Creator Spotlight: Arm the Animals
“If your design is good, it will sell; If it sells, it will be seen.” Matt Heinemeyer, cofounder of Arm the Animals: an animal empowerment organization.
Hi Matt! Tell us a little bit about yourself and about the Arm the Animals Brand My name is Matt Heinemeyer and I started the company 4 years ago with a friend named Danian Rios, who was a college friend. The company Arm The Animals was started to serve as a living tribute to my sister Karen, who died suddenly at the age of only 40. Her passing threw me out of orbit because she was older, had helped raise me and literally supported me for months at a time… and I NEVER got the chance to do anything in return for her. One day, the name ARM THE ANIMALS popped into my head, so I looked it up and there were literally 7 returns on Google and they were all in context of a post or a comment. I thought it was a great name, made a logo, showed it around and everyone said, “Dude, that would be a great T-shirt.”
How did you find out about Teespring? I’m a marketing and tech news junkie, so I kept hearing rumblings about Teespring being used as a paragon of success. I looked it up, did my homework and then brought it to my partners as another way for us to get our tees out in the world. We were then introduced via email to a Teespring employee by a friend-of-a-friend and made the decision to pursue Teespring fully as a company.
What’s been the best part about building your brand on Teespring so far?
1. Ease of use: Anyone can do this. If you have an idea, do it! Teespring tore the roof off of limitations imposed upon creative people with a completely novel and brilliant model.
2. Access: If your design is good, it will sell; If it sells, it will be seen. It doesn’t seem like there are any “games” going on; if you have an idea that’s awesome and get it up on Teespring, they will respond accordingly by showing their network your content. With death of organic traffic on social networks, Teespring is a big place with plenty of room for great designs.
3. Support and guidance: Any question I have had has been answered and not disregarded. It doesn’t matter if you sell 10 shirts or 1,000 shirts, if you need support, you can get it.
4. Quality/Fairness: The end product is great quality and the revenue splits are totally fair in our estimation.
How did you come up with your Halloween themed store Last year we made a few Halloween designs just as a test to see if people liked them, and they did pretty well! So, this year, we made another collection of designs and they are awesome! The fact that Teespring allows multiple storefronts is great because we can clump themes together and reach different people with each one.
Where do you hope to take your brand in the future? We’re not an egotistical brand at all, but we do think we can be really, really big. We have a unique idea with funny, clever, unique designs that speak to almost everybody. For the first 2 years of business, there was absolutely nobody making designs like ours; that has changed, but I still believe that we are “patient 0” when it comes to cats-and-gats or dog-and-bombs!
Tell us a funny story about Arm the Animals I have one memory that is kind of funny to me. Very early on, our friend Travis Wade got some crazy exposure for us by getting celebrities to wear our stuff. We had Ashley Greene from Twilight, Shannon Elizabeth, Shilo Fernandez, Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Zac Brown and a bunch of others wearing our stuff. That lead to interest from publications and People Magazine wanted to interview me — which was terrifying. I was still at my day job and I remember sneaking around the back of the building and literally hiding between stacked palettes to do the interview over the phone. The reporter kept asking me to speak up because I was in stealth mode and it started off horribly. After 15–20 minutes, I had to stand up because my knees hurt and when I did, my boss was standing 6-feet away from me by his car. I felt stupid, I totally got caught and he had to of heard what I was saying. Things were different after that between he and I and about 4 months later, I put in my notice.
Thanks, Matt! We look forward to seeing Arm the Animals flourish :)
Got an idea for a tee? Don’t just sit there … share it with the world!