My t-shirt blog all about the Block business.
Brand new T-shirts.

Wow! What a great start to the year we're having, Lot's of new products including a wider range of women's clothing and even a new baby range. We've made some awesome changes to the website making it easier for us to track orders, view figures and upload content quickly to the site.
We've finally launched our automated newsletter, sent out to you all via email and opened two new website shops including an eBay shop with some amazing discounts. 

I am really excited about 2013 for our clothing company and we're definitely moving in the right direction. 

Date and time:  2013-02-22 03:09:37

Busy time for T-shirts even in the Cold Weather.

Hello again, It's been a very busy time for us at Block, moving premises and lots of orders of glow in the dark t-shirts. Even though the Weather is getting much colder the orders have in fact picked up. Halloween and Christmas are our busiest times, Gifts and costumes are the key themes that are selling. With the move complete and the orders caught up on, I now have time to get on with other tasks such as writing in this blog for starters! I still have a clear view of where I want the website(s) to go. This blog is currently having an overhaul and the actual business side of things is still having new procedures implemented and new product ideas are being tested out. I must admit it's slow progress at times however it's best to learn to walk before you try to run so I'm happy to put these ideas on the back burner so as not to overload everything else. It's been a great year for us here, the website launch back in May has gone from strength to strength. It has developed quite a bit from the early days and I've had some great comments regarding the professional look of the site which obviously gives the customer the trust to make a purchase. I'm looking forward to the new year but it does quieten down in January as peoples wallets recover from the Christmas. The Halloween period had been a huge success, orders have slowed down slightly this week who knows there might be a last minute rush for those who haven't got costumes sorted yet. Have a great Halloween and stay tuned for Website changes including new offers, prizes, newsletters... the list goes on!

Date and time:  2012-10-21 08:50:30

A big thank you to all you Block T-shirt Fans!

It's been a long time since my last blog post and it has been a busy time for us at Block. The orders have been rolling in and we have brought in even more new exciting ideas/products. The boring back of house side of things have been going well and I must admit that's where I actually get most of my fulfilment from! I love making things quicker and easier such as changing the Admin section of the website to make processes quicker and more efficient. This saves us time and money and so we are able to pass these onto our customers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped Block and Block T-shirts get where it is today. Not just those of you who bought our products but even the people who shared a post or tagged us in a photo or even just said thanks for an awesome t-shirt! This means the world to us and makes it really worth while. Thank you!

Date and time:  2012-08-20 13:00:44

New screen printing inks and techniques.

Hi everyone, Yesterday I had a fantastic day testing out some new printing inks and foils. We are now in the process of creating our actual Block brand! It's very exciting. Our first designs are going to be vintage style tees and the inks and techniques we have are looking like they are going to be ideal. We have a great supplier who has a great range of vintage washed clothing just for us. Ink effects like vintage cracked ink, textured base and shiny foil are all ways to make our designs really stand out.

Date and time:  2012-02-08 14:03:52

Fairtrade Foundation.

Sales of Fairtrade products soared by 40% in 2010 to an estimated retail value of £1.17bn! In 2009 it was £836m. This shows that UK shoppers even during the recession are still embracing Fairtrade All Block t-shirts are made with ethically sourced cotton. Our manufacturer has strict policies with regards to social responsibilities No use of child labour No use of forced labour Safe and healthy working conditions Legal labour contracts Payment of living wage Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining No discrimination against employees No excessive hours of work They are also members of the Fair Wear Foundation We pride ourselves in providing top quality clothing, ethically produced on all manufacturing processes and still at fantastic prices.

Date and time:  2012-02-08 13:44:11

Unique range of t-shirts

Block is in the process of designing some unique t-shirts. Our new range will be t-shirts with a funky twist. Bright coloured stitching and buttons and other unique detailing such as badges. We want to create t-shirts that are great quality, comfortable to wear and that are also fun.

Date and time:  2012-01-06 19:11:14

New ideas - Valentine's Day, new Glow in the Dark products.

Happy new year everyone It's been a great year and we're all looking forward to this 2012. We have some great ideas still to implement and some new ones as well. Valentine's Day is our next busy period and we already have t-shirts being designed and printed for it. Our glow in the dark product range is going to be huge this year with a big order in the final stages of being processed. The Block brand is going to be reinvented whilst still keeping our ethical views towards cotton manufacturing and we're still going to use the same great quality t-shirts you've all grown to love The website will be going through some changes as well with easier navigation and a more vibrant, colour rich design. We are trying to get more photos of the printed t-shirts themselves so you can get a better idea of the quality and style of the garment We've got a lot of work ahead of us and can't wait to get stuck in!

Date and time:  2012-01-03 12:36:38

Website changes

My website block tshirts has done so well in the search engines due to the fact that all I did was put a load of my t-shirt designs on it with a brief description of why I like the shirt. I have decided to do the same with one of my other websites that hasn't been doing as well. Glow t-shirts. I have turned it into a glow in the dark products site. I have made both sites the same in looks and linked them together. I have also added some cool drop down CSS menus. I'm hoping I can get the domain names of these sites up with higher traffic and then use them as advertising or turn them back into product selling sites. Either way it's great fun seeing what works and what doesn't, I enjoy coding for the sites as well which helps.

Date and time:  2011-12-09 13:04:03

New Glow products on the way.

I am always looking for new products to enhance my business and I'm excited about some new stock thats on the way. Glow in the dark toys, glow sticks, baceletts and more. I'm hoping that these products will work well along side my glow in the dark t-shirts and bring new customers to the web site. I am also thinking of having a seperate glow t-shirt website and this website (block designs) will become my range of gaphic designed t-shirts and clothing.

Date and time:  2011-12-02 22:36:34

T-shirt website updating

Hi everyone. Keeping on top of my websites is a full time job in it self. The website(s) need constant up keep to make sure they are up to date with new fresh exciting content.

Having bought another two domain names and started yet another project I am starting to realise how great it is to have an easy back office system to run the sites. discover-york

I am currently looking at this website and thinking it needs a bit of a tweak. A few technical things but mainly old banners need changing and some more exciting content, maybe even a new home page?

Date and time:  2011-11-28 14:59:51

Christmas t-shirt orders

Christmas is fast approaching and people are buying gifts. It's a busy time for Block as t-shirts make a great stocking filler and are a very popular present. I will be designing a special range of Christmas themed t-shirts including your favourite Glow in the dark t-shirt designs as well. I've had a lot of customer feedback recently about how great the quality of our t-shirts are and that's the whole point of Block. I wanted a good quality t-shirt at a great price. I want people to get there order and be amazed! So far we seem to be doing this. Enjoy your Christmas and New Years and look out for our special offers coming soon.

Date and time:  2011-11-19 00:09:58

Glow t-shirts

Halloween has just been and I'm happy to say it brought with it plenty of glow in the dark t-shirt sales. I put the link on the website to Block's You Tube channel so customers can see the t-shirts in action and how bright they glow and quick they charge up. Christmas is the next big one for some reason my t-shirts have sold better during the winter months rather than summer. This leads me to believe that I don't actually sell clothing but presents and gifts.

Date and time:  2011-11-01 21:29:16

Taking the t-shirt business to the next level.

I am currently running a web based t-shirt business I get orders for funny Slogan t-shirts and I get custom orders. This brings the money in and keeps things ticking over. It's not where I want the business to be, I want it to be a brand and a well known one at that. Superdry became huge and within Six years the business was floated on the London Stock Exchange and is said to be worth 180m pounds! I'm not in it for the money I enjoy working for myself, I certainly don't want to get to a point where the business owns me. I want more time and enough money to do the things I want to do. I never expected to build a brand over night but I am now concentrating on more graphic t-shirts instead of slogan t-shirts. When I have enough designs I will start to phase these in and hopefully create a repeatable well known clothing brand.

Date and time:  2011-10-11 01:39:00

T-shirt website

Been a long time since my last post here's an update of how things have been going. The website is growing my back links to the site have shot up from about 8 to 49! this means bots such that search the Internet for the search engines are more likely to come across my site and so think it is more important. Also my monthly impressions have shot up as well (a link between the two me thinks?) I have been receiving steady t-shirt orders from the website and my target over the next month or two is to average a t-shirt order per day and that's more than possible. In the office I've decided to get organised so things that I normally put off I will find easier to do and I will be more likely to get them done and out of the way. Cash flow, as with most businesses even established ones, is always a problem the good thing about the website is most people pay first then get the order leaving a couple of days before the money can be swapped from accounts.

Date and time:  2011-10-10 02:39:00

Block is finally turning into the professional t-shirt business that I knew it would be.

New addition to the website EPDQ from Barclaycard Our t-shirt website is speeding towards the future! In two weeks we will hopefully have a Barclay Card payment system giving our website a professional super secure way for our customers to buy lots of t-shirts. The payment will go direct into our business account instead of being stuck in pay pal. The features are amazing and we will also be able to take payments over the phone. Block is finally turning into the professional t-shirt business that I knew it would be.

Date and time:  2011-09-02 03:00:00

More t-shirt website updates

Just finished an automated email facility for my website. I can now send emails to any customer with the click of a button telling them when their t-shirt order has been received, or shipped. This will send a pre template email but will add in the customers name and what they have paid so they can double check their order is correct. Its all about stream lining and making things easier baby! Think I have also finally rewrote my pay pal IPN script so it will check that the pound values that have gone through pay pal are actually correct and no ones trying to fiddle me. It was as simple as changing "Price" to "RRP" but in a script that is 175 lines long you can see why I've been putting it off. Then again got a meeting tomorrow with Barclay's bank to get automated payment straight into my account! woooo! get rid of Pay pal all together? Well maybe not, some people still want to pay with it grrrr lost money ;(

Date and time:  2011-09-01 14:45:00

First week of Fully Self employed.

Well I have done it! Finally. Out in the big world on my own as a self employed business man. I've got to say its scary and exciting. Motivation is key at the moment got to keep selling those t-shirts and working to find new leads, new products, better stock. There is less stress to get printing jobs done as I have loads more time. The paper work side of things is easier to manage as well because of the extra time. I am missing the banter of work colleagues but I pop in from now and then to catch up. As for the t-shirt side of things the new designs are coming along well. I'm starting to get back into my graphics, art and drawing again after about 6 years! (I'm a bit rusty) I feel my new designs might be able to give Block the image I have been looking for.

Date and time:  2011-08-31 04:41:00

Time to leave work and go full time self employed?

This is a question I have asked for some time. Every business book I have read has been positive that the right thing to do is leave work and run your business full time. The books all say that you can't run a business properly or give it your full commitment to bring it forward. On the other hand many successful business people have disagreed on leaving work straight away. Now has come the point for me that I am ready to leave work and concentrate 100% on my t-shirt empire. I am leaving my full time job as financially, emotionally and knowledge wise it makes sense. Only taken me several years!

Date and time:  2011-08-07 13:56:00

T-shirt Orders

In the previous couple of months the custom orders have seen a huge increase especially towards Hen and Stag night t-shirts. I like these orders as they are relatively straight forward to do. Photo on the front, text and number on the back. With the individual t-shirt orders they come from our pre printed stock. The best and most cost effective way if to screen print in bulk of one design. I know that there are a lot of people out there that use these websites that produce the t-shirt and ship it for you. The problem with these sites is the margin on a t-shirt like that is tiny after they have taken there cut, it's a lot less risky and they do most of the work but at the end of the day they are the only people making the any money. "If you risk nothing you gain nothing" Bear Grylls

Date and time:  2011-08-02 00:54:00

Some information about the t-shirts we use

I hate t-shirts that don't fit me! Slightly long in length, baggy and that scratchy label in your neck. The t-shirts I sell directly form the website are the highest quality I could find. My t-shirts have a small tag in the back that shows the size and doesn't itch or scratch your neck. The fit is perfect and there's sizes and fits to suit even the fussiest wearer. The t-shirts I buy in are ethically produced and that's right down to the farmer that produces the cotton, the manufacturer actually knows the farmer(s) and farm(s) that it has come from. Non sweatshop made and we print every t-shirt ourselves. I was searching through my competitors the other day and couldn't believe how expensive some t-shirt sites were! We're better priced and also offer free UK shipping. I saw a t-shirt I loved on one site and decided (for market research purposes "Wink Wink") that I would buy it. It was high priced but I thought it would be nice to see the print quality. On getting through to the shopping cart and seeing the price for shipping $10!! I changed my mind and decided to go without.

Date and time:  2011-07-29 01:18:00

A unique built from scratch website that works!

Having gone through months of learning scripting languages such as PHP I had now produced a website that I was ready to put some advertising into. The site has an Administration section that you or a staff member can login to securely. They can add, edit or delete t-shirts they can update news posts, add pages and the great thing about the Administration page is that you don't need to know any coding!! This means that any future staff can run the website view transactions and orders and reply to comments with little training. The website automatically sends emails to myself and other staff members updating you of t-shirt orders, sales and enquires. The site structure and layout also means it's fast loading and all the code validates so no errors occur so works in all main web browsers. Even though google sees a hundred or more web pages for the site there is only about six to ten pages to maintain this is due to the dynamic nature of the php scripting and makes it super easy to edit code or change the look and feel of the site. This has taken me a long time involving a lot of research and teaching myself not just coding but website SEO advertising and is something I am very proud my business has. A unique built from scratch website that works!

Date and time:  2011-07-29 00:55:00

Designing the website

I knew very little about web building but I used Dream Weaver in design view and slowly started to learn html, I then stumbled across a programmers website and forum www.developphp.com On the site I started learning php a bit of a backwards way of learning web building but over six months I picked up the basics of php and had learnt html as well. A few months later I had built from scratch a full shopping cart and continue to learn more php and programming such as javascript. Block now has several domains with sites in working progress. I would recommend if your going into e-commerce to learn web programming even if its just on a small amount.

Date and time:  2011-07-25 15:11:00

Glow in the dark t-shirts continued

Our glow in the dark t-shirts are printed using a white base then two layers of glow ink over the base. This gives the t-shirt a stronger glow that lasts longer. To charge the t-shirt you either expose it to sunlight a UV/black light great for clubbing!

Date and time:  2011-07-25 14:57:00

Glow in the dark t-shirts

The first t-shirts we printed were one colour band t-shirts this was easy to do with the self made system. Our first major order was for glow in the dark t-shirts this required two different inks and the screen printing set up that we currently had just wasn't good enough. The multi colour press that we invested in was the way forward quick and easy to print large volumes of t-shirts. We took on the glow t-shirt order and it set our business moving in the right direction.

Date and time:  2011-07-24 05:37:00

Taking the plunge!

I did a lot of research, bought books watched You Tube videos. I made all my own screens, bought mesh and ink from ebay. I even made a vacuum press for printing onto paper. I use to clamp the screen down over a t-shirt and print. I could only print one colour with this method but it did work (but only at a hobby level) I tried making a clamp system to hold the screen and again this worked but not to the level I needed to do full time. This process took me two/three years before I took the plunge it wasn't a priority at the time. It became clear that the business was better off going into just t-shirts we had orders ready to go we invested in a professional multi colour carousel and we have never looked back.

Date and time:  2011-07-19 14:37:00

How I got into printing t-shirts

I was always into Art and after my A-levels I went to Hull College to improve my portfolio before University. I took a foundation course that lets you try out different areas of Art and design before picking one, I picked Illustration. We had a lot of time in the print rooms learning techniques that have stayed the same for years. Etching, screen printing, Lino cut, wood block cut, I enjoyed all of them my favorite was Lino cut and I didn't get chance to do much screen printing. I set up my first business after college to sell my own paintings, I sold a few in Beverley near Hull, had some of my work in Ferens art gallery, I even had one sold in London. The business evolved into copiers and it was then that I started looking into t-shirt printing.

Date and time:  2011-07-18 12:37:00

My first post

I've set up this blog more for myself but if people tune in and find it useful then that's even better! I run a business called Block, I have several websites set up and sell t-shirts and clothing. I have done custom stag and hen t-shirts, one off custom designs and even baby tees. So far things are going great and business is picking up. I intend on blogging on the businesses progress and hopefully give a bit of information into how we got to where we are. (long story!!) This is my first post so keeping it short and sweet! Enjoy!

Date and time:  2011-07-14 12:16:39

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