T-shirt Guy’ shocked at popularity

It’s a plain white, one-inch, three-ring binder, and it’s Paul Phillips’ own personal Bible.

For the T-shirt entrepreneur, this binder tells all. It holds the records of past sales, current customers, T-shirt designs, and every other detail about his businesses.

Over the past two years, Phillips, “The T-shirt Guy,” a senior at BGSU, has sold over 1,400 T-shirts nationwide. Although most of his shirts are sold throughout Ohio, shirts have literally been sold from coast-to-coast, all the way from New York to Alaska. Phillips even has overseas customers in England, France, and Holland.

Phillips got his start through a partnership with his friend Brian Kozicki. Kozicki worked at Aardvark Screen-printing at the time and received a small discount. The original shirt sold is the “Beer Pong Champ” shirt that remains Phillips’ best-seller.

“I’m a big fan of Beer Pong,” said Phillips. “For such a popular thing, there were no products being sold for it.” Although Phillips had the idea for the shirt, Kozicki added the year 1985 at the bottom and chose the font.

“We thought beer pong shirts would be a hit, we were surprised we’d never seen one before,” said Kozicki. “Turns out, we were right.”

Phillips said that when the two began making shirts, feedback they received wasn’t always positive.

“When we started, plenty of people said it wouldn’t work,” said Phillips. Even Phillips himself didn’t predict that his shirts would be such a success.

It started with an order of 30 shirts, and then another order for 30 shirts, but shirts were selling so fast Phillips began ordering hundreds.

“I didn’t know the shirts were going to be so popular,” said Phillips. “Now they consume my every day.”

Kozicki was also surprised by the popularity of the shirts. “I really had no idea the shirts were going to be popular at all,” said Kozicki. “Paul and I were, and still are, just poor college kids trying to make an extra buck.”

Although Phillips’ partnership with Kozicki dissolved a few months after they released their first shirt, the two still work together occasionally. Kozicki designed the most recent shirt, the “Two Second Club Beer Pong.” “If Paul ever needs me to design another shirt, I’ll always be there to do it for him,” said Kozicki.

Phillips usually thinks of the idea behind a shirt by himself, and then hires a graphic designer to create it. For the “OHIO-we got nothin'” shirt, Phillips hired Chris Mock. The “OHIO” shirt is currently the second most popular shirt being sold. “[I bought one] just because I always joke that there isn’t tons to do in Ohio,” said Ashley Ford, a freshman at BGSU and a customer of Phillips.

Phillips tries to keep business at a professional level in order to provide the best customer service by remaining in constant contact with customers, checking his e-mail every 10 or 20 minutes.

“It’s the first thing I do in the morning, and it’s the last thing I do before bed,” said Phillips.

Despite the fact that Phillips seems to eat, sleep, and breathe T-shirts, entrepreneurship is only his minor; philosophy is Phillips’ declared major.

“People are confused, but it’s what interests me,” said Phillips. “I do have an interest in business as well, but I like to think of myself as a customer-oriented business person.”

Phillips still keeps shirts in the back of his mind for post-college plans as something he wouldn’t mind doing.

“I like that I can combine what I love,” said Phillips. “I love jokes, I like to voice my opinion, and I love selling things to people.”