Prepare for launch

We have a confession to make: We love our women’s t-shirts.

Alright that’s a little inaccurate, let’s be more specific: We love our new women’s t-shirts.

Sound familiar? That’s probably because you remember where we were six months ago… you know, back when you told us our women’s tees were so small you had to give them to your nine year old niece. Well we’ve made some progress since then. A lot of progress, actually. All it took was almost a year of researching, tweaking, testing, tweaking, and, did we say tweaking and testing? We produced five rounds of samples and gathered your feedback along the way. Now we’re ready for Blank to hit the streets, but not before giving you the scoop on what we’ve done to get here.

Say hello to Blank. No, the new Blank

Is a soft and durable fabric, more comfortable neckline, just-right sleeves, and a fitted but not too fitted body something you’d be interested in? Okay that’s a trick question. We already know the answer—and since we’re being honest, we mean that you already told us the answer. Funny how that happens when you send 350 samples to customers, friends, and followers of every shape and size.

We already had our own ideas of where we needed to improve, but there are only so many of us here with opinions lol. So in June, we pushed our baby out into the real world like a proud parent, knowing there’d be good times and times when Blank would come home crying.

Your responses didn’t disappoint.

Blank was largely met with love and praise, but there were also some hiccups. Many of the issues we knew about. Some of them we didn’t. All of them we fixed. There was plenty to celebrate, but to us, the verdict was clear: good but not great.

We didn’t go back to the drawing board, but we did make some halftime adjustments. That’s good news if you were one of the testers who loved your sample, because it means not too much has changed. It’s also good news if you were one of the testers who didn’t love your sample, because the tweaks we made addressed your issues. Blank is still recognizable, it’s just all grown up now. If that’s too vague, we’ll be more clear: Blank is the same tee that we set out to create for you since the beginning, but now it’s better because of your input. THANK YOU.

Make sense? Good. We’re gonna give you a rundown of everything anyway.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Let’s start by covering the basic changes and a few things we learned along the way:

  1. When more than half of testers think your product is really good or perfect, you’re basically already in the Showcase Showdown.
  2. There were still some things that needed to be tweaked, but there’s no such thing as a quick fix. Every t-shirt variation came with a different set of challenges. Tri-blend is not the same as cotton; women’s tees aren’t the same as men’s tees; an XS isn’t the same as a 5X. No surprise here, but that means each issue needed to be addressed separately, but we’ll cover that more later.
  3. Philosopher Mick Jagger said it best: “You can’t always get what you want” (you sang that last part, didn’t you…). We knew we wouldn’t be able to please everyone, but there were some obvious modifications we could make so you could get what you need. We’re here to cover those modifications.
  4. We’re designing and producing a comfortable, size-inclusive, quality, American made, crew neck t-shirt in great colors (for women and men) because nobody else is. That means it’s hard. Like really hard. Now you know why this was a year long process…so far.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get on with it.

There’s no such thing as a universal truth—unless it’s our sizes

We nailed a couple of things right from the start. One of them is our size range—specifically for women. It’s not just that we offer XS-5X either, it’s that our tees fit like they should fit. A true crew neck that’s true to size… now that’s rare. Blank lands in that soft middle spot between a basic crew neck and a fashion fit. It has shape—unlike the men’s shirts women have had to order from us in the past—and it still looks great with a graphic design on it.

“Amazing. I really liked the length and how it didn’t ride up. I would buy 50 of these shirts even with the neck issue for the length and comfort. Also I didn’t feel fat in a T-Shirt in the first time in my WHOLE LIFE. Literally.”

— Blank Tester, Women’s 2X

Oh, and men, that’s no shot at you. Full disclosure, our current supplier makes a pret-ty, pret-ty good t-shirt for guys, but we felt like there could be some improvement there too. Our men’s cotton tee is a tad more relaxed, the length is a touch longer, and again, our sizes are more inclusive. And that whole length thing, yeah… we carried it over to the women’s tees as well. Finally there’s a shirt that doesn’t ride up when you bend over or try to do pretty much anything. We know, ladies. You can thank us later…like in the Kickstarter.

As far as fabric goes, well, maybe we were wrong—you can always get what you want.

Survey said: our cotton is as soft and durable as any out there. It’s not too thin. It’s not too thick. It’s breathable but not see-through. And our tri-blend is just as comfy as any we’ve tried before. Still, we’re flying to our factory in LA next week to see what we can do about making our fabrics even better.

“I like that it’s soft and light weight, but not see through. The length is just right, even after washing and drying! Can I have 6 more?”

— Blank Tester, Women’s 4X

A crew neck tee that fits all sizes was definitely a good start. We’d even say it covered everything a base model should. But we’re going for the sports package here, which meant there was still some souping up to do.

So we rolled up our sleeves—which meant rolling them down

We came up a little short with our sleeves. No biggie. Nothing some lengthening can’t correct, right? Well not exactly. It wasn’t just that our women’s sleeve length was off. They were too tight too. Ditto for the men’s tri-blend.

One thing they don’t tell you before you make your own t-shirts is that the sleeves affect the chest, which affect the rest of the body. Yep, it’s kinda like a domino affect. We fixed this weird armpit/chest thing that was happening, and consequently, lengthened and widened the actual sleeves too. A few alterations later and voila! Fabric bunching in the chest and armpit weirdness be gone. We ran a reverse on the men’s cotton tees which suffered from the opposite problems and were quite pleased with the results. Now about that collar…

General consensus was that the neck rib/collar was a little“off” somehow. In some cases the collar became flimsy in the front after washing, and sorta like a piece of 🥓. So we got rid of the extra fabric along the seams, flattened the rib, and found nicer thread.

Now might be a good time to mention that we adjusted the back collar of the women’s tees as well. One common complaint was that our necklines crept up too high in the back, so we added a subtle scoop. And even though this is a crew neck (we heard you about v-necks, don’t worry!), we went ahead and lowered the collar on the women’s tees. Larger men’s tri-blends received the opposite treatment.

But wait, there’s more

Here’s where things get complicated. We’re dealing with four different shirts, each with its own personality. Since we already covered universal flaws and fixes, it’s probably best if each tee goes their own way at this point. You understand.

Let’s start with the women’s tees:

  • Tri-blend XS-XL results were unanimous: too tight up top. Aside from the changes mentioned above, we made the entire pattern bigger. Nothing drastic, but enough to make it work for more of you.
  • After washing and drying, the hips lacked the fit we were looking for, so we kept the general shape, but very subtly took in the sides from the lower waist and hips, for both fabrics.
  • We also added a tiny bit of length to the women’s tri-blend since it was running short.

Now for the men:

  • Stop us if you’ve heard this before: our tri-blend tees were too tight, so we gave them room to breathe: longer and wider in the body, and better proportioned sleeves.
  • Our cotton tees were refined for a slightly more modern look. Always gotta be different, this one. But don’t worry, there’s still more room in them than our current tees.
  • Grading between the tri-blend XL and 2X was fixed. Our 2X let itself go, but we put it on a strict workout routine and it’s back in playing shape.

It takes a village to raise a tee

Six months ago, we lifted the lid on Blank. We’ve relied on your opinions, testing, and support ever since. For a minute, we were worried about running out of ways to show our appreciation. Then we realized we don’t need to say thank you. It’s not because you don’t deserve it, it’s because we’re partners in Blank—and partners work with each other, not for each other. You’re as invested in this process as we are, which means we’re light years past the point of thank you. Together we designed and refined Blank, and it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Now comes the big ask.

This month we’re launching our Kickstarter. Finally. The research is done, we just need production to begin. We already know how committed you are. What we need now is for you to tell your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and your mailman to be committed. We need your help spreading the word about Blank to everyone you know. Put #BlankbyCB on Twitter. Put it on Facebook. Heck, put it on your dog. Because we love our new tees, and so will they.

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