As always credentials first! Name, Age, Location and Favorite Month!
Dora and Joey. Age mid to late twenties. From Montreal, QC, Canada. Dora’s favourite month is June because it’s warm and reminds her of her childhood home in Indonesia
What inspired you to start a clothing line?
I was looking for a way to leave my job as a children’s book illustrator. Following a shopping spree at Hot Topic in the US we came to the realization that as an artist I should put my designs on tshirts. After a lot of research, and through trial and error we were able to open our shop to the world.
How did Akumu Ink get started and what did you find were the most challenging and rewarding parts of starting your business?
Akumu Ink got started in a 3-roomed apartment. The most challenging things were having such a limited space to work in, having a full-time job that kept me in a zombie-like state for 2 years, and just learning everything from scratch (e.i. from how to conduct business to how to screen print). Many think that owning an indie tshirt company sounds simple enough, but very few understand that there is a lot of work that goes into it when you are producing the product from start to finish.
I have been a big fan of Akumu Ink since you guys started back in 2008. Where do you draw your influences for your line and do you design everything yourself?
We have designed everything from our very first to our latest collection. The whole point of doing this was to be able to create and to draw; I’m not giving that up anytime soon.
All influences for our style are drawn from music, movies, things we see and love, while throwing our own spin on it. There are brands I look up to like BAPE and Ambush that really keep me wanting to aspire for more.
Let’s talk a bit about branding. You guys have a very cohesive “look” and brand image from your apparel to your actual website. How important do you feel creating a unified brand image is?
Well, we originally started with a theme that I knew was true to who we were. I knew it was something I could continually draw from and expand upon. I have said this since the beginning that we are really more about the art than just printing tshirts.
I love that you guys offer each design in several different colors do you find this to be a big selling point or more of a headache for your brand?
For the last year we’ve offered all our designs on black tshirts and hoodies, red and grey tshirts.
We have just started offering new styles that will rotate every 2 weeks in an effort to separate us completely from other indie tshirt shops. This works for us because we do all our own printing. So now we can offer our customers different styles to add to their collections.
Akumu Ink seems to have a lot of reoccurring characters in the line, any plans for future expansion on the characters possibly into figurines or even animations?
I worked on a comic book during the winter, but that was shelved. I would love to expand on our characters and I think our customers enjoy when we bring them back in original artwork. Figurines were talked about a year ago, but we haven’t found the right fit to go forward and produce with.
You guys just released your latest line of new designs, what can we expect from the latest batch?
The latest batch is not only our most creative, but also our most detailed. We really pushed ourselves to create beautiful artwork that separates us and maybe will make us stand out.
So what does the rest of 2011 have in store for Akumu Ink?
We thought 2010 was going to be our year, but we met with a lot of challenges. This in turn helped us to grow so much. I think 2011 will be the year where we do what we love, and be as creative as possible in producing beautifully dark products for our customers.
What advice would you offer upcoming clothing lines?
This business is very challenging, and it helps to have people around you who are able to provide their support.
Do you guys have any sales that our readers should know about?
We do have these great deals on our Packages:
Save 10%-15% on 3 tshirts/2 tshirt + hoodies.
Save 30% on 1 tshirt + canvas.
Save 40% on 1 tshirt + 3 prints.
Save 50% for 2 2XL tshirts!
Any last minute shout outs or mentions
To find out about tshirt giveaways or when new merch is available check out our facebook site.
Our blog is updated almost daily with lots of photos and frequent insights into how our company operates: http://akumuink.com/blog/
And twitter has fun stuff and other thoughts: http://www.twitter.com/akumuink