No, we won't slay the Hydra, or take Cerberus for a walk in the park today, but we will return to the Heracles shirt and the wait I was enduring while it was in production. Again, waiting, but soon I had an estimated delivery date: the first week of June. I counted off the days, and when the shipment went out I tracked it online, waiting for it to clear customs (and rueing how much they'd want to charge me).
"Wait, I thought this blog post was about me."
The first box finally arrived in a heavy downpour that threatened to destroy the cardboard, but thankfully everything inside was drier than sandpaper in the Badlands during a sandstorm. Getting the box, which weighed about as much as me, up the stairs was interesting too, but TCB (take care of business), right? Not long after the second box arrived and I had all of the finished Heracles, sizes Small to Large, in hand. It was finally time to go live.
I had already set up this website prior to getting the shirt, so it was a matter of simply turning it on for the world to see. I uploaded photos, measurements and a description, but there was no doubt my shop looked a little spartan (get it?). My friends said likewise: "You need more products!" Easier said than done for sure, considering it's not cheap to have one hundred shirts made in Japan at this level of quality. I'd have to be nimble from here on out.
My first idea was to make a logo sticker and, God forgive me for I know I have sinned here, it's printed in the US, not Japan. I might put them on sale soon too, so look out for that! Chances are though, if you've ordered a shirt or popped into one of my stockists, you might have snagged a sticker already. If not then pester me about it. After all, nothing would complement your suitcase, skateboard, car, scooter, school binder, laptop, next tattoo design, or expensive Italian espresso maker better than one of these stickers.
Look at what the sticker did for my suitcase!
Meanwhile, I was fielding orders and questions coming through about the shirt and making plenty of runs to the post office. One of these days I'll sign up with a carrier like DHL, FedEx, etc. If you have a preference (i.e. one that you can't stand with a fiber of your being) let me know. My goal was to sell all the shirts myself, but we have to be realistic in life, so soon as I was contacting shops to stock the shirt as well. Meaning, I was mostly sending a lot of emails to them with photos and my basic description of who I am, what The Rite Stuff is, and specifications about the Heracles shirt. Being new to this, I probably missed out on some replies, but eventually I got some, and it was quality over quantity. The first store to believe in me was The Shop Vancouver.
Can't say enough about TJ Schneider, owner of The Shop Vancouver, for taking a chance on my brand first.
I mailed some shirts off to Canada (before the Canadian customs fiasco which is still ongoing as I type this) and I officially had a stockist. This was starting to feel like the real deal. Soon others started to come into the fold too, including Niche Market and Classic Works Inc. in Taipei, Mr.old in Tainan, and most recently, Godspeed in Melbourne, Australia.
Mr.old in Tainan wearing the Heracles rather stylishly.
Martin Kirby (left) of Godspeed doing work.
During this time there was something that kept nagging me though: the sizes I was offering. I had mistakenly figured that since I'm 5'11" and weigh 155, and wear the Small, that my Large would be plenty large. Wrong. Soon enough I'd learn that I needed more sizes, and still more products, but that's a story for another day. After all, how is the real Hercules going into fit into my shirt for his next fashion shoot?