Welcome to Geek Shirts HQ T Shirt Brand Undressed, where we strip the brand down to the bare essentials to really get to know them.
This week we have 8ball, a brand from Stafford in the United Kingdom that is simply setting the standard for choice and originality when it comes to selling t shirts.
Not only do they stock some of the best brands available like urban species and Deathray Apparel, 8ball have their ‘8ball originals’, which are their very own in house designs! 8ball now want to build their own community and are setting up initiatives for talented illustrators and designers.
8Ball are not simply just another t shirt vendor, there is more than meets the eye with one of the freshest brands that are setting the standard in the world of apparel
If you don’t believe me check out some of the comments below:
*Great t-shirts, and very good customer service.
I gladly recommend 8ball.
I gladly recommend 8ball.
- Eleonora, London UK
*Very pleased with the product and extremely pleased with the customer service I received – I'll be back
*I was amazed to find so many designs I haven’t seen anywhere.
I heard Richard was once a huge fan of the Spice Girls, he was heartbroken when they split but found solace in the 8Ball community project for Spice Girls fans, this gave him the courage to branch out.
Out of his grieving for the loss of his favourite group, was born 8Ball, considered the best export to come out of the UK since the Spice Girls.
Now Richard doesn’t give the Spice Girls a second thought, this is partly due to the fact, he has channeled his energies in making 8Ball a t shirt brand whose worldwide popularity surpasses that of the Spice Girls. There is also the fact that Richard is now a huge Pussycat Dolls fan.
I hope no one has told him they have split up! Well let’s hope he doesn’t find out until 8Ball reach even greater heights!
Who are the people behind 8ball? Can you start by giving some background about yourself? Where you are from? Who creates the designs? How did you get into shirt design?
8Ball.co.uk is based in Stafford and was started as a music merch site. In its previous incarnation it was a combination of nearly going bust and a lot of debt that led me to take over the company over in 2007 and start again.
I saw the potential and stripped the company back to just me and one other staff member in the back room of a ground floor office. It was very hard work, but they were fun times too.
We gradually invested in printing equipment and started producing our own designs which slowly became our biggest sellers. Nearly going bust taught me a lot about products, logistics and stock.
Basically, we didn’t want to hold stock ever again! As a result we developed a system for printing to order every day, which we have developed over time and have invested in equipment and IT to make it work for us. We also spent a lot of time in the way we worked with other companies- for example we have a lot of suppliers who drop ship items directly for us, and we also print to order for them too.
What process do you follow when designing a shirt?
We have regular sit downs with all staff and brainstorm sessions on their ideas, influences, anything they’ve seen on TV, internet, whatever. We develop the ideas everyone agrees are good, and the design team go away and develop it.
The week after the team review the designs, make some suggestions for tweaks and then they are signed off. Its a process that works for us, and it means that everyone from the top of the company, down to the person who packs the tshirt have an input into what the company sends to customers.
We also accept more and more designs from illustrators and artists outside the company and set them up with their own mini sites within 8Ball.co.uk which gives them publicity and links back to their own blogs or sites. We pay them a royalty for every shirt sold, and we are set up so they can login to our admin system and send us an invoice every month – basically we are totally transparent, and they have the control as they can see what we see.
Where did you get the name 8ball?
We inherited it basically…its just a name at the end of the day! As a word it does have rebellious connotations, which suits us!
Can you tell me more about the brand 8ball?
We had a branding agency develop the 8Ball brand, what looks like a simple logo actually took a while to develop! It’s very distinctive – black and white – and sets us apart.
What makes 8ball? different from other Apparel Vendors? What is your USP?
We think its choice. There aren’t many sites out there with such a wide customer base I think.
What’s coming next for 8ball?
We’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline, we want to work with more and more designers and artists and to try and build more of an 8Ball community.
If there are any budding artists or illustrators reading this then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
We’re just finalising the package we’re sending out to all prospective designers. Apart from that we’re investing in developing new parts of our website, and working with partners in different countries too.
As other companies start using the same techniques as we do its getting harder to distinguish yourself – everyone and their mother is designing t-shirts, so we’re working on ways to improve what we do and develop new ideas to keep us ahead of the game. We want to find and work with like minded people.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years both for yourselves and your business?
Technology is developing at a scary but exciting pace. It’s hard to picture what it will be like in 10 years as the changes in the industry since we started 5 years ago have been amazing. The main thing is to keep adapting to them, and innovating. Of course, that will all be going on while i’m sat on the beach! The main thing is to keep having fun and enjoying what you do.
When getting your apparel printed what is the process that you prefer?
99% of what we print is DTG (Direct to Garment). We print every single item to order every day and ship within 24 hours. We’ve been working with it for 3 years now and DTG is the way forward, everyone will be using it soon i’m sure. It’s now at the point where results are better than screen printing.
What brands of apparel do you prefer to print on?
We use Gildan and Continental. We’ve tested all the brands over time and they’re what our customers prefer – they’re the industry standards.
What would a customer expect when ordering a product from yourselves?
I hope they get the t-shirt they want, both in terms of what they were looking for and what they want to wear. We’re all geeks of one sort of another at 8Ball so hopefully we appeal to the geeks out there too.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
My wife Kerry, and 1 year old son Dillon.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching.
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
Thank you for a great interview Richard and taking the time out to talk with Geek Shirts HQ. I really do love the idea of 8Ball working with more designers to develop an 8ball community, sounds like there are some exciting plans for 8ball.
Expiry Date: 21st August