Interview With Tee No Evil!

Recently, got the chance to interview Zombie Tee Shirt manufacturers Franco and Francis Te who are also part of our subculture web site. Although Franco owns, I am its Editor-In-Chief and wanted to talk with both he and Francis about their Tee Shirt business and I also thought that YOU, our readers would be interested in the process. So, here is our interview, I hope you all find it interesting.

NERDSOCIETY.COM: Thanks for taking the time to interview with your own crew at, we really appreciate it. Can you tell us who makes up Tee No Evil and what it is?

TEE NO EVIL: Franco–Thanks for the interview! My brother, Francis and I make up Tee No Evil. He designs all of the shirts and I help him at events. It’s a team effort.

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NS: How and why did you come up with the idea for a zombie or horror themed T-shirt business? How did you come up with the name?

TNE: Franco–We grew up in the 80’s and we loved watching slasher flicks. Our mom was really cool and didn’t care what we watched as long as we got our homework done. I always rooted for the killers because they were so creative with their kills.
We’ve always been fascinated with zombies. George A. Romero created something interesting. We didn’t know back then about the social commentary with zombies but it appealed to us. Part of that is the uncertainty, how they came back to life. Are they evil or more animal like, acting instinctively?

Regarding the name, Tee No Evil was my brother’s idea. We thought about a name for at least a month. The ones we liked were already taken. I think he was listening to Eminem when he came up with it. He told me about it and we both knew we finally had a name. We wanted a fun name.

NS: Francis is the artist, what are some processes or steps that go into coming up with ideas to print on the shirts?

TNE: Franco–There’s different ways we come up with designs. The main thing is to brainstorm. We watch movies, read books and check out comics. Afterwards, we take notes and share it with each other.
Some designs take us a month or two. If it doesn’t work out right away, we leave it on the backburner. The ones with potential, we keep coming back to until something clicks. Other designs aren’t even planned. For example, “Zombie Anarchy” was a quick sketch. My brother did it for one of our supporters as a big thank you gift.
A quick sketch and finalizing the design is a long process. Francis has to clean it up and add the little details that can’t be seen on a quick sketch. It goes through at least 4 or 5 variations before it goes to the printer. He first uses pencil, then Photoshop and finally Illustrator. Its fun but its very detail oriented.

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NS: You came together on Kickstarter, can you tell us what went through your mind as the numbers grew and the idea neared becoming a reality? What are your feelings on people’s response at the end of the Kickstarter promotion?

TNE: Franco–Kickstarter was a big test for us. It was the turning point, there was no going back. We thought about our shirt venture 9 months before starting our campaign. I’ve always believed in my brother’s skills so I knew we had a good shot at reaching our goal.
$5,000 is a lot of money to raise! Prep time for the campaign was at least a month and that included talking to the shirt printer, creating the video and making the flyers. It’s no joke and once it starts, it’s all or nothing, so we gave it all we got!
We were very fortunate talented artists like Joel Gomez, Philip Tan and Greg Capullo helped us out. They spread the word to their fans and that gave us a wider reach. NerdFu also gave us a shout-out when our campaign was just starting and ever since then we’ve been really close with them.
We handed out flyers at universities, stores and cafés. Pretty much any place we could think of, our flyer was there. Business owners were really cool and were more than happy to share it. I want give a big shout-out to Half Off Books in Whittier. They backed us and now they’re carrying our shirts at the shop. People from all over the world inspired us because they believed in us from the get go.
There were times when I would check every minute if someone donated. Kickstarter became my life for 30 days. It was tough but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We learned so much from it.
We reached our goal about a week before the campaign ended. We were so relieved but we couldn’t rest because the shirts had to be printed in time for Halloween. We had about 4 weeks to make sure the prints and rewards were ready to go before the promised delivery date. Trust me, that 4 weeks went by quick. There’s always things beyond your control that slowed the process but you make the most out of it and keep on going.

We’re really thankful for all the supporters. Friends and family stepped up and they spread the word as well. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

NS: What were your true feelings in filling all the orders at the end of the printing process? Hit any snags along the way? Were you personally satisfied with the company you chose who did the printing for you?

TNE: We wanted to make sure all the backers got the shirts and rewards before Halloween. There were a couple of snags including miscommunication with the printer and getting the right packaging supplies. We had 2 consecutive sleepless nights to make sure the rewards were shipped on time. In the end, the rewards were shipped 10 days before Halloween. We accomplished our goal and we were pretty happy with the result. We were very aware that most Kickstarter rewards usually get delayed. It was our mission to get ours out on time. I can understand why rewards get delayed but we had to adapt and go with the flow to achieve our goal.
We made a promise to each other we’d only make shirts that we’d be proud to wear. We were personally satisfied with the shirts. We pay attention to the little details. It has to be exactly the way we gave it to them. Quality is really important to us.

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NS: Where are your shirts for sale? Do you have any accessories to match?

TNE: Our shirts are available on We attend comic conventions, art walks and zombie events. Our first event was actually at the Long Beach Zombie Walk. It’s the biggest zombie walk in the world. We were baptized by fire but it prepared us for other events. We were so busy and we’re thankful that the participants were patient with us. They must’ve known we were new. Sometimes it took us 5 minutes to find a specific shirt. We’ve ironed those issues out now but the pressure was definitely on like Donkey Kong with that crazy first event.
We don’t have any accessories to match the shirts…yet. We’re always open to new ideas and suggestions so we’ll keep that in mind.

NS: Can anyone get a custom shirt printed? IE: Can someone have a special image drawn up and have it printed on shirts, or accessories?

TNE: Francis–Custom shirts are definitely something that can be done. With the way the shirt industry works, prices become more competitive as designs get printed in bulk. That’s why when a design is printed; it’s usually in a large quantity because it offsets the setup and color costs.

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NS: On the business end; has business been good, bad, or somewhere in the middle? I’m asking this because Kickstarter can start the business, but from there, YOU have to keep it going. Do you find the business aspect difficult in selling specialty fashion T-shirts?

TNE: That’s a really great question. For us, our shirt venture has been awesome. We’ve attended more shows than we planned and the response has been really positive. We love meeting zombie and art enthusiasts at events. We keep in touch with everyone and we’re very accessible through social media. We make sure to answer questions as quickly as possible.
The laughter when they see our designs is what its all about. If we can make one person smile, we’ve done our job.
Regarding Kickstarter, it’s to kick start a venture. It’s not to raise funds and call it quits. Kickstarter for us was to start our shirt venture and that included getting familiar with the shirt industry and getting our site up. Also, having the supplies ready for events, that included banners, tables and flyers. We’re in this for the long haul!

NS: What does the future hold for Tee No Evil? A larger online store? A brick and mortar shop in a strip mall/mall? Are you going to partner up with any of the larger companies such as Amazon, etc…?

TNE: Our plan for the future is to attend events outside California. It’d be so cool to attend the New York Comic Con and C2E2 in Chicago. Maybe have some collaboration with other artists down the road. We love mingling with the crowd and that’s the reason we’ll never stop attending events.
Our shirts are being carried by several locally owned shops and that’s how we want it. We want to be independent while getting my brother’s artwork out there. Big stores won’t carry our shirts because it’s too violent and gory and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re very thankful that “Mom and Pop” stores carry our shirts and let my brother express his art without any interference.

NS: What are some interests you have outside of the T-shirt business? Hobbies, collections, etc…?

TNE: Well I love McFarlane toys. I used to have all the Movie Maniacs but had to get rid of them. I miss those figures. I remember how awesome it was to get a $10 figure with as much detail as it had. It was a work of art. My favorite was Leatherface because the figure came with body parts. He even had a bloody bucket where you can put all of the mangled limbs.
We train in Mixed Martial arts at De La O Jiu Jitsu. John, the owner and instructor has been really helpful with our venture since the very beginning–very cool and honest dude. He tells it how it is but one thing is for sure: He’s got your back 100%

NS: Where can people find you for informational purposes (facebook, etc…) and buy your shirts?

TNE:  We’re going to have a blog soon up on our site, You can also get the shirts there. We also love Instagram and you can find exclusive and latest designs on our account.


All right, check out Tee No Evil for their cool zombie tee shirts, and my thanks goes out to Franco and Francis for taking the extra time to tell us about their business.  Now come back and do some articles!  Thanks again!

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