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Shirts + Social Media = Fashionable, Profitable Marketing for IWearYourShirt.com

Download the podcast from iTunes, or play it below:

 

In my profession as an online marketer in the social media arena in New York City, I often find myself surrounded by three types of people…

jason-sadler-iwearyourshirt

1) Entrepreneurs looking to start a fun, unique business
2) Companies asking for new and inventive ways to market their product on a budget
3) People trying to harness the power of social media

Jason Sadler from IWearYourShirt.com is a walking, talking Venn Diagram of these three concepts merged together.

First, he has come up with a side business that not only generates more than $66,000 a year, but also ensures that he never has to buy another t-shirt nor worry about what to put on in the morning.

Second, he is offering a unique way for companies to get the word out about their product in 2009 for $365 or less, that doesn’t involve a traditional banner ad or Google keyword.

Lastly, he is harnessing the power of social media. By building up a personal network of followers on his blog, Facebook, Twitter, and video channels, he can expose a sponsor’s message to thousands of people, who then may in turn spread the word to thousands more.  One company estimates Jason increased their social media presence 230%! See the transcript below for details (stats are bolded).

We had a great interview where he talks about:

– How he got the idea
– Why businesses get their money’s worth
– How his girlfriend — and grandmother — feel about him wearing a t-shirt every day.

Speaking of Venn Diagrams, Wired took the opportunity to buy Friday, September 18 Monday, September 28 from I Wear Your Shirt to promote the fact that they are giving away a FREE one-of-a-kind Venn Diagram with the purchase of an annual Wired Magazine subscription.

Update: Jason ‘wore our shirt’ on 9/28.  See his blog post or watch the video below.

Last I checked, t-shirts were running anywhere from $15-$50 at retail outlets.  This offer is $10 for a cool shirt AND you get 12 issues of Wired Magazine delivered to your door? No brainer.

Get your Wired Magazine Subscription with free Venn Diagram t-shirt.

wired-venn-diagram

Again, listen to the podcast interview here. Full transcript below.

 

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You might also like interviews with the following entrepreneurs:
Daniel Odio
Sarah Prevette
The Roomorama Team
SquareSpace Founders
Josh Baer

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Full transcript of Jim Hopkinson interviewing Jason Sadler of I Wear Your Shirt on The Hopkinson Report podcast.

Jim Hopkinson: Hi, I’m on the line with Jason from IWearYourShirt.com which is a really unique business where Jason has actually outsourced his wardrobe to corporate America. Welcome Jason.

Jason Sadler: Thanks for having me.

Jim: So tell me, what is IWearYourShirt, why did you start this, and how did you get this crazy idea?

Jason: So, IWearYourShirt.com is a very simple idea that tries to help other companies get exposure, get advertising and marketing through ways that they can’t for a certain dollar value. So, I decided that I would sell every shirt that I would wear in 2009 for starting at $1, January 1st , going up a dollar everyday from there. So, January 2nd was $2, January 3rd was $3, all the way up to $365.

And, I wear the shirt all day. I put the shirt on in the morning, I take some photos, I put them on Flickr, I change my profile picture on Facebook, I tweet about the photo in the morning, then I write up a blog post, very short, something about the company, showing the photo. I make a daily video clip that goes to YouTube, Meta Café, Vimeo, Facebook, a couple other sites. It’s just humorous, it’s not a pitch video, it’s just something fun about that company – me and the shirt.

I do a live video show, it’s at 3 o’clock on UStream, and all of this stuff gets sent out to my Twitter followers, on the blog, and all for whatever that price was on that day. So, today, I believe that I’m getting paid $239 to wear a shirt for Marietta College, and I’m helping them celebrate their 175th anniversary.

Jim: Excellent, what was the inspiration for the idea, what were you doing before this, as a job that said, I’ve got to do something different, and here’s this idea that I’m going to do?

Jason: Yeah, I’ve always loved creative marketing and advertising ideas, (the) Million Dollar Homepage everyone has heard of, really inspired me to think about trying to fun things in marketing, and about two years ago, I tried to get people to pay for logo spots on some t-shirts for the company that I was currently with to go to the future Web Apps Conference.

We generated probably around $2000 in logo spots from friends and clients that we had, but I guess I had that in the back of my mind. And, then fast forward to the past year, 2008, in September, just one night I was thinking about all these shirts that people give away, every company uses shirts, I’m sure I can charge people a small amount of money to do all this social media stuff, and promote them on their day, and eventually, I’d hopefully gather some audience throughout the year.

Jim: And so why would someone pay you to wear your shirt, you’re just an average guy, you’re doing all this stuff, what gets them to open up their wallet and say, hey, I’m going to pay this guy to wear one of my t-shirts?

Jason: I was kind of shocked in the beginning, as well, because I looked at it and I was like, ‘I’m a nobody’, why would somebody pay me, and then I thought about it, it was like, well, that’s kind of like a little bit of it, right? People are kind of excited to say, “We’re paying this nobody to do it”, but this nobody, by the way, already has almost 17,000 followers on Twitter, 2000 friends on Facebook, all this following that he’s going to gain and keep building throughout the year, it’s interesting.

And I’ve also learned that my personality kind of tends to be towards humor, I try and fun with it, I try and tell everybody, listen, this is not a serious, I’m not going to break down your executive summary to everybody who reads my blog. It’s fun, it’s supposed to be a bit of entertainment for people, and that’s what I’ve learned that people are coming to.

Jim: And it’s kind of like any form of social media, and I think what companies are learning is that it’s one piece of an overall campaign.

Jason: Of course, of course, and all theses social media sites, as everyone preaches, are tools. Twitter is a tool, YouTube is a tool, you can’t focus on just one of these things; you can’t just think that you’re going to use one, it’s going to build your business. I use Twitter to sell a bunch of days on IWearYourShirt.com just by talking to people, engaging in conversation, and it’s one of those things where, I’ve told people, if you could get a YouTube video, a live video show, photos, blog posts, as you now, Twitter followers, Tweets, and Facebook mentions, and blah, blah, blah. If you could put a price tag on all of those, I think it’s definitely much higher than $200 or $300 whatever the most expensive day is this year.

Jim: What have you had to wear? Is it just t-shirts, or what are some of the more bizarre outfits that people have sent you to wear?

Jason: I told people from the beginning, I really don’t have a lot of shame. I want this to be lighthearted, please send me stuff that would be interesting. I’ve worn a couple of tank tops (Laughter). I blabbed my mouth about sitting courtside at an Atlanta Hawks’ NBA game a couple of weeks beforehand, and the company that I was wearing on that day sent me a pink shirt and it was bright pink, and I actually had really good seats. And, you could see me from the game, if you were watching it on TV. And my people were text messaging me, and calling me, and they were like, “Hey man, you’re looking great on TV in that pink shirt” – and, it was really fun.

But, I wore a women’s extra large for a bachelorette company (Laughter) along with a boa, and all kinds of stuff. So, I love it, I encourage people; I just wore an apron the other day. I encourage people just to send some stuff, I obviously not going to dress head-to-toe and things, but, the upper half of my wardrobe, let’s be creative, and let’s have some fun.

Jim: Is there room there to expand it to other accessories, is there going to be a IWearYourPants(.com), or IWearYourBelt.com coming out?

Jason: Well, I was going to do IWearWomensUnderwear.com, but that’s not going to work. However, you’ll be the first person that knows this; I am going to have a partnership next year, for the entire year, with Tommy John Underwear, and he’s going to be the underwear provider of the IWearYourShirt.com guys. I’m sure we’ll get to more of that in a minute, but, I’m not going to wear any of my own underwear for 2010. I’m going to wear only Tommy John Underwear, I’m going to talk about it all year, but that’s kind of what I’ve tried to think about doing as far as selling other pieces of this.

I’d love to get a jeans sponsor, but I’m not actively searching. This just happened to kind of fall in to my lap. The Tommy John guy is really, really awesome, has a really great product. It was like, “Hey, let’s do something fun, like I’ll be your underwear for 2010”, and I just laughed. And I was like, why not? I don’t care what kind of underwear I wear.

Jim: Is he going to give you 365 pairs so you never have to do laundry?

Jason: (Laughs) It’s funny, I asked him the same thing. I was like, I don’t want to ever have to wash my underwear. And he was like, “Well that may be a little bit much.”

Jim: OK (Laughs.)

Jason: So, I don’t know how many he’s going to give me, but I’ll, at least probably have a month’s worth.

Jim: Well, It sounds like the business is getting some good exposure. What are some of the bigger names or companies that have approached you to do this?

Jason: This year in 2009, obviously, has sold out, and some of the companies that have gone on board: Zappos.com, Lifelock.com bought two days this year, and they were so happy that they’ve already bought a monthly sponsorship in 2010. Intuit, and I don’t think many people know Intuit by their name, but they produce Quicken, QuickBooks, TurboTax – so I wore a shirt for them.

I’m going to wear a shirt and pants for Bonobos – they’ve been getting really involved in kind of the social media thing, especially on Twitter, and they contacted me and they said, “Hey, send us your inseam measurements and we’re going to dress you out in Bonobos stuff later this year.” So, a lot of really great companies, and of course, all the small businesses, I love supporting them because they’re so hungry. They want to push these things so hard and get as much exposure, as possible.

Jim: Definitely. Well, a couple of questions I’ve been dying to ask about the business. So, has anything kept you from wearing these shirts, whether it’s the weather, or like you’re going to a wedding, or you’ve been really sick, or the internet goes down, like what are the things that have stopped you from going about your appointed rounds?

Jason: The one hitch that I’ve had so far this year was Easter Sunday, and it wasn’t because I couldn’t wear the shirt, I wore the shirt with a nice suit, we went to a nice brunch, we were in Washington, DC with my grandparents. We went to this really nice hotel, and the night before we went to a really nice dinner, I wore the shirt to both of those, but the internet went down at my grandparents’ house when I was supposed to do live video on Easter Sunday.

And, I’m frantic, it’s the first time that it ever happened, that was in April. So, for three and a half months I had been getting all this stuff done, oh, geez, what am I going to do? My, grandmother finally looks at me, and she goes, ‘It’s Easter Sunday (Laughter), (and I) don’t think they’re going to be that mad.’ And I was like, alright, OK. So, unfortunately, I had a funeral I had to go to earlier this year, but I wore the shirt. I just told people, ‘I’ll wear it for anything, any occasion.” I had an anniversary dinner with my girlfriend of three years, it was like, “I’m going to wear this shirt”, and she said, “That’s fine.” She just shook her head.

Jim: That’s funny, that’s my follow-up question, is, so you have a girlfriend, and has this helped your situation, or has it hurt your situation?

Jason: There was a little bit of abrasiveness at the beginning of the project, and I actually asked her before I started, I said, “Hey, I’m a pretty dedicated person when I set my mind set to something, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it full bore. I’m just not going to wear it for photos and videos, and take the shirt off, I’m going to wear it all the time.” She said, “Yeah, that’s alright, that’s fine, just go ahead and do it.” And then, as it started to happen in the early months, I had some obviously some not-so-great shirts, especially, tank tops and things, and she was like, “Do you think you could just take that off if we go to dinner somewhere?” It was like, “Nope!”

No, but she’s been super, super supportive, and she actually bought her birthday. I didn’t even know it, she hopped on the calendar and bought her birthday in July. So, it’s been fun. She helps me with videos and photos. So, it’s good little team partnership we’ve got going.

Jim: Excellent, excellent. So, by now you probably have the whole process streamlined. So the question I was asking as person that’s read “The 4-Hour Workweek”, if you’ve got it all streamlined, what’s the shortest amount of time that you can do you job?

Jason: So, I get this question a lot, and if I was to actually just sit down and just crank out, I could obviously set up scheduled Tweets throughout the day. I could change my Facebook status via my phone; the blog post I could write in the morning and do it all. I could probably get everything done, editing the video in probably about three to four hours. So, you can say that I’m working half of the day, every day, but for me, the more you put into something, the more you’re going to get out if it. So, I read Tim Ferriss’ book, I think he’s got some really great stuff in there, especially if people are stuck in a crappy nine-to-five job that you’re not happy with, you should definitely get out of that, find something fun to do that also makes you some money.

But, the more time I spend on Twitter interacting with people, the more time I spend getting good quality content throughout the day, and living my life, and also sharing that with people – it’s been helpful. Obviously has gotten me to where I am today, and I want to continue to keep doing that.

Jim: What are some of the tools that you use, like you said, scheduling your Tweets, or that kind of video, and how do you edit your video, how do you put everything together?

Jason: Before I started this project I was not a Twitter user, a power Twitter user, if you will. I had a couple hundred followers on a personal account that I rarely used, and Facebook I may have had a couple hundred friends, but the tools that I’ve used are having a bunch of friends that are willing to share the idea with of their friends.

As far a Twitter goes, just following people, talking to people, getting engaged in conversations. TweetLater I use to schedule some Tweets if I know I’m going to be flying or something where I know I can’t do anything for a couple hours. But, as far as video editing, I’d never shot a video before. So, I grabbed a Flip Mino HD camera, I plug into iMovie everyday and just crop the videos together. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better on camera, I watched my first videos a week or so ago, and it was uncomfortable to watch. But, just continuing to do everything day-to-day-to-day, things get easier, and the iPhone is obviously a huge help just because I can get all the apps on there, and update everything as I go. Actually, I wrote a blog post through Word Press on my iPhone a week ago for the first time, and it wasn’t fun, but at least it got the job done.

Jim: How do companies measure the feedback or the effectiveness of what they’ve paid for?

Jason: That’s actually really good timing for this interview and this question. Starmark International is a company I wore a shirt for earlier this month, and they called me and they said, “Hey, we want to do a case study on this, we’ re going to monitor everything while you’re wearing the shirt.” And they actually posted a blog post, and I can give you a link to it afterwards, if you want. But, I increased, and I want to get this right,

– I increased their Facebook fan following by 112%, and it wasn’t like they didn’t exist, they’ve been on Facebook for a couple years.
- I increased their Linkedin following by 100%,
which I really didn’t know I reached Linkedin because I barely use it at all;
– I increased their Twitter following by 25%,
which is pretty good for a company that’s been on Twitter, and is an active user of Twitter.

So, it was like a 230% increase in social media exposure on their day, not even including traffic.

Jim: Wow, that’s fantastic. So, obviously it’s been successful, 2009 is completely sold out, correct?

Jason: 2009 is SOLD OUT! It sold out August 10th. I was actually in New York City for a meeting, and the last day sold to Justice Cragle, a guy who actually lives in Jacksonville. He had been sitting by the computer, he told me, just waiting for that day to go. And, I knew what I was going to do for 2010, I was just waiting for last day to sell, so I gave it a week for every to kind of think about it, and see what was going to happen, and then launch the 2010 calendar at double the price

So day 1 starts at $2, it goes up to $4, $6, $8, etc., it goes up by $2, and I’m wearing shirts in Florida, and my buddy, Evan White, who’s helped me get some PR throughout this year is wearing shirts in California next year. So, if you bought January 1st 2010, you get me in an extra large of your shirt, and you get Evan in a large of your shirt on his coast. And, it’s two times the exposure – so, two videos, two live video shows back-to-back, two sets of photos, two Facebook profiles, two Twitter accounts. We’ll do one blog post on our IWearYourShirt.com where you can get all of our different content. And, I thought doubling the price would double the exposure would be worth it, and the most expensive day is $730 for all of that content times two.

Jim: Well, it’s a great business; it’s a really unique business idea. It’s a way to extend your brand to social media. It’s a fantastic idea. How can people learn more about it, or buy a day if they’re interested.

Jason: Yeah, go to IWearYourShirt.com. The next available day as of this interview is June 5th 2010. One hundred ninety days have already been sold. Three monthly sponsorships have already been locked in for 2010, so, hurry up, get your spot, it’s a lot of fun.

I think it’s a fun way to get exposure. I don’t believe that banner ads are going to be around for much longer, especially for the value. If you were to spend $300 on banner ads, there’s no way you would see the same exposure through having two guys wear your shirt in 2010.

Jim: Well, it sounds like a plan, Jason. Thanks very much for joining me.

Jason: Thank you for the interview, I really appreciate it.

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