Spaceboy Clothing is a custom T-shirt shop located on Market Street in downtown Wilmington. We sat down with the founders to learn about their early years and what’s next for the quirky retail shop.
How did you start Spaceboy Clothing and who are your clients?
Spaceboy Clothing boutique opened in 2009 by two childhood friends and artists that hated our jobs and have always wanted to do something cool, fun and refreshing in Wilmington. We started with little to no budget and a small loan from David’s dad. Our first storefront in Elsmere was $700 a month. With David’s background in graphic design and screenprinting and Noah’s love of collecting vintage clothing, accessories and furniture, we combined the two to form what it is now.
Why did you pick your Market Street location?
In 2010 we met the guys from BPG [The Buccini/Polin Group] through a mutual friend. They were looking to bring flavor to Market Street and offered us a space. We said no.
After a year of persistence on their part and our lease coming to an end in Elsmere, we finally took them up on their offer and moved to 617 N. Market St. in 2011 and three years later, moved up the block to 711 N. Market St. Inspired by larger cities like, Philly, New York, Austin, etc., we thought a city location would suit us well and the people welcomed us with open arms.
Tell us the Amy Schumer story and how it changed your business.
Last spring our friends from Squatch Creative were working with Amy. She needed 300 to 400 T-shirts and hoodies on a quick turnaround for a small spring tour and they recommended us. We gladly accommodated them and spent the next few days and nights in our small print shop printing tirelessly by hand to meet the deadline.
They loved the work and ended up ordering another round a few weeks later that we again did quickly by hand.
When summer came around her people contacted us again and this time they were talking thousands for the World Tour! We were not equipped to print that amount of merchandise on such a short turnaround. We were freaking out! But there was no way we were going to pass this up. They approved our quote, paid up front and we went scrambling to make this happen! Within a few days, we found a garage and purchased used automatic printing equipment that would allow us to print a higher volume in a shorter amount of time. No more printing by hand! Yay! Well, only for small orders.
How were you able to leverage that to take Spaceboy Clothing to the next level?
Since we’ve upgraded our print shop, we are now able to crank out jobs faster and more efficiently. Also that allows us to be more competitive with our pricing. These days everyone is looking for the best deal, whether it’s online or in John Doe’s basement. I printed out of my basement too, so I get it.
What are some of the big lessons you’ve learned as a retail business?
Start small. Don’t rush, take time to learn, even if it’s from your mistakes. Be honest. Be creative. Be positive. Accept criticism. Communicate. Be a team player. It’s OK to be different. Support your community and they will support you back.