Rush Order Tees’ Official 76ers Sponsorship Kickoff

Rush Order Tees 76ers sponsorship

Being a Philadelphia-based company run by Philadelphia natives, Rush Order Tees lives and breathes Philly sports. Sports in general have always been a part of our company’s culture and an inspiration for our team’s constant hustle. This hustle is, in fact, what brought about the recent opportunity to bridge what we do here with Philadelphia’s pro-sports industry.

As we root on the Philadelphia 76ers in their first home game against the Oklahoma Thunder tonight, the Rush Order Tees team also kicks off our first season as the official t-shirt providers of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The order that sparked fire

Philadelphia 76ers Wells Fargo Center

Our initial communication with the 76ers sparked from an order that came as many of our customers’ orders do–in a rush.

Back during the NBA draft in June, the Sixers found themselves in a pinch to get a bulk order of fan merchandise printed in time for a Draft Party event. Knowing we were a Philly-based screen printer, the Sixers sought us out for help.

Our confidence to deliver

In our usual fashion, we were able to pull through under the team’s time constraint. They were impressed with our ability to produce such high-quality shirts at such a fast turnaround.

In the wake of this successful delivery, we became very interested in how we could help them on a larger scale. Our team knew without any doubt that we could offer the 76ers our famously fast turn-around rate and high-quality production on the large scale they needed. On top of this confidence, the 76ers were a team near and dear to us all. We were stoked about the potential to work with one of our Philadelphia teams!

Officially sealing the deal

Philadelphia 76ers Rush Order Tees
The Rush Order Tees team got pumped up for the t-shirt toss on the October 15 preseason game against the Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center.

After a few weeks of discussion between our leadership and the 76ers, we cemented the deal–Rush Order Tees became the official t-shirt providers of the Philadelphia 76ers. When the end of September hit, our team kicked it into high gear to deliver our end of the deal. We printed over 20,000 promotional shirts for the NBA season, then packaged and delivered to the Wells Fargo Center before the Sixers’ first pre-season home game on October 6th.

With signing of the deal, we were guaranteed a radio spot per game, logo placements during home games, and tickets for our team to attend a pre-season game, along with a few other nice perks.

Perks for Philly fans

Philadelpiha 76ers shirts

We get to share a few of these perks with the Sixers fans! A portion of the 20,000 Sixers shirts will go catapulting through t-shirt cannons during each home game. Tickets are still available throughout the season, so all Sixers fans still have the chance to get lucky and catch some free swag!

Aside from the t-shirt cannons, another exciting fan perk is our Philadelphia 76ers design contest! Starting early in 2017, fans will be able to submit their original Sixers’ t-shirt design for a chance to see it appear on 2,500 t-shirts. The winning shirts will be distributed at one of the season’s home games. Stay tuned on Sixers radio, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages for the contest launch!

For the fans, by the fans

Rush Order Tees 76ers fans

We’re excited to see how the exposure of this sponsorship impacts our growth, but our deal with the 76ers goes far beyond the advertising and exposure. The aspect of the sponsorship that we’re most thrilled about is that we get to support one of our oldest Philadelphia teams. As a company of Philly sports fans, it is a huge honor to be able deliver shirts for Sixers fans, by Sixers fans.

We’re ecstatic to root on our 76ers as they take it to the court in their first home game tonight. Catch the game tonight on Comcast Sports Net, ESPN, or on 97.5 The Fanatic. Go Sixers!

View the official Press Release here.

5 Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your Next Business Conference

Business conference

Attending business conferences in your field is one the best ways to acquire new knowledge, network, and grow professionally overall. But with a number of speakers and sessions to choose from, it can be overwhelming to prioritize your actions in what really is a short period of time. Getting the most out of a conference primarily relies on your previous planning, and following conference attendance best practices.

Learn how to get the most out of a conference with these helpful tips!

Check and Review the Agenda

conference agenda booklet
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In order to decide which sessions deserve your attention, make sure to set conference attendance goals for yourself ahead of time. What is it that you’re most interested in learning about? Think of topics where you’re lacking some knowledge, or where you find is in particular need of improvement at your company. If there will be high-profile speakers in attendance, you may also want to prioritize your time accordingly.

Once you’ve figured out your most important sessions and speakers, plan the rest of your schedule around these pieces. Prioritize highly tactical sessions over speakers in some cases for takeaways that will be directly applicable to your position or business.

It’s also a good idea to plan for the future. Maybe there’s a session on something that’s up-and-coming in your industry, but isn’t a major topic of interest yet. Take some bets on the future with an investment in learning today.

Familiarize Yourself with the Conference Space

Conference map
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If possible, get to know the conference space ahead of time so that you can avoid getting lost and spending more time navigating the area, than in speaking sessions or networking with other attendees. If you can’t physically tour the space, familiarize yourself with a conference map on the conference website.

Arriving late to the venue during the conference can set you back on learning valuable information, and might hurt your reputation with other industry people in attendance. Always aim to arrive early, well-rested, and energized for a day of learning and networking.

Listen More Than You Talk

From a learning perspective, attending a conference is more about listening than talking, especially during speaker sessions. But most speakers encourage questions, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to get more out of a session and interface with experts on a genuine business problem. Ask your question in a thoughtful manner, then stay quiet and listen carefully to absorb every bit of information the speaker is sharing.

The same holds true when networking between sessions or after the conference speaking sessions are over. You have two ears and one mouth. Listen more than you talk–it’s a much more effective networking tactic than constantly pushing yourself and your company. You’ll have your turn to speak, but make a positive first impression so that people are receptive to what you have to say at that point.

Know (or Get to Know) Other Attendees

Conference networking table
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If you’re going to take the time to familiarize yourself with the conference space, you should also take some pains to familiarize yourself with the people you’re going to be attending sessions with. Luckily, you can take steps figure out who will be at a conference ahead of the date:

A few ways to get to know attendees:

  • Check and see if there’s an event page/app connected to the conference where people are posting
  • See if there’s an event hashtag and monitor who’s using it
  • Ask colleagues in the industry if they’re going, and if they know anyone else who will be in attendance (then ask for an introduction!)

From there, attempt to set up casual or business-oriented meetings with attendees. Expanding your network with relevant industry connections is always a great use of conference time, and quite possibly even more rewarding than attending sessions.

Show Up Prepared

The same way you wouldn’t leave your house for work in the morning without a charged smartphone and your work laptop, make sure that you’ve prepared all the things you’ll be needing for your conference ahead of time. Conferences are usually held over multiple days, and you’ll need to be out for long hours each day. You can avoid some conference stress if you’ve taken the time to get things in order ahead of time. To do so, make sure you:

  • Bring your gadgets and chargers with you
  • Pack enough business cards (bring more, instead of less)
  • Bring any sales materials you find necessary (as long as you’re not being pushy, just being prepared)

When attending a conference, make it your goal to always to be alert. Register early and avoid getting in late. Impress your peers, but do not try to act like someone else or push business in an annoying way.

Keep your mindset focused on molding your career path and benefitting your company. But most importantly, don’t put too much stress on yourself. Don’t burn yourself out–give yourself some time to rest and relax, so that you’re ready for each conference day.

Do you have some tips for how to get the most out of a conference that we didn’t cover? We’d love your insight! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

The Art of Asking for Referrals for Your Business

Business referrals

Given today’s competitive environment, advertising your business is vital to ensuring steady flow of clients and sales. This reigns true in any industry, but even more so for client-service industries. Whether your business is construction, interior design, or landscaping, one of the best ways to get on people’s radar and get qualified leads is to ask for referrals from existing clients.

Getting referrals from customers who already know and trust your services will lower your cost per customer acquisition. Essentially, the customer is doing the advertising for you. As you’re probably already aware, word of mouth marketing is the most effective way to get more customers. 

Referrals are also a way to validate that you’re providing high quality service that leaves your existing clients satisfied and willing to endorse you to their personal network.

Knowing how beneficial referrals can be, it’s smart to create a strategy focused around encouraging them. Here’s how to ask for a referral for your small business:

Offer Rewards for Referrals

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Use both your online and offline client communications to ask for referrals. Some companies offer a flat rate for a referral, while others offer a commission of sorts (such as a percentage of the sale). You may also opt to reward referrers with gift cards, event tickets, or other gifts. Figure out a fair reward that incentivizes a customer without overspending your marketing dollars.

Whatever the terms of your referral program, make sure that they’re easy to understand and that customers are aware of it!

Give More Business Cards

When your clients ask you for a business card, always give them a few extra copies. This ensures that in any potential situation, the client can act as a salesperson and share your business information with their friends.

Having your business card on hand will allow them to easily pass on your contact information.

Don’t Accept Just Any Referrals

According to Rick Roberge, co-founder of Unbound Growth, when he first started seeking referrals, he’d ask customers, “Who do you know? Roberge said that with this way of asking, customers would usually just give names of people and companies that they didn’t necessarily have a good relationship with.

He then changed his question to “Who do you like?” This new method of asking for referrals ensured that he’d be getting referrals that his existing clients have a good relationship with.

Always Give Your Thanks

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Another way to stand out amongst your competitors is by expressing your gratitude for their business. Clients want to be appreciated, so saying a simple “thank you” is a great way to strengthen your relationship with them. It’s important to note that people are likely to recommend companies that they have regular contact with.

Sending a thank you note can also serve as the perfect follow up with your clients after a job is complete. If you can’t thank them personally, you should print personalized letters, or hand-written notes, and send them to your clients. If they do end up referring business to you, make sure to send another thank-you, and maybe attach a reward (in line with your existing rewards program).

Be Excellent at Your Job

It’s really quite simple. If you want to get referrals easily from your existing clients, even without asking them, the best thing you can do is to provide great work. If they are delighted with how the project went, they will recommend you when others ask for referrals. Know that even if you ask them to refer you, clients will only refer businesses they are satisfied with. Work hard to always under-promise and over-deliver.

To ensure continuous referrals, make the referral process part of your overall marketing plan. Are there any additional tips that have worked for you regarding how to ask for a referral? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

Branding Your Construction Company Against the Competition

Construction Company branding

There’s nothing incredibly sexy about construction company marketing, but that doesn’t mean it can be pushed to the side and forever ignored. Instead, consider how you can use various branding techniques to stand apart from similar businesses, and give your company a distinctive edge. After all, companies that establish themselves as different (in a good way), are more likely to win business than a company that is impossible to distinguish from the next choice.

Here’s how to make your construction company stand out against the competition.

Find Your Niche

Construction company quarter zip

You may or may not have realized it, but you have a niche.

Are there certain projects that your company keeps taking on? Perhaps you’ve specifically done great work remodeling kitchens, or adding on outdoor living spaces. Maybe you specialize in luxury remodeling. Whatever it is you do best, that is what sets you apart from the competition, and you should make it known! 

Once you’re able to clearly define your niche, make sure to incorporate it into everything you do: your logo/branding, online identity, and print materials.

Create a Representative Logo

Construction company shirt design

Most construction companies treat their logo as a second thought–but not you! Don’t fall into that trap.

Make your construction company stand out by treating your logo like the powerful branding tool it is. Take what you’ve already determined by soul searching to find your niche, and create a logo that acts as a physical representation as such. If you’re creative, take a shot at creating your logo in our design studio using our vast clipart selection. Otherwise, consult a professional designer to help you out.

Once you’ve created a logo you’re proud of that speaks to your brand, develop your other promotional materials around it.

Let Your Reputation Precede You

Construction Company Beanie design

It’s all starting to come together. You know what sets you apart, and you’ve created some branding to communicate this. Now it’s time to dig into your past for some proof of your greatness. Aside from keeping a portfolio of your work, word-of-mouth advertising will serve you well. 

That’s right–it’s time to re-open the lines of communication with previous clients. The goal is to get testimonials from them to share their positive experiences with your company. These testimonials should be posted on online review websites, as well as on your social media, website, and marketing materials. Just one testimonial can be used in so many different ways on so many different mediums, and can help cement trust with new customers!

Be Consistent

Construction company t-shirt design

Just as in what you do for your clients in a physical sense, building a solid foundation (in a more figurative sense) is important for your business and branding. Once you’ve invested the time and effort into building a winning image of your business, it’s important to preserve it with consistency across all your public-facing materials, including flyers, social media channels, and your website. If you don’t have a website, look at creating one using Wix, SquareSpace, or another free website builder. It will serve you well!

Being consistent isn’t just about image, it’s about making sure that the people seeking information (your prospects) always have the most up-to-date information available to them.

Be the Best at What You Do

It seems simple, right? But a lot of construction companies (and companies in general) settle for being just good enough. If you can commit to being the best you can be, in the niche you have an expertise in, you will excel. You will easily generate testimonials and referrals from happy clients. All the other pieces in the puzzle will fall together, so long as you can commit to consistency.

Do you have what it takes to make your construction company stand out against the competition? We sure think so! Follow the advice above, and you’ll be on the right track.

Is there anything you’d add to this list of how to make your construction company stand out? We’d love to hear your wisdom in the comments!

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

Powerhouse 2016: Top 10 Artists We’d Like to See Make a Guest Appearance

Powerhouse surprise guests

Cooler temperatures, football, and pumpkin spiced everything are all reasons to love the fall, but any Philly hip-hop fan knows that it’s really the season of Power 99’s Powerhouse concert, where the home of “Philadelphia’s Hip-Hop and R&B” brings the biggest stars in the game to the stage in the City of Brotherly Love. While this year’s lineup boasts performances from Trey Songz, Wiz Khalifa and the city’s current favorite son Meek Mill, the show is known for surprise guests.  Here are ten of Philly’s hip-hop icons we hope to see onstage on October 28th:

Amber Rose

Amber Rose red carpet
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Why: It’s hard to think of a non-artist that has had more impact on hip-hop this decade.  Rose started as a dancer in Philadelphia, dated Kanye West, and allegedly had some influence over him bumrushing Taylor Swift. She later broke up with Kanye, inspiring “My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy,” and soon went on to marry Wiz Khalifa. After they had a son together, she divorced Wiz, and had a hand in some of the most entertaining social media altercations of all time. Needless to say, a showing from Amber Rose would add a beautiful twist to the performance line-up.  

Chances:  Kanye may have said it best on “No More Parties in LA” when he rapped “Amber told me no matter what she’s not going back to Philly.” So, apparently the chances are about as slim as her impossibly small waistline. 

Cassidy & Freeway

Cassidy and Freeway
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Why: Philadelphia rap battles have never been a joke, but these two engaged in a battle for the ages in the early 2000s that still stands as the gold standard for many fans of the genre.  In addition to each MC spitting countless quality punchlines throughout the confrontation, the battle also benefited from coming at the perfect time, when watching and sharing video files had just become possible on most computers. The clip has been viewed millions of times and is still remembered as one of the greatest rap battles of all time. 

Chances:  Pretty Good. Both rappers have steadily released music since the viral video and both are mainstays in the Philly scene.  But don’t expect a Rocky II style rematch, lightning like that never strikes twice. 

Lil’ Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert red carpet
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Why?: Nobody in hip-hop has had a more productive year than Philly’s own Lil’ Uzi Vert. The rapper put out three mixtapes, including the smash hit “Money Longer,” and landed the cover of XXL’s Freshmen Class Issue. His press interviews ignited social media, and in just a few short months, Vert went from practically unknown to one of the most promising young rappers.

Chance: Good. Very Good. Unless he’s touring the other side of the world, there’s a good chance he will make this show his homecoming and victory lap for 2016.

DJ Jazzy Jeff

DJ Jazzy Jeff
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Why: DJ Jazzy Jeff is unfairly made a punchline way too often for a hip-hop legend. People often wonder what happened to him after Will Smith’s acting career took off. Jeff has been a hip-hop icon with a resume of production, talent scouting, and mentoring young artists that stretches over parts of four decades. 

Chance: Pretty Good. He’s always visible in the Philly scene and would bring a good sense of the city’s history to a show featuring mostly newer artists.  Let’s just hope Uncle Phil doesn’t throw him offstage. 

Eve

Eve Red Carpet
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Why: In the late 90s Eve burst out of Philadelphia and onto the national stage with Ruff Riders as the “Pitbull in a Skirt.” She had several huge hits and collaborations before moving into acting and eventually retreating from the spotlight before reemerging this year on tour with “Let Me Blow Your Mind” counterpart Gwen Stefani. 

Chance: Not Great.  Eve has maintained a very low profile over the last few years, but a quick version of “What U Want?” or “Who’s That Girl?” would be much appreciated by her hometown fans. 

Schooly D

School D
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Why: Last year’s huge hit “Straight Outta Compton” did a great job of showing the start of West Coast Gangsta Rap, however it left out the fact that Schooly D was doing a similar style in Philadelphia before Dre, Cube, Eazy, and company bought their first Raider hats. 

Chance: 50/50.  Schooly D rarely makes appearances these days, but you never know.

Beanie Sigel & State Property

Beanie Sigel
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Why: Nobody reps the streets of Philly better than “The Broadstreet Bully” and his State Property Crew.  The squad blew up in the early 2000’s with a co-sign from Jay-Z and proceeded to release a string of street anthems that sound just as hard fifteen years later.

Chance: Very Good.  Beans has been making the rounds (guest verses, podcasts, concerts, etc.) recently and it seems like most of the bad blood within State Property has been resolved, it’s definitely time for Philly to see these guys “Roc The Mic” together again.

Will Smith

Will Smith red carpet
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Why: Most people don’t think of Will “The Fresh Prince” Smith’s family friendly raps when they think of Philly hip-hop. But in reality, there’s a generation of forty-year-old rap fans that were introduced to the genre through his early work, like “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” and another generation that was brought into hip-hop by his later hits like “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” In between those is another generation that loves “Summer Time” and can still easily recite “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song.

Chance: About as low as there being a “Wild Wild West” sequel.  He’s probably too busy making or promoting a movie to come to the show, but crazier things have happened. 

The Roots

The Roots
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Why: The Roots are the most successful hip-hop band of all time. They have multiple classic albums, dozens of well-known songs, and are known for amazing live performances, such as their annual Roots Picnic right here in Philadelphia. 

Chance: About as good as Questlove taking a razor to his trademark afro. A Roots surprise performance is nearly impossible because of the complexity of their stage show. Plus, they would have to get Jimmy Fallon to give them the night off.

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson 76ers
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Why: Iverson wasn’t the first basketball player to openly embrace hip-hop, but he was the first to bring its’ 90s swagger (cornrows, tattoos, oversized clothing, large jewelry, etc.) to the NBA.  Iverson is such a hip-hop head that he did a Reebok commercial with Jadakiss, and recently thanked several MC’s for being the soundtrack to his career when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Chance: About as good as AI was off the dribble…so, almost a sure thing.  He’s been making a lot of appearances this year and the Philly crowd would erupt if he graced the stage. 

Angelo Gingerelli is a New Jersey native, stand-up comic, streetwear enthusiast, and avid hip-hop fan.  He has been writing for various publications since 2009 and currently contributes to Pop-Break.com, FifthRoundMovement.com and Rush Order Tees. Learn more about Angelo on his website and on Twitter @Mr5thRound.

Top 5 Street Art and Streetwear Collaborations

Streetwear Collabs

Street artists and streetwear have always gone together like peanut butter and jelly, salt-n-pepper, and aerosol cans and freshly painted walls.  “Street art” has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings. Today it includes countless mediums, materials, and styles. Its most prominent artists have risen through the ranks of the art world to earn high respects, both critically and commercially. 

Some of the most successful artists became entrepreneurs in their own right. These are the artists who figured out how to monetize their artwork using various mediums, such as galleries, clothing lines, commercial design, and much more. Several have even partnered with established brands to get their message to the masses. 

Let’s take a look at five of the best collaborations between street artists and streetwear brands over the past few years.

Kaws x Uniqlo

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Street artist Kaws made a name for himself throughout the 2000s with his cartoon-inspired style. His work quickly found its’ way into pop culture, appearing on collectible vinyl toys, swimwear, and album covers. While most of these pieces were well received, none had the same cultural reach as his collaboration with Japanese retailer Uniqlo.

In 2016, Kaws and Uniqlo worked together to release a limited run of t-shirts featuring Kaws’ artwork. The shirts debuted in Uniqlo retail outlets worldwide. The first run was so popular that the company quickly produced a second collection to keep up with demand.  While many graffiti artist have successful t-shirt lines, few have been as instantly successful as Kaws has been. 

Keith Haring X Swatch

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The 80s are often viewed as the pinnacle of when street art mixed with high society. They were the era when New York City’s new hip-hop and punk movements first began mingling with the established art gallery and dance scenes.  One of the most influential artists of this era was Keith Haring, whose simple figures and childlike letters took the scene by storm. Haring’s work soon ended up on posters, clothing, album covers, and some of the most memorable watches of the decade. 

Keith Haring’s initial collaboration with Swatch is a perfect example of artist, brand, and timing all coming together like the elements of a beautiful mural. The Keith Haring swatch collection featured his unmistakable style. While the line featured products for general release, and it also included limited edition models.  The collaboration was so successful that some of the limited edition models, which were $50 at the time of their release, are now worth several thousand dollars. Over the last four decades, the artist has went on to design multiple other collections with Swatch. 

Shepard Fairey X Obey 

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Shepard Fairey is an innovative artist on several fronts. In the 80s, his “Andre The Giant” sticker became ubiquitous, even beyond the street art scene. In some ways, it even led to the “street team” promotion movement that became popular in the 90s. Later on in 2008, his portrait of Barack Obama became the unofficial logo for the POTUS’s campaign, and helped push street art into the forefront of American culture.

Fairey blended his artwork with fashion when he created his own streetwear brand, Obey. The brand’s logo has arguably become Fairey’s most recognizable work. Obey apparel is sold in malls and merchandisers all over the United States, and is available at affordable prices at stores like Urban Outfitters and Zumiez. Fairey has made street art available for the masses to purchase and wear, and he’s successfully turned young people onto the scene with every trip to the mall. 

Stash X Reebok

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New York-based street artist Stash had been working his subdued blue and gray magic on both Nike (Air Force Ones, Air Maxes) and Reeboks (Insta Pump Fury) for several years before he took a shot at Allen Iverson’s first signature shoe. 

Stash’s version of “The Question” reimagined the familiar silhouette. His design utilized premium materials and unique blue and grey hues in combination with Reebok, Iverson, and Stash co-branding. The shoe was proof that when sneaker companies collaborate with artists, the results don’t have to scream “Look at me!” when they could “Kill Them Softly.” 

Cleon Peterson x HUF

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The L.A.-based Cleon Peterson is known for his monochromatic paintings, which represent symbolic depictions of the struggles of contemporary society. It is no surprise that merchandisers have been all over him for collaborations for years. Back in 2012, Peterson collaborated with the U.K.-based retailer African Apparel on a t-shirt collection featuring his statement-making artwork.

More recently, in 2016, Peterson collaborated with the gritty lifestyle brand HUF to create an entire streetwear collection featuring his chaotic drawings. The exclusive run, titled “In Killing We Live,” includes a bomber jacket, crew neck, duffle bag, hats, and a skateboard deck, and is available at only a couple dozen retailers worldwide.

Each of these artists has learned that the trick to a successful career in street art is monetizing your work in as many ways possible. Even if you can’t collaborate with the biggest brands off the bat, a collaboration with any merchandiser is a great start. These artists have been able to create and maintain a demand for their artwork, and in turn have remained culturally influential throughout their artistic careers.

Angelo Gingerelli is a New Jersey native, stand-up comic, streetwear enthusiast, and avid hip-hop fan.  He has been writing for various publications since 2009 and currently contributes to Pop-Break.com, FifthRoundMovement.com and Rush Order Tees. Learn more about Angelo on his website and on Twitter @Mr5thRound.

Layering Up: Cold Weather Gear for Your Construction Crew

Cold weather gear

If your job consists of performing physical labor outdoors all day, then the change of seasons is undoubtably a big change to your day-to-day. You know the sluggishness that drudging through the humid, hot summer days with endless streams of sweat can cause. You also know, however, that the bitter, blistering cold of dead winter can take just as much out of you. The happy medium temperatures of spring and fall only last for so long, and the rest of the year gives you a run for your money.

Just as much as it’s important to stay hydrated through the hot summer months, it’s also vital to stay warm during the numbing, bitter months of winter. Luckily, to help you keep as much of your body heat in as possible, we offer a variety of customizable winter gear for you and your construction crews. Here’s our guide to navigating and choosing your cold weather gear.

First, let’s take at proper layering:

First Layer: Make Sure It’s Wicking

Cold weather construction gear
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Your first layer should be made out of a fabric with wicking capability that works to keep you warm. Dry-wicking works in two ways. First, it repels the cold air away from your body, allowing you to hang on to your body head. But, it also allows sweat and moisture to escape the fabric so that in the case that you begin sweating, the sweat dries quickly.

Fabrics like cotton hold onto moisture and can cause your body temperature to continue dropping after you’ve stopped sweating. When you’re out working in the cold, your body temperature can drop to a dangerously low temperature. Bottom line? Cotton is no good for a first layer! Polyester and wool are the two best wicking layers. For your first layer, try a 100% polyester  long-sleeve or quarter-zip.  

Second Layer: Your Insulation Layer

Construction crew hoodie
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Your second layer’s function is to keep you insulated. The insulation layer should use a thick and heavy fabric, such as wool, down, or fleece, that have enough space in their fibers to trap and warm the air around your body.

In addition to fabric, it’s important that your insulation layer fits properly. The second layer should fit close to your body enough to not let excess air in, but not too tightly that it doesn’t allow the motion you need to get your work done.

A perfect example of an insulation layer would be either a full or quarter zip fleece. Fleece material is thick, and warm, and most have elastic cuffs, which will help trap in the heat even more.

Third Layer: Protects Against the Elements

Your third or outer layer will protect you against whatever elements your work has you endure. Whether it’s a brisk wind, rain, or snow, your outer layer should be wind and water-proof so that it keeps you warm and dry. (Bonus if your outer layer is resistant to heat, fire, sun, or abrasion!) When normal clothing fabrics get wet, they allow the cold air to go straight through the fabric, and even conduct the cold air directly to your skin. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to you getting injured or sick. No matter how much or little it’s raining, it’s vital that your outermost layer is waterproof.

Depending on what your normal cold weather climate is like, yours can include additional insulation, or it can just be a water-proof layer, like a rain jacket. Here are the benefits of both:

Lightweight water resistant

Construction cold weather gear
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Going with something light-weight is good for various reason. First, it allows you the flexibility to layer accordingly. If it’s commonly raining but not too chilly outside, then you’ll enjoy the flexibility that a soft-shell jacket allows you. You and your crew will be able to stay dry without getting hot.

Insulation-lined water resistant

Construction cold weather gear
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The classic fleece-lined jacket is a go-to for many reasons. As your outer layer, it’s going to keep you warmer than any rain jacket or windbreaker would. It’s perfect for extremely cold temperatures because you can wear another insulation layer underneath. If you’re considering customizable merchandise for your work crew, this is one of your best options, as they are guaranteed to show your logo whenever they’re worn.

That should leave you with an idea of proper layering when working out in the cold weather. After you decide what merchandise will be right for your construction crew, be sure to take a look at our essential things for any company to include on their custom apparel.  

How Influencer Marketing Can Help Launch Your Clothing Brand

Influencer marketing
Via:@teamcozy

Thanks to the rise of social media, a “once-underground culture” has become mainstream. Musicians and streetwear influencers have taken to Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and other social media platforms to share their opinions and style as tastemakers. These social media celebrities and bloggers have created massive followings that can be used by a brand to reach their ideal customer in a way unlike any other before it.

What are influencers?

In the world of social and digital media, brands aren’t the only ones trying to build a loyal following. Influencers are people who garner large followings and loyal supporters either on Instagram, YouTube, or a blog. Some of the biggest influencers even use all of these. Influencers are like digital celebrities–they have loyal subscribers who follow them because of the personal brands and online personalities they’ve built.

Because of this, influencers also have the ability to seamlessly promote the products that they like to their loyal followers.

Better than Traditional Advertising

Street wear fashion influencer
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Traditional print, TV, and pop-up ads are the way of the past. Influencers offer a more “subtle,” personal, and trustworthy form of advertising.

Consumers only follow influencers that they trust. Since they are actual people and don’t work for any single brand, their opinions hold more weight than something put out directly by a company for marketing purposes. In fact, 92% of consumers trust word of mouth over traditional advertising.

You could compare it to seeing an ad for a new restaurant versus getting a recommendation from a friend. You’re much more likely to try that restaurant if your friend is raving about it, as opposed to responding to manufactured promotions.

How to Find Influencers

Finding streetwear influencers isn’t challenging, but finding the right streetwear influencers for your specific brand could be slightly tricky. Start looking for them by doing the following:

  • Do a quick Google search (i.e. streetwear influencers in [your city])
  • Search out the most popular streetwear influencers using hashtags. Start with #streetart or #streetwear and find some of the popular posts, then look at other popular hashtags that they’re using.
  • Look at the influencers you follow. The odds are if they’ve inspired your brand, then they will be willing to work with you to promote it

Alternatively, consult with a PR firm. They will have media lists of influencers and bloggers in your area. Inc shared a list of some of the best influencer marketing companies that can help you to achieve your goals.

What to Look for in an Influencer

First and foremost, look beyond the person’s social media follower count. Make sure their photos are active with likes and engaging comments relative to their total followers. Arm yourself with knowledge about how to spot accounts that have too many fake followers.

It’s also worth your while to seek out high quality photography. Many streetart bloggers work with professional photographers. Ask them if they would be willing to send you full resolution images with permission to use them for marketing purposes.

Lastly, the influencer you choose should align with the demographic you are hoping to have as buyers for your streetwear brand. For example, if your brand only creates mens streetwear, you won’t benefit very much from working with a female influencer with a bridal following. Find influencers that align with your brand, and who’s followers align with your product offerings.

How Influencer Payment Works

Influencer blog
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Depending on the influencer’s website or social media reach, they may charge a fee. Lesser-known bloggers are often happy to exchange their services for free product. But as a general rule, bloggers usually charge $200-$300 for a blog post per every 10,000 page views they have. Social media posts might cost more or less, depending on the influencer.

Influencer Collaboration Options

The options are limitless when it comes to collaborating with streetwear influencers. Here are some common formats for collaboration, but try to think outside of the box for a campaign that really resonates with your target audience.

  • Product review
  • Styled outfit with your item
  • Giveaway (which creates lots of engagement for both parties)
  • Event hosting

You may want to consult an influencer marketing company to figure out which of these options is the best fit for your company. It also depends on the blogger’s specific audience–some bloggers have better results with certain types of posts.

Get the Most out of an Influencer Collaboration

Here are some additional tips to get the most bang for your buck.

  • Agree on terms ahead of time so you both know what to expect and no one is disappointed. How many blog or social media posts do you want? How many photos? Do you have a deadline in mind?
  • An ongoing collaboration is best. If a streetwear star’s followers notice them wearing the same designs over and over again, they’re more likely to purchase.

Are you ready to take your brand to the next level? Using streetwear influencers for your clothing brand may be the way to do it. We’d love to hear about people’s experiences working with influencers–share your stories in the comments below!

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

Branding of NYC’s Pro Sports: Worst to Best

NYC Sports branding

It’s been said that if you can make it in New York City you can make it anywhere. While that holds true for individuals, it also applies to the city’s professional sports franchises.  NYC is the only city with eight major sports teams, and that doesn’t even include professional soccer, lacrosse, the WNBA, or the handful of Division 1 collegiate teams also located within the five boroughs. 

Let’s take a look at the branding and marketing of New York’s major sports franchises and see which ones have done the best job at taking a bite out of The Big Apple.  

Number 8: Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets logo
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The Nets played in New Jersey for over three decades and, despite hall-of-fame players and back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals, nobody cared. The Nets were perennial doormats and always at the bottom of the league for attendance, TV ratings, and merchandise sales. The Net’s fortune took a turn for the better in 2012–they quickly became one of the most popular teams in the NBA when they moved to a state-of-the-art arena in Brooklyn, adopted minimalist black and white uniforms, and aligned themselves with BK’s favorite son, Jay-Z.  

Unfortunately the Nets’ new place among the league’s elite teams was short lived. Within three years, Jay-Z had pretty much extricated himself from the franchise, the front office traded most of the well-known players, and the team sunk to the bottom of the league standings, making the playoff runs seem like ancient history.  The Nets are now clearly NYC’s “other team.”  

Number 7: New York Islanders

New York Islanders logo
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The Islanders have always had the tough task of sharing the city’s hockey fan base with the much more established Rangers. They have had flashes of becoming “New York’s hockey team,” with multiple Stanley Cups in the 80s, yet fully embrace their outsider status by playing in Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. The map of Long Island in their logo has endeared them to the island’s residents, who’ve been happy to have a team to call their own. 

The last few years have not been too kind to the Isles. Their Long Island arena fell into such disarray that they had to move their home games to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which lost them their Long Island fans, yet failed to connect them with people in BK. The Islanders usually have a pretty solid team on the ice, but even in the season where they are way better than the Rangers, they never seem to fully connect with fans in the major boroughs.  

Number 6: New York Jets 

New York Jets logo
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The Jets are such second class citizens in the NYC sports world that, up until a few years ago, they shared a stadium with the Giants that was actually called “Giants Stadium.” The team has done a good job of marketing themselves as New York’s underdog heroes and have a huge fan base in New Jersey and Long Island, yet they still have almost no fans in New York City proper. 

The Jets debuted decades after the Giants and–with the exception of winning Super Bowl III almost fifty years ago–have seen very little success on the field. Meanwhile, the Giants have been a model of consistency and excellence for decades. Needless to say, it hasn’t been a good recipe for the Jets to dethrone the city’s favorite football team.  

Number 5: New York Mets 

New York Mets
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The Mets will never be the Yankees…and that’s okay.  

The team that plays in Queens has been arguably the best “other team” in any city and in any sport. Compared to the White Sox, the Clippers, or the Nets, they are a model organization. They’ve won two World Series titles, made the post season every few years, and have had a steady stream of entertaining players, such as Mookie Wilson, Daryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, and David Wright.

From a marketing and branding perspective, the Mets have always realized that New York was a baseball town with room for two Major League organizations. Their approach? Cultivate an image of being the perpetual “new kid on the block.” The Mets consistently promote younger players, use a youthful color scheme, and have arguably the most adorable mascot in all of sports. 

Number 4: New York Rangers 

New York Rangers logo
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The Rangers are definitely your father’s favorite hockey team, probably your grandfather’s favorite hockey team, and possibly your great grandfather’s favorite hockey team.  The Rangers have been a part of NYC’s culture for almost as long as pizza, pastrami, and pretzels. The team debuted as part of the NHL’s “original six” teams and uses that tradition in almost all of its’ branding messages. 

Part of this reliance on tradition stems from winning only one championship in close to a century. It also demonstrates, however, that the organization is branding-savvy–the team continues to sell tickets and merchandise despite their struggles on the ice.  The Rangers are an NYC institution, and will remain a part of the city’s fabric even if they don’t win a Stanley Cup for another 100 years.  

Number 3: New York Knicks

New York Knicks logo
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Knicks tickets are some of the most expensive in the NBA, and somehow Madison Square Garden routinely sells out–despite the team not being competitive since the end of the last century. In the last decade and a half, the team has been a complete debacle on the court, but has remained one of the most popular franchises in the league. Knicks tickets and merchandise continue to sell, thanks to an extremely dedicated fanbase that rushes to buy jerseys of players as soon as the Knicks acquire them (Carmelo Anthony, Derek Rose, etc.), and who, despite the Knick’s record, still view a game at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” as a treat.  

Whether or not the team can continue to lose and maintain this brand strength remains to be seen. As of now, it’s been seventeen years since they went to the finals, and they’re not showing signs of slowing down.  

Number 2: New York Giants

New York Giants logo
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The Giants have everything it takes to be a New York favorite: a long history and storied tradition; multiple championship wins; iconic players; classic uniforms; coaches that have become New York legends; ownership that tries to win every year; and ties to “Old New York” that make them one of the few things multiple generations can agree on.

The team has consistently branded itself as “New York’s Team” for decades and has been incredibly successful at maintaining that distinction. The Giants have been able to produce results on the field and remain connected to their franchise’s roots (family ownership, no crazy uniform changes, not trading fan favorite players, etc.). All together, they have become one of the most popular and successful organizations, not only in New York, but in the entire sports world. 

Number 1: New York Yankees

Yankees logo
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There are few brands in sports as strong as the New York Yankees.  The Yankee pinstripe and logo pair is as recognizable as the Nike swoosh, Coca-Cola’s cursive writing, or Apple’s half-eaten fruit. Yankee merchandise is worn on all corners of the map. The interlocking NY logo has become bigger than the Yankees, bigger than baseball, and bigger than the sports industry–it has become the unofficial logo for the city that never sleeps.  

The Yankees’ century-long commitment to excellence both on and off the field has led the to team winning more championships than any other franchise in sports (about one every 5 years). But Yankee dominance extends far beyond this. The team has the best stadium in New York, their own television network, partnerships with the best apparel companies, and has had dozens of iconic players over the years who have transcended baseball by being great players and playing “The Yankee Way.”  

New York is a baseball town and the Yankees have been a model franchise for over a hundred years, making them New York’s number one brand in professional sports. 

Angelo Gingerelli is a New Jersey native, stand-up comic, streetwear enthusiast, and avid hip-hop fan.  He has been writing for various publications since 2009 and currently contributes to Pop-Break.com, FifthRoundMovement.com and Rush Order Tees. Learn more about Angelo on his website and on Twitter @Mr5thRound.

Designer’s Guide to Graffiti Fonts

Graffiti fonts in design

In many ways, graffiti is humankind’s earliest attempt to leave its mark on the world. By some accounts, we’ve been doing it for nearly 40,000 years. From the charcoal briquettes and crude tools of the prehistoric peoples of North America, ancient Egyptians, and the earliest manmade art in the caves of Indonesia, it has been a long road to the Sharpie markers and Krylon cans of modern man.  But the intent of graffiti has never changed:  “I exist!  Look at me!” 

The Greek word, graphein, means to write.  But our modern use of the root in “graffiti,” has a much greater context.

The clandestine, illegal, and sometimes gang-related origins of modern graffiti and street art make it taboo to much of the art world, but in recent decades, the form has transcended the realm of crime into city-funded beautification programs, marketing campaigns, and is now recognized as a bonafide art form.

What could be better for your design than the artform that developed out of man’s need to leave his mark, capture attention, and depict a message? Here’s our guide to graffiti fonts that you can use in your own designs:

Just another font?

Graffiti wall
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Many online articles and books on the subject trace the origins of modern American graffiti writing back to the 1960s—some even to the streets of Philadelphia (the home of Rush Order Tees).  Most graffiti letterings take the ornate, but slightly stuffy style of calligraphy, and humanizes, animates, and exaggerates it into a voluminous, pulsing writing that borders on iconography. 

Tagging, bombing, or whatever it is you call graffiti writing, is attention-grabbing. From brick walls to train cars, the beating life behind graffiti writing captures more attention than Times New Roman and Calibri. The canvases of graffiti artists are often larger than the front of a t-shirt, but the dynamic lettering is still effective when scaled down. 

Options

Graffiti spray paint cans
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As long as you promise to keep it legal, Rush Order Tees has compiled some examples and descriptions for some of the coolest, most dynamic graffiti styles available. As styles change from artist to artist, we are featuring a few of the basic stylistic forms inherent in all graffiti writing.

Tag Inspired

Stussy signature
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The tag style is Graffiti 101—consider it like learning how to write your name.  That is its origin. Tagging is a quick and basic stylized form, but it’s not just a novice’s attempt at vandalizing a high school bathroom stall.  Although the tag style is composed of letters, it becomes an icon for the artist—a calling card, a signature, a brand. 

Tag-inspired text can go a long way. Renowned streetwear brand Stussy‘s logo is actually the signature of the brand’s founder, Shawn Stussy. Stussy and his assistant Christian Anicete began selling custom-designed surfboards in the early 80s, each of which Stussy signed with a wide-tipped marker. He soon began putting this logo onto t-shirts, hats, and other apparel and selling it out of his car. So began the brand and recognizable logo that exist today.

Throw-ups

Graffiti font
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No, it’s probably not what you think from the subheading. We’re talking about another general style that is a bit more ornate than a tag. Bombs are basically like tags, with the sides blown out. They utilize bubble letters, and include two or three colors for outline, fill color, and shadowing.

Many effects are added to basic tags and throw ups to give them more magnitude and animation.  Here are some of the basics:

Drips: These mimic the heavy spray of a can. They add movement and gravity to the piece.

Graffiti drip font
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Shadow Letters: These give depth and perspective to either bubble or block letters. The use of shadow letters takes the one-dimensional surface, and pushes the piece out toward the viewer.

Graffiti shadow font
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Fat Cap: Just as they sound—writing from a fatter (wider) orifice on the actuator (basically, paint comes out of the can through a bigger hole).  It can soften tags and sharp edges.

Graffiti font
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The only risk as we get more stylized in our graffiti writing is that the images become a bit more abstract. Check out 1001 Fonts for a more simplified version of a basic throw-up font.  Now, let’s enter the big leagues in terms of abstracting your graffiti writing.

Wildstyle

Graffiti writing
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If you consider tagging as a bachelor’s degree and throw-ups as a master’s, then wildstyle is the PhD.  Wildstyle occurs when an artist pursues aesthetics into the hazy world of abstraction.  How do you get to wild style?  Through something called letter progression. 

Here’s a basic example of how the letter “R” can come out in wildstyle:

Graffiti letter progression
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When you really break it down, it is not all that different from the initial (also called a drop cap) in classical and medieval prints. 

Capital letter style
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Like we said in the introduction, every artist is different, but you have to start somewhere. Getting wildstyle down is up to the individual, but in terms of a font, wildstyle is more aptly suited for a brand logo, as the message is often so distorted, legibility is secondhand to aesthetics. You can check out a great tutorial on letter progression into wildstyle here

Graffiti writing will give your design exaggeration, playfulness, and a dynamism that isn’t inherent in other fonts. The bottom line is that it was developed to capture attention and make claims.  Isn’t that what you want your brand and design to do?  For more information on graffiti fonts, Creative Bloq offers a look at 54 of the best free graffiti fonts available. With a little practice, you’ll incorporate graffiti into your designs like a pro in no time. 

Ryan R. Latini is a freelance writer working in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Check out his website, The Narrative Report at www.ryanlatini.com, or follow him on Twitter @RyanRLatini.