Alexander Bryan, the IZZMS founder and CEO, began printing fun mottos on shirts for the sole fun of it. As the old saying goes, “Put your money where your mouth is,” and Bryan did just that – he took what he did for fun and turned it into a profitable business within two and a half years. What makes his shirts different is he isn’t afraid to go there with the content. IZZMS has religious Madonna-circa-the-80’s shirts like “I’m a Whore for the Lord,” Gay Pride themed tees and fun messages like “I Have Your Kid GImme Drugs.” Bring on the satire!
How are your T-shirts conversation starters?
They are outrageous and have a sharp wit to them. Usually, they jump start conversations with laughter because they are something you wouldn’t expect. You’ll hear a couple giggles at first or the loud chuckle and then inevitably you hear “OMG look at that SHIRT!” Conversation started. It also usually leads to shots or some other fine alcoholic beverage and a good whirl on a dance floor if available.
What are ways to dress a T-shirt up and down?
It doesn’t take much to dress down a t-shirt – just wear the tee! You can also make them a little sportier by cutting off the sleeves for maximum breathing room and comfort. To dress it up, you can always take a standard tee and add a cute jacket or sleeveless zipper hoodie. We’ve recently started printing on all sorts of apparel – hoodies, button down shirts, dresses, skirts, thermals and more. Dressed up or down, wearing an IZZMS design will ensure you’re always a hot topic of conversation.
I’m a young girl. How could I wear your T-shirts and look really sexy?
Well, lucky for you we have started selling dresses and snug-fitting girls and women’s tees. These can be paired with skirts, skinny jeans and more. Looking to add a little more sex appeal? Try “I look better naked.”
Evidently, the T-shirts have funny messages, so not everyone sees you as a very corporate, “boring” businessman. When you were beginning the venture, what did you have to do so this wouldn’t end up being a hobby but a career?
IZZMS actually started out as a hobby. My friends and I were always coming up with crazy sayings and, being a freelance graphic designer, I decided to do something about it. I never really thought of it as a business until a person came up to me one day and asked me where I bought my tee. I responded with my regular answer, “I made it!” and he asked to buy it right off my back in the middle of a Sunday at a bar. That’s when I realized this passion of mine could also be a fantastic business.
I don’t know about other states, but as far as Illinois, our public schools tell us what slogans we can and cannot wear on T-shirts. Which of your shirts could be worn to school without worries for parents giving fun gifts?
There are some from each collection that we have that would definitely work. Below are some examples…
• (Heart) Breaker
• Hello! I’m epic.
• I hear fun people
• I’m a gem / I’m a jewel (especially for couples)
• I’m not dramatic I’m theatrical
How do you come up with ideas for the slogans?
It’s actually a lot tougher than you would think to come up with a good tee. It usually ends up being a very collaborative process! The first stage is easy – hang out with friends and throw around various ideas. As a team, we then whittle down the list to a Top 5 and cast a ballot for the next IZZMS. Short and sweet tend to be the best tees and those usually make it to the top of the list. Fortunately, some ideas are so amazing that they pop out of our heads and we are all immediately requesting colors and making sure the design is ready to wear for the upcoming weekend. This past weekend, for instance, was “Let’s drink lunch!”
For 2013, what are some funny one liners you have coming out for, despite it not being couture, your summer collection?
We have several new designs coming out soon (below). IZZM’s new “Mean Girls” collection will also be available this summer.