Interview with That’s What We Said Etsy shop owner and product shoot
The Rising Tide Society is full of an overwhelming number of artistic and creative folks (20,000 strong!) with Etsy shops, photographers, wedding planners, florists, painters, graphic designers… the list goes on. Within this group there is a lovely woman, Destinee, from this great state o’ Maine who has a cute screen printing gig where she makes custom screen prints T-shirts for the wee ones in our lives along with some fantastic (inappropriate, crass, hilarious) greeting cards. Now I am by no means a product photographer – it’s much more difficult than it looks – and if you add in a handful of kiddos under the age of two to a product shoot… well, you have one interesting afternoon on your hands. Here are some of the items I photographed for her Etsy shop along with an interview and inside look into what it takes to create one of her masterpieces.
SJP: How did TWWS come to be?
TWWS: That’s What We Said was originally the brain child of my friend Amy and I. We started making cards and stationary out of some of the things that came from (what WE thought were) our hilarious conversations. Amy and I worked together until I left to be a SAHMomma and to work on the shop. She was the funny one… I was the creative one. But when I left work, she decided she didn’t want to work on the shop anymore. So I figured I would just sell off what we had of our cards and be done with it. Or maybe I would make more stuff. I had no idea. But it’s funny, the thoughts you have at 2AM with a baby on your boob. I just started coming up with onesie ideas. So… Being a do it yourself-er and always wanting to learn something new… I learned screen printing and set off making stuff. And that’s where I’m at now. We’re still That’s what WE said… But now Amy had been replaced with this walking babbling teething monster I call my daughter and I am in the process of changing my look, and everything over.
SJP: Do you make “just” children’s shirts?
TWWS: Yeah, just shirts for the kids, except for the “Teach Love” shirt. I do not think that adults or teens would want to sport anything else I have in the shop. And right now my brain is pretty baby centered. Nothing else has crossed my mind!
Then you get a good screen printing frame and tuck your previously cleaned screen printing fabric into it so that it is nice and tight.
You then squeegee photo emulsion goop onto the screen so that you have a nice even thin layer and place your screen into a very light tight spot to dry. I’ve never tested exactly how long this takes… But I just leave my screen overnight.
The next morning I place my transparency upside down on the underside of my screen and shine a 100-watt bulb about a foot above it for about 30-45 minutes.
Now is the fun part. You run your ass over to the sink real fast and spray the screen for what feels like forever with cool water until your negative image washes off the screen. Let [it] dry and voila! You have your screen. Hopefully.
You should inspect for pin holes. One little pin hole or weak spot will mess up your shirt. But these can be fixed if caught before you jump the gun and try to print a onesie instead of testing first.
To print a onesie, you just put a piece of cardboard in the shirt, place your screen over your shirt and squeegee your ink through the stencil.
Then lift, let dry, [and] iron enough to set the image without burning the shirt (which I also love to do). And you have a sweet little piece of clothing!
Ok. So that makes it seem a lot easier than it is. It’s all pretty time consuming. And putting the ink on actually gives me white knuckles… But I’m trying to type this up before the baby wakes… So that’s the low-down nitty gritty.
SJP: I love all of your designs. They’re super adorable! If I had an idea for a shirt and wanted to have something custom-made, is that something that you could do for your customers?
TWWS: I could if they were to order more than one shirt. Maybe five. It is time-consuming, and the screens, as well as the emulsion are somewhat expensive.
SJP: Most of your shirts that I photographed were white. Do you offer shirts in other colors?
TWWS: I actually offer heather gray onesies now! Woohoo! I got them in the other day and have since printed a new design on one and added it to the shop. The white onesies I had were soft, but I have to say… These heather ones are even better!
SJP: Thus far, what is your #1 seller in your shop?
TWWS: My #1 for onesies is the Led Zeppelin onesie. It’s from one of my favorite songs, “Going to California” For cards… It would be Amy’s baby, and the card that started it all. The “You put the PP in my happy”!
SJP: What is your favorite design that you have created, to-date, and why?
TWWS: I absolutely love my “Free Range” onesie. But it is not a huge seller! I am a big fan of letting my kids run amuck on our land, just like my chickens. I have 21 chickens and counting… And love the little buggers. And so does Lil… One of her first words was “Bock bock!” Everyone should have chickens.
TWWS: I am on Etsy! I also run a TWWS Facebook page where I post random funny stuff, along with shop updates, and am on Instagram (That’s What We Said) where I mostly post pics of my homesteading endeavors, baby pics, and shop updates!
SJP: When you aren’t creating designs for your shop, what do you spend your spare time doing?
TWWS: Spare time!? What the hell is that? I have 4 kids and what is turning into a full-on farm. I currently have 2 [baby] goats in my kitchen that need me to stop typing and give them bottles for Peet’s-sake! Haha! My life is my hobby if that makes sense. I rarely have time to sit down and watch a movie or read a book, but I love everything I do. I am just learning to raise goats. We have bees, and I raise rabbits for meat. I also raise chickens both for eggs and meat. I love to garden, cook and bake from scratch, and as soon as hubby builds me a spot to quilt I will be back at that! We are also in the process of fixing up our home we bought a year and a half ago. And did I mention the four kids we have? It’s messy, and busy. But it’s life. And it’s beautiful.