Dog N Frog
Dog N Frog is a t-shirt brand I created in 2006 to capture the appreciation people have for their pets and animals in an esthetically creative way. Art has always been my passion and feel fortunate to be able to provide a unique visual expression that represents the way people feel about animals and pets. After all, the design on someone's t-shirt tends to be a reflection of that person's interest, belief or expression. While many t-shirts include clever "catch phrases", we differentiate ourselves with original and artistic design.
The current marketplace makes it very easy for anyone to start their own t-shirt company. All you need is a computer and a few digital designs and anyone can be up and running as a t-shirt business. There are companies that will provide you a website, do all the printing, stocking and fulfillment of your orders. On the other hand we started very "old-school". I purchased a manual one-color screen-printing press in 2002 as a hobby to learn the art of screen printing. So when I started Dog N Frog a few years later, I printed every t-shirt myself. Once the business took off, we outsourced some of the printing to a screen-printing company in Cincinnati and they still do all of our larger runs to this day. Now we have a larger printer and do the smaller orders in-house. We do stock over 150+ t-shirt designs. Because of the variety of designs we offer, it can take about a week for us to catch up with all the orders.
The "blank" garments we purchase is manufactured by Gildan. They are the largest manufacturer of imprintable apparel in the world. I believe all of their garment are made in Central America. We've subscribed to their garments since day 1 since the styles we've selected have proven to be the most reliable and long lasting in the industry. The two styles we carry are Ultra Cotton (6 oz cotton) and Softstyle (4.2 rung spun blend). The Ultra Cotton is most consistent and long t-shirt we've found. It shrinks very little and countless people have told me it how well it lasts. It's your basic boxy cut every day t-shirt. The soft style on the other hand is super soft and light. While still being a unisex cut shirt, it is more narrow in the shoulders and sleeve so it has the appearance of a more fitted shirt but the width of the torso area is just as wide as the Ultra Cotton style. My personal opinion of the two styles is this: If you want a basic t-shirt that will last almost forever (5+ years), go with Ultra Cotton if available. If you are looking for a tee that is a little trendier (without being too stylish) and super soft, go with the Softstyle. My opinion of the Softstyle's longevity is 2-4 years. As of 2017, most all of our shirts are printed on Softstyle.
The Back Story (and answer to the #1 question we get, Why "Dog N Frog"?)
My passion and education is in art but I have 10 years of business experience as a buyer for high tech companies prior to starting this business. The company name is Transcend Enterprises. It started back in 2004 as a promotional products company catering to local businesses in Ohio. The business started from scratch and was growing steadily while I supplemented my living expenses with part-time work and savings. As time went on, I got married, moved to be where my wife was living (Columbus) and bought a home. Shortly thereafter, the current business model wasn't keeping up with the growth of our new life. Instead of waiting for businesses to call for promotional products, I needed to see if my passion could really aid in creating more revenue. But by putting my art out there to be monetized was like wearing my heart on my sleeve so I was nervous. My first original design was "Platypus" where the fonts encompassed the animal's shape. I put it on ebay and to my surprise, the first t-shirt sold pretty quickly. In the first week, a bidding war broke out for the shirt and the auction went as high as $29. Within two months during the summer of 2006, I had about 10 designs all selling relatively well (Manatee, Salamander, Cheetah, Squid, and of course Frog) . While searching online, I noticed there weren't any dog designs that I thought were 'cool' enough for me to wear representing the two dog breeds I have, a Bulldog and a Yorkie. Once I created one or two dog breeds, the requests started coming in for more breed designs. (That's where the name Dog N Frog came from). A retailer from Alabama saw my shirts online and offered to be my first wholesale account and suggested I attend the upcoming trade show in Chicago. From there, things just led me in this direction. While at the veterinarian's office, the doctor suggested I sell my products at the upcoming dog show. By the end of 2006, I was up to 35 dog breed designs and 15 wholesale accounts. By the end of 2007, we had over 100 dog breed designs, 35 wholesale accounts, exhibited at over 20 dog shows and events. What started out as a personal challenge turned out to be a life changing experience.
Currently, we serve over 150 boutique/independent retail locations as well as several gift catalogs and exhibit at many trade and retail events. Dog N Frog is now responsible for 100% of revenue for Transcend Enterprises. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it might inspire others to pursue their passion. With some luck and a lot of perseverance I was able to make my passion into my business.