I love graphic tees! They’re the perfect for a casual days with a pair of jeans or dressing up underneath a blazer, not to mention you can always get insight to someone’s personality through their choice of graphic tees. I recently met with Shari Neal creator and designer of graphic t-shirt line Bon Bon Vie, she recently added jewelry to her Spring 2012 collection.
Bon Bon Vie is the creation of self-proclaimed t-shirt addict, web developer, and sometimes art director/designer Shari Neal. In 2010, she realized that she could design and wear her own stuff instead of spending her whole paycheck on t-shirts. What started as a small personal project quickly blossomed into a successful online store. I couldn’t help but browse a few of her tees to see that the Belizean designer had a few island inspired tees that caught my eye as well.
Style & Vibes: How did you start your line?
Shari Neal: It started off as just a whim. I knew I wanted to do something. I liked graphic t-shirts, I liked fashion so why not try to mix them all together, so I decided to start making graphic t-shirts.
S&V: So you started with the t-shirts and branched off into jewelry?
SN: Yes. The jewelry is very new, just a few weeks.
S&V: How did you transition from starting you line to really promoting it, courting buyers, press, tell me about that journey.
SN: It’s definitely a lot of work. Luckily I know a few bloggers, so when I first launched the line I asked everyone I knew to write about the line, luckily no one thought it was whack (laughs) that’s kind of how it started. As far as buyers, people actually reached out to me. I did find that when they reached out to me and we started talking about pricing, they weren’t as serious. But when I started reaching out to stores I really liked and if they liked my shirts we worked out an agreement to for them to sell it.
S&V:From a production standpoint, how does your design process work?
SN: I design them, but I have a printer that does the shirts. Ideally I would love to print them myself, but the space and amount of equipment I’d need, that’s something I’d have to think about down the line.
S&V: Where do you see your line in the future?
SN: I’d definitely like to expand into more accessories. Different kinds of accessories and other things outside of t-shirts. I’m not really sure what that is yet, but I would like to see it continue growing.
S&V: How was it setting up your e-commerce site?
SN: Luckily it didn’t take too long. I knew about e-commerce because I was a web developer for quite a few years before I started my business so it wasn’t too daunting of a task.
S&V: What advice would you give to other young designers?
SN: It’s a lot of work. Make sure you do your research. Everything thing that could go wrong will go wrong so be prepared. Keep at it and go for it!
S&V: What’s your favorite T-Shirt that you’ve made?
SN: My favorite is Brownskin Lady, it’s the shirt that sells the best, but it’s also the shirt that I first designed. It was one of those ideas that just came to me and as soon as I designed it. I knew people would buy it. So it has a special place in my heart.