ART

A behind the scenes look at Oxford T-Shirt Co.

Jac Bedrossian
The Oxford Eagle

Patagonia has a sunset.
Vineyard Vines has a whale.
Oxford T-Shirt Co. has a weenie dog.

Mike Tatum opened Oxford T-Shirt Co. in 2005. His iconic wiener dog logo can be seen across campus. Tatum chose the dog as his company’s mascot because he owns several dachshunds. The dogs even make occasional visits to the store.

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While the business is known for its logo, it’s also known for its custom designs.

The company’s design department works with customers to create unique, custom T-shirts.

Cody Rodgers is one of the graphic design team members. Rodgers has been working at Oxford’s T-Shirt Co. for a year.

“We feel very confident that we are able to meet customer’s needs and desires here,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers works alongside Hannah Gurley to create the T-shirts. The design team works in Photoshop and Illustrator to create the initial design. Then they print out the different components and lay them on top of each other to create a print. Once they like the way it looks, they put it on a T-shirt.

Gurley said the designs have started to change.

“We used to do a lot more hand-drawn stuff,” said Gurley. “Now, it’s really clean, straight-lined and solid color.”

Both Gurley and Rodgers create designs for the store. They work together with Tatum to make new prints. Gurley’s favorite T-shirt she’s designed is a simple, geometric pattern with elements of the company’s logos.

thumb_IMG_2055_1024“I just love it, it was sort of a brain child between the office manager and I,” said Gurley.

Customers love it to. Gurley said the T-shirts have sold well in the store.

The graphic design department experiments with different prints to put on the retail floor during the summer and winter months. One of Rodgers’ favorite prints he made was of the Double Decker Art Festival. His shirts were completely sold out.

“I love Oxford and I love getting to do graphic design as well,” said Rodgers.

After high school, Rodgers was taken under the wing of a mass media professional who taught him about website building and graphic design. He came to Oxford about a year ago to take the job at Oxford T-Shirt Co.

Gurley is an art major at the University of Mississippi. She’s in her junior year and wants to pursue graphic design as a career. She said Oxford T-Shirt Co. has been a great experience.

“Every time I come to work, I learn something new,” said Gurley. “Whether it’s something on the program we use or something new in the process of printing, I learn something new every day – every single day. I don’t think you can say that about every job.”

The shop also offers embroidered goods. Austin Wheeler does embroidery in the graphic design department. To create an embroidery design, Wheeler wraps a silver tool around the merchandise to keep it in place. He then puts it onto the machine and selects a design from the computer to embroider.

Wheeler also prints the designs onto T-shirts. The screen printing takes place in a small building, down the street from the shop.

“Every time we have an order, we’ll box it up down there and bring it up here,” said Wheeler.

The store offers printed and embroidered T-shirts, tank tops and hats. Oxford T-Shirt Co. has already pre-set designs, but customers are always welcome to bring in their own.

“We usually have a hands-on approach with the customer,” said Rodgers. “They’re usually one of the first people we see. We’ll sit down in here, and discuss it, and go over the design, and try and get a basic idea.”

Oxford T-Shirt Co. is gearing up for new floor merchandise with fall underway. Retail manger, Erin Ladner, said that the “Power Powder” T-shirts have been a best-seller this season.

The shirts are powder blue with the winning score of the Ole Miss-Alabama game. Ladner said there will be more long sleeve T-shirts and sweatshirts on the floor soon.

thumb_IMG_2058_1024The company has made a huge success since it got started in 2005. Now the wiener dog logo is known throughout Oxford, and is worn everywhere.

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