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Totally Good Blog

Mulder, It's Me at SDCC16

Mulder, It's Me at SDCC16

Hello friends! Last weekend saw the annual arrival of Comic Con International here in sunny San Diego. Each year, a half a million people (or more) attend the annual conference and check out all things pop culture from meetings and interviews to panels and parties. Some dress up, some dress down and everyone dresses the city in a broad stroke of entertainment whimsy. This year, I wanted to do something for the shop during Comic Con, but couldn't think of what that "something" was going to be. Then, literally the day before the event kicked off, I had a moment of clarity and thought of a great idea.

In August of 2015 I created the Mulder It's Me (and other accompanying X-Files) top. I wanted a straightforward shirt with a simple collegiate type font. Something I could wear anywhere and was slightly subtle.

The shirt was so well received by fans and shoppers and is definitely one of the most popular in the shop. This was a blessing and a curse, because suddenly many other shops (on Etsy mainly) ripped off my design and started selling their own. No big deal, this is the original. Often imitated, never duplicated. Fast forward to last week and I knew that this was the shirt to promote during Comic Con. The idea was in front of me the entire time.

The simple call out of "Mulder It's Me" is based on Agent Scully and her opening phone communication with Agent Mulder. Lurve this YouTube clip explaining the phrase. The idea was to create a simple flyer with "Mulder It's Me" on it and fans would interpret the sign as Scully's voice. Accompanied by a simple alien image from the show on the flyer along with a call to action domain that could forward to the X-Files merch in the store and the visual would be complete. Next up was to to think of that call to action domain. Low and behold, was available. I snagged the domain and had it forward to the X-Files collection in the shop. I created the flyer and put no mention of the shop anywhere on the visual. I could imagine some SDCC attendees disappointed that David Duchovny (Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Scully) were not the ones behind, but the idea was to introduce them to apparel they may not have known existed and let them live their fandom out loud.

Another component was to integrate social media into the campaign, but without any mention of the shop being connected to the flyer, the attendee would have to organically discover the connection. This integration worked best on visual platforms like Instagram. I called out for anyone finding the flyer and tagging the shop that they would receive a free Mulder It's Me T-shirt. Guess who's sending a slew of free t-shirts? You guessed right, good 'ol Totally Good Time!

This marketing campaign was such an absolutely blast to execute. It felt great to get outdoors and guerrilla market this campaign whilst in a world of social media with absolutely everything online. Sometimes, it's easy to get one-sided and completely ignore IRL. All in all, the four day campaign was a great success and posts across Instagram and Twitter were discovered by delighted Xphilers. 

Get your own Mulder It's Me top here

Below are some more screen grabs from SDCC attendees!

See you next year Comic Con!

Kyle, TGT Shop Owner


Summer Styles New to the Shop

Summer Styles New to the Shop

Hi friends!

Hope you're all having a great first day of summer. Did you know today, summer solstice, is also a full moon. It's the first time this has happened in 70 years, so you better soak up those moon beams.

Wanted to stop by the blog for a brief update after these first initial weeks at the new Being off Etsy has actually been quite nice! I feel as though I can give you a better shopping experience and move away from some minor minutia associated with Etsy. Currently, I have the shop about 80% updated and have added many new styles which I'm lurving. 

I've also been working on the newsletter and sent the fist one last night. If you didn't get it, have no fear. Another one is coming up in the first week of July and will be mentioning a few things from this post.

Some of the things I'm working on are new styles and more color options. It feels like now is the time to expand upon some of those aspects of the shop. Right? Time to go over the rainbow!

That's about it! Just a quick update to let you know the site is rocking and rolling and I'm happy you stopped by! Looking forward to the future and to a whole new totally good time! - Kyle


Totally Good Lessons Learned *Updated!*

Totally Good Lessons Learned *Updated!*


Hi Good Time Gang!

Kyle here with an update on the shop post-Etsy one year later. I couldn't help but reflect on some key lessons learned as the shop celebrates the three year anniversary and one on the stand alone site. Below I have listed several quick bullets on things that seem to work and things that do not. I also have a quick "light bulb" moment about the shop on Etsy versus a stand alone shop. It's all happening and here's a few more tips for the entrepreneurs.

1. Trademark and Copyright

Finally, I discovered Trademarkia which is a search for any and all trademarks. This will help keep you out of trouble and in the clear of any infringing issues if you have a business that leans towards pop culture.

2. Google

Have all your images properly named and insert tags for that keyword love. Now Google AdWords is another beast and I honestly have not found the benefit with the platform. It's just seems counter-intuitive, but maybe I haven't found it's strong suit yet.

3. Collabs

Collabs are my favorite part. I absolutely love working with bloggers and influencers to expand the brand to a new audience. I love the origins of the relationship and then that expands beyond the both of us. It gives me a great deal of pride to see comments on bloggers that are aware of Totally Good Time and vice versa.

4. YOU! (Me!)

The biggest obstacle I face everyday is myself. Etsy is a generic beast. With the shop on Etsy, the business that was formed lacked a clear voice. Who runs this shop and who are they? It doesn't need to be clear on Etsy. Etsy has built in SEO and people find what they need and nine times out of ten never return. With the stand alone shop, I want you to return! I want to build a relationship with you and have you coming back for more. I want you to shout out from the rooftops that you love your TGT gear and have TGT parties. It's apples and oranges.

One year into the stand alone shop and I still struggle with "voice" of the shop. There is just one person - me. In a recent newsletter I said it's so hard to be yourself sometimes and it really holds true. The good news is that the shop continues to build and expand and I'll continue to give more with transparency and authenticity. Very Oprah vibes right now.  With all of that, there has been so much to learn and I appreciate it all!

Thanks for having a totally good time and feel free to share any thoughts or tips in the comments for anyone that might be reading this updated post!

Yours in a good time,


TGT Shop Owner



Promise I won't start every post with "Totally," but it is infectious.Thanks for making your way over here and welcome to the new site! I'm super excited for this new start and I hope you dig around and discover things you love or maybe something new. Some of you may know that I had a lovely Etsy shop. Here's what happened.

This new site launched much faster than anticipated. For the past month I had been tinkering away at this site and occasionally looking it over while I maintained my Etsy shop. Then, my Etsy shop went *poof* and I spent the last six days laboring over this site. There's still quite a bit to do (variations, etc), but it feels really good. So what happened to my Etsy shop? Here's the scoop and I'm tossing in some unsolicited advice for any Etsy shop owners that may read this post. First, some background for context.

My Etsy shop opened in late 2014 and I originally sold greeting cards. Gay greeting cards to be precise. The shop was originally called, Totally Gay Cards. The greeting card idea was just not hitting home with my target. I thought some more and thought about tote bags and possible apparel. I wanted a name that just evoked a good time. No brainer, right? Totally Good Time was born.

In April of 2015, after getting Totally Good Time off the ground, I woke up from a bunch of frantic texts from my friend on the east coast. She was telling me to wake my ass up because Mindy Kaling regrammed my T-shirt that was a homage to her. I freaked out/couldn't breath, checked the shop and saw orders blowing up. I knew then that I could just ride that wave or turn this into a full-fledged shop with lots of fun items and make this my sole career. Keep in mind, I had never screen printed shirts before and honestly, that first batch was kind of awful. I'm sorry to anyone reading this that bought one. But know that it was made with tons of love and by someone that was really trying and truly cared.

At this point, I invested in some great industrial apparel machines and was adding all sorts of decorated apparel listings to the shop. Anything that popped into my head became a garment. I also want to point out that I was still working a dead-end job (that is actually now out of business) and any experience I was using for marketing was from the six years I spent operating my magazine, BRINK. BRINK magazine was about people making things happen and was lot of fun, but it was a ton of work and not enough people cared. That's another story.

As the weeks went on, my little Etsy shop really took off. I was making sales and soon, I left my dead-end job and was only working my Etsy shop. Etsy owners dream of this, I've seen posts on the Etsy message boards. I felt really good. After coming off an awful 2013 and 2014, this was the absolute brightest spot in my life. The something happened. I received a "notice of intellectual property" from Etsy.

Etsy sent a generic email letting me know that they removed a listing from my store because someone had report it. As I continued to read the email there was a mention of who reported the item. It was the TAS Force. Taylor Allison Swift. I had a T Swizzy garment in the shop and it was removed. This happened a few more times throughout the summer. Etsy mentioned that this was a warning and that my selling privileges could be revoked.

As a new shop owner, I honestly had no idea how to find out who trademarked what and which phrases and words I could and couldn't use. I went to the trademark database and was equally confused. I entered the trademark infringement codes that were provided to me by Etsy and nothing would come up.

Over the course of the last 14 months this happened about a dozen times. I sold over 3,500 items in my shop and had all positive reviews (except one, but the buyer was just not cool. Be cool, buyer.). Half the times this happened, I got it, message received. Don't use Beyonce's name - understood. Don't use Taylor's lyrics - got it. Other times, it was complicated because I wanted to know how I could use some celebrity names and not others (i.e. Mindy Kaling). Was it just luck of the draw? Does Mindy Kaling not give af? It's a slippery slope. Finally, there were times it was just plain wrong.

One notice of intellectual property I received was from a car dealership. They flagged my "I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie" top. When I saw this flagged, I immediately thought it would be Sir Mix A Lot, even Nicki Minaj. How does a car dealership flag this item? I followed the provided links to find out why it was flagged and they trademarked the word, " cannot lie." First, is that even possible? Second, ....::eye roll::. Third, the link provided to Etsy doesn't even work.

Now when Etsy said they could revoke selling privileges, I had no idea what this meant. I honestly thought maybe I would be on probation for a week or maybe I just couldn't sell from my shop for a while, but the shop would remain intact. I did reply to Etsy a few times and let them know I contacted individuals who flagged my items inaccurately and it went nowhere. They would respond with "We're not singling you out" and "this decision was not made by us."

Wednesday, May 25th, I was texting with my friend in the afternoon. Suddenly, I blanked and told her, "let me get back to you, something came up." There was the email from Etsy that my shop had been closed. I went to my shop, refreshed the page and the entire thing was wiped out. From that day until today, has been a complete blur. I put every ounce of my energy into getting up and running and ensuring every Etsy order from my shop had been sent. I emailed Etsy three times and received two generic emails back from Danny at Etsy Legal. There is no phone number to call and nothing else provided. They said they would not reconsider their decision and my shop was permanently closed. In my last email to them, I was practically begging to get the shop back. The only thing I can compare it to is if I had a physical shop and someone doused it with gasoline and threw in a match.

The Etsy shop symbolized so much more than items/listings on a page. I developed relationships, put genuine care and effort into the look and had my entire shop revolving around Etsy links. Every link on Twitter is now useless ("Darn! That item doesn't exist. Here are some that are similar." ::insert fellow Etsy vendors ripping off my designs::). Every link on Pinterest and Twitter had to be updated to Every post a blogger has done now links to a non-existent page. All reviews I received (hundreds) are now gone. Words on a page that lifted me up when I was feeling down never happened.

After making my way to the Etsy report copyright infringement page, I discovered it was very easy to flag a listing. Can you image someone just casually doing this and then the shop owner loses their shop.

With all this said, there are some major lessons to be learned.

1. Back your shop up daily (if you update constantly like I did). While my orders are intact, every listing is gone. Like totally gone. Every picture, every word is gone. Two days before my shop was closed I downloaded a CSV of my listings to import to the new Every picture and word was saved when I did this and I honestly can't believe the timing.  However, I lost my return policy,  about section and all the other details pertaining to my shop including reviews.

If I had not downloaded my listing CSV, you would only see like ten pictures on the new site. You might be thinking, why don't you keep a folder of all your images? I've been taking images with my iPhone and honestly delete as I go unless I happen to back up my iPhone and save the pics to a folder at that point. As one person, I can only do so much.

2. Have a back up shop. Wow. Lesson learned. Enough said, do not risk it.

3. If you have a pop culture shop and have names in your listings (Taylor Swift, Disney, etc.) or tags - remove them. It's not worth it. Think outside the box or let people discover the listing organically. I'm not saying go against trademarking, because there were many, many times in which the trademark was not infringed upon, but I still got a notice. Etsy is not looking at your item and judging it. They're sending a note and warning you no matter what the deal. Also, just because you see other people selling a similar item doesn't mean you can too. You could be the one to get in trouble, they just haven't yet. Is it worth it?

Those would be my top tips. Do you have questions? Let me know, maybe I'm blanking on some key points.

As I look back on the past year, I'm grateful for everything I learned and all the wonderful relationships I made with so many of you. With my Etsy shop totally gone, I do feel as though a weight has been lifted. I'm excited to make the best it can be and to really ramp up for the future. I'm loving the new site and confident about the years to come. But first, wine. #onwardandupward



TGT Shop Owner