What Happened To The XXL’s

The Sons of varnish rule the docks! Brian and Steve Franchini.

First let me start out by saying I am sorry for the inventory problem with our t shirts. It’s a very strange business, the T shirt business. At the boat shows, I was left holding a bunch of XXL’s and now I can’t keep them in stock. By the way I am a XXLer and literally sold them all before I even got one. So I suppose one could say I sold the shirt off my back. Here is how it works. I have to predict the amount of shirts in color and size that will sell. Anything left over I am left holding the bag…. of t shirts.. So its a game. And why I only make a certain amount. For some reason, the XXL’s went like Zumba lessons in Maine on line!  So our supplier wanted to print more. But we still have a bunch of other sizes in stock. And I have to order 25 shirts minimum to keep the price low. UGH.. So here is the question?

Does anyone care that these shirts are limited quantity? Should I limit it to 2012 shirts and so on and make all I can? I think we have made over 200 black Sons of varnish shirts? And they are gone in no time. I like the art of a limited quantity. I like that they are somewhat special. As special as a lame t shirt can be. For the record it is not a money maker. Not even close. To date we have made on all the t shirts and hat sales since the start of the year. $750 .. That’s it. We make a very small profit on the stuff. 20% to be exact. So you can see that if we lay out $2,000 for shirts and don’t sell out we are upside down. I want to keep it all fun, and the shirts and hats are for fun, and to have some cool stuff to show support. I can not tell you how it feels when we show up to a show and you are wearing your colors. OK I just did tell you. it’s fantastic. The sons of varnish culture is going to take on a bigger life around the new year, so hopefully we will have some more fun stuff to share then.

25 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    You are making my head hurt. I am having a tough enough time trying to handle all of the details of my CC Continental restoration, and now I have to think about T-shirts! Having a unique design for every year is nice, but I don’t think essential to make your customers happy. No one that see all of your faithful at shows will know what vintage the T-shirt is anyway. Do what you have to to keep from loosing money, and let’s get back to smelling varnish and talking about zippers.

    • peter woods
      peter woods says:

      I just ordered my prison orange SOV, can’t wait> next: kelly green. Matt swing by the oyster house in Topping sometime and I’ll show you some real T-shirt hell.

  2. Anonymous's Buddy
    Anonymous's Buddy says:

    Trade Steve Franchini his XL for an XXL. His looks a little snug. 😉

    Boating is all about comfort. When your T-shirt shows off your third nipple, it’s time to take it up a size.

  3. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Keep printing the SOV shirts, as they are way cool for all of us who wanna be bikers. This will keep the cash flowing.

    Issue one new limited edition t-shirt design that you premiere at Taveres. If you have had enough fun dragging t-shirts to Lake Dora, then a grand on-line preview & sale in February. Then we can wear them at Dora & promote them! One special shirt each year will keep them fun & collectable. The limited edition could be larger than usual.

    My two selfish cents worth!

  4. steve franchini
    steve franchini says:

    Ouch… my wife said she was glad the shirt did not have buttons, I might have popped one off and taken someones eye out!! I will take the hint and order the right size from now on.

  5. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    If the shirts were a big money maker, having special limited runs every year or season would be a way to get collector type people to keep buying more shirts so they have one of each. It still might not be the most profitable way to make shirts since you have limited volume with higher design costs.

    If you are not concerned with maximizing profit, I would keep popular designs around as long as they keep selling. Lets face it, we are willing to pay you for the ability to advertise your website. Why would you want to limit that or make it harder than it has to be? Stock the sizes, colors and designs that sell well for as long as it makes sense.

    For smaller volume items like uh, perhaps FLAGS you could do a pre-order or make on demand to keep your inventory risk down, even if the price has to be higher.

    One more thing, I also need a weather vane. The $800 one from eBay was a little rich for my blood and that didn’t even trigger the reserve, but if you ever want to do a run of woodyboater or SoV weather vanes give me a call!

  6. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Those shirts were (are) an “instant classic” – Why change?

    If you wanted to do a limited yearly special to honor a particular event, that may be mildly successful, but is a lot of work unless you enjoy the process.

  7. cobourg Kid
    cobourg Kid says:

    As one of the test subjects who bought a SOV shirt at Tavares I’ve had plenty-O-time to evaluate it.

    I absolutely love the graphic design ( would be nice if that pennant was red), however , the cotton has faded a bit, it’s always rumpled and it’s a bit scratchy at times so I don’t wear it as much as I would like too .

    As an alternative have you considered going to a 60% Pima cotton, 35% polyester and 5% spandex blend shirt in both long and short sleeve. I have a lot of these and wear them all the time. (Only wish they had SOV on them!) .

    The blended Tees are a bit more expensive but they are VERY comfortable to wear, don’t fade as fast, don’t rumple and best of all wick moisture away from skin, which is a bonus for boaters.

    As for the printing question , hel man you should print and sell as may shirts as the market can bear! You and Texx are running this great site on your own dime so don’t apologize for trying to recoup some costs off of merchandise.

    With regard to collectors’ items ,my suggestion is to avoid Tees for this purpose. While some special editions are nice they tend to be consumables in the short run.

    If you really want to do collector editions why not cook a deal with Tommy Boy to supply some exclusive WB camp shirts- in silk of course.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      The instructions that came with mine said you need to put a fresh coat of varnish on it every year to keep it from fading.

  8. Rick
    Rick says:

    Tell everyone how many shirts are left and that you won’t print a new design until the old ones are gone will ensure no left over stock and those that need another of the soon to be discontinued line will get a last chance (after a couple of coats of varnish m-fine’s wife may make him throw it out or at least refuse to launder it in her home washer).

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      She has been cracking down on me lately. So far this week she said no to the foxy lady and she cancelled all my one on one zoomba appointments. Hmmm, better keep the SoV shirts locked in the safe.

      • cobourg Kid
        cobourg Kid says:

        Perhaps if you did the laundry she would be more suitably disposed to the aquistion of the foxy lady

  9. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Someone please donate a black SOV medium to Goodwill in my town, that’s where I get all my clothes. Most everything is <$5. While you're at it, donate a couple of cans of Epiphanes, some 8/4 mahogany in varying widths and lengths (preferably 10" wide X 16') and a variety of frearson drive silicon bronze screws in 100 count boxes.

  10. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Am I the only one worried that so many of our Woodyboater buddies are wearing XXL’s?? C’mon guys, put down the chicken on a stick and take a walk around the block!! We’ve got an image to uphold here.

  11. Murph
    Murph says:

    Love the SOV shirts!
    One vote for keeping the black shirts.
    The black “biker look” shirts have added greatly to my “rebel with the wood boat” persona on the gangway at my marina.
    If you are having worries about unsold inventory have you looked at using an online service like Cafepress were the shirts could be printed on demand and on the shirt type the buyer prefers?

  12. Rich
    Rich says:

    The black sov shirt is the coolest. Forget the other colors. I ‘ve been patiently waiting to order a few for my friends at work. I was a medium but am now an XXL as a direct result of renovating “Phantom”. When I first aquired the boat I was concerned about how I would afford the fuel cost….well hell the boat sips fuel but the beer expense is throught the roof! Please make enough for us west coasters who can’t make it to Mt. Dora.

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