At Awesome Con a mere week ago, I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Jordan of Jordandené. Not only is she the maker of the ‘Kylo Ren is a Punk Bitch’ shirt (and so much more,) but she’s also a super awesome lady. We talked about fandom, how she got started designing, what goes in to making a shirt, and tons more!
How did you get involved in fandom?
The very beginning… I was super into Pokémon in third or fourth grade. That was the first all-in-fandom thing I did and then I phased it out in middle school, high school, and college. I read Harry Potter senior year of college and that was it. I joined a Harry Potter fan club, I went to my first con, and then I went to a thousand more cons and just got into all of it.
Well my next question was going to be “What are your biggest fandoms?” but I’m guessing Harry Potter?
Harry Potter 100%! Harry Potter is the top by far. Doctor Who… I like hanging out in the fandom but I’m never caught up on the show and I’ve never seen any of the classics. I just like hanging out. My favorite right now is Marvel because it’s just fun. Same thing though: I’ve only read two comics. I’ve seen the movies and I watch the shows but it doesn’t go deep. Harry Potter is the only one I know about.
When did you first get into designing everything you do for the shop?
Five years ago, I graduated college, I was a nanny part time, and I just wanted something fun to do on the side so I opened an Etsy shop, not expecting it to go anywhere. It was just a hobby and then it just grew from there. Which is amazing!
So what goes into making an item? Do you start with ‘I want to make a new Harry Potter shirt!’ and then go from there?
Recently, I’ve been getting so much feedback and so many requests from people that that’s been the start. Someone will ask for a Supernatural shirt or the Star Wars trailer will come out and people will go “Do this now!” So sometimes it’s a request and sometimes I’m just watching something and go “This is great.” It’s usually the idea first and then it’s narrowing down what the quote’s going to be, how long it has to be to fit, and what sounds cool. My husband actually does all of the hand lettering and ink and brushes it. I scan it in and get the design and choose the colors and print the shirt.
So you guys print them yourselves?
Yeah! I print them all myself right now. I just moved and now I have a little screen-printing studio in the basement of my apartment.
How do you even get into printing shirts?
I started sewing the aprons. That was the first thing; I had a sewing machine and fabric and that was it and then started a few other things. A friend of mine who knows how to screen print was like “You’re crazy. You can’t hand sew a business forever. Let me help you and teach you.” Thankfully, one of my best friends did it in college and knows how. Over a year and a half, she did the printing and I slowly picked it up.
How many people are involved in Jordandené?
Right now, it’s basically me and then there are people I work with on different aspects. My husband does the design, my friend is my screen-printing consultant, and I have another friend who helps sew. There are people doing different things—it’s not like I’m a team of one because I know how to do everything but at the end of the day, all the emails and photos and site stuff is me.
How do you find enough hours in the day to handle it all? You’re very active on social media.
We were chatting on Instagram two days ago.
This is just what I do! The fun thing about social media is that I have friends there so I have fun doing it so it’s not just like I’m doing this from 9-5 and then forgetting about it for the rest of the day. I just live it. That’s how it works right now.
I found out about you guys via Facebook—I think one of my friends posted the Kylo Ren shirt—
So would you say that social media is something that’s helped you grow the company?
Totally! My whole business is online except for 10 cons a year. Without social networks… honestly the reason that conventions work is because I meet people online and then they come hang out with me in person. [There was some laughing here since that’s exactly what I did!] If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have business.
Switching gears a little bit: how do you decide between making a design part of your regular line or having it be a shirt of the month?
It’s either something that I’m not sure will sell well or… I use the shirt of the month as an experiment. If it goes well, I can say “Oh this is a fandom people love!” or “This was a good idea. Maybe I should bring it back someday.” Or when there’s something that I just want to do and I have no idea if other people will like them or not. I did a Kurt Vonnegut quote last week and that’s not a sustainable new product but I just wanted to and I wanted one. Shirt of the month is mostly for designs where it’s more questionable how it’s going to sell.
Has the Kylo Ren is a Punk Bitch shirt made its way into the normal line up yet?
That wasn’t even a shirt of the month. That was a birthday present to myself as a joke. I really thought I would sell zero. I was like, “No one has seen this skit. No one will care about this.” It became my most popular item in two and a half weeks. It outsold the thing I’d sold the most of over the last two years in a few weeks. If you Google me, that shirt comes up first. It’s hilarious.
Any design teases that you might want to give us?
Actually, I have six new designs here at Awesome Con that aren’t online yet and no one knows about. Honestly, the teasers are just things that came out in the last two weeks because I wanted them. July’s shirt is a super experiment. It is a song lyric, which I haven’t done yet. It’s a little bit of tribute and a little bit related to my personal life. It’s a song lyric from a song that was in my wedding ceremony but is also very current and a tribute to an artist so you’ll know right away…
Yes, so that’s coming up in July because it’s my anniversary and it’s going to be fun, summer colors.
Pretty sure there’s a certain comic book writer I’m going to have to link this to because he’s a huge fan.
Okay so my last question for you is: what is your dream goal for Jordandené?
My super dream goal is to have a store. I don’t want it to be a me store; I want it to be a Fangirl Haven store. That’s a super down the line dream goal. My dream goal until three months ago was to have a studio and then I got one. It would be really fun to have a full team mostly because I think it would be really cool to hang out with the kind of people who would be my team. If I can grow to the point where I have a little social media help and a little customer service help and a little manufacturing help, that would be great. The goal is just to do this long enough to meet a lot of cool people. Next year, I’m going to try and do more shows. It’s going to be my year of cons. I’m excited about that! I want to go to the west coast and meet all my internet friends there. So yeah, that’s really the goal!