Well, I don’t really really want to start two posts in a row with “Well, some of you may remember..” but some of you may remember a post a few months ago where I announced that I was one of the winners at Springleap’s t-shirt design contest. It took a while (several months) to receive some of my prizes (I haven’t received everything yet) but receive them I did.
Anyway I received a rumpled brown envelope with tons of South African stamps on it addressed to Alan (that’s me) without my surname. Pretty funny, I thought. Looking at the package I didn’t have high expectations about the contents but I was pleasantly surprised. The t-shirts were all professionally folded inside transparent plastic sleeves. Attached to the t-shirts themselves was another clear plastic bag containing a matching button (badge in British English), a card with your design (including Springleap logo) on one side and details about your winning design on the other and a small booklet containing info and images of the other June Winners. Looks very professional
That’s the t-shirts (more detailed review later), but there were supposed to be a few other prizes and there was nothing else in the envelope except a short hand written note from Springleap. The prizes were supposed to be as follows:
- Their own tshirt PLUS 2 others randomly selected from that month’s winning range
- A limited edition poster of their design
- Sponsored prizes (these vary depending on who is sponsoring these prizes and what they wanna give you
- R1 for EVERY TSHIRT of theirs that we sell
I realize that it may take time to find out how many t-shirts are sold before you get paid royalties and I wasn’t too worried about it because to be quite honest the royalties are very low. I calculated it at about 12 cents per shirt sold. Still, that’s about $120 for every thousand t-shirts sold. $120 dollar is nothing to be sniffed at. Anyway I decided to contact them about the royalties, limited edition poster and the sponsored prizes which I have yet to receive. Below are my questions:
1. When do we find out how much our Royalty payments will be and when we receive them?
2. I didn’t receive a skyrove voucher. I don’t know what it is but it was marked as a prize. When do I receive it and what is it?
3. I was told that I would receive a limited edition poster of my design but I didn’t. Is that coming later?
And here is the reply.
1. We will be building a system where you can see how many of your designs have been used on tshirts and other products and how much you have earned and have been paid. It will launch in a few months time. At this time we have only printed 108 of each design, so the royalties are going to be small until the orders start coming in.
2. The skyrove voucher is for use in South Africa on a wireless network – so the vouchers are for South African designers only.
3. We are doing hand drawn designs at this stage of your design which the whole team is signing. We’ll email you your signed design as soon as it is ready.
I was a little surprised that they only printed 108 t-shirts. At 12 cents a t-shirt that works out as a meager $12.96 in royalties for us designers. I know it’s possible that more will be printed but I guess it is not certain. This is very disappointing as I would make more money than that selling two t-shirts on a POD site. Of course I don’t have the chance of winning the $1000 or so grand prize with a POD but still.
Of course I am not all that disappointed about not receiving the skyrove voucher either as I didn’t even know what it was but I think it should have been clearer that this was a prize for only South African designers.
I am a very curious about this hand drawn design thing and looking forward to what they will come up with but I am quite curious about why they are doing a hand drawn design of a design and why they think we would be interested in their team’s signatures (autographs?). Seems bizarre. Also they said they are going to email it to me which means that, unless email technology has advanced tremendously without me hearing about it, that it is not the limited edition poster that I am supposed to receive. Anyway, time will tell.
I know you are all thinking. What about the t-shirts? How were they? What did you think? Well, I guess I should be embarrassed by this but I didn’t like my own winning t-shirt. The tee is too yellow. Maybe the yellow will improve after a few hundred washes but more than likely it will just sit unworn in my closet. That doesn’t bode well for future sales of this tee either which would also mean that my royalties will be pretty sad. It is possible though that these bright colors are popular in South Africa as another of the tees I received was bright blue and it is not something I could wear either. I am not really into the design either. The third t-shirt was not bad, it was black and I don’t really get the message of the design but that is OK. I think I could wear it.
I don’t know what brand they use but all the t-shirts are the same style and shape and I think the cut is a little strange. The t-shirt seems to be a little tighter under the chest which makes the bottom seem to be a little loose like when the seams lose tension. Also on the back of the t-shirt is the Springleap logo and the designers name. Regular readers will know that I don’t like advertising on my shirt and even though this includes the designer’s names I still think it looks pretty bad. It is big and if the black t-shirt is anything to go by, it may not even match the color of the design. I suspect buyers will also frown at this unnecessary addition.
In general though, and I feel bad saying this as the guys at Springleap seem really nice, I don’t think that it is worth it to submit your design to Springleap. Only the winning t-shirt gets a decent prize and if you have a good design that you think might win you ought to submit it to another t-shirt design contest rather than risk being a runner up.
My advice to Springleap is first to increase the guaranteed prizes for runners up as what exists at the moment is just unfair to the designer. Give the runners up the choice of which t-shirts they want to receive instead of sending out random shirts. This will also give you an idea of which designs that are likely to sell well in the future. Move the back print information inside the t-shirt to the printed label and make it more subtle. Be clearer about what prizes and how much money winners and runners up can expect to receive. Use different blanks. How about Edun Live? They even provide jobs in Africa.
Some really good points Alan and i’ll just answer a few of them…as I’m sure Eran will pop round to your blog soon to answer the rest.
1. THANKS for the feedback – we still have a long way to go, and it’s up to the feedback that we’ll get things right
2. The Tshirts are a springleap style – we buy the cotton from South African mills, have it CMT’d into our design, and then have it printed. We’re still tweaking the style and the more feedback we get, the better we can make the tshirts.
3. I meant by “email you the poster design” that I’d email it to you so you could see it before we post it to you. We want to do things differently, so we brought on board springleap an artist to hand draw the winning designs. You had a really good point – we were all going to sign it with things like “Well done” etc, but now we’re going to copy it, and write on the copy rather than the original. Hopefully you’ll like what we come up with.
4. We totally agree with raising the prizes. From the september competition, we’ve now got 10 winners a month, and the 9 runner-up’s get R200 which is about $25 at the current exchange rate PLUS Royalties. (not a huge amount but it’s our first attempt at raising the prizes)
5. Talking of royalties, we’re printing low volumes at the moment, but are actively marketing the tshirts, so hopefully will get some big reorders – and remember the royalties are for life, so if we get a order for your design in a few years time, it’s recurring royalties.
Thanks for the review and the feedback. You made me realise how much we still have to do to get things right.
Sorry to hear you didn’t get your Skyrove voucher! Although there are an elite few who have started Skyrove hotspots outside of South Africa, they are rare as hens’ teeth. (See http://map.skyrove.com)
Nonetheless, I’d be more than happy to get a Skyrove voucher to you just to get you going! Feel free to contact me via email.
Skyrove founder and CTO
Just to add – in the future we will be printing the designs on ALL sorts of amazing products – and that means more and more royalties for awesome designers like yourself for life.
We are still young, so bear with us – we won’t disappoint!
Just recently I wrote a response to your points that I think would be pertinent to quote :
“Regarding exposure – firstly we are HUGE on creating exposure for artists. It’s all well and dandy to win some cash but exposure is worth tenfold to a designer. Some of our designers have been on the radio, in the newspapers and magazines thanks to being a runner-up or winner. Some have also been approached for freelance work and we have opened many corporates to our designers with no cost as agents or involvement save providing introductions. In other cases where a corporate entity or business wanted some amazing shirt designs we have opened our catalog and hooked them up with the designer and produced the t-shirt. The designer would charge a freelance rate and there s the promise of more work.
The outer back of springleap t-shirts bears the username of the artist as well the title of the work – we are NOT Threadless or Almightees, Emptees and so forth. Our aim with this is to really expose the public at large to art in a gallery without walls – to remember the immense value that the creators of aesthetics and graphica have in their lives.
We don’t want people to wear a brand name on the outside of the tee the value of a brand’s product is that designer’s talent – so for us, we are a brand that emphasizes the artist as a brand unto themselves.
We are – in a sense – picking up where Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement left off – exposing the average man to Art. Getting everyone involved. Very few people go to art galleries anymore, and while those galleries serve a fantastic purpose – the t-shirt is the most relevant canvas for our era.
We want people to go to shops looking for an artist’s name – not just a brand-stamp.
To this end we also include a postcard with every springleap t-shirt. The front bears a high res image of the design on the tee and the back bears the picture of the artist, a short profile on them as well as a few thoughts they have about their design.
Each springleap t-shirt is also bundled with a monthly catalog as well as a well finished button-badge (beating the design or an element thereof) with a saftey pin so you can pin it to your cap, bag, jeans, cargos – well anywhere your heart desires!
Over time we will organically grow the prizes – we would love to be giving the biggest and baddest prizes on the net – but these things take time.
As for US$1000 – we haven’t heard the winners complaining lately 🙂
With regards to our t-shirts themselves : the t-shirts are 165g combed cotton and a slim-cut fit. We have jst undergone a change in the cut creating lower necklines for ladies and adjusting the slimcut pattern for the men based on the feedback of the community and purchasers. The cotton of the shirts is manufactured specifically for us and the shirts are not stock tees.”
I think that you will find our new tees far more improved – in both softness and cut.
Ultimately springleap is still babystepping in leaps and bounds. We are growing organically and our aim is eventually to be incomparably rewarding artists all over the world in a massive scale and reminding people who puts aesthetics and beauty in their lives as well as the massive value that they represent, while offering the coolest tees on planet Earth.
Hope you stick with us and let us change your mind!
All the best
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