By Evan Jones – 3T Design is a T-Shirt and graphic design business team headed by Jewell students Gavin Hodges, Luke Longfield, and Nick Cody. The group prints graphics they design on the computer and place them on shirts in a variety of creative ways. In a written interview, I asked Gavin Hodges about the start up, the help the group received along the way, and advice they had for other students looking to go into the business world.
Q: Tell us about 3T Design. What does it do, etc.?
A: We have started a T-Shirt and Graphic Design business. The name is 3T Design and it stands for the three of us and what we do: T-Shirts and Designs. We are able to print out graphics created on the computer and place them onto the shirts in multiple ways. We have machinery to cut vinyl graphics, which can be affixed to T-Shirts (or about any surface, for that matter) as well as printing equipment for ink-based designs on higher quality shirts. Additionally, there is the graphic design part of our business, which creates original designs for the shirts as well as advertisements or promotions for printing on various types of materials and paper.
Q: What gave you the idea to start this? What need did you see that you wanted to fill?
A: Nick Cody has entrepreneurial aspirations and I have done freelance graphic design work for my family and friends, so we pulled the two together to get an experience few students ever get to have outside of the classroom. We needed someone who knew the finance world better than we did so we recruited Luke Longfield to join us. At the time I was (and still am) in charge of producing my fraternity’s T-Shirts, (Kappa Alpha) and I had difficulty with various online companies creating custom artwork for our shirts. I also spoke to other Greek organizations on campus and they mentioned the same problem, so we set out to make the experience easier and more personal.
Q: How has Greek life been beneficial to the business?
A: Being a part of Greek life has aided in connections for us starting out the business. We have been able to do shirts for a few Greek events so far and look forward to more in the future.
Q: Who helped you start the business?
A: There have been many people who have assisted us in starting this business but it was funded primarily through the Journey Grant Program here at Jewell. My partners and I pulled together our grants to obtain the start up funds. We communicated with Sara Round (Journey Grant Administrator) throughout our project primarily to get in touch with other key figures on campus for assistance and advice. Nick and I put together our business plan last semester in a special topics entrepreneurial course with Professor Gregg Whittaker.
Q: What are your plans for the business after graduation?
A: At this point we have not put too much thought into what we plan on doing with it after graduation. Our business plan projected three years into the future, which will carry us past graduation. What we do subsequently is dependent on a lot of currently unforeseeable factors.
Q: You started the business with your Journey Grant funds?
A: Yes, our start up money was primarily due to the gracious Journey Grant program at Jewell. A joint start-up business has never been done with the program before so we have worked closely with Jewell to make our goals possible. They have helped us out from day one with options and advice, and we are very grateful for that.
Q: What advice would you have for others using their Journey Grant or those wanting to start their own businesses?
A: The Journey Grant program is still pretty new and therefore the possibilities are nearly endless. If you have an idea feel free to go for it and make it work. No one else has ever used it like we did and we have managed to make it work out with Jewell’s support, just like anyone else can if you are willing to work for it. As far as advice, I would say if you have hopes to start a business like we have done make sure you stay in close contact with Sara Round and be patient yet determined in your goals. We have been through multiple hoops trying to make this work out and it has not always been a simple question and quick answer ordeal. If you are willing to work for it, the Journey Grant may be able to help kick start any idea you have.
3T design offers services to Greek life and other organizations on campus and in the Liberty and Kansas City area.