation starters. Most brands attempt to do this to generate buzz about their brand, but I honestly believe Tom and Karin do it so geeks can unite and take over the world.
That’s just my opinion. If I show up missing – be worried.
I actually think TeesForYourHead is a bit too diverse. I see two completely different clothing lines. They have some really great fashion forward shirts, and then some others that I think need to be removed entirely from the collection. For me, this makes it difficult to describe who their target audience really is. Some of the geometric and typographic designs they have are really simple and should appeal to large diverse audiences (not just the geeks). If I were to remove some of the misfires (as I see them), then I think their overall design score would be much higher. I also think adding their copyright to the design of the shirt is a mistake. I understand the need to promote your brand, but treating someone’s chest as a webpage seems a bit excessive.
As much as I really do like the designers behind the brand, this is where their company’s time in the market is forcibly noticeable. When I asked what brand of t-shirts they print on, I got a mixed response. If you look at one of their blog posts, you can see their troubles with honing in on the perfect combination of style, eco-friendliness, cost, and comfort. More importantly, they have struggled to find a t-shirt model that stays in production once they have finally decided on it. As they admit, if you purchased a design and receive it on one brand of shirt, you very well might get a different brand on subsequent orders.
These are common growing pains for small designers. In this industry, however, the blank is half the battle. When I purchase a shirt for my own closet, the first thing I look at is the model of shirt it is printed on. If I know a shirt won’t fit right, then I’ll never wear it – regardless of how awesome the design is. I admire TeesForYourHead for attempting to find the most ecological product out there, but I would strongly encourage them to hone in on a particular make/model and stick with it. TeesForYourHead uses high quality (ring spun) cotton blanks, but locking in on a specific model will encourage and set buyer expectations.
They do get bonus points for utilizing print methods that focus on water based inks. Environment or not, water-based inks are just more comfortable to wear. They feel nice, and they wear over the years in such a way that adds to the design of the shirt. Plastiols inks are definitely a popular option, but if I had my choice, I’d always buy water-based first.
TeesForYourHead was kind enough to send us some shirts to examine up close. Their shipping process seems smooth, and shirts were received in a timely fashion. They do print most shirts to order, so you could expect up to a 10 day shipping delay before the order hits the mailing service. Their FAQ made me chuckle upon review of their shipping methods:
“We use the United States Postal Service to ship both domestically and internationally. If only we could deliver via molecular dis/reintegration…”
Their return policy is great – unworn, unwashed shirts can be returned within 15 days for whatever reason. They want their customers to be happy with their purchase.
There is so much to like about this brand, that it is hard to “ding” them for the things that I feel need improvement. First, the free-spirited personalities behind this brand are self-evident. If you have the opportunity to speak with these guys and don’t smile at least once then you probably hate puppies, kittens or both. Parts of their collection are really strong. For example, Hermann Grid Illusion Tee, SF Writers Cloud, Don’t Mess With T-Rex, and their range of South Pole Telescope t-shirts are really great designs. There are some, however, that I believe they should retire as they are distractions from their more fashionably forward pieces.
All in all, I have confidence that these guys will work out the issues with printing and materials, and garner a solid spot in the world of geek t-shirt enthusiasts. I have this faith because Tom and Karin are such interesting and intelligent people, that it only makes sense their brand will continue to mature and capture new segments of the t-shirt industry. If you have ever enjoyed a science or math class then you are definitely going to find a shirt in their collection that you will be attracted (science reference? I tried…) to buy.
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
TeesForYourHead is a quirky brand focused on expressing their passion for science, math and language through fashionable t-shirts.