Picnic Time – Spotlight Exhibitor Interview

Following our exhibitor spotlight on the amazing company Picnic Time, we have an in-depth interview with some more context around the beginning of the brand and what we can expect from them next. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did!

1) Tell us about your business – what do you specialize in, what do you sell?

As we have grown over the past 36 years, our line has evolved from a handful of picnic baskets to over 450 unique and innovative gift items covering a broad range of categories. Two years ago, in an effort to better align our products with their respective categories, we created the Picnic Time Family of Brands.

The PICNIC TIME brand stays true to its roots – offering the widest selection of picnic baskets, wine baskets, and picnic totes suitable for all occasions.

The ONIVA brand encompasses active living and outdoor recreation. This line offers a wide array of outdoor gear such as chairs and stadium seats, food totes, coolers and travel cases, gardening totes and kits, beach essentials, and so much more.

All of the accessories you need to enjoy beer, wine, and spirits can be found in our LEGACY brand. From beer flights to growlers, whiskey sets to bar accessory kits, wine totes and beverage carriers; this line has got it all.

TOSCANA is our tabletop and serveware brand which has been designed with sustainability, functionality, and style in mind. We have sourced natural beautiful woods for our innovative line of serving boards, serving planks, serving stations, and cheese boards.

Each of the four new brands has their own unique identity, while still maintaining the core attributes of quality and innovation that you have come to associate with Picnic Time.

2) What’s the story of how the Picnic Time got started?

Picnic Time was started 36 years ago with the mission to inspire people to spend quality time with loved ones. Mario Tagliati and Gustavo Cosaro met in 1982 while working in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Having similar values and business beliefs they came to Southern California and opened up a wine and cheese store. It was pointed out by their customers at the time that they had all the essentials for a picnic, they were just missing the picnic basket. Inspired by this idea Mario and Gustavo started hand making baskets in their garage and selling them retail from their store. It was a success! More than a generation later, Picnic Time’s goal has expanded – to help create lasting memories from those moments spent with loved ones.

3) What is your personal favorite franchise or character?

Disney has to be our favorite franchise added to the Picnic Time licensed product line. Disney ignites our creativity and awakens the child in all of us.

4) What do you like about the franchises you incorporate into your merch? Why are they a good fit?

The addition of Disney, Marvel, and Lucas to our licensed product line has allowed us to be more creative with our designs and reach a broader customer market. Our products are a great fit for these licenses as it has helped them expand their product categories and further elevate their brand image with high end table top and outdoor leisure products.

5) Are there any characters/franchises that the company plans to add merch for in the near (or distant) future?

We plan on expanding our Disney line by adding new character properties such as – Frozen, Aladdin, Princess Villains, Mary Poppins and Lion King

6) What’s another smaller vendor that you love to shop for franchise/character merch that you think not a lot of people know about?

Kidrobot.com is a great site for upscale and designer collectibles (Toys, Plush, and Apparel).

Thanks so much again to the folks over at Picnic Time for giving us a window into such an awesome company!

Teepublic Custom Shirt Review

Up next in our custom shirt printing series, we have TeePublic, another one of the top custom printing contenders. We’ll be evaluating these shirts on the same set of criteria to show you how they measure up with price, appearance, shipping, site ease of use, and variety of shirt choice!

 

Once you spend any time on the TeePublic site, it becomes clear that it is more about showcasing art from professional artists – as opposed to uploading your own – and likely questionable – custom images like we did with Vistaprint. As with most of these types of sites, you *can* upload your own art, but it is much more of an involved process and it’s clearly not what the site was intended for.

 

What we ordered: A Kung Fu Panda/Poe Dameron mash-up Classic T-Shirt in men’s Medium. As previously stated, this was not art that we uploaded ourselves but the design was sold by an artist via the TeePublic site.

 

Price: $20.00  – ★★★★
The price for TeePublic shirts was definitely at a premium compared to other sites like Vistaprint, but we felt good about the rate given that you’re paying for the custom art and the overall shirt quality is quite high. This is not the place you come to churn out 100 shirts for your upcoming family reunion, but it is a nice site to shop if you want a high quality shirt with the franchise mashup of your dreams.

 

Shipping: $6.99 (standard shipping) – ★★★★
We selected the standard shipping option which wasn’t particularly cheap at $7 and took 8 days to arrive. This was on the high end price-wise of sites that we tried, and on the low end of shipping speed, but all in all, given that the shirt was custom printed, $27 total (okay, maybe we added $2 for tax?) was a price we were willing to pay once we saw the final product.

 

Shirt Feel/Appearance/Cut – ★★★★★
Now for the good stuff, how did the shirt look, fit and feel? Overall pretty dang well with a few caveats that I will list below!

 

– Fit -★★★★
We ordered a men’s medium for Jim who is 5’8” and it was quite long. The chest, waist and shoulders fit pretty well so the length was the only “issue” but he said he would consider sizing down to a small if he reordered as it would compare to what one would usually find on a men’s large or extra large. If you’re at least a couple inches taller and usually wear a men’s medium, you’d probably be in good shape, but if you’re in the 5’8” or below range, the length is something to keep in mind.

– Fabric -★★★★★
The fabric quality was good – the shirt is cotton and felt soft. TeePublic also offers an extra-soft fabric shirt so if that’s more up your alley, you can get something even more comfy (for more $$ of course).

 

 – Quality of print -★★★★★
The quality of the print was really nice, it looked like any shirt you would pick up in a bigger retail store. A benefit of custom art created by actual artists (and not Diana and a free photoshop knockoff) is that the quality of the images is very high. This doesn’t always translate into a high quality print – as evidenced by some of our experiences with Redbubble – but in this case TeePublic did a really good job.

 

Choice of Shirts -★★★★★
Choice of shirts (and just generally things to print on) is a place that I’d say TeePublic really shined. They offer a number of women’s and men’s cuts with a ton of flexibility on the base color of the shirt. Jim took advantage of this by changing the shirt color from the default dark grey to a bright orange and it came out really great! In addition to shirts, you can order anything from a hoodie to a throw pillow so there are excellent options.

Site Ease of Use – ★★★★★
The site was really easy to use, mimicking the experience of something like Target or Walmart. Because it’s not centered around using your own art, it’s truly like shopping for clothing (or other things) anywhere else on the internet, with a few more options when it comes to fit and color of the item in question. The search box works pretty well if you’re looking for a particular character or franchise and from selection to purchase, it was only a few intuitive clicks. Setting up your own custom art as an artist is likely more involved (if you’re desperate to upload your own designs), but we didn’t even attempt so we can only wish you good luck.
 

 

Some additional pluses:
– There is a LOT of custom art by amazing artists; if you don’t trust yourself to create something you’d want to wear, this is definitely the place to come!
– The shirts seem to wash well.
– They have contests for particular franchises and characters which yields some super cool designs.
So now that we’ve hit our key points, I’d say our rating of TeePublic is sitting at about 4.5 stars! The price was on the higher side and some things about fit and shipping left a bit to be desired, but overall we ended up with a great quality shirt with an amazing franchise mash-up print.
If you would like to hear our thoughts on TeePublic in a different format, we’ve uploaded one of our ToonStyle youtube videos where Jim goes through the pros and cons and you can see the shirt in action!
We’ll be continuing our custom print series so keep an eye out for more videos to come; both here and on YouTube!

Vistaprint Custom Shirt Review

This marks the first in our custom shirt printing series where we review the top online companies for making customized clothing! We’ll be evaluating the shirts on the same set of criteria to show you how they measure up with price, appearance, shipping, site ease of use, and variety of shirt choice!

 

We’re starting things off with the behemoth Vistaprint, probably one of the first companies that comes up if you search for “custom shirt printing”. Vistaprint is one of the more affordable options and is great whether you’re planning on printing one shirt or 1000. Along with shirts, VP offers printing on practically every item you can think of, from glossy fliers, to mugs, to custom tote bags. Because of the breadth of options and the low prices, we expected Vistaprint to be towards the bottom of the heap, but we were proven seriously wrong!

 

What we ordered: A custom Veronica Mars “Mars Investigations” logo (black) on a SignatureSoft Women’s small t-shirt (white) with Inkjet printing. I found the image online, turned it into a PNG with transparent background using online software (thank you Pixlr!) and dropped it onto the front of the shirt.

Price: $9.50  – ★★★★★
One thing you’ll quickly notice about custom shirt printing companies is that they want you to order in volume. This is great if you’re churning out 100+ shirts for the annual family reunion, but less good if you’re like me and just wanted a custom Veronica Mars shirt. The low printing prices you’ll typically see in your google results are generally deceptive; sure it’s $5 per shirt if you order 1000, but if you just want one, you’re looking at $25, or perhaps no shirt at all. Vistaprint delivers both on price and on small scale. This was the cheapest of the shirts we bought and one of the highest quality.

 

Shipping: $5 (standard shipping) – ★★★★★
Vistaprint’s shipping wasn’t the absolute cheapest, but I must say they impressed me! When I ordered this shirt on May 6th, the estimated delivery date was the 17th, but they had it printed by the 7th, shipped by the 8th and it arrived on the 9th! A custom shirt! Serious points for speed, and for getting it to me within three days when I just paid for standard shipping. You can pay (a lot) for accelerated shipping, but having ordered other things with them before, I’ve learned I can count on them getting my orders to me well before promised, so unless you absolutely NEED your item by a particular day, I’d say go for standard and count on being pleasantly surprised.

 

Shirt Feel/Appearance/Cut – ★★★★★
Now we’re finally getting to the good stuff – how’d the damn thing look, feel and fit? I must say that I was *shocked* that for the price, the Vistaprint shirt ended up being one of the nicest ones we printed!

– Fit -★★★★★
As mentioned above, I ordered a women’s small in the inkjet printed SignatureSoft. I’m a petite person, just under 5’4″, about 120 pounds and with a substantial bust. The shirt fit exactly as I would have wanted it to, it has a flattering crew neckline, nicely fitted on the sides and not too stretched out over my chest area (I’m sure some of y’all know the struggle). More affordable shirts often look pretty boxy and unflattering on my figure, but Vistaprint delivered on this one!

 

– Fabric -★★★★★
Here’s another place that Vistaprint knocked it out of the park; the shirt is super comfy and soft! It has a bit of stretch to it and doesn’t feel like cardboard, A+ in my book!

 

– Quality of print -★★★★★
Admittedly I didn’t give Vistaprint too much of a challenge (white shirt, black logo), but it came out looking really good! The print looks quite sharp and any blurring around the edges I attribute to my own questionable image upload.

 

Choice of Shirts -★★★★
The choice of women’s shirts is one place where Vistaprint didn’t shine as much; for the shirt I ordered, I could only chose between four different cuts. The color pallet was more varied, but with regards to shape and neckline (in contrast to a company like Redbubble, for example), the options were limited. Given the quality and fit of the shirt I don’t fault them too much for this, but it is something to keep in mind. That said, in terms of THINGS to print on (aforementioned tote bags etc…) Vistaprint definitely takes the cake, so we’ll land them at four stars.

 

Site Ease of Use – ★★★★★
Okay so as a software developer, I’d like to think that I’m at least slightly better than the average person at all things computer, which makes me ashamed to admit that I had a bit of a confusing time using the Vistaprint site at first. You’ll see on the screenshot below that uploading your own image is literally the first option, but something about the way it’s designed made my eyes skip over it and onto the plentiful more complex (and frankly, not what I wanted) configurations below. After a few minutes of fussing (okay, and maybe some swearing), I realized my oversight and proceeded through the five or so clicks it took to make my custom shirt! Other than my initial confusion, the site was super easy to use and definitely would highly recommend, even for people that might not be super comfortable using a computer.
 

 

Some additional pluses:
– There’s generally at least one hefty discount you can take advantage of to bring the price down even further, especially if you’re a first time ordered.
– The shirts seem to wash well; granted, I did forget detergent, but the logo survived a wash and dry and the shirt didn’t seem to shrink too much.
– If you make an account (only need email/pw), they will save your design so you can reprint it on the same, or other products (see below)
So now that we’ve hit our key points, you can probably guess that my overall review is going to be two thumbs up! Taking all factors into consideration, I would give Vistaprint a SOLID 4.5 (maybe even closer to 5) stars on the whole experience! They’re not only incredibly affordable, they deliver excellent quality and customer service along the way! If you’re deciding whether or not us use VP for your next custom shirt endeavor, we highly recommend!

 

We’ve immortalized our thoughts in one of our ToonStyle youtube videos (also, the first in the series), so if you want to hear these thoughts straight out of the horses mouth (mine), or see more how the shirt looks on – head on over and toss us a thumbs up/comment while you’re at it 🙂

 

We’ll be continuing our custom print series weekly so keep an eye out for more videos to come; both here and on YouTube!

Metal Meets Fandom

ToonStyle is all about helping you bring your favorite franchises and characters out of their books, shows, and movies and into your clothes, accessories, home decor, and generally anywhere possible. Every time I thought, for example, “There’s no way that Ninja Turtle cufflinks exist, right?”, I was proven wrong. Many designs exist!

Today I had another one of those moments. I was bouncing through YouTube when I hit a very cool channel – Frog Leap Studios. A heavy metal expert with serious musical skills, Leo Moracchioli covers songs we all know and re-tools them with metal. It’s fun listening to Michael Jackson or Katy Perry’s hits, but it’s even more fun to see Leo rock out with some songs from our favorite kids movies. The songs are perfect mashups in the ToonStyle spirit.

The Playlist

  • My favorite of the bunch, Frozen’s Let It Go. A lot of parents have heard the original hundreds or thousands of times, so it’s nice to hear a different take on it.
  • Lion King’s Hakuna Matata.
  • I Like To Move It, which is a major part of the Madagascar franchise from Dreamworks. This song has already been covered many times, so why not once more?
  • The Simpsons Theme. I really enjoyed watching Leo and his daughter (I think?) build a LEGO Springfield.
  • Everything is Awesome, from The LEGO Movie. It’s great to watch Leo get in an adult-size Emmet costume and rock out. You can tell he’s into watching these movies with his family.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme Song. It’s not for the youngest audience, but the Fresh Prince was one of the great shows from my childhood.

9 Gifts for the 80s Movie Nostalgic

If your friend Says Anything when you give them this classic Lloyd boom box trench coat t-shirt, it had better be thank you! What better way get out of the doghouse than by referencing this monumentally romantic scene in the form of this meaningful (and reasonably priced) gift – the only true path is forgiveness!
Image by Jlisme

 

“Jaaaaaaaaaake!”…If you can’t immediately name that scene, have you even seen Sixteen Candles (…100 times, like I have)?  Surprise your loved one with this adorable graphic t with an illustration of the movie’s official poster!
 Image by Rachael Burriss

 

Or maybe if a collectible is more their style, this Samantha bobble head is a fun way to let them dress up their desk at work or add to their glass collectibles cabinet devoted entirely to 80s inspired memorabilia (not judging). Also find more Sixteen Candles merch here!
 Image by Hot Topic

 

Goonies never say die, but they might say “hey that’s a cool shirt!”. Your bae will look slamming in this black and white silhouette design t-shirt from Redbubble – they’ll never want to take it off!

 Image by ajeung

Go Back to the Future with this amazingly retro Cafe 80s shirt from Redbubble! Flaunt your love for baby Michael J with subtly – only the true fans will catch the reference – and everyone one else will think it’s a cool 1980s throwback. This shirt not exactly your style? Check out some other options!

Image by Plan8

 

Be a true friend, and don’t trade anyone out for a bunch of swatch-dogs and diet-cokeheads – give them this adorable Heathers phone case! Featuring a marker illustration of the infamous backyard croquet scene, this gift is sure to please the devoted Heathers fan!

 Image by Catie Stewart

Nobody puts baby in a corner, but it looks like someone’s put (a quote about) her on a pillow. Help your 80s fan decorate their couch or bed with this cute throw pillow sporting the classic Dirty Dancing line “She’s Like The Wind” written in modern calligraphy. 

 Image by Quotation Park

 

You might have thought it was inconceivable to put Vizzini’s face directly on a mini-skirt but someone at Redbubble has just proven you wrong! This fabric print is definitely not for the faint of heart, but a fun statement piece for the true Princess Bride loving fashionista/o!

 

 Image by lettherebelips

 

And for those with subtler tastes (lame!), your WISHes have been granted with this classic Wesley quote t-shirt! As with all Redbubble prints, these come in different cuts and sizes so you can find the perfect match for your lucky giftee!
Image by typox