Interview Sam Howell & Nathan Graham of Kill Hubris
It’s a pleasure to once again open up our interview series this October with a couple of guys who came out strong with their brand this past year. We got board straight away as I loved the negative space logo design and their webstore design. Here we introduce you the readers to Sam and Nathan of Kill Hubris, we talk all things t-shirts, their inspirations, what they read online and all things social media and networking within business.
Hi Kill Hubris, It’s a pleasure to get you aboard the interview scene for Tee Gazette. Can you give our readers and fans a quick rundown who KH are & whos running the brand behind the scenes.
Kill Hubris is Sam Howell and Nathan Graham. We are best friends who live in Texas, love t-shirts, and dislike arrogance.
The first thing for me that makes your brand stand out is how great your website is, I think its something a lot of brands overlook. How did that setup come about and was it driven from other brands you had seen doing it wrong?
First of all, thank you. That means a lot coming from TTG.
We knew from Day One that professional-looking website was the most important thing we could do apart from appealing shirt designs executed with quality. As a web-based business, 99% of our sales originate there, so we want our customers to be comfortable that we are legit. This was something that we both felt intuitively, so we didn’t spend any time seeking out examples of people doing it wrong. We just wanted the site to mirror our brand theme, be user-friendly, and instill confidence in the customer that there are real people behind the site who would make sure their purchase went smoothly. The ability to get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook helps with that vibe too.
What has been the most successful design to date? Why do you think that is?
Early on, Three and Four were running a really close race for best-seller. Three’s distinctive look and clean lines gets a lot of positive feedback and people have really connected with Four’s “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” message.
Lately though, One has really surged, which makes us super-happy since that’s our logo shirt. It has been well-received by both the design and streetwear crowds, which is really cool. The design crowd seems to be attracted to its use of negative space and its simplicity, while the streetwear crowd has complimented it for its boldness of color and and clean lines. We’ve noticed when wearing ours that people are really drawn to it. Watching someone study the design until the shapes fade into the background and the letters reveal themselves is a lot of fun.
What inspirations have you drawn for when creating your first collection, you talk of the use of negative space and simplicity. Did particular artists/designs out in the world inspire any ideas?
Not really. Our design sensibility is partially a result of the fact that we don’t tend to wear busy designs ourselves. And we design with ourselves in mind (as the customer), so a lot of what you’ll see from us will fit into that category. We are definitely from the “less is more” school.
With the explosion of social media and networking it allows brands to promote and launch without the need of PR companies and such. What formats of promotion have you found to be the best to use to help share and promote your designs and brand?
Both Twitter and Facebook have been helpful, but Twitter has probably helped us reach more people who might not have found us otherwise. There seems to be more activity on there and the interaction is much more immediate. It’s almost become like texting. And the integration of photo apps like Instagram have made it easier to showcase products there instead of just sharing links to our site.
Which people out of your social networking circles would you recommend our followers check out on twitter?
We’d suggest tee lovers check out @TexasTEEZILLA and its creator Jay (@LIESandFILTH) to check all the recaps that have been posted since the event and also for info on next year. And The Good Child (@the_goodchild), Sleepy Dan (@SleepyDanBrand), and Group Fly(@grpfly), who we finally got a chance to hang with at Teezilla recently. They are all active on Twitter and really nice folks.
And for a good mix of culture, @gwarizm keeps a very interesting blog about movies, music, fashion, and a whole host of other topics.
Do you partake in any other aspect of social sharing and media with applications and sites like tumblr and instagram?
We use both of those, actually. Our social media activity from highest to lowest probably goes something like:
1. Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/killhubris)
2. Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/killhubris)
3. Instagram (“killhubris”)
4. Tumblr (http://killhubris.tumblr.com)
You’ve been involved with a lot of local events in the USA recently right? What have you been up to with Teezilla?
Texas Teezilla was actually our first expo and it was a great time. There were 2 DJs providing some great music, a bunch of shirts were raffled off with the proceeds being donated to the victims of the recent Texas wildfires, and the atmosphere at the venue was perfect. We met a lot of cool people and discovered some really unique brands putting out great products. The feedback we got there and the overall feeling of community among the 35 brands who participated motivated us to step up our game even more.
In fact, we finalized our fifth shirt design as soon as we got home and will go to print with it very soon. We’re also exploring some cool-weather options that we hope to release in late fall, so it’s a busy and exciting time for us. We can’t wait to have some more stuff for TTG and its readers to check out.
What are the companies and brands out at the moment who you think are making the biggest moves and waves of innovation and a spark for the t-shirt industry?
The first one that comes to mind is a guy that has been incredibly nice to us while we’ve been getting the hang of running our brand: Jeff Sheldon of Ugmonk. His designs are very unique but also very relatable, which is difficult to pull off. Plus he keeps it simple and is great with typography – two things we love.
He also Instagrams some beautiful pics (“jsheldon”).
When can we expect series 2 from Kill Hubris? Any exclusives we can share with our readers?
We don’t have a release date set but we are working hard to drop before Thanksgiving so we can get some inventory to Santa with time to spare.
The design for shirt Five is in the books, though, so we CAN share this TTG-exclusive teaser above.
Do you yourself keep on top of any blogs/sites both t-shirt based and otherwise which you would recommend?
Sam – I read:
Nice Kicks (http://www.nicekicks.com/),
Ain’t It Cool News (http://www.aintitcool.com/),
High-Def Digest (http://www.highdefdigest.com/),
Gwarizm (http://garywarnett.wordpress.com/), and
The Best Five Books on Everything (http://thebrowser.com/fivebooks)
Nathan – I read:
Make Magazine (http://blog.makezine.com/)
Boing Boing (http://boingboing.net/)
Houston Press Rocks Off (http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/)
Where do you see yourself and the company running to from 2011-2012 and beyond?
We have a short list of artists who we’d love to commission to do a design for KH, so we are very excited to start reaching out to them soon to discuss ideas for future releases.
Big-picture wise, once we get a solid foundation of tees underneath us, we really want to start phasing stuff beyond tees into our collection. That’s really all we can say on that topic for now, but we definitely have big things in mind for KH that we believe will really propel it to the next level of what indie brands are up to these days.
Big Thankyou to both Nathan and Sam of Kill Hubris for making this interview happen, if you would like to work with us on an interview or recommend anyone els; contact us today.