At first I was going to write that as a joke, but it strangely applies to this post. We've grown our community rather quickly and many people don't know our history, or even that we sell products...
The idea behind Shirtwascash was born on 4chan long before my involvement. 4chan users regularly have "shirt mockup threads" which are a series of ridiculous, and sometimes genius, shirt designs. They have used the same methods we do to create their ideas (shirtmockup.com) and the threads are filled with comments saying which ones they wanted to buy.
In the past, that's where the idea ended. The post would archive and be gone forever.
Then /u/Mihouse_is_a_meme collected ~150 of the designs and posted them to Reddit.
I had seen the shirt threads in the past but thought nothing of it. This time, it was a mix of timing and opportunity. My previous startup was dying because of a rocky bitcoin industry (China issues) and investors only wanting to pursue companies that exchange cryptocurrencies rather than actually use it's strengths.
I created a survey that night to see which shirts people wanted to become reality. I still worked an hour-intensive job in corporate finance in Las Vegas at that point. I needed to do something fun. My life was a mix of stress and pressures that I couldn't control - this was an opportunity to not only do something I love (the community aspect and talking to you guys / working for you) and take control over my own success.
OP wanted to deliver.
The initial survey was filled ~1,000 times on the first post, and after I had some samples from a local manufacturer, that number grew 3X or 4X. I rushed to build a beautifully terrible initial website and started to take "pre-orders". It was a make-shift kickstarter born and living in a few online posts, completely at the original community's will. That turned out to be a successful combination and after orders kept rolling in, I LLC'd and built the website you currently see.
A lot of the goals I originally had have now become a wonderful reality.
The number one was to have a fun on-going shirt mockup thread community based in our subreddit. At first I submitted a lot of the designs, but then you guys kept posting and the results are better than I could do myself. Right now I am trying to make the company run better by hiring someone to help ship and add another printer.
Additionally, I am looking for a developer to build a free-standing platform for this concept we've all contributed in creating (anyone know Python? still searching)
Currently, we accept design ideas through the subreddit. The goal is to vote on new designs to become shirts monthly, but that hasn't materialized since current orders take primary focus. I don't want to offer new designs while people are still waiting on their current purchases, it wouldn't be right to leave them behind. We held our second mockup competition about a month ago which is a series of categorized posts targeted to generate new ideas, resubmit the good ones, and reward active users.
After the week competition, we have a week of voting. This is done through a survey form (which you can subscribe to here). After the results are in, I take a week to assess and obtain necessary copyrights and start making the designs in Photoshop. The work involved in actually creating the designs to be the size of a t-shirt is a very time-intensive task and done completely behind the scenes. You would think otherwise but strangely enough the "cartoon" / simple designs are the hardest since I have to fully recreate them to be ~36 inches long.
The winners are then released on the website. Additional designs added as more copyright agreements materialize.
Thank you for being part of the community, I hope to grow it into something really awesome. We know we're onto something when other apparel companies are already stealing our ideas. You can always reach me at email@example.com.