Promote your imagination

For a 20-year-old college student, dreams to help society and make a difference often get challenged due to lack of monetary support. It was the same for Namishtah Arora whose heart bleeds for dogs and misses a beat when she is hamstrung financially.

“Last year, when we were trying to raise funds for our NGO ‘People for Paws’, I found about websites which allow you to design a T-shirt and earn royalty from the numbers that they sell,” informs Arora.

While the design by Arora and her team was expected to sell 20 pieces, they outnumbered and sold 280 T-shirts in a month to raise about Rs 28,000 for their social work. A second year student of mass communication, she realised that her friends and peers were designing T-shirts on such web portals “to come out of a cash crunch situation, which a college student normally faces.”

Crowdfunding of customised apparels, especially T-shirts has become the new fad among those possessing creative skills. “It is not just about college students but anyone who has creativity to even think of a catchy tagline, even if designing or illustration isn’t their forte,” says Yash Vardhan Kanoi, co-founder, Jack of all Threads.com.

Kanoi narrates an incident where a 45-year-old tried to build an online business platform but failed. “His offline business was quite successful but e-commerce is not everyone’s cup of tea. Yet he had his creativity intact and when he used the same on our platform to design campaigns, he was able to earn very well,” recollects Kanoi, adding, how this designer’s T-shirts with funny quotes on married couples and wives in general
became a huge hit!

It isn’t unusual to see people sporting T-shirts with quirky one-liners. But it is not everyday that one sees such T-shirts go viral and bring laurels to
its creator.

“When comedy group AIB (All India Bakchod) sported the T-shirt with ‘LOL’ written in Devnagri script, the traffic on our website increased like anything,” states Bhagyashri Dixit, co-founder of SheepStop.com. The website allows people to upload their designs and, depending on the public opinion and liking for a particular T-shirt, it pays the designer to print the same on organic fabric as well as royalty for each piece sold.  

“This makes designers (whoever has designed the T-shirt) to not just apply their creativity but also promote their design online,” adds Dixit, who runs the business with her husband Parag. She informs that most of the T-shirt designs on her website are concept-based and do not necessarily require a designer to have special skills to create illustrations. “If one wants to draw a man holding a glass of coffee then it’s difficult but if someone thinks of a punchline Anna ki Filter Coffee, it’s easy to print it with a Starbucks-logo glass.”

This doesn’t require one to get into the nitty-gritty of setting up a website and yet make best use possible of the virtual world. “The people who design these T-shirts therefore become ‘creative entrepreneurs’,” says Kanoi.

Obviously if one gets to earn money by selling one’s creative ideas while being in the comfort of one’s home, one is bound to feel ‘good’. The joy of these designers, therefore, knows no bounds when their T-shirts bring hard cash. 

Kanoi says, “Indian economy is at a stage where workforce is getting replaced by different software. But software doesn’t have the ability to think creatively like humans.”

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