Saturday, December 8, 2007

Humor Wear

I have a theory about humor and it goes something like this:

Funny people are even more funny, when they purposely avoid interjecting the profane, the vulgar and the obscene into their humor.

I know it's not very earth-shattering but if you're someone who 1. loves the Lord and 2. likes to be around funny people, you already agree with me. You just appreciate cleverness and clean cleverness, all the more.

When I decided to open a "just for fun" section at my Christian t-shirt shop, I did it because I like funny sayings & graphics on t-shirts, just like millions of other people. When I did a bit of market research on funny t-shirts, I was rather discouraged by what I found. Now it's not as if I have never been in the world and of the world, and don't know what the unsaved find humorous. I have been there, and while I was there even then I recall seeing some of the most offensive junk plastered on the front of t-shirts. When I did the research on this subject, I was once again reminded of what the world finds "funny". To which I say: GACK. They can have it. As for me and my store, we wanted t-shirts and hoodies that you could wear to Grandma's house without her grabbing you by the ear and dragging you to the bathroom to wash your mouth out with soap. T-shirts that you could wear in front of your kids, your wife, your husband, your pastor, and even if they didn't get the particular genre of humor, they'd certainly never be offended by it.

From time to time I do this same type of market research again (what sells, who buys it, buying for self or others, etc.) and the vast majority of the time, the top selling "funny t-shirts" have some of the most repulsive, obscene trash on them, that you can imagine. It should come as no surprise to anyone, since we live in society where the moral fabric that holds us together is quite literally unravelling at the seems.

The reason I bring this up is because over the last few weeks I've been working on a new line for the Just 4 Fun department at the store. The thing is, I know my market is a niche shop which is already small (Christians) and I know that I make it even smaller by offering t-shirt and gift ideas in the "humor" category that Christians would enjoy. I don't care that my market is small, I care that my market has conservative, clever, non-offensive options - that's the important part for me. I am a Christian (and a wife and mother), and I want to be able to have those options myself, so I know it matters to others like me.

The funny thing is (no pun intended, I've only had 1 cup of coffee, I don't do puns on less than 2 cups), the top selling item in my store for the last 3+ weeks has been one of the new "Scrabble t-shirts" that I've created. It's a bit ironic that I have three times as many exclusively Christian designs but that it's the just for fun shop that gets more of the traffic. Point being, people are looking for funny sayings & graphics on t-shirts and they're finding them at Reflections. I like that. What I like even more, is that doing a bit of research a few days ago on the "funny" category at one search engine for funny t-shirts, it netted almost 16 million products. The first page of products had a mix of odd, offensive, VERY offensive, and tame but clever designs. Imagine my shock and surprise when I saw my very own Scrabble t-shirt designs ranked at #2, and #4 out of 16 million products.

On at least one popular search engine for funny t-shirts, out of 16 million choices, people are coming into a Christian t-shirt shop to find what they're looking for. Oh yes, I like that very much!

Now Grandma can finally put the soap down. (Not that the trashy junk isn't still selling and selling well, but at least now it's got a contender that folks LIKE). I'm thrilled to be able to make this contribution to this genre of apparel. (It helps that I surround myself with incredibly funny people that inspire me!)

If you've got a funny saying or graphic idea that you'd like to see on a t-shirt, mug or ballcap, just give me a shout and I'll do my best to bring it to life. The more non-offensive humor wear out there, the better!