Check out the full shop at: shop.shycogco.com
BC: Can you give us a little Shycog history?
SC: The Shycog Co. was inspired from my passion for design, my love for riding my bike with my friends, and the city of Chicago. Mr. Farthing, the bicycle/mustache logo I created, was inspired by a collection of vintage bicycle company ads I’d been curating. I love that vintage design aesthetic, and I used the history of Chicago and it’s great bicycle culture to help drive the Shycog message. With these ideas, I opened the store with just two shirt designs and continue to build the Shycog Co. into a classy apparel company.
BC: How did you jump in and find manufacturers and printers that produced a quality good enough for your brand?
SC: To find the best manufacterers for my company I relied on the advice from others who had experience in the industry. Sometimes all it took was sending an email, other times I turned to social media for inquiries. In general, most people are nice and eager to help. In turn, I make sure that when others come knocking on my door for advice, I gladly point them in the direction of the companies that I’ve had success with.
BC: What are some important things you’ve learned since the shop launched?
SC: The biggest lesson you learn when you open a apparel business is just how much work it takes to operate. Creating the brand, getting the product designed and made, as well as opening the online store, is just the beginning. You’ve got to get your company in front of as many people as possible - so social media, keeping up a blog, networking and marketing all need constant attention. Ultimately, if it’s something you love to do it’s never boring work.
BC: What moment stands out as really important and special in the shop’s history?
SC: It’s that moment where you feel recognized as a successful brand and suddenly all the work you put in gets immediately validated. The first time it happened to me I came up with the idea to showcase my unique packaging by shooting a video of me wrapping a shirt order. I had my wife grab the camera, we setup near a sunny window, and after a few takes I got enough to display what goes into wrapping each order that goes out. After doing some rock and roll video editing, I uploaded it to YouTube and Vimeo and made sure to tag each with all the relevant keywords. Not long after I posted it, a number of popular bicycle blogs picked it up, and I received a bunch of orders from all that shared publicity. I just remember being so surprised at how well that turned out, and getting the notification of every order was just so gratifying.
BC: Any tips or advice you could give other stores starting out with Big Cartel?
SC: Be unique! Customize the hell out of your online store so that it really sells your brands message. With the new customization tool it’s even easier than before! Pay attention to detail. It’s the creative details such as custom packaging, hand written thank you’s, etc that people will remember. Kick complete ass when it comes to customer service. I answer every email, tweet, and Facebook comment that a person writes. If they took the time to pay me a compliment or ask a question, so can I.