State of Shirts is an online t-shirt store dedicated to people who love not one, but two American states and they want to tell people about their dual loyalties by displaying it on a shirt. Started by Jesse Sutherland, State of Shirts is one of those ideas that was born out of a Christmas present for his wife in 2018. After having made her a Minnesota/Wisconsin shirt, he started working on a website for others to share their split affections for their favorite states. (I stole most of that from the about page.) Continue reading the State of Shirts Site review.
The logo is clever enough and easy to understand. Not being American, I had no idea which states were used to replace the letters “A” and “I” in the logo. My first guesses were Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, as they seem to be the states with some significance for Jesse but they didn’t match. I ended up doing a reverse image search on Google with the silhouettes. They are Alabama and New Jersey, respectively. I guess they were chosen as the most similar in appearance to the letters they are replacing rather than some personal significance.
It is a very well designed site, simple and responsive. Jesse is a professional web designer so it’s no surprise that his website is well-designed. I do have a few criticisms, though. The first is that it not exactly clear what the purpose of the site is when you hit the homepage.
Of course, the website name gives you a hint and if you scroll down you can see t-shirts, but above the fold, you can’t see any. On some mobile phones or when using a tablet vertically, you might be able to see a couple of shirts. But even if you do see the shirts or make the correct deduction from the evidence before you, it is not immediately obvious what the purpose of the site is.
On the homepage, the visitor should know instantly what the website is about. So, while the beautiful American landscape has a nice impact visually, it is not really relevant and doesn’t really do anything. I would use this space to show people wearing the t-shirts that are on sale as well as making a clear statement that you can get t-shirts with any combination of states printed on them. Just choose your two favorite states and Go!
The simplicity of the selection process is great. The states are in alphabetical order and you can’t choose the same state on both sides by accident. When you click go, you are sent to a page with your shirt options. There are currently 7 design options.
Let’s go back to the homepage for a moment. When you scroll down, you are given another option and that is to start with a state. Instead of choosing your two favorite states at the beginning you can start with your favorite state and then try to pick a second.
There are fifty options so if you are looking for DC or one of the Territories, forget about it. I’m not sure that this is a needed feature but it exists and I think that it could be utilized to show the many t-shirt color options that are available. A page full of charcoal gray mockup t-shirts is not exactly enticing, It might also be a little confusing for some people who might expect pure Alabama t-shirt as it is not clear on the homepage what to expect. I’ll tell you now that the Alabama map silhouette t-shirt is not available.
And now back to the design options page. It suffers from some of the same issues except the t-shirts are maroon red and this time the t-shirt you see is actually available.
On to the product page which is again beautiful in its simplicity. The load time is very fast and you can pick out your size and color and add t-shirts to the cart easily. They show you the other six design options that are available for that combination below. You’ll need to scroll down. You can even flip the order of the design. I would highlight this feature more.
I would also add a size chart or a link to a size chart in the FAQ. (Oops… No FAQ. )
The product images are pretty good. They are mockups but I think that they give a good idea of what they will look like and with the increase in print-on-demand sites, mockups are pretty much the standard now. Some model shots or possibly even customer submitted images would be cool though. I reiterate that it would be a good idea to display some color variations.
The designs are white ink on color t-shirts. White t-shirts are not available. There are basically 7 simple designs to choose from. They are not exciting but they serve a simple purpose and they serve it well.
The site was built to allow for every combination of state there is, if you are a math person that is 2,450 combinations for every design!
Each t-shirt comes in 46 colors if I counted correctly. That’s 46 x 2,450 which is about 112,700 different shirts and a demonstration of the power of print-on-demand services.
This Bella + Canvas t-shirt feels soft and light, with just the right amount of stretch. It’s comfortable and the unisex cut is flattering for both men and women. We can’t compliment this shirt enough it’s one of our favorites.
I’m not a big fan of Bella + Canvas t-shirts. They seem to wrinkle easily and lose their shape much faster than American Apparel. I also think that just having one t-shirt option is limiting potential sales. A lot of ladies won’t even consider buying a unisex t-shirt.
The shopping cart has a very clean interface with no text area for a coupon code so don’t bother looking. I would add the size to the shopping cart page to reduce the chance of customers ordering the wrong size (as there are no generally returns and we want our customers to be happy) and perhaps PayPal for people who don’t have credit cards or prefer not to use them online. To find out shipping details you need to add your shirt to the cart and I can tell you that while you can’t get a DC shirt, they will ship to DC. Sorry, Puerto Rico.
Shirts are printed in 2-3 days and shipping takes 3-5 days.
I imagine that the reason I can’t find the FAQ or a size chart is that they don’t exist and if that’s the case, the navigation is simple and easy to understand.
I feel that SEO was barely even considered when setting up this store. The homepage has barely any text and not even the page title is optimized. The page title is simply “State of Shirts” and probably because of the generic quality of those words combined with the lack of backlinks, this website doesn’t show up in the first few pages of the search for that exact phrase.
The above is a screenshot of the Google search result for “stateofshirts”. While the meta description is said not to have an effect on SEO it does have an impact on the click-through rate. As far as I can tell there is no meta description on the stateofshirts.com so this one was automatically generated by Google. The description should be clear and catchy. Of course, I doubt that many people will be searching for “stateofshirts” or even “state of shirts” so this won’t be an issue until the overall SEO strategy is resolved. Competing in the t-shirt market is tough but this seems to be a niche area with potential for domination.
I don’t know much about American states but each of the 50 states available could be optimized with text as well as the combined states. This could be done dynamically without much effort.
Of course, a blog one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site. Jesse could start by writing a blog post about why he loves two states, another about why his wife loves two and if they have any other friends in the same boat. I’m just brainstorming here but there might be states that are typically loyal to each other and those stories can be told. States that are known rivals could also be talked about but include exceptions to this rivalry. Another could be to offer free t-shirts/discounts or some other incentive for people to tell their stories.
List posts are a good way to get links and hits. Some ideas could be:
10 ways that Alabama is Better than Florida.
10 Reasons People from Oregon Love Texas
Selection and Pricing
The shirts are priced at $22.95 and are currently on sale for $17.21. Very reasonable. There are seven different simple designs to choose from for every combination. I think the selection could be expanded. Shipping for one t-shirt is $4.99.
Official Social Media is non-existant. At least I couldn’t find it. Twitter, Instagram, interest, and Facebook could help drive traffic but of course, you need to spend some time creating content for them. I know Jesse has a personal Twitter account so I know he knows about social media but just looking at State of Shirts, you wouldn’t make that deduction. I mean, there aren’t even social media sharing options.
It’s a clean and simple site with a singular purpose. That purpose needs to be clear and work needs to be started on SEO and social media. The site needs more text and the visuals could be more varied.
Don’t forget to check out the other t-shirt site reviews.