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.
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?
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!