I don’t always host interviews, but when I do, they’re with companies breaking the barriers of entrepreneurship.
You’re probably wondering why I started today’s post with a commercial I’m not nearly funny enough to reference. Taking that I’m often the only person who laughs at my jokes, you have a right to be curious.
Preparing for my interviews has been one of my favorite parts of my job since we started 33founders. In the words of my friend Paul Berry, it’s the kind of work where four hours go by and I don’t notice because I’ve gotten lost in it.
I'm a millennial Googler, and I started my research on Evan Stites-Clayton the same way I start all of my research. By typing “Evan Stites-Clayton" into the top of my Chrome browser and clicking enter. Watch out dad, The New York Times may poach me for my incredible research skills.
Four links in and I came across Evan’s personal website.
My curiosity drove me to click on Daddy Long Legs first. Once there, the sleep enthusiast in me couldn’t resist clicking “Dream Guide.”
Within minutes, I found myself immersed in Evan’s experiences and instructions on lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is the act of being aware that you’re dreaming while you’re dreaming.
Evan describes it as a way to put intentionality into what you’re doing while you sleep. He even taught a class on it while studying at Brown University. (You can read more about how to lucid dream from Evan here.)
In addition to Evan’s personal work, I became captivated by Teespring’s incredible growth rate.
From their learnings at Y Combinator to shipping over 7 million shirts to 80 countries and empowering more than 20 users to earn over a million dollars in 2014, the journalist in me craved more information.
Each statistic and story caused the Dos Equis character to speak louder in my mind. Who was this majestic 25-year-old?
From the dreaming to the poetry, and even helping children build robots while running a startup, I couldn’t wait to dive into each of these topics with Evan.
I was so excited to reveal strategies for Springers to find amazing success selling their designs. In addition to the 20 users who’ve made over a million dollars, hundreds of Springers are earning living wages making over six figures a year on the site.
More importantly, I was deeply curious about how Walker and Evan are managing a company that proudly boasts over 220 employees and will be bringing on 300 at the Kentucky manufacturing plant they started building in December.
As always, the answers Evan shared during our interview completely surprised me.
His thoughtful responses on navigating life as a young founder and leading the team to scale are among the most informative I’ve heard. However, it was Evan’s pure desire to help others that silenced the larger than life Dos Equis character with Teespring's ultimate mission to make entrepreneurship a reality for all.
It’s really about all of the lives that we are changing. I want to be able to look back on this and say that Walker and I did right by everybody who worked for us.
The central premise of Teespring is all about giving back.
As Evan describes it, the platform is the easiest way to go from an idea to building a business.
All you have to do is sign up for the site, design your shirt and set a minimum sales goal. Once you’ve cleared each of those tasks, you're free to sell your product to whomever you'd like. (You can check out there How It Works here).
From my fitness expert brother to my fashion savvy cousin, I’ve been telling everyone I know about Teespring.
Whether you’re raising money to save a local bar like Walker and Evan were for FishCo (this was the genesis of Teespring) or a parent raising money for your child’s soccer team, the platform is simple and empowering for all.
It’s no surprise that the future is incredibly bright for the three-year-old startup. I think Walker puts it best when he said:
This isn’t about t-shirts. It’s not about crowd-funding. It’s about the concept that bringing something to market should be as easy as the idea. All we need is the visionaries with the ideas.
Fortunately for us, Walker and Evan are the visionaries behind the idea and although Evan wasn't able to reveal any specific expansion plans, the team’s primary mission is to simplify the process of bringing a product to market.
Our end goal is to make it that so whatever your creativity dictates or whatever people reasonably would want to create and sell to an audience we will have it available on Teespring.
- How MeUndies Made Merchandising Their Competitive Advantage — When MeUndies thinks about their underwear subscription service they compare themselves to Netflix. What the streaming pioneer did for TV, the Los Angeles startup wants to do to your underwear drawer. The goal is to provide monthly subscribers with the staples they love while delivering elements of surprise - Think briefs with donuts and dinosaurs - right to your doorstep.
- Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
- eero Designs Wi-Fi for the Smart Home Era — Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, recently distinguished exceptional founders by their ability to prioritize. “It all comes back to prioritization, speed, paranoia, and knowing that if you don’t iterate, even after finding product market fit, you can be disrupted by the next product,” he says.
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