Welcome To The Latest Geek Shirts HQ T Shirt Brand Undressed Interview
..Where take a behind the scenes look at the latest t shirt brands.
This week we have a brand from the UK, a brand started by Amy Crabtree.I first came across this unique brand on Twitter, and loved the designs and the concept behind it as soon as I saw Faces.This is a brand that is promoted by Amy who is working hard traveling promote Cakes with Faces at events all over the country.A cool brand that sets itself apart from the competition.
Geek Shirts HQ welcomes Cakes With Faces….The latest brand to get undressed.
Who are the people behind Cakes With Faces? Can you start by giving some background about yourself? Where you are from?
My name’s Amy Crabtree and I’m a UK graphic artist, in Coventry.
Cakes with Faces is my brand, and I have a small line of t-shirts, art prints and other merch, including button badges, a comic about how to make sushi and a chopping board!
I sell them online on my website and at events and comic cons.
How did you get into selling t-shirts?
Like most artists, I’ve been drawing for as long as I remember. I got into digital vector art when I got a graphics tablet and a stack of digital art magazines as a present – first Photoshop, then Illustrator.
I love the clean look of vector artwork, and the flat colour that’s hard to achieve with any other method. I soon built up a collection of drawings, and it seemed a shame for them all to be sitting on my hard drive doing nothing, so I started my website as a gallery.
Then I started dreaming about having a t-shirt brand, so in the end I just decided to go for it! I booked a stall at MCM Expo comic con in London in 2011, and have been selling online and at events ever since.
Who creates the designs?
I create all the designs myself – as well as doing everything else! Building up Cakes with Faces has been about much more than creating the designs, and I seem to spend more time researching, ordering, working on my website, dragging boxes around at events and packing orders than I do drawing.
It’s a lot of work, but being indie is great so it’s worth it – even when I find myself ironing t-shirts at midnight before an event!
What process do you follow when designing a shirt?
I usually have several ideas that I’m thinking of – luckily (or unluckily) I have far more ideas than budget for printing! I always sketch by hand first, because it’s easier to get the proportions right.
I use my magical Wacom Inkling to transfer it to Illustrator, then use that as a guide to work it up into vectors. Some of my designs are created as t-shirt designs, and others start off as one-off drawings for fun.
How would you describe your design style?
My artwork is character-based (backgrounds are boring!) with chunky outlines and bright colours.
My manifesto is that everything is cuter with a face, and a lot of my designs are of food with faces (which shows what I think about most of the time…!).
A lot of my artwork is inspired by Japanese culture – I’m a big fan of everything cute and crazy from Tokyo.
Where did you get the name Cakes with Faces?
Cakes with Faces are one of my favourite things to draw! The runner-up was Things with Batwings, but I decided to go with the cuter name.
Often people come to my stall at events expecting actual cupcakes! But then they get distracted by all the cuteness – my cakes are better for their diet anyway…
Can you tell me more about the brand Cakes with Faces?
As well as t-shirts I sell my artwork as prints and other merchandise. Recently I launched a series of baby vests featuring cute monsters, and a chopping board with a design of a menacing knife with some very scared vegetables.
I also do paintings and take part in art projects, most recently Art in the Groove, a project involving over 50 artists painting onto vinyl records. In the future I’d love to bring my characters into 3D and have a series of blind box figures.
What makes Cakes with Faces different from other Apparel Vendors? What is your USP?
All designs are original – you can’t get them anywhere else. My designs are cute, but not too cute in a pastel pink way.
I like having a touch of humour in my designs – at events my pain au chocolat t-shirt always gets a lot of attention – a tough croissant character with a tattoo saying “I’ll give you pain au chocolat!”.
Cakes with Faces is about fun, quirky designs that make people smile. I haven’t seen a croissant with a tattoo or a bumblebee cat anywhere else…
What’s coming next for Cakes with Faces?
This summer I’m looking at bringing out a vest top or maybe a v-neck, because not everyone likes wearing shirts with high necks.
For next winter I’d like to do some hoodies – I considered this in February but thought we’d come to the end of the cold weather and no one would want them – how wrong I was! I’d also like to do some children’s’ sizes to go alongside the baby vests, because lots of people have said their kids would love my designs.
I’ll be at a new event called Japanorama at the National Space Centre in Leicester on 4 th/5th May, then back at MCM Expo in London at the end of May.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years both for yourselves and your business?
I hope Cakes with Faces will be more established and well-known, maybe even with its own shop or two! I’ll always have the role of designer, because that’s what I love and what’s at the heart of the brand.
How much importance do you place on Facebook Twitter and similar sites when marketing your brand?
I always post my artwork on Facebook and Twitter, as well as any new products and events – my followers will always hear about everything first! I promise never to post about what I had for dinner (unless it’s sushi…).
It’s been really lovely to build up a following, and find that when I go to events there are people who’ve been following my Facebook or Twitter, who come to say hello in real life! It also works the other way round, when people I meet at events pop up online, saying how happy they are with their t-shirts or posting pictures. That really makes the midnight ironing worth it!
When getting your apparel printed what is the process that you prefer and why?
I use screen-printing as a first choice whenever I can, but I also use DTG because I like having lots of colours in my designs. For some of them I can’t bring myself to cut the number of colours down, like in my All the Best Stuff is from Japan design. I like how it’s really soft – you can’t even feel the ink on the fabric. I’m currently looking into suppliers who can print DTG onto coloured and dark shirts.
What brands of apparel do you prefer to print on?
Most of my t-shirts are Gildan, because they offer a good combination of price and quality, and a great choice of colours.
I have one design that’s an Anvil Organic, which is really lovely and soft, so in the future as Cakes with Faces grows I’d like to upgrade the others too.
What would a customer expect when ordering a product from you?
I package all orders myself and send them out super-quick, with a personal card to say thank you!
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
If you like my t-shirts, you might also like Two Bad Bananas who makes cute jewellery also featuring lots of fruit with faces!
Also check out iPhone game Wonton 51 made by my friends Quarter Circle Punch Game Works – a pixel art schmup with lots of Japanese culture references, and that’s me doing the Japanese voices! It’s just turned free to download too.
Who are your favourite designers and/or brands?
My graphic artist idol is Tokidoki – I love the concepts of his characters, like the Cactus Friends and Donutella, and the cute, colourful style. It was amazing to bump into him at a trade show last year, completely by surprise – it was a bit of a star struck moment for me but I showed him my designs and he liked my Japan t-shirt!
I also really like Johnny Cupcakes, and was lucky to get a ticket to his London lecture, which was really inspiring. I love how his shops are themed as bakeries, with retro refrigerators as display cabinets – it must be so fun to have a retail space to play with! I can’t wait for his book to be published at the end of the year.
Who are your influences?
Apart from my artist idol Tokidoki, my work’s influenced by Japanese manga and anime.
I love the bright colours, huge eyes and the whole kawaii style.
Japanese pop culture is also a big influence on the subject matter of my designs – sushi, ramen, vending machines, robots, and Harajuku fashion – so much cool stuff from one country!
Is there anything else you want to add? Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
You can order all my t-shirts and other products online from www.cakeswithfaces.co.uk the online shop’s in GBP but I’ll deliver to any country via Airmail – just order as normal, select your country and PayPal will handle the currency conversion.
I also have an iOS app called Cake Mix that you can download for free from the App Store, to make your own cute cupcake characters!
My Facebook And Twitter Pages
Any new products in the pipeline for Cakes With Faces that we need to look out for?
My How to Make Sushi comic book will be out soon as an eBook for Kindle.
The new vest tops will be on the way in the summer, and I’m looking into getting some other merchandise for my stall, possibly including some charms or hairclips.
I’m currently working on the designs – watch my Facebook or Twitter work in progress photos and instant notification when they arrive!