Announcement Really cool, custom designs. All printed by hand on a manual silk screen press. Thanks for checking out my page.
Really cool, custom designs. All printed by hand on a manual silk screen press. Thanks for checking out my page.
This is my watatees story... excuse me while I spill my guts out.
First off... thanks for checking out my page, it means a lot. Over the past couple years, I've put everything I have into watatees... time, money you name it. It pretty much consumes every aspect of my life, for now. My typical work schedule is: print till 4 am... pass out covered in ink... roll out of bed the next morning and start designing and creating artwork before I even have my coffee. One time I... no lie... designed and printed for 36 hours straight, slept for 2 hours to wake up to stand out in the cold rain for 12 hours trying for a chance to sell shirts at a local event in Cleveland. I do all the graphic work, prepare the stencils, print every shirt, maintain the website and everything else that is watatees.
I started watatees on hopes and dreams about two and a half years ago. But the journey that leads me hear actually began about two years prior to that. So i'll start there... 4 years ago.
I remember it was a pretty difficult time in my life. I had just been laid off of a very promising career in commercial financing. Completely devastated and up to my eyeballs in debt; I had only $40 bucks to my name.
As I walk home in a foggy haze I passed up a local landmark in downtown Cleveland... "Mike the hatter". Its a high end hat shop.. they sell some really cool fedoras and old school hats like that. I had passed it up on my way home everyday and always wanted to buy this particular hat on a display in the window. The hat cost $35. I bought it.
With $5 left in my pocket and rent due at the end of the month, I ate a can of green beans for dinner that night.
The next day I was on the phone with everyone I knew trying to find a job. An old friend of mine Dan, was the head chef for a small country tavern about 45 min away from where I lived. They had a dishwashing job available that payed $7.45 an hour. I took it.
Growing up I had worked a bunch of restaurant jobs and was always a very good dishwasher. This wasn't any ordinary dishwashing job though.. they forgot to mention I was also a busboy, bar back, host, runner, had to make every salad and cheese plate that went out... even had to mow the lawn (probably an acre's worth.) If you've never done it; working in a kitchen at a busy restaurant is a very difficult job. I didn't complain though... I was the best damn dishwasher/busboy/bar back/host/runner/prepper/lawn mower I could be.
I felt safe and thankful to have a job. I used that time to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Getting laid off and having to deal with the ramifications was extremely difficult to cope with. I decided I never again wanted to work in the corporate world. I had built up so much reliance on this job/way of life.. Then for it to come crashing down in my lap... no way, not again, not me.
I didn't let it break me though. A month after I got laid off, I made that months rent payment on time. One of my proudest achievements. I knew from this point, I had to rely on myself.
I decided I would open up a business.
The first business I began was Karpathian Productions. My goal was to make commercials. I bought camera equipment and how to books with spare money saved from every paycheck I got washing dishes. Spared no expense and learned so much in the world of videography. Shot music videos and live concerts mostly. Not very profitable and from a business stand point a complete and utter bust. I didn't care though, learned a lot and since I spent every spare penny on the best camera equipment I could afford, I now had all the necessary tools to market and promote any business I wanted to create from that point on.
All I could think about was... what do I want to do with my life? What are my passions... what do I care about enough to devote my time and efforts to? Part of wanting to make commercials was because I've always looked at myself as a creative person. I wanted to implement that... I wanted to "create" something.
Less than a year later.. After leaving the restaurant, I was now working at Guy's pizza delivering pizzas. The best, coolest job i've ever had. Great staff, awesome customers, couldn't have been happier.
One day the owner was complaining about the company that makes their t-shirts. The quality was for shit and they were expensive. As we talked about it, something sparked in me. I don't know why I did it, but I looked at him in the eye and said I can can make a better quality shirt for $0.50 cheaper. I had absolutely 0 knowledge about the t-shirt printing industry, I didn't even know what silk screen was. He took me up on my offer. Within the week I had applied for, received and maxed out 4 credit cards to finance equipment and how to books.
I delivered a better quality t-shirt for $0.50 cheaper on time, less than a month later.
That's how watatees was born.
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Thomas J. Karpy Jr
Owner, Designer / Printer
What's up everyone? My name's Tom. I live in Cleveland, Ohio and I make T-shirts. I'm very passionate about what I do; its been the creative outlet i've searched my whole life to find. I put about 100 hours a week into this and wish I had more time.
Accepted payment methods
- Accepts Etsy gift cards