Linty Fresh is an up and coming clothing company that have done an amazing job branding themselves. I got the opportunity to ask Eric Terry, the mastermind behind Linty Fresh, a few questions about his brand.
What is Linty Fresh all about?
Have you ever been in a situation where you met some new people, and after a few minutes of very surface-level, meaningless banter, you exhaust all the cliche questions and things start to get a little awkward and no one seems to know what to do or say next? So you’re standing around, and finally, someone just goes right ahead and calls out the awkwardness, and it totally breaks the ice and everyone has a good laugh and gets to know each other a little better? Well, I kind of try to be that guy. And Linty Fresh has really become an extension of that – it’s the ice-breaker that makes people smile, it’s the bizarre anecdote that’s both confusing and hilarious, it’s the goofy grin that won’t leave your face. Linty Fresh is about finding fun in of the unexpected and sharing it with your friends.
Linty Fresh as a brand headed?
I think one of my big goals is to come up with completely new products. The market is really flooded right now with other indie brands, and a lot of them are using the same producers for their goods so it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. By innovating things that no one else is doing, it helps to set me apart.
What separates your brand from everyone else?
I’d say that one of the major differences is that I’m the only one running the show, from design to order fulfillment. This keeps everything looking very consistent and unified. I’d also say the style is unique. About a year ago, I narrowed down my look to “stylized street art cartoons and graphics”, and that’s helped to govern things a lot.
How did your brand change from when you first started?
Actually, when I first started Linty Fresh, it wasn’t really a brand, just a company name. I’d come from the mentality that “branding” was a negative thing, since in my mind it took the emphasis away from the designs. And as an artist, I was all about the designs. But as time went on, I began to see the value of having an identity to unify my products, so I gradually began to incorporate my logo and brand name into my products more and more. At this point, Linty Fresh has become a very specific brand with a definite look and feel, to the point that people can immediately recognize things from my line.
I noticed you put your name on everything you do. Do you think this has strengthened your brand and given a face to your clothing company?
Definitely. I guess to some it may seem a little egocentric to have my name up everywhere, but I haven’t done this so much for notoriety as for showing how small the operation is. I want folks to know that everything’s coming straight from me, that it has my seal of approval, and that if they’ve got any questions or concerns, I’ll be the one helping them out.
You have done a lot of extra things to make a customer’s experience more enjoyable. Can you describe the Linty Fresh experience?
When I first started building Linty Fresh, I thought about all the things that I liked and disliked about dealing with other companies, and one of the major things I always came back to was the quality of customer service. I always appreciate being treated like an actual person and not just a blank face with a wallet in hand, and I’ve tried to treat my customers the same. I try to ship orders out within 24 hours of being placed, and will notify the customers as soon as they go out. I also send out goodies with each order like lollipops, stickers, and pins. I think it’s always important to deliver a little bit more than the customer expects. Another thing I’ve focused on from the beginning is giving each product a background story, poem, or otherwise unique writeup. This gives each purchase a little extra value and lets my personality shine through a bit, too. The in-person experience (as in the case of craft shows), has been something I spend a LOT of time with, too. For my latest setup, I built a fake washing machine around the countertop of my booth and had a giant tentacled monster breaking out of it. I want people to know that I’m not just there to take their money. I want to give them an experience, something they can laugh about and enjoy.
In what ways are you trying to connect with your customer?
I like involving my customers in the process as much as possible. On my blog, (lintyfreshblog.com) I update about designs in progress, displays for shows I’m working on, and new additions to my office space. It gives people a little look into my life, and makes me seem more of a real person, which is important to me. I also have contests from time to time, including an ongoing monthly Flickr contest for the best picture uploaded with a Linty Fresh product. I want folks to be proud of the things they buy from me, and I want them to feel connected to both me and the brand.
What advice can you give others on building a strong clothing brand?
My advice would be to spend lots and lots of time figuring out exactly what you want your brand to be like. There are literally thousands of other “indie” t-shirt lines out there, and in order to succeed, you’ll need to bring something completely new to the table. Deciding exactly what that unique element is will be absolutely crucial to your success. Do lots of research, too. Talk to other clothing brand owners, research it thoroughly on the web, and read as much as you possibly can!