1st Spreadshirt Academy: Review by Martin

Next to snatching up some choice t-shirts, the participants of our first Spreadshirt Academy have been able to take home some new experience and knowledge. We are very glad that Martin is sharing his own experience with us:

When I caught wind of the first ever Spreadshirt Academy taking place this October, I didn’t hesitate long before I registered. It was only a day and I had to travel 200 miles, but it was well worth it. Apart from the weather being nice and sunny, most of the day was spent in many workshops devoted to creative expression, insider knowledge for production and a look behind the scenes. And it was great to see who I have been working with as a partner for the past 3 years as well.

There were about two dozen participants from all over Germany who had a motivation similar to mine. A motley crew of people of all ages and with different professional backgrounds met up at 9am at the Spreadshirt cafeteria to have breakfast. Our personal info folder in hand, we had a first chat over a coffee. Fortunately we could have as much coffee as we could possibly drink, but that was not really needed to stay awake. Spreadshirt’s CEO Phil Rooke gave us a cordial welcoming, and it was interesting to hear that he could speak German fluently as well. And it soon became clear what was the main thing on the day’s agenda: shop partners and design partners.

I was particularly interested in the aspect of web 2.0 networking, and so I found myself in a well-attended discussion circle moderated by Spreadshirt’s social media princess Dora. It soon became clear that successful online sales require a facility to switch off your private personality at times. Owning a split personality may be advantageous as well. Every participant shared their thoughts that were commented or confronted by Dora. Her in-depth Spreadshirt experience offered an interesting way to gain a new perspective.

Then a rather dry but important topic: SEO – what do I need to do so that Google likes me? Alex, the SEO Manager, held the workshop, and he did it in English, which didn’t really make it easier to follow. Then there was a PR workshop after the lunch break that was held by PR Manager Elke. She supplied a host of facts to her attentively listening audience, and she explained in how far her work differed from Marketing and Social Networking. Had anyone recorded her elucidations, it would surely make for an interesting audio book…

It was relaxing to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the production afterwards. Here it was impressive to see how Spreadshirt’s performance, which I had already been aware of as a shop partner, looked like in real life. It is particularly impressive knowing that Spreadshirt is a start-up company that has only been around for ten years. Many questions were asked, and all of them were discussed in an open way and answered competently. There were quite interesting questions as well about operating procedure and facilities engineering. The production hall was not in operation since the tour took place on a Saturday, but it was easy to imagine how busy it could get on a regular workday.

Academy participants could see how their personalized t-shirt (that they could then take home) ran through production. Spreadshirt had opened a small production facility for Leipzig’s Designers’ Open that gets frequented quite a lot. The design made its way from the computer to the cutting plotter, the foil was weeded manually, and in the end it was fixed in place on the t-shirt, just like in real life  This is how I managed to snatch up a little surprise gift for my wife.

I was also surprised by the panic that was created by my design as it was printed from black foil to a black t-shirt. I had to look a few times to be sure that my decision was a sane one. The decision to opt for a black print and a black product was based on a claim that had been made on the basis that the design could not be seen. Now I could see for myself that it can indeed still be seen, and that it looks rather good at that.

We finished the day off with a relaxed chat about all matters t-shirt. Thank you – Spreadshirt and the whole team – for making this day such a great experience. I hope you took pleasure in entertaining the academy participants as well. I can assure you that everyone took home a fair few interesting impressions, and that it was highly motivating to see how one can foster creativity and performance.

Not much sun in Leipzig and an early day of snow in October, but a lot to ponder and input to take home.

Thank you ever so much for the account of your experience, Martin! We look forward to see how your new boost of motivation is going to show in your shop www.citshirt.com!


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