Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Jordan Silver. In 1996, I founded Ag Media Solutions, Inc. Initially, we began as production company developing documentary concepts. Soon, we began working with larger corporations like Goldman Sachs on their video projects. We became adept on marketing and training videos. That later morphed into doing small ads and small ad campaigns. It was during this time that we established other needed marketing tools: video and written press releases, live event production and web development. We then took on other marketing projects geared for mobile media and even text marketing. Soon we were acting as the outsourced marketing department for companies that didn’t have their own in-house group. We specialized in marketing for law firms, accounting firms and other professional groups. In 2014 we launched our e-commerce side business Mondo Monster Wear. Mondo Monster Wear was created because of our love of pop culture (Star Wars, Star Trek, Odd Couple, Honeymooners, Sanford and Son) and the lack of fun fan-made shirts. We used a system known as Direct-To-Garment (DTG) where the art is printed directed on the shirts. There are no set up fees or color limitations like silk screen. We can basically print one shirt at a time rather than have to do huge runs of a design. In essence, Mondo Monster Wear is a hobby/business creating shirts and designs that we like. We have even done some custom designs for schools, organizations, events and bar and bat mitzvahs. Following the success of our own e-commerce page, we began working with other companies designing and creating their e-commerce sites. Right now we have our own shirt site and adminstrate one for a socks company and one that creates databases of personal information.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I am actually a trained television and video producer. I worked at ABCNews for 11 ½ years and CBS entertainment for two. In addition, I worked at a documentary production company and a public relations firm. I used all of the experiences I gained at each stop to help craft my business model.
Describe the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing the product.
All art is created by me and graphic designers working on consignment. It’s all based on parody and “making fun” of the quirks of the shows and movies. While we do make designs that are requested, it’s very rare that we put them out there. My products are for sale on my website and my eBay store. All shirts are made to order. We don’t keep shirts in stock. With 450 designs times three genders (youth, male, female) times seven sizes times infinite shirt colors, there’s no practical way to keep everything in stock. We have a ten day fulfillment for domestic orders. Orders come in, we send the order and the art to our sub-contractor that prints the shirts. We then mail them out via USPS first class.
Describe the process of launching the online store/business.
We have relied on social media. We have pages on Twitter and Facebook. We join or launch fan pages based on the different topics that we like. We “troll” those pages looking for commonalities between the topics and our art. We will reply with comments that include our shirt URLs. We rely heavily on SEO and other “key words” for our designs to be found in Google and other search engines. We started slowly with one sale our first year, 108 our second year, and doubling sales each year after that. Finding the right fandom and showing them our designs was the beginnings. We will at times reach out to events and event organizers to let them know about our product for help with marketing. We also have taken out banner ads on some fan-blogs or other pages.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
The personal touch! We will call customers to confirm sizes or shirt colors. Every sales gets a personal email. Every delivery gets a personal email with tracking information and approximate date for delivery. Plus we give discounts for people that follow us on social media, send photos of them wearing the shirts or if they contact us with praise for our items. We also send out two e-mailers a year.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We are doing exactly what we want to do each year and expect to keep growing.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Every day we learn something new. QC is the key!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Shopify, eBay, Facebook, Twitter
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
If you want to do it, then do it. I follow the advice of two very sage biblical philosophers as my basis for staying business:
“Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”
“Do or not do. There is no try.”
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Graphic designers willing to work on consignment.
Where can we go to learn more about you?