Transcend Enterprises Inc. is an graphic design business focusing on screen-printed designs for t-shirts. Transcend caters to clients with imprinted apparel and design needs. Dog and Frog (A brand of Transcend Enterprises Inc.) was started in 2006 to bring a unique design style to the pet industry.
Some of my customers in the past have been interested in hearing about how I started this business. I usually tell them ‘kinda by accident.’ But for those who are interested, here’s the long version.
In 2005, I had started a promotional products business selling imprinted t-shirts to corporate clients. It seemed to be a good fit with my art background and several years experience in the corporate world. I was a one-man operation working from the house I had recently purchased with my new wife. I had a couple of large clients but the business didn’t provide full-time income. So I worked part-time jobs during off hours in order to build the business. It took one terrible, temporary part-time job to motivate me to do something more. I needed to tap into my own artistic abilities and sell my own designs. I started designing animal shapes with the word of the animal forming its shape which was a design style I liked as a kid. With a small screen printing press, I printed a few and listed them on eBay. I came up with designs like Platypus, Walrus, Dragonfly and Frog (everyone wonders where the “Frog” in the brand comes from). It sold well and in a few months, I was able to dedicate full-time into the business.
It’s all about the Dogs!
The more designs I offered, the more requests I would get for other animal shapes. Within 3-4 months, I was up to two dozen designs but less than half were dogs. Then I received an inquiry from a small pet boutique owner in Alabama (Canine American) who was interested in carrying my shirts at her shop. I was interested in doing wholesale and Jill offered me great advice about the industry. But she recommended I leave the online auction site if I wanted to be taken seriously from retailers. Within two months, I left the online site and had enough saved to exhibit at my first pet industry trade show. We picked up 13 retailers that weekend. Additionally, I had worn one of my shirts while taking Spike and Lucy (my Bulldog and Yorkie) to the vet and he happened to be the “vet-on-call” at the local dog show. He suggested I exhibit there. Without having a clue as to what to expect from a dog show, my wife and I packed up a bunch of shirts and exhibited at our first dog show in November of 2006. Although we had 35 breed designs for an organization that recognizes 160+ breeds, I was really pleased we had sold 80 shirts that weekend. So the journey began to sell my t-shirts at all the dog shows, pet expos and other events that I could find. By end of 2007, we were selling up to 600 shirts per weekend.
More than Just Dogs
At this point, we have over 130 dog breed designs, over 40 pet-themed designs and other general designs. We have dozens of pet-related retailers carrying the shirts. We have historical designs that are marketed toward museum stores, college bookstore and general gift shops. In 2011, we rolled out horse designs which have been very successful.
What’s Ahead for 2012?
We have recently moved to a bigger office and have taken screen printing in-house. This will allow us to be more flexible with color options and give us flexibility with experimenting with new designs. We will be offering on-line exclusive designs and increase the number of breed specific designs. And due to the overwhelming demand, we will be rolling out our breed specific euro decals as magnets by April!
Years ago when I decided I wanted to start a business, I was always coming up with ideas that was intended to meet a practical need. We started out as a promotional products company because we felt that it filled a need. Only when my back-was-against-the-wall was I willing to utilize my most personal asset, my artistic ability. As an artist, you are always unsure your design style will connect with others. I am humbled by all the people who like the designs. Sometimes while in search of the right solution, the right solution finds you. Thank you so much to all of our past, current, future customers and fans most of whom I’ve been able to meet. All the best!
Designer and President