#wanelocrush: Blackbird Tees

Screenprinting power couple Karl & Jody, the duo behind Blackbird Tees, make our hearts skip a beat with their ethically made apparel (and cute jumping photos).

We recently sat down with Karl and talked food trucks, thrift stores and selling neat things online.

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Hey! How’s it going?

Fantastic! We just got back from Austin, Texas. So we’re still in that relaxed, post-vacation haze. It’s been quite nice, actually.

Anything awesome or life changing happen while on vacation?

Funny you should ask… Austin is bursting with food trucks! So my life-altering vacation moments were typically in taco, sandwich or fried chicken form. Jody did some clothes shopping and scored mightily with a slew of vintage summer dresses. Overall, our trip was pretty amazing!

You got our attention with your designs and prints. Can you tell us where you get your inspiration from?

We’re often inspired by the things we see when escaping the city life. In fact, we love taking roadtrips and vacations because they allow us to relax and reset our brains to creativity mode. So many of our designs can be traced back to a day at the zoo, an evening drive through the Southwest or even a moonlit stroll through our neighborhood.
 
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Can you also tell us a little bit about how you came up with your Etsy shop, Blackbird Tees?

Back in 2008, we were living in Seattle and selling our T-shirts at local farmers’ markets. We even had our own boutique for a short time. Long story short, we were struggling. Luckily, a friend of ours whispered a little something in our ear and mentioned a site called “Etsy.” Within a year, we set up camp, immersed ourselves in Etsy culture and let the internet work its magic. Looking back, it’s probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.


Your love of vintage is evidenced in your designs, collections, and your other Etsy shop, Half Pint Salvage. Any thrifting techniques you can share?

New merchandise comes in almost every day, so hit your local Goodwill shop(s) early and often. And don’t forget to bring a smart phone! I typically do at least 3 or 4 Google searches while I’m thrifting. That allows me to identify items and/or gauge their overall worthiness. And when nothing is to be found, it’s fun just taking pictures of the crazy (and sometimes outlandish) stuff you stumble upon!

Top 5 essentials you can’t live without?

A good cast iron skillet, argyle socks, morning coffee, our 1930s Deco area rug and a comfortable T-shirt, of course!
 
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Any favorite stores or users you follow on Wanelo we should know about?

So many to choose from! A few of our fave users are @anastridendeavor@seanflannagan (we share a love of vintage Star Wars toys) and @localcolor.

Some vintage shops we adore: 
Bless That DressBellaluluSkyparlor and Red Line Vintage. We also have a soft spot for pretty much everything saved by @omgdannydevito. :)
 
Anything else we should know?
 
If you haven’t been to RVA (Richmond, VA), you need to plan a trip! We have a fantastic art scene, lots of history and old architecture, a ton of vintage shopping destinations and a beautiful river walk. Did I mention we also have a growing number of food trucks?!