Another year of Hunter S. Thompson themed mischief has almost arrived. This weekend will mark the fifth anniversary of Gonzofest, which will be held at the big four lawn this year with a grand expected turn out of at least 1,000 people throughout the day long event.
This is the second year I have been involved in the festival and I am super excited to get the event going this weekend. Like last year, things have been a bit chaotic, but especially this time around due to some super tight time constraints. I was told in February that I would be in charge of merchandising again this year, which is bit of a heavy weight on my shoulders considering the amount of things I am involved in but I wouldn’t change that for anything. So in between my full time job, my part time job, my small business, and representing my friends brand in Indonesia I somehow came up with the new line of merchandise for this years fest.
I was given about a $3,000 budget, which was basically some of the left over revenue from the last event, which allowed me to make some pretty cool product. We stay in contact with Ralph Steadman (Who was a good friend of Mr. Thompson and is an outstanding artist that has done numerous piece for him and others) who provided us a slew of artwork that could be used on our products. This was an amazing opportunity really, considering the man lives in England and is always so willing to help build something that dedicates his old friend. I sat down one night and sifted through everything trying to figure out which pieces to use and what I thought would sell best. At first it all seems pretty easy, just make some shirts and slap a Steadman piece on the front, but it all gets a little more complex when it comes to sales.
First, you have to look at who the audience is. This has a big impact on everything that we have to make. Say I have a design ready to go on a garment, that is only half the battle. Now I have to figure what product it needs to go on and how. There are several different types of screenprinting methods that can all depend on how you want it to feel and look like. If the design is one color it is safe to assume that it is fine to use a standard screenprint but now you have to figure out what color and product works best with the design. After that is all figured out you have to do estimate the size run. This is hard to do, especially when you have no idea who might want to buy the product and what size they wear. Since I have been doing my own clothing line for awhile now, along with working in retail, I know what sizes sell the fastest. Yet, the Gonzofest has a different audience than both of my places of experience so last year I definitely learned a lot after having sold out of XL’s and XXL’s almost immediately.
Needless to say it has not been easy, but it has been a great experience. Last year we sold nearly every single product, with orders from all across the world and that is a great feeling. At the end of the day it is not just about making money, it is about doing something you love and making time for that. It is also about doing something that will help other people, along with gaining some experience yourself and having a little something extra to put on the resume.
You can check out the product here!