Spotlight on Choke Shirt Company

For about a year and a half now, we’ve been working with Choke Shirt Company after meeting them at a show in Vegas. We love bringing their unique t-shirt designs to our customers, and we love supporting these Seattle entrepreneurs! This week we reached out to Matt at Choke to learn a little more about their company’s story.

Q: Tell us a little about the history of your company.

A: Choke is based in Seattle, WA. Jeff and I started Choke out of our apartment in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood after checking out many local t-shirt companies who frequently sold their wears at farmer’s markets. Like many great ideas, ours started out with a “we can do better” attitude. In 2008, we launched our first collection of designs online and at our semi-permanent spot at the Fremont Farmer’s Market.

In early 2009, we bought our first screen printing press and rented a 400 square foot studio space in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. With no windows or ventilation, we sweated through our first summer.

In 2010, we participated in our first outdoor festivals, selling our shirts just about every weekend in a new location around town. At the end of 2010, we moved into an amazing 1,500 square foot space in Seattle. We took with us the largest Choke collection to date. In 2011 we hired our first employee and brought on an investment partner.

As our online sales grew, we decided to branch out of the weekend markets and festivals and begin the process of finding retailers to sell our wears. After less than a year in our new space, we moved next door to our current space. At 3,000 square feet, it was surprisingly quick how fast we filled up our new warehouse with a second manual press and our giant baby, an automatic screen printing press named Carl.

After just 2 years of successful trips to fashion’s famous MAGIC Market Week in Las Vegas our clothing line has grown to (currently) 300+ locations around the US and Japan and expanding every month.

Choke: Brian Printing

Choke Dog!

Q: We know you’re a very small crew – how many people (and dogs) make up your company these days?

A: Currently we are 9 people strong and only one pooch. Leo has the summer off because the shop gets pretty toasty and we are so much busier now than we were when we first started that he gets lost in the shuffle and ends up being annoyed with us all day. The 9 of us (and Leo) continue the mission of Choke: To provide the masses with a line of smart, interesting, comfy affordable tees.

Q: Do you design and print everything in house at Choke?

A: Yep! All our designs are designed and printed by us here in Seattle. We have a custom print shop and ourown line of tees for guys and ladies, hoodies, tote bags and baby onesies.

Moon Monster Choke Tee

Q: What’s your favorite Choke tee that we’ve carried at Earthbound?

A: My personal favorite is Moon Monster which is in Earthbound stores now. It’s actually part of our new Fall/Winter 2013 collection which we will be launching August 19th at MAGIC in Vegas. But Earthbound got a special preview of our collection before anyone else and you guys decided to pick it up! We’ve already been hearing great things from some of our fans that love shopping at Earthbound!

EB Team Spotlight: Margaret at Eureka Springs!

The first in a series of posts featuring EB team members is Margaret, the store manager at our Eureka Springs location. We asked Margaret a few questions so we can all get to know this beautiful lady a little better.

Margaret @ Eureka Springs Earthbound/Romancing the Stone

Q: Describe yourself in ten words or less:

A: “Profound, Brilliant, Just, Powerful, All-Victorious”. Ha Ha, just kidding! That is actually the meaning of the Tibetan mantra that I have tattooed on my chest. I only feel that way after I have been drinking coffee…

Q: What do you love about working for Earthbound?

A: My favorite thing about working for Earthbound is the ability to mentor and encourage growth within my staff, as well as to be mentored and continue my own education and growth. This is a great company for promotion from within and Earthbound has really been able to maintain the integrity and community of the small business paradigm while building the security network of a larger corporation.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

A: My husband and I are buying a small “fixer upper” farm in rural Arkansas. I spend most of my time working on the property, building the garden, helping with the chickens and learning the ropes of farm life (not an easy task!). We currently have 4 dogs, 2 horses, 6 chickens and 5 feral cats that adopted us. We also enjoy going to bluegrass shows in Eureka Springs and I am trying to find more time to commit to art and found object jewelry making.

Q: What song have you been jamming out to lately?

A: I am a big bluegrass fan (anyone else who is should check out the Putomayo Bluegrass collection!). One of my favorite songs is “Alone” by Trampled by Turtles. I also recently starting listening to a really cool band calledShovels and Rope that is really worth looking up.

Q:. What’s your greatest dream in life?

This is a hard one. I really feel like a lot of my dreams are coming true these days. I would love to be able to do more international travel in the future. I would like to travel to Tibet with my mother one day. But my greatest dream is really to be doing what I am doing now, building a great life and family with my amazing husband.

Q: You’re stranded on a desert island. Excluding food, water and means of escape, what three items (one being an Earthbound product) would you take?  

A: I am a bit of a survival nut actually so I take this question pretty seriously! The Earthbound product would have to be our new book “Ultimate Worst Case Senario”, the survival guide that we carry in our really coolCuriosity Shop collection. That way if there was a zombie attack or an elephant stampede I would know what to do! My other two things would be my husband and my dogs (if we can count all 4 as one thing). It would get lonely on the island without them!

Its great getting to share a little about myself with other Earthbound fans (I’m definitely a customer as well as an employee!) and I hope anyone traveling through Eureka Springs, Arkansas will make it down to our shop on Main Street to say hi