The story of Tee See Tee, Michigan's Best Apparel Brand!
Hello, my name is Beau Warren, and I am addicted to t-shirts...
As far back as I can remember, I have been obsessed with t-shirts. I remember my mom taking me to the craft store to buy puffy paint, so I could draw yin yangs, killer whales, and peace signs all over my boring blank t-shirts. This was my first foray into a t-shirt business, as I started trading my puffy paint skills for snacks at school.
Fast forward a LOT of years, and one Graphic Design degree later, I worked an internship with Little Blue Alien Apparel. Never heard of it? Not surprised, it was an extremely obscure company, with a great group of people, based out of Toronto. I designed over 30 different t-shirts, onesies, and more based on several alien characters I created for them. I wish it would have come to fruition, because the designs were REALLY good, but like so many other companies, it eventually disappeared.
Cue Chicago, the city where I took matters into my own hands, and learned how to screen print. I fell in love with it because, like so many other great art forms, it really seemed to be bursting onto the scene in Chicago. I saw great locals doing incredible screen printing everywhere I went, and ultimately, I thought, "Why can't I do that?" I landed some amazing gigs at bars, concert halls, and more, where I attempted the impossible, live screen printing(Cue my second foray into the t-shirt business). It was an incredibly stressful, and messy operation, but some of my favorite memories of Chicago were the events I worked at. But it wasn't meant to be, not yet anyway. I started taking on bigger clients, which meant investing in better equipment, and higher stakes. I took on a job for a law firm for about 500 shirts. Because it was such an important client, I invested in a new, fancy water based ink. What I didn't know was that this ink needed to be set, something I learned soon after my client called me to ask why the design on all the shirts was literally running off in the light rain at the event. I can laugh about it now, over a decade later, but at the time, it was horrific. I lost thousands on this job, and retired the printing press, vowing to never look back.
Third time is a charm.
My wife and I moved to our home town of Traverse City("TC" for short, hence the company name) to start our beautiful family. Soon after arriving home, I began working in a large event printing company, doing design work. Every so often, a customer, and sometimes an employee, would turn to me for help designing a t-shirt, since that was something I used to do. This planted a seed which took a couple years to fully germinate, but when it did, it dominated every waking thought. I was obsessed with designing, and finally that obsession turned into planning. I went back and looked at every mistake I made, every reason previous attempts at running an apparel company failed, and I realized that it was very simple; I needed help. So I recruited the most beautiful, most intelligent business manager I knew, my wife, to handle customer service, invoicing, and vendor relations. She helped me focus on what I am best at, which is designing fun apparel that puts a smile on your face, breaks the ice with passerbys, and most importantly, ties in with memories you have of your home town. Our tagline is simple, but in my opinion, very profound...this is wear you're from.
Tee See Tee