Rob - Jason, firstly let me just say thanks a million for agreeing to be interviewed by me - from seeing all your facebooking, tweeting, youtubing and flickring I know you're insanely busy so thank you..So, lets get things started - for those who haven't heard of you or the advertising tsunami that is iwearyourshirt.com would you care to enlighten us?
Jason - iwearyourshirt.com was 1 guy in 2009 who got paid to wear t-shirts and advertise those companies through social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ustream.tv, Flickr and the iwearyourshirt.com of course). People bought days throughout the year at face value, starting on January 1 for $1 and increasing $1 per day until December 31 at $365. I sold out the entire 2009 calendar on August 10 and had plans in place to add a 2nd person wearing shirts in 2010 and double the price of the calendar. As of this interview there are only 74 days left for sale! [Ed. due to circumstances beyond our control there has been quite a delay since conducting this interview with Jason and its publication - there are now only 58 days left. We chastise ourselves daily for the delay, apologies]
Rob - So, would you consider yourself a model or an animate advertisement? And, do you enjoy your job? From the outside looking in it looks all rosey and awesome but you must have some serious deadlines to meet. How you do stay focused and organized with so many things going on? At iwearyourshirt.com are there any other staff or are you flying solo?
Jason - I think I'm an advertiser who's directly reaching a focused audience. I definitely enjoy what I do because at the end of the day it boils down to being myself, being social and wearing a t-shirt. It's been a crazy year and a ton of fun. I continue to meet new people/companies on a daily basis and new friends/followers. Staying focused comes with having a very supportive family and audience. Everyone keeps me in check but also helps me get creative when I need it. It was just me in 2009 and next year my buddy Evan White will be wearing shirts with me everyday from Los Angeles, California. [Ed. ..and who hasn't heard of Evan by now??]
Rob - From one of your tweets I saw that the good folks at ABC were talking about you and then checked your press page - over 60 listings ranging from the LA Times and NY Times to Yahoo! Japan and AOL.com - how did you achieve that? And which bit of publicity/press has been the most beneficial to you thus far? Any top tips on creating good press releases?
Jason - Press Releases are a waste of time. I've never created one and have tried to advise people against doing it. You build press for your company by creating interesting marketing campaigns and getting people involved with your brand. If you are working hard enough and smart enough, the press will come. I've been incredibly lucky to have the NY Times and The Guardian write about me very early on in the project. That initial press helped get people on board, but it was my continued effort and participation from my audience that landed the Reuters feature that turned into a story on the homepage of Yahoo.com & AOL.com and eventually a few major network evening news spots. I am very grateful for all of that press, but word of mouth continues to be the best sales force for iwearyourshirt.com. [Ed. - Note to self, scrap the press release plan]
Rob - You were recently in Jamaica which must be a nice perk of the job I'm sure. You engage in any water sports or when you're not wearing someones shirt what do you like to do to unwind? [Ed. - at time of interview it was recent, again apologies]
Jason - Yeah it was an awesome opportunity to go on the 5-day cruise to the Caribbean courtesy of http://www.MSCCruisesUSA.com. I do enjoy traveling, especially when it's to a tropical place. And to unwind I spend time in the gym, I play tennis and basketball and live at the beach. It's refreshing to step away from the Internet for an hour or two each today, especially with the amount of hours I am on my iPhone, laptop and on camera.
Rob - You're a marketing major - was it from your studies that you got the idea for iwearyourshirt.com or where did it come from? Or did you just see an opportunity and go for it? Most, if not all, of your job entails social media and being online - have you always had an affinity for computers?
Jason - Actually I was a Graphic Design major [Ed. - very hard to get good research staff these days]. From an early age I picked up design and constantly tried to teach myself new things and experiment with new technologies. College for me wasn't a learning experience in the sense of skill set, but more networking and learning how to interact with people. For as long as I can remember I've believed in the "it's all who you know, not what you know". It's interesting though, when the idea of iwearyourshirt.com came about I only had a couple hundred friends on Facebook, 0 followers on Twitter and had NEVER made a YouTube video or done a live video. I knew that I had the personality to put myself out there and dove in head first. [Ed. - I don't know what those of you who are reading this think but I think that is quite incredible, like a digital duck to wwwater]
Rob - Once you got the idea for iwearyourshirt.com how long did it take you to get it up and running? You've been wearing t-shirts since January 1st 2009 but surely there was lots of hard work before that? What key things did you do before you launched that you look back on and "ye, I'm so happy I did that" or "that really worked out well"?
Jason - I thought of the idea in September 2008 and bought the domain name. A website was up in mid October and the first day sold November 11. I spent a month and a half interacting with people on Twitter, Facebook and starting to put myself in the social media space. By the time January 1, 2009 rolled around I had 5 1/2 months sold and was well on my way. I think it was a combination of people I knew, a bit of luck and people thinking the idea was unique. I wouldn't change one thing because I wouldn't be in the position I am today. [Ed. - just wow, only four months to get the whole machine in gear, incredible]
Rob - What do you attribute your success to? As we said, you operate in the social media world and you're (obligatory Gary Vee reference - you've actually met him ye?) crushing it - any tips for success in social media? And I recall a post you made on t-shirtforums.com and now your on ABC and CBS - what is the coolest company or brand you've represented this year or top 3? Are your starting to feel a tad famous now or get recognised in places?
Jason - My success has come mostly from hard work and being myself. I have had some good bumps through using http://HelpAReporter.com and the advertising services there [Ed. - shall be checking them out]. That is the ONLY advertising service I believe in and it has been a big help in growing iwearyourshirt.com. As far as tips go, it's incredibly important to be yourself, to talk to people in your network and to focus on something. I've actually had a couple ideas I think are great and could make more money than iwearyourshirt.com, but this is the business I am working on now, it's doing well and I want to make sure I ride this wave while it's here. It definitely helps validate the idea when companies like Zappos.com, LifeLock.com, Bill Cosby, Wired Magazine and Gary Vaynerchuk had me wear shirts for them. But I don't neglect the "little guys" either, all the other companies I've worn shirts for are great and have their own unique story to tell. And I don't feel famous at all, nor do I really want to be famous. I want to continue to provide a unique value for people through t-shirt wearing and social media and make some decent money. [Ed. - well said..so, readers, which company that Jason has worn a shirt for do you think is the coolest? any memorable iwys vids you'd like to recount, leave a comment]
Rob - 2010 heralds the dawn of two timezone t-shirt wearing goodness - how is that looking so far for you? Any friend called Evan you'd care to mention? And beyond 2010 what are your plans - a global t-shirt wearing empire?
As I mentioned earlier, there are only 70+ [Ed. - 58] days left for sale in 2010. So people either REALLY love my buddy Evan or this t-shirt wearing thing has proved to work well. And I will continue to say that I think $730, the most expensive day in 2010, is a bargain for the content we are creating for a company and the size of audience that company is immediately exposed to. You couldn't get all the social media content created for the price we are asking and then who would you show it to? That's the big selling point to me. 2010 is 2 guys in shirts, 2011 will be more people in shirts and I eventually hope to get up to 50-100 people around the world wearing the same shirt in a day. Imagine 50 people all with 5,000 social media friends.... that's 250,000 people seeing your brand in 1 day. Wouldn't that be worth $1000 a day or more? [Ed. - I think it would be worth $1000 and think you have got a fantastic marketing formula here..Hehe, I nominate myself as Mr. GMT and am sure with the way things are going come 2011 there will be lots on the more iwys crew]
Rob - Ok so, we're nearly there...but, importantly, any random Jason Sadler facts that you don't want the world to know about? And you have an i wear your shirt wiki page - pretty cool...did you create that yourself or you do you have a super stalker out there?
Jason - Ha.. I have a wiki page??? I had no clue, where's the link? It's flattering when people take the time to do those things... I'm heading to Google right now.
Rob - Well, Jason, it has been a privilege, a pleasure and an honor to be able to ask you a few questions. You are somewhat a champion of the social media age and a pioneer for things to come. I wholeheartedly wish you a ton of success as you're a bonafide good guy and would like to give you this humble medium to address the masses - the stage is yours...
Jason - Thanks for having me and I encourage anyone to connect with me and chat with me on Facebook, Twitter or wherever else you can find me on the web. I answer every email that comes to me, as long as you aren't asking me if I want to partner with you and have you wear hats for a living.
And I encourage you all to connect with Jason (and Evan) too. They have recently kicked off the IWearYourShirt facebook fanpage so you can join them there for all sorts of fun and games.
I'd like to briefly throw my two cents into the IWYS mix. Personally, I think it is a phenomenal idea that has been executed immaculately by possibly the only guy who could do it so well. His success has led to others to jump on a similar bandwagon but I'd be surprised if you ever get to hear of any of them. Jason has created a company with solid foundations rooted in hardwork, honesty and giving value to the customer. He excels with customer service and, unlike so many others who preach, he actually cares about his customers and is passionate about giving them a good service. The fact that he enjoys it is obvious and I can only see IWYS going from strength to strength and I wish him all the best.
...and thats a wrap, no more gushing from me. Thanks once again to Jason and apologies for the tardiness in getting this interview up. So, readers, what do we think of IWYS? Will it be a flash in the pan or do you think, like me, that there is some longevity to the business? Have you come across any IWYS copy cats? What is your favourite IWYS clip? And the real clincher of a question, who do you prefer - Evan or Jason? (ye, I went there)..
I look forward to your comments and will endeavour to get blogging more regularly here again. Stay happy.